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Honorable Mention

Caitlin M. Branderhorst
Vanguard University of Southern California

Two Brazilians, one Peruvian, two Californians, and one defective television set. The five of us came together one humid September morning in Costa Rica with the ambition to live free, withdraw from our so-called civilized society, see new places and faces, and to be inspired by contrasting thoughts and cultures.

We came together that day in our empty, run down apartment- the walls were chipped, the tile was broken, but it was home. We had nothing but sleeping bags as beds, shoes as cockroach killing devices, and that defective television set. When I think of that apartment abroad, I think of that television set. The one we never watched. The one that represented the comforts of home and the very thing none of us missed about society.

Rather, every night the five of us would come together and talk about life and culture and dreams until morning. When we were together, we were home. This was a place that tourists do not visit. A place society has chosen to forget. It’s not a place with neon lights or crystal waters. It’s not bursting at the seams. It’s not a place you can see.. It’s just a place you feel.