Connections

It has been almost a year since I found out that I would be a member of CR 10. It feels like just yesterday but I know I am a different person now then I was back then. It has been a while since I’ve returned to this blog so forgive me for I may be a bit rusty. I find it difficult to return to the experiences of this past summer on CR with the hustle and bustle of sophomore year but I will do my best without getting too sentimental. Here goes nothing…

Coming back from Europe, I felt as if the whole experience was a dream. We packed so much into each day it was truly difficult for me at the time to fully appreciate what we had the opportunity to witness. Family and friends wanted to know every detail of the trip: where we went, what we did, what my favorite city was, who my familia was. Every time I tried to answer, I could only think how my words could never accurately relay the sensory overload I had gone through. How could random facts and anecdotes fully describe this experience to an outsider? How can I introduce to you every member of my familia and explain every experience we had shared together: the laughter, the frustrations, the tears, the awe, the struggles, and the goodbyes? The truth is, I definitely did a poor job of explaining CR to everyone, but I think that is ok. In fact I think that is the point. We call ourselves a family because only we can truly understand what happened in Europe those famed 3 and a half weeks. The weeks where a group of essentially strangers became family.

Connections, this entire experience revolves around them: connecting flights to arrive in Berlin, connecting trains in between countries and cities, and connections that Dr. Pitcock has cultivated so that we may have this experience.  One particular connection that has stuck out to me is the relationship with Dr. Pitcock. Fabio, owner of the restaurant Francesco Vini. It is a friendship that has grown from opposite ends of the world. It spans across two completely different cultures and yet it still flourishes, so much so that we, the students, can benefit from this connection. When we first ventured out into the strange and unknown world of Europe, we 16 were awkward, nervous, and excited around each other all at once. From my experience, there were times that I thought for sure it was a mistake for Dr. P. to choose me to come along for this journey. I couldn’t see how I fit in with the group. But as we all endured the same travels, laughs, tears, and joys, I felt connected with my group in a way I could never be connected with anyone else. While we were all on our own personal journeys, the fact that we journeyed together connected us in ways we never thought were possible.

Since school started, I have been so swamped with classes and extracurriculars that I have found it tough to find time to simply reminisce about our experiences. I found myself so lost in my academics that I was missing the relationships that I had built over CR without even realizing I was missing them. I missed quoting vines and laughing till I cried with Brittany. Her insightfulness kept me on my toes as I would never miss a moment to hear what she had to say. I missed navigating and kayaking with Marat. His compassion and thoughtfulness to consider every member of the group taught me to better consider other’s needs above my own. I missed the joy and smiles from Lauren that I relied on to keep me going when times got tough. The open love she exudes for everyone taught me to care and love more deeply than I thought I ever could. I missed practicing my terrible Australian accent with Indigo and her head turning, bubbly laugh that made my day whenever I heard it. When hearing her voice, whether she was singing or participating in conversation, you couldn’t help but give her your full attention. I missed having intellectual conversations with Ryal where I felt like I was learning more than I was teaching. His ability to be astoundingly intelligent yet his determination to make sure everyone in the group had a voice helped me realize what kind of leader I should aspire to be.  I missed having Brooke as a clear and decisive leader whose judgement I could rely on and who I would follow anywhere with no question. She was the shoulder I could lean on when I was too tired to carry on and she taught me how to lead by example. I missed Audrey’s calmness in the most frustrating circumstances and her ability to mediate differences without ever losing her cool. I also missed her surprising humor and her well timed jokes that could lighten the hearts of anyone within ears reach. I missed having Emma as a confidant for anything. No topic was too personal nor too difficult to share with her as she would open up just as much as you opened up to her. I missed Jake and his never-ending quotability and his voice that commanded the attention of a room whenever you heard it. His smile can light up a room and I can never forget the pure, deep friendship he pursues with everyone. I missed talking about literally anything with Abby. From politics to music, I found out we were essentially the same and I could always turn to her when I needed reassurance in my thoughts. I missed the discussions about religion with Jacob and his ability to teach me about traditions that I had no experience in. He pushed me to become more versed in other traditions. I missed the unapologetically deep questions that Kyle would ask to genuinely get to know each person. He was the catalyst for which I could analyze my own experiences and introspect on how that made me the person I am today. I missed learning about art and music and culture in general from Olivia Chambers. Easily the most well informed person in the group, she taught me to have a more global vision and how to enjoy life’s every moment at the same time. I missed Olivia Wales’s ability to capture every moment in its disastrous perfection. To spend any moment with her is to know pure joy and she taught me to look for special moments in the most unsuspecting of times. I missed shopping with Taylor and her never-ending adventurous spirit. She taught me to love myself and everyone around me without hesitation. I missed Lindsey and her ability to build relationships with each of us. She never shied away from difficult conversations as she sought to teach with humor and experience. She taught me to listen with a clear mind and a full heart. And of course, I missed Dr. Pitcock. Man, if I could write everything down that he has done for me and all of CR, this post would never end. I don’t know where I would be today without his guidance. He guided us through Europe, through hard days, through good days, through tough conversations, through forgotten memories, and essentially, he guided us to finding ourselves. I could not possibly thank him enough for all he has invested in us. I truly believe in his ability to form a team, no, a family.

