Day 1: Lottery Knight
Hey guys! My name is Natalie and I am a senior, majoring in Event Management at UCF. Last year, I was introduced to Alternative Break Program for the first time. It was the best thing that's happened to me since I started attending UCF. I go to Rosen, the school of hospitality over on I-Drive instead of main campus so it isn't very often that I get these kinds of opportunities to be involved in school, interact with students on main campus, along with getting the chance to travel to exotic places such as Guatemala and Costa Rica. On last years lottery knight, one of my friends was leading the trip to Guatemala and I knew international trips were going to be hard to get. The trip only had 15 spots available. Some how, some way, I got called about 60th into the drawing and still managed to secure one of the last spots on the trip. I was so full of excitement, mostly because it would be my first time traveling internationally. I was excited to immerse myself into their community, learn their culture, and their way of life. I was excited to make a difference in peoples lives even if it was just a small impact. Throughout the trip, I made life long friends with not only the people I went on the trip with but also the people I got to meet while we were in Guatemala. I knew with all the amazing experiences I got experience over last spring break that there was no way I could pass up an opportunity to volunteer with UCF through ABP again this year. The day the participation application came out, I filled it out immediately. I made sure to request off work and I wrote it in my calendar because there was no way I was going to miss lottery knight. I had been looking forward to the lottery since I got home from Guatemala. When the trips were announced there was so many I wanted to go on but unfortunately I can't be in multiple places at once so I set my heart on Costa Rica. Just reading about all the exotic animals we would get to interact with got me excited even before I secure a spot on the trip.
The night of lottery arrived and it was a lot smaller than the year before which surprised me a little. Also, the drawing was happening a little differently than it did last year so it made me nervous. Mostly because I have the worst luck with it comes to raffles. The drawing finally began after what seemed like an eternity. I don't really know if it was actually taking forever or if it just seemed like it because I was sick and I just really wanted medicine and my bed. The names started being called none of which were mine so I started getting more anxious. Finally my name was called and I got up so fast, I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to the people I made friends with that were sitting next to me. I walked directly over to Nicole and gave her my ticket. At that moment, I was relived and I knew I could finally celebrate.
I am more than excited to get to experience this adventure with the entire Costa Rica group. I am excited to get to know each and everyone of you on a personal level and I'm also eager to get to work with animals that I have only seen in pictures. The one thing I am most looking forward to during this adventure is looking into those precious baby sloths eyes. I am warning everyone, I might pull a Kristen Bell and start crying.