You only get one shot at saying your last goodbye. On CR, when we would say goodbye to a city, we would go to a spot that overlooked the entirety of it and spend time reflecting on all we had learned there.
We said goodbye to Berlin from the top of the Reichstag, goodbye to Munich from the castles, goodbye to Interlaken as we fell from the plane (which provided a great aerial view of all the memories), goodbye to Cinque Terre from the roof of the hostel, goodbye to Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo, and goodbye to Rome from the Trevi Fountain. I never knew you could say goodbye to a place, but each small goodbye felt like the closing of a chapter. As the wheels lifted off the ground in Rome, I looked down at the city. I missed the place already, but I also missed the person who I was there. I knew that I would never be that exact same person again. Life would move on and continue to shape me into someone a little different.
So here we are, six months later, and it feels weird saying goodbye to CR for the final time from my dorm room in Fort Worth. For the past few days, I’ve been wrestling with how to say goodbye and how to write the final chapter, looking back on the three and a half week experience that will affect me for the rest of my life.
To start processing how to say goodbye, I’ve been reading my journal just a little bit at a time, and looking at the pictures and videos that go with each entry. Every time I close my journal, my cheeks stuck in a permanent smile, laughing about that time the conductor threw us off the night train while Nishu was yelling that we were in Finland, or the time we cannonballed into the river in Munich, or when we couldn’t find the ausgang from the Residenz. I love to read my journal entries about the time we made a friend while touring the castles, laughed about the saxophone man in the bushes, and when I became Catholic.
All of these stories remind me of one of Jake and Jacob’s favorite sayings on CR10- “We’ll do anything once.” This is within reason, of course, but it helped all of us get out of our comfort zones and try new things like eating schnitzel, laying out in the park, and going skydiving even when you’re terrified of heights.
I’ll do anything once, but I wish I could go on CR twice. I really wish I was Dr. P and could go eleven times. I want to jump back in my journal and relive everything again.
I can’t though. I’ve said my six, small goodbyes, and my one, big goodbye, and I’m still coming to terms with this blog post being another goodbye.
However, the more I think about it, once is enough. CR changed me forever; I am not the same girl who boarded the plane in Arkansas with a 49.9 lb suitcase. CR10 gave me memories and stories that will last forever. CR10 gave me sixteen people who I call familia. I love these people and I have their back, always, as I know they have my back, always. Now that we’re back at TCU I don’t see my people nearly as much as I wish that I did. I wish we could be together all day every day, like CR, but the craziness of life happens. In the middle of life happening though, I know they’re always there for me, as I am always there for them. My people are leaders in all areas of campus, brilliant thinkers, and rays of sunshine that make my day so much brighter when I see them. They’re peace in the middle of chaos, and a steady reminder that I am known and loved by them.
CR10, we did it once, but we’ll keep it with us forever. CR11, it’s all yours now and you can only do it once.