When studying abroad, you never know when your first chance to do something may be your last. An example of this would be when I was able to visit this gorgeous Volcano, called Poas, with some friends. Just a few weeks later it was shut down to the public as it had become active, as many volcanoes are in Costa Rica. It is still inaccessible to the public and which makes me all the more grateful to have had the opportunity to visit it while I could. So my advice to anyone studying abroad is that if you’re up for something, do it and if you’re on the fence about it, do it anyway.
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Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the sun. Or the weight of my backpack. Or of my clothes. Or a combination of them all.
Either way, one part of this journey to the top of Cerro Chato (literally, “Flat Hill”) involved lying down in the middle of the path hypervenilating.
This hill was anything but flat. 8 kilometers round-trip at a very steep incline. I was clammy, sweaty, and ready to give up and head right back down the mountain to the hostel.
Lucky the bottom half of my pants could zip off. Lucky that I could take my shirt off to prevent overheating. Lucky I brought enough water to keep me hydrated.
And I’m very lucky to have two good friends to share the literal load on my shoulders and take as many breaks as we needed to make it to the top.
And boy was it worth it.
My head started to spin. I lost my appetite. I was confused.
I was going through reverse culture shock, three months early.
It’s an odd reaction to have when parents come to visit, but in this case, it makes perfect sense.