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Monday, December 4, 2023

Pura Vida

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By: Caleb Behrens — KHS Junior

(This article was submitted to the Kennedale News by Christy Lea, KHS Spanish teacher)

This past June I took a trip with my Spanish 1 teacher Mrs. Lea to Costa Rica. Before the trip, I didn?t really know anything about the country. I knew that it was in Central America and it probably had rainforests, but that was it. Only until I stepped off the plane and saw the mountains and volcanoes completely illuminated with city lights did I begin to realize what kind of trip I was on.

This is going to sound really cheesy, but I?m going to say it anyways: My experience in Costa Rica wasn?t just a trip, it was and ADVENTURE. If you watch the movie Up, you?ll have a good {{more}} understanding of the trip. Except there weren?t any talking dogs. Or flying houses. We did see colorful birds, butterflies literally the size of my face, and huge insects. We hiked in the middle of a real rainforest, went zip lining through the treetops, swimming underneath an enormous waterfall, kayaking, and then white-water rafting down the Sarapiqui River. We also went swimming/snorkeling at the beach. Being the whitest person I know, I got really bad sunburn that, aside from stumbling across it accidentally on the internet, you should never have to see. We went to the tip top of an inactive volcano, and to a super-fancy hot springs park, where we got to relax in water heated by the volcano!

The exciting adventure aspect aside, I learned so much on this trip. Our tour guide was awesome and gave tidbits about the country while we drove around in our bus. For instance, did you know that Costa Rica doesn?t have an army? They use their money on education, tourism, and maintaining the many beautiful national parks and wildlife. I also finally had an opportunity to use the Spanish I?d learned (all one year of it), because everyone there spoke Spanish as their first language. At the family-run hotel we stayed at, there was a little ten year-old boy called Henri who only spoke Spanish. We played games with him in Spanish, and he showed us his English homework for school. It was really bizarre to see kids over there learning English as their foreign language!

The last thing that really made the trip special was all of the friends I made. I knew going in that I would probably make some friends, maybe two or three. But I got to know (on a first name basis) almost every one of the forty kids there. Sure I had my little group that I hung out with the most, but I really did try to meet everyone there. Even though they live in totally different states, I?m now friends with most of them on Facebook and we?re all part of a group where we can connect and share pictures. Being all by myself with these people, I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I did have a few friends from KHS that went with me that made it easier. Plus, all of us were in the same boat. Most of us didn?t know a lot of Spanish and quite a few of us (myself included) had never been out of the country before, so we all got to experience these things together.

This trip was so incredible; it?s hard to write about. Believe me, this is like, the fifth draft of this article. But with EF Tours I got to do things I never, in a million years, thought I would do. I learned way more than I thought I would, and I made so many new friends. I think, no matter where on the earth you go, you should go on one of these tours. EF Tours lets you experience the culture and history of the country, make new friends, and create memories that you?ll take with you for the rest of your life.

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