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Journal Writing Project A week in Costa Rica

Fri, Nov 4th, 2011
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

Last summer I had the best experience in my life so far. In June, myself and nine of my classmates traveled to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. We stayed for seven days, experiencing and learning about a whole new culture. Our stay was short, but we did so many amazing things and saw the most spectacular scenes. I wish I could tell everything about the trip, but that would make for a very lengthy story. However, I will tell about the most memorable experiences I had in Costa Rica.

Imagine being strapped into a harness and hanging from a single cord. You are pushed out of a tree, and you zoom across a cloud forest. Zip lining is the one of the most thrilling experiences. We got to do quite a bit of zip lining in Costa Rica. Our zip line tour consisted of eight different zip lines spaced throughout the cloud forest. The last zip line was the longest and the fastest. For a split second I closed my eyes as I was pushed off the platform. When I opened my eyes, I had emerged from the cover of the trees and was zipping across an immense valley of lush, green cloud forest. I was above the tops of the trees. I stared in amazement at the spectacular view before me. It was breathtaking. However, that was not the end of the zip line tour. There was one part left that would leave me utterly breathless, the Tarzan swing.

After being detached from the cable, I walked down a small, steep hill. I came to a cable bridge 100 feet up that extended out over the valley. Slowly I walked to the end of the bridge where two men were waiting for me. They hooked a rope to the front of my harness and led me to the very end of the bridge. One man swung open a small gate and the other instructed me to put both hands on the rope and to bend my knees. "Uno, dos, tres!" My stomach was in my mouth and I was screaming. I was falling from a 100 foot cable bridge in the middle of a cloud forest. I swung back and forth out over the valley. Finally I was lowered back down to the ground. My whole body was shaking. It was the most thrilling and exhilarating experience I have ever had. The zip line tour was only the beginning of my experiences in Costa Rica.

Another memorable experience was visiting Manuel Antonio. Manuel Antonio is a beach located in the Manuel Antonio National Park. To get to the beach we had to walk half a mile through the nature preserve. On the hike I got to see my favorite animal. Numerous times our tour guide stopped us and pointed up to the trees. There, lazing around in the tree tops, were two-toed sloths. Sloths have long shaggy hair and long pointed claws. It is actually quite funny to watch the sloths move around at such a glacial pace. Along with the sloths we also saw bunches of rambunctious monkeys and a couple of raccoons. When we finally made it to the beach, it was another breathtaking sight. The sun was shining and glinting off the ocean, the sand was white and soft, and the blue waves were rolling and crashing into the shore.

We wasted no time in changing into our swimming suits and heading into the surf. My classmates and I were in the water for over an hour, swimming and rolling with the waves. Quite a few times we were all caught up in a big wave that pulled us back to shore and smashed us into the sand. Even after I had gotten out of the water and left the beach, I could still feel the powerful push and pull of the waves.

Along with the zip line tour and the beach, there is one more experience that was most memorable in Costa Rica. On the last day of our trip, we took a short bus ride to a local school. The school was located on a beach. It was a one room school and very different from schools here in the states. Not all the children attended school every day, but the ones that were there the day we visited were happy to be there. The classroom was bare except for a few posters and ramshackle desks. Everything they had was in poor condition. They definitely did not have computers or Smart boards. Seeing how little these children had made me grateful for the school I attend and the technology I have access to. We were able to bring lots of new school supplies for the children. We also brought them a new soccer ball and a new volleyball. We handed out candy and made balloon animals for them. We spent the rest of the morning talking and playing games with them. I am sure the children enjoyed having us there, and we had a lot of fun visiting them.

My trip to Costa Rica was filled with tons of new and exciting experiences. I gained insight into a whole new culture and learned about many new things that gave me new perspectives on my life and the world around me. My classmates and I had the time of our lives. Every time I think of Costa Rica, I wish I was still there. Hopefully, someday I will be back there once again.

Katie Wolter is a student at Rushford-Peterson High School. She is one of 8 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its thirteen year.

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