I know it might seem like I am rambling, but this is honestly what CR is about. It’s not about the places or the cities. It’s not about the food or even the beauty of our surroundings. It’s about the people. The memory of people in history, forgotten and infamous, and it’s about the people who I got to experience it all with. Thank you, each and everyone of you for being a part of my life. Mia familia.

Signing off,

Nishanth Sadagopan

 

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CR10 – Leaders

Dear Familia,

Wow! Thank you. You guys are incredible and I could not describe each and every one of you without feeling wonder and awe. Summer 2018 was an absolute blast and nothing will compare to CR. A month adventuring around Germany, Switzerland, and Italy while learning so much about each of you was a dream come true. Thank you for challenging me, inspiring me, and being constant friends.

San Gimignano group

Life gets busy and oh man did I not anticipate how busy sophomore year would get so fast. Coordinating a night for us all to get together is so hard, but it just makes our moments together all the sweeter! And looking back, I’m so thankful for every second of our time together on CR (and gosh how we used every possible moment for incredible adventures!).

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I love each of you from the bottom of my heart so very much. Thinking about this summer, of course I will never forget the views from hiking in Cinque Terre or riding in that gondola on the Arno, but more than that, I will never forget you – the people who inspire me – how each of us grew, and the bond of familia that ties us together.

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Abby, gosh darn, you are so resilient and such a leader. On CR I gained such an appreciation for you, your eloquence, and your ability to make decisions when necessary. You stand for what you believe in, and that is incredible. This year, you’ve just blown me away. You are so refreshing to hang out with and I feel like you have endless love to give. And you have an amazing talent to be succinct, giving your words such power. Thank you for sharing life with me. (also sorry this is a little similar to your last blog, it was just so good!). You are a loving, resilient, strategic leader.

Taylor, you are SO funny!! You carry so much knowledge and know how to use your perfect balance of fun and wisdom. You just have this sense of ‘let’s have fun because everything will be ok’ and when needed, ‘let’s get what we need to done’. You are just so fun to do life with! Team Bravo would’ve never been the same without you! And this semester oh my gosh. On top of sophomore year ramping up the academics, you have been such a key influence in so many freshmen girls’ lives. You are a wise, funny, valued leader.

Nishu, those beats tho. You just blow me away with your talent. One day you’ll be the best music creator and doctor, known all over, and I’ll think back to you making music on the trains while most of us were just trying to catch up on some sleep or journaling. You have such an ability to be intense and give your all. Just okay is never an answer for you and I so respect you for that. Our random run-ins with each other this year have been so sweet, and I’m so thankful to know you. You are an intense, dedicated, extremely intelligent leader.

Jake Lynn! Or should I say Mr. Lynn? Lol, you are such a light of joy! You light up literally any room you’re in. You amaze me by how you treat every single person you talk with like they’re the only person in the room. You’re the best listener, and wow are you a funny person! Always a joy to be around, no moment with you is ever boring Jake. This semester you’ve inspired me in how you roll with what life gives you. You turn everything into a joke, and everyone wants to be around you. You are a funny, inspiring, hardworking leader.

Audrey, yes girl! I’m so thankful we got time together on CR. You taught me so much about how each of us recharge differently and how to have grace for myself when the I seem to be feeling so different than the group. You pushed yourself big time, and grew so much! Thank you for giving us your whole self and showing us every incredible, funny, loving, intentional part of you! You play such a huge role on campus! You are a huge leader in marching band and man are you invested in that! I love your passion which will carry you so far in life! You are an impactful, intentional leader.

