LET’S GOOOOO!!!

Hello friends, I apologize that this post is a little late and will look out of place, but I was having some computer issues. Here is my pre-reflection before the trip:

Wednesday, May 16th; 6:00am Dublin, Ireland – Let’s GOOOO!!! CR10 ARE YOU READY!!! I cannot fully express my excitement through words, so I am going to use lots of capital letters and exclamation points to compensate. Some advice I received from CR alumni was to only write blog posts when you were emotionally fired up, so that is exactly what I am doing! To be honest, it really didn’t hit me that I was travelling to Europe for nearly a month with 15 other amazing students and 2 incredible faculty members until just a few minutes ago in the Dublin airport. Reflecting on freshman year, I truly was so blessed to have such a wonderful year, but CR is truly the pinnacle that will cap off the wildest year of my entire life! I have grown so much throughout my entire freshman year, but CR will truly solidify and magnify that growth while pushing me to grow in new ways as well. CR is going to be one of the greatest yet most challenging experiences of my entire life, and I could not be more EXCITED FOR IT!

My flight over was fantastic! By the luck of the Irish, I had the best row of people on the plane! I ended up between two individuals from Missouri, a math student at Pittsburg State University, Payton, and an 8th grade math teacher who teaches in Carthage, Missouri. On the end of our row was the wise, David, the musician who seemed to have the answers to every question that we had on the flight. Talking with these people truly reminded me why I love people so much! Everyone is so UNIQUE and AMAZING in their own distinct way! This got me so AMPED for CR10 because I just cannot wait to meet and build relationships with people from across the world. I find it fascinating that even when I meet people from a different continent and what seems like a completely different world to me, I always seem to find some interesting similarity that we share. People are so incredible and one of the quotes I recently heard that I have truly tried to live by recently is “Most people aren’t most people. So get to know most people so that you can know most people!” This quote truly fascinates and inspires me to meet and try to make connections with everyone whom I meet because I truly believe that everyone knows something that you don’t, and therefore every time you speak with someone, it is an opportunity to learn something you never would’ve known otherwise.

Aside from all the new and interesting people I will meet along our journey, I am OVERJOYED to have the opportunity to build, develop, and foster genuine loving relationships with the 17 incredible individuals that make up the CR10 experience. Each of these individuals has something very important and unique that they bring to the table, something that our experience would truly lack without their presence. The exciting part is, that I have no idea what that is for each person, but I am eager to find out!

Until next time,

Jake Lynn

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In a Pickle

It is the seventh hour of being stuck in the Atlanta airport (and the ninth for my companion, Indigo) and I am utterly fed up with being in the airport. Our flight was delayed by four hours due to acrimonious weather, meaning we would miss our connecting flights to Berlin. We were forced to re-book to a flight that will take us all the way to Istanbul, Turkey and then back to Berlin. Needless to say, the emotions are running high; and Indigo and I are about to be on our way to Berlin (9 hours late nonetheless). Despite our misfortune, the prospect of arriving in Europe in less than a day’s time for 3.5 weeks leaves me full of excitement; and I am experiencing a vast range of other emotions from fear to nervousness to anticipation for all that is to come.

While finishing up school–from finals to papers to projects–I have had little time to dwell on, or even realize, just how quickly CR was approaching. Only after boarding my delayed flight has the realization hit me of the adventure that awaits; the only thing holding me back from that is an 11.5-hour flight and then another 2-hour flight (if I haven’t made it clear that I am anxiously waiting to be on the ground in Berlin and exploring the city, then I want to make that clear now). But the time is nearly upon me and my fellow CR members, and I could not be more excited!

In the long car ride back home from Fort Worth, and in the few days after finals, I had plenty of time to reflect on what I want this experience to be. Some of my goals include: not comparing CR10 to any other CR experience (CR9, CR8, etc.); being present in every moment; and overcoming the inevitably hard moments I will face.

Too often, I compare myself to others. This trait can only be debilitating to my personal CR10 experience and learning from it what I need to learn as an individual. As C.S. Lewis says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I fully intend to heed Dr. P’s, C.S. Lewis’s, and the many CR alumni’s advice to not compare! Not only will it rob me of the joy I should be feeling while travelling across Europe, but rob my team member’s experiences as well.

