Personal Narrative: Costa Rica Changed My Life

1849 words - 7 pages

In my travels of the world I have found myself immersed in many cultures and varieties of ethnicity; I have been very fortunate to live in a day and age where such communication and experience is possible in one lifetime. I have seen La Cathedral de Notre Dame, the Statue of Liberty, the home of Da Vinci, and so many more wonderfully spiritual and historic monuments. Yet still I can say with the utmost certainty that no location has left such a lasting impact on my soul as the quaint, simple country of Costa Rica. Although many places have penetrated me with a sense of what the majestic earth and her inhabitants are capable of and have forced me to question whether or not anything is beyond the grasp of human ingenuity, none have brought me to terms with the dissatisfaction and flawed pursuit of happiness in my life like Costa Rica has. I have never imagined a group of people to be able to live in such “poverty” with such satisfaction and spiritual contentment; and as I traveled the countryside I had never before then felt closer to understanding my creator and my own mortality than I was standing at the highest point of my journey on that precipice overlooking the vast valley below me, overshadowed by the towering mountains around me. Neither, down on the beaches of the pacific, had I before then felt so powerful and yet so insignificant, swimming out past the break line while staring down some of the biggest waves in the world with nothing but my own rebellion against fear and a piece of fiberglass to conquer them with. Costa Rica changed my life, if only for a moment, like nothing or no one has since.
As I stepped off the airplane for the first time thinking of the chances that my friends at home were partying without me and that my new board would surely have been mishandled during the flight I allowed myself to engorge in the pessimism that has for so long clouded my judgment, not for one second did I consider how fortunate I was to be able to travel to one of the most beautiful places in the world, not once did I consider that the man stepping off the plane would not be the man stepping back on the plane a week later. Driving through the urban city of San Jose I was somewhat stunned to see the blatant similarities to the typical American metropolis we are used to. Although the glaring difference in infrastructure stands out immediately as your taxi driver steers around right and left corners with equal airiness and red lights do not even incite a certain amount of slowing down it becomes easy to see that Global culture is stronger and more uniform than it could have ever been in the past and McDonalds has become the benchmark for 2nd world or better civilizations. Americans as a whole are driven by things that citizens of Costa Rica do not understand, “It may seem strange, but one of the first steps is to learn one’s own culture. No one ever tells us that we are learning our culture, it all happens at an unconscious level. We are told...

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