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Top of the World


As I stepped out of the cabin, I was welcomed by the early morning fog rolling across the Brazilian mountaintop. The air was sticky and hard to breathe. All I packed were shorts, and it was just under forty degrees Fahrenheit. I got chill bumps as I began to feel the prickle of windy raindrops. My hair instantly started to frizz. Yet I was comfortable, because this was my “happy place”.

Even though it was seven o’clock in the morning, I could hear faint laughter in the distance. As I followed the laughter, the scent of pastries, baked bread, and fruit overcame me. I wobbled along the unsteady brick path and found myself at the dining hall, filled with hungry morning-people and chefs alike.

It was a weekend camp. A weekend camp for the local students in Brazil. Out of about two hundred and fifty students, thirty of us were Americans. Our job was to help out with camp, make friends, and have fun.

After eating breakfast, the rain became heavier and heavier… But the show must go on! There was a scheduled Brazil versus USA soccer game. All two hundred of us shuffled out of the dining hall and into the rainfall. I could hear the sound of young people giggling while jumping into puddles of water. I was one out of about five people who were smart enough to bring an umbrella to camp. Just imagine how many soggy-clothed people came huddling under that umbrella. After just about ten minutes of walking over puddles, under trees, and across pathways, we reached a large, soaked field.

The game began. There were about sixteen players, eight per team including a goalie. The other two hundred of us stood on both sides of the field and cheered. Surrounding me were people who painted their bodies in support of their home team. Everywhere I looked I saw red, white, blue… green, yellow, blue… You could hear them chanting “USA! USA!” and “Equipe Brasil!” At one point, a wild chicken interfered with the game and almost got hit by a soccer ball. After everyone laughed it off, things got serious again. About forty five minutes later, team USA scored the winning goal! The players slipped across the muddy field and we all happily dispersed for a bit of free time.

The rain started to clear up, but left us with foggy, humid air. I walked with my friends until we came across a giant tree swing, sitting on top of a mountain. I got on the swing, pushed myself off of the muddy earth, and started to sway back and forth. With the help of my friends, I reached a great height on that swing. Even though the misty rain was stinging my skin and my hair was everywhere, it was an amazing experience. At the very top, it was almost as if the world slowed down and I could see for miles at a time. The seemingly unending mountains, the lakes in between them, the tops of trees. The windy air smelled so crisp although it was so moist, and the chatter of my friends became silence. It was beautiful.

Truly the chance of a lifetime, this camp easily became my new favorite place in the world. What I wouldn’t give to be in that humid, cold, muddy, crowded place again. After all, it is only nine thousand miles from here.




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