Olivia, oh my gosh you are so fun to be around! Getting to know you is such a treat and I’m especially thankful for Rome together! You bring fun to every situation, and we know you can insta story so well! You’re such a joy to be around, and getting to know you deeper is awesome. I never thought we would’ve talked before, and CR allowed me to see how incredibly your drive, motivation and competitive nature pair with your deep love for others. Life is truly an honor with you, and the impact you’ve had on freshmen this year is awesome! I’ll randomly be talking to a freshman and she knows you and loves you! You are a loving, driven, fun leader.

Ryal! We definitely learned a lot about each other, and I’m very thankful for all the time we got to spend together in Europe! In the same group in almost every city, adventuring is so fun with you, and you helped reveal so much about myself. You have such a big heart for those you love, and I would honestly trust you with my life. You are incredibly loyal and hardworking. Fellows has been amazing with you, and you’re just killing it at life! I’m so impressed by how you balance all aspects of your life from Beta, to friends, to fun, and of course studying! Thank you for being so honest with me and showing me how I need to be more flexible. That reminder has been so helpful and necessary this year. You are an awesome friend, and I’m so thankful for you! Ryal, you are a talented, caring, dedicated leader.

Indigo! Wow girl, you are full of so much joy and you radiate light! You are such an incredible lover of life, and you amaze me in how you are blessed with joy. There were definitely some hard days on CR, but you brought your best at every moment even when it was not easy I’m sure. You have been so hard to catch this year, but occasionally running into you at church or seeing you on campus are moments I treasure because you are all-in all the time. Also, remember that time you and Marat went to Istanbul? You handled that SO well. I love you so much, and life is so sweet and powerful with you! Everyone you interact with is so lucky to do life with you. You are a joyful, all-in leader.

Brooke, I can’t help but think back to a train ride when we sat next to each other and had an awesome conversation. You are so open and willing to share your life and get to know others well. You had so many awesome moments on CR. From sharing your story with a bunch of us on random boats in the little man-made lake in Berlin to getting us all back to Florence safely and sanely from the best gelato ever, you are an awesome team member because you can confidently lead, but also take a step back and let others lead, you also bring people together very well, making sure voices are heard. I’m so impressed by you Brooke, and just want more time with you! Love you lots! You are a confident, caring, motivated leader.

Jacob James. Oh man, you surprised me. Sitting next to you in the Rickel for class last year, I truly had no idea how much energy or confidence you had, not to mention that you’re so outgoing. You kept everyone laughing the entire experience, and you brought life to CR. Your insta moments will forever be memorable, as will the endless amount of Disney you and team Charlie brought to the group. You honestly make an effort to get to know those around you, and I’m truly appreciative of that, as I’m sure so many others are as well. BYX is lucky to have you as a leader, and I know you’re inspiring those around you! You are a fun, talented, outgoing leader.

Brittany, bestie gal! You make such an impact on everyone around you! You somehow are so fun, bringing dance parties anywhere you go, but also love getting to know people deeply. This combination is so rare, and you are such a gem. You and Taylor are so funny together, seriously so funny! And how cool we got to experience Europe together with literally the best group of people at TCU!? I’m so thankful that people got to experience your love and radiance, because you are truly special. You bring people together like no one else I know. I love you endlessly, and seeing your impact on others this year has been awesome! I’m blown away at how you accept people where they are and run with them. You’ve made an impact on so many people at TCU and beyond already, I can’t wait to see what’s next for you. You are an invested, whimsical, loving leader.

Emma, oh how I love you! You are one of the most selfless, giving, helpful people I have ever encountered. You constantly put others before yourself – constantly. Sometimes even to the point of where putting others ahead of you may hurt you. But you think it’s worth it, and I so admire you for that. Can you believe you jumped out of a plane in Interlaken!? Insane!! You rock, and you bring so much fun energy to a room, but you also know when it’s time to get to work. You lead SO well. You listen to people’s needs (even when they aren’t telling you, because you just see it), and you bring people together. I will never forget day 1 in Munich, where we were all having a rough time, but you helped lead the group to an Italian restaurant (Italian in Germany, interesting lol now that I think about it) but we were so hungry and our group was about to collapse in on each other. You again put others above yourself and saved the team. And later that day, I remember you letting a lady go in front of you for gelato, super simple things, but you consistently are selfless. You are so admirable Emma. You are a selfless, driven, fun leader.

