Honestly, does anyone enjoy taking finals or moving out of their dorm? Saying goodbye to Milton Daniel and all of its inhabitants was definitely one of the saddest moments of freshman year, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone at TCU was ready to be done studying for test after test after test. While the previous week seemed like it was composed of controlled chaos with a thousand things happening at the same time, the juxtaposition that this weekend poses that couldn’t be stronger. From being able to sleep in a full size bed to eating home cooked meals, I feel like I was finally able to relax without having five tests looming over me.
While relaxing is a great word to describe a previous couple of days, my excitement levels have been rising exponentially over the last few weeks – and especially the last few days. Looking back on freshman year, finding out I was selected to be a part of this amazing experience called Cultural Routes was definitely one of my favorite memories. Few things would make me pause The Force Awakens, but that email certainly did. Even though I could barely contain that level excitement, the fact that I would be a member of this Familia did not feel real until about a week ago. When we left our final CR meeting before embarking on the journey, Dr. Pitcock’s words resonated in my head, “I’ll see you in Berlin.” It’s crazy how all of these events seemed to happen so fast I barely had time to catch my breath.
Now, with just over 24 hours before my flight departs, my heart is practically beating out of my chest with a mix of emotions. I’m delighted to know that I’m going to have such a unique opportunity for exploration alongside 15 amazing students (such as the one pictured above*). I’m thrilled at the thought of revisiting Treptower Park in Berlin, engaging with the exploring the ancient looking city of Munich, of skydiving in Interlaken, of breathing in the culture and history of Rome and Florence, of being overwhelmed by the calm beauty of Cinque Terre, of filling my mouth with gelato in Tuscany, and the list could go on. While these emotions make me feel like I’m on Cloud 9, I remember sitting in the BLUU with Davis Donaldson (a CR alumnus) and talking with him about how he felt before the experience. He explained that his excitement slowly grew as the journey approached, but he felt a constant underlying fear of the challenge in front of him. That is exactly how I feel. I know this will be one of my favorite college memories and I will grow extremely close to those around me, but those things will not come easily. I am going to be very sleep deprived (and I love sleep), it will be difficult to find time to find time to just spend with the Lord in His word, and exploring unknown locations is an adventure and will certainly be amazing, not knowing the languages spoken in any of the cities in which we will be puts me at a serious disadvantage.
However, I think the scariest thing about Cultural Routes is the fact that I have no idea what to pack. I mean I know what to pack, but knowing how much to pack is a different story. If you cannot tell, I am making a feeble attempt at being humorous in order to transition into a lighter-hearted theme of what I’m hoping to gain from this quest. I am in high hopes of my own personal growth over the next few weeks. I know I am going to be challenged in ways I cannot even imagine yet, but I know that overcoming these challenges will make me a stronger person, more prepared to tackle life.
*the one pictured above is Olivia Wales (also CR10). Note: Masquerade masks will not be involved in the making of Cultural Routes 10