A prominent fear of mine that has developed as the semester has worn on is that of the future. I am one that often becomes preoccupied with the next stage of life or what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Living presently in a moment that has yet to arrive is one skill that I certainly hope to take away from this experience. In fact, just a few days ago, I was thinking back on my freshman year of college and just how fast it flew by, and I began to worry about how fast CR itself would speed by. How preposterous is that?? Worrying about what lies ahead only takes away the focus on the present and from being present in this experience I am sharing with fifteen other students. From here on out, I desire to make the most of the little moments I have, because those moments can end up being the most significant parts of CR and, generally, of life. Whether it be losing a few minutes of sleep to enjoy deep and thought-provoking conversations with team members or fighting through weary legs and bodies to pay attention and take time to reflect on the many things we will witness, I will be fully engaged and fully present in all that we do.

One thing I really hope CR can teach me is perseverance through hard moments. As much as I hate to say this, I often shy away from doing hard things in my life. It is uncomfortable to do hard things, and my dislike of failure can cause me to disengage and be discouraged to push through challenging tasks and times. I know that CR is mentally exhausting, yet stimulating; physically laborious, yet completely manageable. CR will challenge me in a variety of ways and, with the desire for personal growth to push through that which challenges me, I know that this experience can be a landmark for how I face challenging classes and situations at TCU and beyond.

 

In thinking about all that I want my CR experience to be, several fears and hesitancies surfaced, which I believe is normal for anyone embarking on an unknown adventure. I fear I may at first feel awkward arriving onto the scene almost half a day late, and that I may miss out on the blossoming of relationships. I fear the idea that I may not be doing things the right way. And I fear that CR will not be all that I hope to be. Although all of these are clearly irrational fears, they are nonetheless fears. I will have more than enough time to catch up on relationship building. There is no right way to do CR as each experience is unique in its own way. And from hearing how CR has been a standout moment for many peoples’ entire college experience, I know that I shouldn’t worry too much about CR matching my expectations.

 

I have already overcome another one of my fears, which is missing my flights to Europe. Now that I have that one out of the way, every other fear begins to feel so trivial. We are well on our way and as JK Rowling said, “All is well.”

 

See you soon, Berlin.

 

– Marat Rosencrants

 

P.S. This was meant to be posted in America, but due to the flights fiasco, it was delayed and so now I am posting it in Istanbul.

Filled to the Brim

I have a lot of feelings as I head to the airport to begin the experience that is CR10. First, how on earth is freshman year already over? And how did I make it out with my head held high and not stumbling around like a newborn deer, the way I usually do?

Second, my bag is definitely over 50 pounds. I did my best, but I couldn’t make it under. There was just no way. Okay maybe there was a way, but I couldn’t find it, so here we are. So I’m praying I get a nice baggage check lady who will let it slide, or else I’ll be wandering around the airport with three pairs of shoes on and a rain jacket when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Speaking of that definitely-overweight-bag, I’m concerned already about my ability to carry it around. It’s massive and I am notoriously weak. My arms are pool noodles. I didn’t prepare well for this.

However, while there may be an ocean of concern crashing through my head about my suitcase and my passport and whether I brought enough socks (I don’t think I did), it is all drowned out by the excitement I have for the experience I am about to take part in. The anticipation has been building for weeks, and now that it’s finally here I can hardly believe it. I thought I’d be more freaked out, but I’m mainly just excited to reunite with everyone and set out on our adventure in the most ncredible cities.

I’m anxious, terrified, and completely blind, and yet for some reason I’m not panicking. I think the reason may be Dr. P and the amazing foundation he has laid with past CR alums. Or the anti-anxiety meds I’m taking so I don’t freak out on the flight. I hate flying over water. Remember that Malaysian flight? Where the heck is it?

Anyway, I’m filled to the brim with excitement and I truly can’t wait to begin this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everyone keeps telling me it’ll be life-changing; with Dr. P, I have no doubt it will be.

See you later, America. I’ll bring back

some good stories to tell you.

Wheels Up

CR has quickly changed from a cool study abroad I wanted to apply for to an experience I am losing sleep over because I’m too excited to fall asleep…this lack of rest may pose a problem when we have 0 time to sleep over the next couple of weeks, but I guess we’ll find out soon! My bag is fully packed, but it is still difficult to comprehend that this really starts tomorrow. I feel like it won’t hit me that CR is happening (and not a figment of my imagination) until we meet up in Berlin!

Some of my biggest fears for CR are: dragging around my suitcase, lack of growth, the airplane food, inability to make connections with people, insensible shoes, not dancing for 3.5 whole weeks (though I promised one of my teachers I’d take a few exotic arabesque pictures, and I’ll probably end up dancing in some way or another anyway), and getting kidnapped. Some are reasonable, some aren’t, but all are fears nonetheless.