OC! Nothing but fun things to say about you! Europe was SO FUN with you! Queen of pivots, you keep us all on our toes while having fun. You never let anything get in between you, your friends and fun! You were one of the people I had no idea who you were when we all first met, but girl you have so much depth. You are really good at bringing the fun, but also sharing with others. Thank you for getting real with me, because you are so cool and have so much to share. You love others so well, and you have such a caring heart within you. I wanted to go to summer camp with you after CR just to hang more with you! In addition to your depth, you are so talented with pictures! Like, world watch out because you can Insta-story like no one else. I love you endlessly, and it’s been so fun being in foundations with you this semester and seeing your love for your friends and how much fun you have at school too! It’s always a party with you OC! You are a pivoting, fun-loving, real leader.

Kyle, you are so incredible. When you describe yourself, you make it known that your goal is to end human trafficking. You are so committed to everything you’re involved in which is truly honorable. You get invested in those you do life with, and want to know them well, and you completely brought that to CR. I love sitting next to you in accounting, and sometimes I can’t help but think about our really awesome conversations we had in Florence and on our way to the Hard Rock Cafe in Munich. You have so much depth, and you’ve overcome a lot in your life. You have so much to be proud of. Doing life with you this semester has been awesome. It’s definitely been a lot, but watching you pick what you’re really wanting to be invested in is a gift because it’s forcing you to choose, and you’re still making such an impact on all those around you. Not to forget, you are so funny Kyle! You are an invested, impactful, driven leader.

Marat! Last, but certainly not least, getting to know you so well on CR was such a gift. You have this ability to critically think about issues and internally process then share your findings with others. Every moment with you was  such a gift on CR because you are always real, never wanting to be fake in any way. You let people know exactly how you feel, and always want to make a better impact, just making sure it’s logical too. We got to hang out a lot in Europe and discover we have some similarities that I would have never known without traveling with you! Thank you for adventuring together and making an effort to enjoy every single aspect, even if they weren’t the most logical routes to take. You are such a blessing of a friend, and I would trust you with my life if I had to make a super hard decision. Also, you’ve made such an impact in Milton already! Your guys love you and watching you go out of your way to make time for you friends has been awesome! You truly cherish those you’re around! You are a motivated, impactful leader.

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CR10 is not a trip, and not just any experience, but the best experience on TCU’s campus, because Dr. Pitcock invests in each of us so heavily. Reflecting on my relationships with each member of the familia, I’m blown away. Each of you rock and are incredible leaders, but a good bunch of us would not know each other and certainly not to this depth if it wasn’t for CR and the groups we were specifically put in. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie were so well thought-out and same with the groups going forward. We were put in challenging, but incredible scenarios that we will never forget, and I will never forget the impact each of you has on me. I love you guys and will love each of you forever.

A huge thank you and appreciation is due to both Dr. P and Lindsey for this experience. The amount of work they put into us is astonishing. Every moment they were, and always will be, there to help us, and that’s amazing; but especially on CR, because we can be some pretty difficult people – traveling with 16 college students for a month is a feat in itself, but even more than that, every single moment we were being poured into whether it be by Dr. P and Lindsey or the situations they specifically placed us in. You guys are incredible, and we have so much to thank you for.

Much love familia!

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With so much love,

Lauren

 

Roma Familia

As I’m boarding my final plane ride home, everything is starting to hit me. I’m not going to see our familia tomorrow, next week, or even next month. After reading Olivia Wales’ blog post, I started tearing up, and I’m sure some people were giving me looks in the airport, but I’m gonna miss our familia so much! No rivers nor roads will separate us, because love will bring us together forever.

Rome was the perfect ending to CR10. In a city rich with ancient history, art and culture, we got to experience it together. And our game of Whai Whai truly brought it all together for me.

On our last team day in Rome, we had some senti moments, one of which was a conversation between me and Ryal. Ryal is one of the most loving, relational people I know. I also respect him so much and value his insanely high emotional intelligence. In this conversation, we asked each other for constructive criticism, and if that doesn’t show love and trust, I don’t know what does.

