Death defying acts of bonding

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“Natalie, if we die….” Kasey never finished her sentence. 

Thankfully this is because the taxi we had packed ourselves into proved faithful and did not slip off the road to careen down the cliff side plummeting us to our deaths.  The taxi was the exact shade of blue one imagines was previously only incarnated to be woven into a polyester ruffle front tuxedo from the 1970’s.  I am unspeakably happy that we didn’t die in that taxi, its twisted metal clinging to us like the afore mentioned cheap suit.  But it was pretty close there for a minute as we swerved around the horse drawn carriage on the curve of a cliff overlooking the ocean’s hungry gaping maw set with razor sharp rocks upon which we would have been dashed if the tuxedo taxi had lost traction on the rocky unpaved road.  These are the moments that bring you together, they are the stories that you tell to one another after you return home, these are the things you can never truly make someone understand if they weren’t there.  This is why you begin an adventure with companions, but you end it with friends.

This transition is a subtle one measured with markers that range from death defying to hilarious to heart breaking, but all of them are stitches in a seam that eventually binds people together, for better or worse.  Without doubt every person on the trip had a completely different experience, finding different aspects interesting, growing in different ways, and finding out different things about themselves.  However having now been bound by exotic locations there is not a single person with whom I traveled that I will not smile at when I see them, or seek out for coffee from time to time to rehash memories or share private exotic jokes. 

The three week program for which we had all signed up was a study abroad program.  We all knew that we were there to learn.  There was a specific syllabus which outlined our program, gave us books to read, and structured most of our time in class as well as out on tours.  We took exams, wrote papers, and were given grades.  Yet the magnitude of learning that we were all going to experience was something that I think few, if any of us, were prepared for, and so many of these lessons were taught to us in places like little blue taxi’s flirting with disaster.  

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