Some of my biggest excitements for CR are: growing in my faith (I can’t wait to see how my perspective of God gets bigger the more of His creation I get to see and His people I get to meet…and Lauren and I made a pact to have Jesus-time every day), making best friends, seeing the world, going skydiving, learning more about myself and others, eating some dang good food, and learning more about how historical events have impacted us.

I’m trying to suppress my expectations (without suppressing excitements) for anything on CR—I know it will be wildly different from anything I could think up, so I’d like to go in with fresh eyes and an openness that might be restricted if I go in with an idea of what I want. As far as expectations for after CR, I’m so excited to be a part of the Familia and continue getting to know CR alums, in addition to welcoming CR11! I’m also looking forward to seeing how my life will look different after everything I experience in Europe, whether it be in how I view/treat myself, others, or the world. I absolutely love how this will be more about experiential learning rather than classroom learning—as much as I love and see the value of learning in a classroom setting, there are many things you can only learn by seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, & listening.

My flight leaves in less than 12 hours. That’s so hard to wrap my mind around, but I am beyond ready to be all-in. In Dr. P’s closing words from our last meeting, “See you in Berlin.”

-Brittany

all-in Familia

Wow. Second semester freshman year has come to a close, and with one door closed, another opens! CR10 is here! Time to be all-in 24/7!

In less than 24 hours, we’ll be across the pond, making our way to meeting in an infamous Starbucks within Berlin’s airport. Our flights are booked, bags are packed, and I’m one sleep away from meeting these incredible leaders (and hopefully soon-to-be best friends) in Europe!

When I found out that I got to be a part of CR10 nearly five months ago, I was so so ecstatic about getting to be a part of this experience, and Europe always seemed like an exciting, but distant adventure. Even up until finals, it seemed far away. But now, as we are hours away and I’m thinking about the flight, it’s all becoming super real.

With this reality, I have some goals for this trip. First, I want to be ALL-IN – creating lifelong, deep friendships with everyone on CR10. I know this is possible.

Funny enough, I was reading through a journal entry from my mission trip to Kenya where I went with 30 other high school students from my church and one of my takeaways was how I was all-in from the beginning in investing in those relationships. Investing in deep relationships from day 1 was one of my goals for that trip, and at the end, I felt I accomplished it. No matter how tired or sick I felt on that trip, I did my best to give my all – love all-in – and I want to do the same on CR.

This was one of my goals for freshman year that I kinda let slip with the sheer number of friends I met this year – total regret not being all-in and so sad I only looked back on this journal entry now! But now is the time to be absolutely ALL-IN, because these people on this trip are incredible!

Incredible could even be an understatement. I was trying to tell my mom about everyone going on this trip, and wow, y’all are AMAZING!

Here are some of my goals:

  • Be ALL-IN and fully invested in making deep relationships
  • Learn about each of the cultures we are immersed in
  • Adventure!
  • Be more comfortable in unknown situations
  • Understand how to balance my extroverted and introverted sides
  • Express my deep love and appreciation for people and situations
    • this is big! so people know how much I deeply care for them ❤

Shortly after being selected for CR10, I realized how much of a Familia each of the cohorts are. I want CR10 to be Familia. Family so close that we would do anything for each other, understand the strengths and weaknesses of one other, encourage and empower one another, and lead each other on. This possibility of Familia has become so much more real, and I’m so excited to fully invest in everyone! Bring on the early mornings, late nights, strenuous hikes, nerve-racking jumps, and confusing maps. Every situation brings an opportunity to grow closer with one another.

I hope through CR10 I will better understand my strengths and weaknesses, learn how to balance my introversion and extroversion, and practice how to best love others the way they want to be loved. I want to bring back Familia to TCU – a bond so tight that together we will lead on together because we stand together, pursue one anther, and push each other to excellence. I want to learn how to be all-in always – following God’s will, all-in to build His kingdom – and knowing when and how being all-in involves taking time for myself to reflect while doing life in community.

Berlin here we come and I could not be more excited to do life with this Familia! Look forward to lots of pictures and memories to come!