Our game of Whai Whai truly tested if we were able to trust each other and work together as a cohesive team. I can confidently say CR10 is the dream team. After 3.5 weeks of doing life together constantly (literally together all the time), we know each others’ ins and outs, strengths and weaknesses, and highs and lows. Each of us has an integral role in each others’ lives.

Each Whai Whai team was completely randomly selected, and each team collaborated so well! For example, on our Whai Whai team, the BlueBerry Bunnies, Jake was our navigator, Abby set an incredibly fast pace, Indigo kept the morale super high, Taylor kept communication with Dr. P, and I asked locals for directions. None of this was pre-assigned, it’s just what happened because we trusted each other and knew each others’ strengths.

In Rome, our CR10 seemed so close, and everyone got a chance to showcase their talents: culinary, navigational, motivational, artistic, humorous, interpersonal skills and more. We experienced so many different occasions together that let our strengths shine through: from our cooking class allowing Brooke to show her bomb pasta making skills to our tour of the Vatican Museum showcasing OC’s incredible knowledge and love for art!

And at our final dinner, we got to give awards to each other, sharing words of affirmation and our love for one another. Our team has come so far, and I could not be more thankful for each and every incredible part of the familia.

Rome was amazing because each part of CR10 is amazing. We are committed to being all-in for one another 24/7 and that will never change!

Weirdly Close

We’re all getting weirdly close, and in the best way possible!

While in Florence, we had a free day to do whatever we wanted to do between Venice or San Gimignano. A group and I chose to go to San G, and it was an awesome experience. Definitely an experience, not a trip.

This experience showed me we’re all getting so much closer, loving each other through all our mistakes and hard moments. And this was showcased especially with our rocky transportation experiences to and from San G.

From the start, we planned to leave the hotel at 10:45am to catch our 11:10am train. At 10:40am, Brittany was busy saving kids from forced child labor in an intense dream, and when Indigo and Abby woke her up, she rushed to get out the door. We ended up jogging out of the hotel and running through the streets of Florence all the way to the train station. Although this was an unexpected, semi-stressful experience, Brittany was shown incredible love with friends giving her croissants and juice, no hard times. Brooke showcased her awesome navigation skills, leading our run to the station, and once on the train, we had awesome conversations. I got to sit next to Brittany and Ryal who shared awesome stories.

Once we got to Pogibonssi, our train station, Ryal realized he lost his wallet. Then we missed the bus so we had an hour to kill before the next bus to San G. Ryal handled this situation so responsibly, and we quickly devised a plan to get pizza to avoid a hangry team. Indigo’s joy rang out in leading the group to find somewhere to eat. We got to support a small, local business and quickly get back to the station.

In this move, Marat saw a group of people that could’ve posed a threat and he made sure to stay between us and the group until we all got past them. That’s so selfless, and I’m very thankful for his actions. And when we got back to the station, Brittany dropped pizza on her toe and Marat cleaned it off with a napkin. It was then that Abby commented how weirdly close we’re getting. She truly chooses the best moments to capture with words.

We got on the bus to San G, took a beautiful ride through Tuscany and took a breath. The morning was definitely an experience to laugh at. And many awesome moments came out of it!

Arriving in San G, Nishu hyped up and we were all ready to get some world-famous gelato. But first, we stumbled upon a fantastic view, and Kyle made us pause, take it in, and take a group pic. Good thing he did, because this ended up being our only group pic of the day, and we paused extra to take it all in.

While in San G, we got to enjoy each other. Talking, getting world-famous gelato, people-watching, and shopping, we got to experience San G together. Nishu also brought some laughs with his cologne extravaganza.

So relaxing.

Then when we thought it was time to catch the bus back, we were not even close to correct. We had missed the bus. We were stressed and perturbed, some of us pacing, others laying in the grass. Brooke saw this and made us sit in the grass to calm down. Sunday’s are a holiday in San G, so we watched our bus stay parked for an hour before we could take it to a train station. Our plans had to be flexible, and we figured it all out so we still got on a timely train back to Florence. This even gave us extra time to talk and relax more together.

This whole experience of going to San G maybe didn’t go as planned, but was so funny and brought us so much closer.

