Names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Hello, Internet! Cole here. A long time ago – maybe 2 or 3 years prior – I had a minor obsession with international travel. The idea of going to other places with fundamentally different flora, fauna, and traditions fascinated me, and I longed for the day when I could finally exit my native country and begin exploring a different clime. That day finally came on June 26, 2017, when I embarked on my first international trip to Costa Rica. I will never forget the adventure that followed, nor will I forget the friend(s?) that I made. Join me as I recount the best – and currently only – international vacation I’ve ever had!
Days -600-something to -1: Preparation
I first found out about the trip as a freshman through an advertisement at school. The host and chaperone was my ninth-grade mathematics teacher Mr. Dexter, who’d tried to get students to go on similar, more expensive trips with him in previous years. Due to my aforementioned youthful wanderlust and my respect for the teacher, I naturally seized the opportunity and informed my parents, who supported my participation despite the sizable price tag. One boring school year, several preparatory meetings and three thousand dollars later, I was ready to go.
Day 0: Commute
This day started fairly normally, as I wouldn’t have to leave for the airport until around noon. Until then, I stayed at home and played video games, occasionally stopping to add various items to my bags or listen. At around 10:00, my parents and I got into the car and drove to the airport, stopping briefly to get Chick-Fil-A for lunch.
After arriving at the airport and saying goodbye to my parents, I followed my group to our gate. Over the course of the day, we would take two flights: one from our airport to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and another from that airport to San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport. During both, we would fly first-class; I’m not sure if that accommodation was part of the travel package or if Mr. Dexter just got lucky, but I don’t really care either way.
The first flight was relatively short and uneventful – just a regular commute. The second flight, however, had video screens on the backs of the seats. At the start of the flight, the screens played two different safety videos; the first was a normal safety video, while the second… well…
Once I’d poured my hand sanitizer in my eyeballs to clean my brain of that video, fiddled with the screen a bit while filling out a few intimidating customs forms. It provided several forms of complimentary entertainment, including movies and music. Josef, my aisle-mate, watched the LEGO Batman movie while I listened to obscure music I’d never heard before. As I listened, I stared out of the window for most of the flight and took some pictures of the view, occasionally putting my arm on the armrest and then yanking it away when I got too close to Josef and he protested.
Hello, Internet! Cole here. I’m finishing school as strongly as I can with what little willpower I still have, visiting the gym in my spare time, and generally trying to tune out my constant displeasure with the world. Nothing noteworthy has happened, so I’m going to answer some more silly questions because why not? After all, a whole three people commented on my last one, so this one should also do well, right? …whatever. Okay, here we go.
Robert Bolling and his wife, Dian, who live in Roanoke have 3 children. All 3 of the boys suffer with Fragile X. Fragile X syndrome is a rare genetic abnormality that causes profound learning, speech and language problems. People with it have short attention spans, low IQs, difficulty making eye contact and an inability to communicate or adjust to change.
A 7-year-old Midlothian boy with Canavan disease, who was never able to communicate, can now speak thanks to his therapist at Richmond Hope Therapy, which is part of Bon Secours Richmond Health System, in Glen Allen.
On April 30, 2017, River City Inclusive Gymnastics hosted DSAGR’s Funquest social group. The afternoon was filled with smiles, laughter, and exercise. The Funquest group was comprised of about 12 teens ages 13-20 of varying athletic ability. After a quick warm-up that included bear crawling, skipping, bunny hopping and stretching, the group began working on basic gymnastic skills. These skills included balance, coordination, and strength training and were presented to each Funquest participant as activities on part of an obstacle course. Think American Ninja Warrior but with a coach watching and guiding throughout . Some of the obstacles that the teens conquered were walking on a balance beam, swinging on a rope, swinging on rings and climbing a rock wall. The event culminated with a rocking game of volleyball. All of the coaches and volunteers had a great time and can’t wait to host another challenging and fun filled event soon.
HI my name is Savanna and I am the mother of a 3.5 year old with autism. I recently started selling Origami Owl to help to cover costs of his needs as I have to stay home with him (his anxiety is too bad for childcare although he is in the special needs preschool class at an elementary in Hanover).
Hello, Internet! Cole here. This month, at the request of my beloved matriarch, I’ve decided to try an interesting exercise: I’m going to respond to random questions. Hopefully, my responses will provide insight as to how my brain works; if not, they should at least prove entertaining.
I would like to introduce you to my son who is funny, goofy, sweet, loving and kind who happens to have a lifelong, life threatening medical condition known as Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition where the brain produces too much spinal fluid and without the aid of a shunt that is surgically placed in his brain, for the sole purpose of siphoning the excess fluid, he would die. There isn’t a cure and only treatment options for his condition. Because of the placement of the shunt, Casey has side effects which include Hypertonia, a form of cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.
Casey has had 2 brain surgeries. One when he was 9 days old after being induced 4 weeks early by a caesarian section and the second surgery 8 ½ years later due to shunt failure. He has also had bilateral feet surgery to help correct and straighten his feet. Because of Casey’s hypotonia (low muscle tone), he has had physical therapy since he was 6 months old and has used assistive devices so he could walk.
I Read a Book
Hello, Internet! Cole here. Recently, I read a book called Population: One. It was about the author, Tyler McNamer, and his life experiences with Autism. In my opinion, the book needed a bit of work. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t without its share of noticeable problems. Naturally, I’m going to write my thoughts about the book in this article; otherwise, I would have just been wasting words with the other sentences in the article.
The Start Of 2017: Happy New Year! Again!
Hello, Internet! Cole here. Once again, one number on the date has superseded the other, and that means it’s time for a new article to lead in the New Year. Because I have no shame, I’ll be reusing the format from last year – after all, the more things change, the more pennies saved in the bush, or so they say. As usual, I will look back on what happened in my life in 2016 and forward to what I hope to make happen in 2017.
I got a lot of things done in 2016. For example, I somehow managed to turn 16 without putting any thought into planning for a car. I also began my sophomore year of high school, which has been engaging thus far. At times, I traveled outside of my comfort zone as well – I saw my robotics team win at the Worlds level of competition, watched (and reviewed) a few decent plays, and survived a work camp while improving someone’s life. Most importantly, I managed to work in many hours of spare time before the trials of adulthood.
This year, I hope to include as much additional spare time as I can. That’s going to be a tall order because I’ll enter junior year this fall, but I think I’ll manage a few moments of peace somehow. I might also try – and probably fail – to get a driver’s license; I‘ll need to be able to drive in the future, but right now I don’t see the point of it, as transportation is usually readily available for me. (I’m also worried about the health of others.) I also plan to improve my programming skills; in particular, I want to make a game with a good friend of mine before the year is up.
In conclusion, 2016 was a year. No, it was much, much more than just a year; it was a year in which things happened that may affect the things that happen this year. Unless we wipe ourselves out, this year should be very much the same, and with luck I’ll be able to make it better than last year.s Thanks for reading, Internet, and I’ll be seeing ya!