January Blog: Trials and Tribulations

This month we will be talking about a time we were brave, a time we were kind, a time we failed, and how we bounced back. The bravest thing I have done so far happened while I was in Costa Rica, walking with two researchers trying to find places to put camera traps in the Jungle. The three of us had stopped to take a break and drink some water, when one of them yelped. He had been stung by a large wasp, and it was “extremely painful”. At this time, we were a 45 minute hike from our camp, which itself was an hour and a half drive from the nearest hospital. I was gave him painkillers that I had in my backpack, and when his arm got hot and went numb, I convinced him to wrap a wet cloth around it. We were able to make it back to camp and he was fine (for those who was curious, he was stung by a tarantula hawk, second most painful insect in the world!). Kindness is pretty subjective, but the first thing that comes to my mind is keeping people company on a long walk. At our camp, there was a little general store one could buy basic food items (rice, eggs, oil, onions, milk, etc.). This store was a 35 minute walk there, and anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes depending on our fitness, since it was entirely up a steep hill. A group of German volunteers had just arrived and needed some more food before groceries arrived, but didn’t know where the store was. I went down with them to show them the way and help them carry their food back up. Thinking of a time I failed is far easier. My flight back to the US left early in the morning, such that I needed to stay the night in San Jose in order to get to the airport in time to make the flight. In order to be allowed fly, I had to present a negative COVID test. I had researched previously that my hotel offered a shuttle to the testing center, easy enough. When I got to the hotel, I found out that I had missed the fact that you need to schedule the shuttle with your reservation, and I could not get it to the center now. I was able to “bounce back” per se, as I was able to get a taxi to take me there, and wait for me to take me back. I’ve had many experiences and learned so much, and I still has so much more planned for my Gap year.

Until next time, Owen Jackson

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