Experiences bring us closer, and we still have one more city! Rome, I can’t wait to pack our time full of experiences with the best people ever!

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen

Power and Grace

Two days ago, we got to visit this super cute town filled with farms, cow bells, and huge waterfalls. Walking through this valley between two huge mountain ranges, there is something so comforting about nature’s purity and beauty.

Dr. P took us to Trümmelbachfalle where 3 waterfalls from glacier melt all converge into this one powerful waterfall. As this fall was a little bit off the road we were traveling on, I would have never discovered this place on my own or thought it was a place to be explored. I could’ve just thought looking at the waterfalls was amazing enough. But thankfully Dr. P navigated us through fields of wildflowers and across streams to this incredible creation.

While hiking up into the caverns of this waterfall you could hear the roaring water- so loud you could barely hear people talking. This was the first sense of power present in the falls.

Then you could feel the temperature drop drastically, and the brisk spray splash onto your face. And when you got to the rail separating you from the falls, power was immensely evident in the path of the rushing water. The water carved such a smooth, powerful path in the mountain.

This whole experience is an incredible example of God’s power and grace. He is all-powerful, carving every detail from rolling hills to volcanos to tsunamis. His power is so vast and just takes your breath away when you get close. If this was the waterfall’s power, I can’t even fully comprehend what God’s power is truly like.

And yet with this extremely powerful waterfall, God’s grace is so evident. When I paused to embrace God’s power at the top of this cascade, I looked up to see little water droplets gently coming down like snowflakes. I couldn’t take my eyes off this. How could water droplets hit the sides of the cavern and rain down like snow? These droplets reveal God’s grace and mercy raining down on us in the midst of His powerful creation.

God carved the world with His mercy and power. From the Earth’s tectonic plates to each of us, He used His complete power and authority to create beauty while covering us in His grace and mercy. And He lets us just stand in awe of His creation. He gave us everything as gifts. How incredible and loving is He?!

This experience put me in complete awe of God with His combination of power and grace. It also taught me how you can always look at a situation and see more details within. You could easily walk into Trümmelbachfalle and only see the beauty. But with a closer look, you can see power and grace and so much more.

We all take different paths in life, but what path will we carve for others? God crafted an incredible place for us to live in and find Him. I’m so thankful to have experienced this nugget of truth and experience Him more and more through His creation.

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen

The Influence of One

Germany has given us a really hands-on experience with its history, and I’ve learned so much! But something that has really stood out to me is how Hitler was able to create and lead this huge Nazi Party. He carefully crafted this horrific history, and his carefully crafted image greatly influenced the world.

How can one influence the world, creating life-changing movements? And how can we be influential leaders who help the world grow?

Let’s begin with the history that inspired this thought.

The Beginnings

I learned so much between Berlin’s memorials and Munich’s Documentation Center.

Hitler’s rise to power began with learning how to reach people and fulfill their desires. After WWI, Hitler went back to Munich to learn how to speak to crowds and wealthy families, raising supporters. Any great leader and movement needs supporters, so Hitler was very smart to go after them first. This experience also shows that Hitler had to learn first. School is an incredible place to learn and I want to open my eyes up to all that TCU and the next three years have to offer.

Hitler also got put in prison, and while I don’t think every great leader needs to go to prison, we all face hardships. It’s the leaders who overcome obstacles and use hardships to grow that powerfully influence the world. During his time in prison, Hitler used this time to plan his new world and wrote Mein Kamph. This prompted me to ask, what hardships am I going through now and how can I use these challenges to grow?

Lastly, fun fact: Hitler wouldn’t allow anyone to take pictures of him until after 1923. He wanted to stage his photos to go with his movement. This just goes to show how much influence social media has. He even created Köningsplatz as the perfect background to his speeches and events. He carefully thought out his whole movement.

What image are you creating for yourself? And, why?

Learning, creating relationships, overcoming hardships, and crafting a social media presence are all steps to building clout and influence. But the power to choose if this influence is positive or negative completely rests on the individual.

The Choice

Hitler chose to try to create a ‘perfect’ society by destroying a whole group of people, but you could use influence to positively impact the world like by creating a world movement to live healthier. I know I want to craft an open, loving, enthusiastic influence to positively impact this world, influencing people to love others and themselves better.

