• The Wandering Scholar makes international education opportunities accessible to high-school students from low-income backgrounds.

    The Wandering Scholar makes international education opportunities accessible to high-school students from low-income backgrounds.

  • Vy, Seattle / Senegal

    Vy, Seattle / Senegal

  • Precious, Denver / Costa Rica

    Precious, Denver / Costa Rica

  • Rachel, San Diego / Costa Rica

    Rachel, San Diego / Costa Rica

  • Jonathan, Detroit / Peru

    Jonathan, Detroit / Peru

It is the most humbling experience to witness one’s expectations being supplanted by reality; the images blurred by ignorance that are conjured by the mind to explain the unknown are so rarely accurate and dangerously undependable, a fact that will become more and more apparent as my ideas of Costa Rica will be replaced by its realities throughout my trip.
I packed an arsenal of entertainment for my flight to Costa Rica with the expectation that I would be so dreadfully unenthused by the experience of reaching my destination that I would be entirely dependent on movies and television episodes in order to pass the grueling hours. However it turned out that being present was the very thing I would need during those long hours.
I spent a majority of my flight simply sitting. I sat with my hands folded, fully immersed in the universally agreed upon silence that every individual carried onward. Even the baby next to me seemed aware of the softened stillness so sacredly preserved in the cabin, and kept his wailing soft and rare. There was a heavy feeling of focus in the plane; maybe not focus, but fixation from every party. Hundreds of eyes glued onto the screens before them as visually pleasing images swept away the listless hours. I would occasionally observe the people around me and the entertainment they had chosen for themselves–a gun enthusiasts’ magazine, the movie Frozen, or the view out the window. It was a truly fascinating display of how humans cope with a situation in varying ways. Simply being. On my own, I was still and silent and at peace.
It became apparent that traveling to my destination was almost as instrumental a part of the experience as being there.
While in some ways I would describe myself as an independent person, in my day to day life I am quite dependent on the presence of others in the process of decision making and action taking. Most often I find myself turning to my wonderful mother for guidance, but on this trip I am not able to look at her with imploring eyes for the answers but instead at myself to find them. Getting to Costa Rica was just the beginning of a journey of me figuring out how to rely on me, and I am so excited.
 Finally I am in Costa Rica.
We spent our first night in a small hotel in Alajuela, where the people were infinitely hospitable, gracious, and warm. We had a delicious breakfast of rice and beans and eggs surrounded by the blanket of morning fog, and as I write this we are on the bus on our way to a coffee plantation.
I am so grateful for this trip every moment that I live it, and it hasn’t even been one day yet. I can’t wait for what’s to come.

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