By Kathryn Cawdrey
COLUMBIA, Missouri — A Christmas list of REI gift cards and Green Phoenix in my backpack still have not succeeded in reducing the surrealism of an upcoming adventure.
I depart for Costa Rica in nineteen days, but with finals and Christmas filling the gap between now and then, it feels like my flight is years away. Though we only had a few classes of preparation, I could not be more ready for this trip. I still have so many questions, but I know my adventure will soon gift me with answers.
I’ve been abroad before, but only across the pond. I’m ecstatic to head down to Central America and explore “the jungle.” Even with program director Bill Allen’s reminders that Costa Rica isn’t the romanticized, violent drama that Hollywood makes it out to be, I still can’t help feeling like Indiana Jones in all of his archeological greatness.
Similar to Jones’ desire to uncover history (and fear of snakes), I hope to uncover societal and environmental relationships in a country so different from my own. I find it fascinating to delve into different cultures in hopes to understand the inner workings, like the churning cogs and gears that make up the world’s biggest clock.
With baby turtles, jaguars and monkeys awaiting my arrival, I eagerly pull out my “Rosetta Stone—Learn to Speak Spanish,” sharpen my pencils, pack my SD cards and charge my GoPro, Laptop and Nikon batteries for the learning experience of a lifetime.