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen

(selfless promo – follow @texaschristianuniversity on Instagram, we’ll be doing takeovers :D)

The Calm Before the Storm

The last few weeks of freshman year were a whirlwind. The combination of formals, lab papers and finals consumed my brain non-stop, leaving no time for any thought about CR. It wasn’t until halfway through my biology final that it finally hit me; I was going to be in Europe in less than a week! At this realization, I began smiling like a complete fool. Yes, during a 100-question comprehensive biology final, I couldn’t stop smiling. I’m sure my fellow peers questioned my sanity, but in that moment, I had no care in the world.

I walked out of my last final and a rush of elation and sleep deprivation washed over me. I had made it through my first-year of the Pre-Med gauntlet. But it was calm, almost too calm. While this normally would be exactly what I’d be looking for following a long year, this was different. This was the type of calm people from Texas know all too well. This was the deceiving calm of a southern spring afternoon. This was the calm before the storm.

Before the largest and most powerful storms, the wind dies down, the blue-sky fades to an ominous green, and the world becomes filled with an eerie silence. Cultural Routes is that storm. I know the tranquility I am experiencing following finals will soon no longer be there. Soon, the opportunity of the lifetime will be presented to me with full force and I have to be ready. When the storm hits, I need to be prepared. While I look forward to the opportunity of forging a legacy unique to CR10, we are faced with the challenge of meeting the standards set before us by past CR familia. This is both inspiring and intimidating. To follow in the footsteps of some of TCU’s best and brightest is a lot to undertake, especially when you feel that your name is not nearly worthy enough to be placed in the same sentence as them. Yet, I am optimistic. When the pressure is on, I settle in to my zone. You know what they say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Despite my optimism, I do have true apprehensions. Cultural Routes has always held a position of reverence in my mind. I hope that it proves to be everything I have imagined; that I’ll grow in my knowledge of world cultures, that I’ll step out of my comfort zone, that I’ll grow in my character and faith, and that I’ll make friendships to last a lifetime. The last is what I look forward to most. Anyone can travel the world and see the largest, most opulent and historically significant monuments. What separates Cultural Routes from any other experience is the ability to use these locations and monuments to catalyze a deeper understanding of self and others. We live in a world that revolves around the ability to understand, communicate, and empathize with one another. If we are unable to do even that, we have lost the one thing that separates mankind from any other species on Earth. We have wasted our God-given potential.

As I finish writing this, there is less than 19 hours until I board for Berlin. I am excited, no, I’m beyond excited. This is it folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

Berlin, here I come!

Brooke Boisvert

 

Procrastination

Twenty-four hours until I am en route to Berlin, and I haven’t packed a thing.

As I look over at my empty suitcase, I realize that I did the same thing three days ago when I was moving out of Milton Daniel. My car was empty the morning of my departure from Milton and freshman year. I was in such denial that I was leaving the place I called home, my comfort zone, and many of my best friends. So, I just decided that I wouldn’t pack until I absolutely had to, which became the morning that I was leaving. 

This is a different kind of empty suitcase. This comes from procrastination, and a jam-packed three days back in Fayetteville. The busyness that I created for myself didn’t allow for any reflection time, so the timing of this post was perfect in allowing for reflection of the past year as well as expectation for the weeks ahead. 

The moments I have been dreaming of for the past few months are almost here, and that both excites me and terrifies me. It terrifies me because I don’t want them to end. They haven’t even started yet, but moments become memories way too fast. I’m afraid of how fast this time will go by, and I’m already not wanting it to be over even though it hasn’t begun yet. I’m afraid of the goodbyes, because leaving TCU was very difficult for me. However, I am jumping WAY ahead of myself and feel that it might be irrational to already be afraid of the experience’s end. 

I have two goals for myself: live in the moment and keep my eyes open. Living in the moment will help solve my fear of the moments slipping by far too quickly. Moments make us; some are fleeting, and temporary while others leave a mark on us, going with us for the rest of our lives and changing us in a way. I know there will be moments on CR that will be temporary, but I am hoping for many that will leave a mark on me forever, and I am excited to live in each one as it comes, making the most of them.

I also want to keep my eyes open. Literally, and figuratively (because, for anyone who knows me well, I LOVE and need sleep). Literally speaking, I want to say yes to late night adventures and early morning sunrises, and I want to be present in each conversation throughout the day. Figuratively, I want to keep open eyes and an open heart to the world, casting out any preconceived ideas about a place or person and letting myself learn. I want to be amazed by the world, and take everything in.

Now that I think about it, I should probably pack. Fingers crossed for under 50 pounds and magically acquiring some arm muscles overnight! See you in 24, CR10!