Friday, June 25, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Birthday

Welcome to Memory Lane Friday.  It's a chance to preserve your memories for your family.  Each week is a different topic, and this week we're writing about 'A Birthday'.
By far, the most monumental birthday I've ever had (and certainly ever will have) was my 16th birthday.  And no, not because I had one of those pimped out sweet 16 parties like those teens on MTV.  I was, however, in another country for the first time ever when I turned sweet sixteen.  My 16th hit at the tail end of a mission trip I took with my church to Costa Rica. 
Note that this picture was during the awkward 'growing-out-the-bangs' stage.

They decorated the cabin I was staying in and got me a birthday card - in Spanish!
My mom had tucked a little package from her and my dad in my duffle to open on my birthday.  It was a silver cross necklace.
The trip was wrapping up on my birthday, but I had some fond memories from the two weeks.
We had taken a crazy curvy bus ride to a volcano.
Along the way some guys from a church in Texas tied bottles to their faces to see who could go the longest with a bottle attached.
I think they were in training for Road Rules some ten years down the road....

The volcano was in the middle of the rainforest, and the only volcano I've ever seen.
We did some hiking as well, and I have pictures of guys using leaves larger than umbrellas to block out the rain.

This is the work site.  We alternated days.  One day we would work on building the church, and the next we'd play with the kids and do crafts with them.

I learned how to mix cement and bend reebar (how do you even spell that?).
But the best part of the entire trip were the kids.
People in Costa Rica have beautiful hearts.  This is Alonzo.  His mother told us that he got into trouble all the time and didn't have any friends.  But this little boy took to us and he was always taking his machete to cut limes out of the trees.  The limes were sweet there, and you could eat them straight with no sugar.

This is a picture taken from beside the church, looking down the muddy road that came into the village.  The church was just made out of aluminum siding, like a big trash can box.  Which was why we were helping to build them a new one. 

More pics of the kids.  I have tons and tons of pictures of the children in my photo albums.  Note the girl on the left holds a parrot.  It was common to see the girls walking around with a parrot attached.

Looking back, I wonder where the kids are now...grown certainly, with children of their own.  Do they ever think of the teens who came and befriended them for 2 weeks one summer?  Certainly they touched my heart with their kindness and generosity in a simple, impoverished village.  And I can't imagine a better birthday.

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Next week's topic is 'Fourth of July'.  Except for my Canadian friend, of course.  Her challenge, should she accept, is to write about a distinctly Canadian holiday.  Enlighten me! 

6 comments:

Nicole said...

WOW! I would def say that is a very memorable birthday!! That sounds like such a fun and rewarding trip. How neat that you got to participate in something like that!

Sonya Heilmann said...

Wow! What a great adventure!

Tiggeriffic said...

Going down memory lane I remember going to Church camp and on the last evening we all went to the river ... I decided to be baptized and have never regretted that experience..I was 13..
On my birthday in Feb. of that same year my mom asked my sister what she wanted for supper for my birthday.. Lynn said "Liver and Onions".. She knows how I do not like that~!~! Yuck.. I couldn't get back at her on her birthday she likes everything... lol

Mary said...

That's awesome! Better than any pimped out sweet 16 on MTV. Ha!

I have to say that my memory kind of sucks. I am still trying to think up a birthday of mine. I have one but it's kind of lame. Nothing like yours! :)

Hayley said...

Dude, your 16th birthday puts mine to shame.

That is pretty cool that at 16 years old, you'd spend your birthday building a church in a different country. Awesome :)

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Wow. That is amazing. I, for my 16th, DID have a pimped out Sweet 16 party. Only it wasn't pimped out to me, just the norm. But may look pimped out to you. I'll have to get some pics when I'm at my parents and post a delayed recap. You'll love it.

As for your trip, I'm way jealous of the experience you had. I've also ALWAYS wanted to go to Costa Rica. Someday!