Turning the Big Treinta Uno in Nicaragua

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Turning 31 today actually felt more like turning 30 again, if you subscribe to the belief that one must celebrate each new decade “with a bang.”  In my case, the bang was an adrenaline-fueled scream down a zip line over the Nicaraguan jungle canopy on Volcano Mombacho.  Wheeee!!!

Mark, Nannette, Jeff and I were picked up in Granada and driven up the bumpiest of hills towards the top of the volcano.  Once there, we suited up and after a brief instruction and safety course, it was up to the first platform, several stories above the ground.

The first zip was obviously the scariest, but because of that, probably the most exhilarating. Each subsequent zip because more and more fun and I allowed myself to look around at the amazing canopy and scenery and fully enjoy the moment. After the eighth and final zipline, it was time to go back down to earth. “How?” you ask? By rappelling all the way down! We had three options in regards to speed: slow, medium, or rapido (which translated in this particular case to “free fall”).

Jeff went first and chose the last option. WHOOSH. There he was, standing facing me and within an instant was on the ground, looking a little dazed, but in one piece. Next up, me. I had been gearing up for this moment since we first heard about it during the introduction, but all of a sudden, “slow” seemed the most obvious and prudent option. I yelled down to Jeff, “How was it??? What option should I choose?” hoping he would be the one to push me to do the free fall since I wasn’t sure I could make myself say the words. Instead, he said, “Do whatever you feel comfortable with!” Great. Thanks.  A social worker would definitely say that! (just kidding, if there are any social workers reading this). So I took a big breath and said, “Rapido!!” After screaming my way down, I was so glad I did.

Once we were all earthbound again, we headed back to Mark and Nannette’s, where they and their extended network of friends surprised me with a delicious pineapple birthday cake, complete with candles and singing…in English. Thank you everyone. What a day.

Jeff Lee
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