Power Plays

The Nazi Party began in 1920 and Hitler focused the party on creating a perfect world without Jews. But come 1921, Hitler became the social chairman and changed the Nazi Party’s focus to follow himself, the Fürer.

After this turning point, the Nazi Party destroyed so many lives by using their influence in a negative way. In 1933, Munich was made the capital of modern art, pushing reactionary art over modern, persuading people propaganda was the truth. Parties other than the Nazi Party as well as sports groups who wouldn’t conform to the Nazi’s requests were banned. Hitler even created a secret police, making people so afraid of the consequences of resisting or not conforming. These steps slowly took away rights from those persecuted by the party. Hitler’s influence even grew so much that governmental permission was needed to buy houses and go into air-raid shelters. One had to have Nazi Party affiliation and the ability to produce racially desirable offspring to buy houses. There were even physical signs saying “No Jews Allowed.”

But how much different is this discrimination from the influencial standards surrounding us today? Do we value extroverts over introverts, certain body images or even specific job titles more than others? What restrictions have we put on people today?

Hitler clearly worked to create his own name and the perfect society, using the influence he crafted to kill millions. But something to be learned from him is how he was so dedicated and prepared to create a huge impact on the world. Then he was successful in making change. Unfortunately this took so many innocent lives, creating immense negative repercussions. But we each have the power to influence.

The Future

We can choose to stand up and stand out. We can choose to be the one to influence others. There are so many dreams present on CR10, and we each have the opportunity to enormously impact this world.

Emma has such a passion for helping others and she potentially wants to pursue law! Brooke has an incredible story that has led her to potentially do neurology. Jacob so passionately wants to help all people have access to life-saving healthcare! How cool!?! There are so many of us with enormous dreams to positively impact our world. The Crecade is unstoppable. We can learn and start using every single aspect of our lives to create an influence to positively impact the world.

We are truly learning to change the world. Let’s influence the world starting right now!

With love,

Lauren Rasmussen

Team Alpha

By now, you have probably heard about our wonderful adventures at powerful locations such as Treptower Park, the East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, or the Soviet Memorial. With all of these amazing cites, the question “What was your favorite part of the experience so far?” can be very difficult to answer. However, after talking with several other people about the differences in our daily journeys, I have seen a difference in what I have gotten out of the historically rich city of Berlin. Ryal, Emma, and I went to Frog Camp Berlin last summer, and we all agreed that it was a very special opportunity to have been able to see the city twice on two totally different experiences. Of course, all of the memorials of both tragedy and redemption were extremely moving and emotional, but I wanted to focus on the interactions between the people that make up the newest additions to the Familia.

I was a member of the A Team (aka team Alpha aka the type A type A’s aka the Alpha Dogs), which was composed of Emma, Nishu, Brooke, OC (Olivia Chambers), and myself. Each day we were given a word like “connect” or “patience” or “starburst” that we should make the theme of the day. The great thing about team Alpha was we never had to try to implement any of those themes. The first day we all connected with our passionate hearts about the tragedy of the Holocaust, the second day we naturally communicated our feelings to each other that made patience come as second nature, and starbursting was something we’d been doing from the word “go” the very first day.

My favorite part of the experience thus far has definitely been growing closer to Team Alpha. We may not have had a theme song or secret handshake, but we all dug deep to get to know each other. I felt like Dr. P trying to take notes on each person because they were all so fascinating. It’s amazing to see how our differences can bring us closer together than some similarities can. For example, our bonding did not come from us having the same Meyer’s Briggs personality types, it came from our differing perspectives on what we looked for in significant others, what we want to do with our lives, how we interact with our families back at home, what makes us all tick, etc.

So I thought I’d make this blog post to show the things I love about them with the hope that you will have the opportunity to know and love them too.

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Pictured above Is Nishu; he’s a total stud. He is extremely passionate about medicine and his biggest goal in life is to leave a permanent impact on the world of either neurosurgery, heart disease, or cancer research. He enjoys the classic “music and medicine” school of thought and loves to explore all parts of his brain; he’s in the jazz band at TCU and can make sick beats on his computer. His producer name is “The Nerd,” and he is unable to touch his toes in mid air (see above). Nishu is from Chicago, but his mother preaches at a church in Wisconsin while his father is an engineer in Indiana. It was incredible to hear about the unique position he had to travel to all three of those places and build connections in them. He was raised in a house that celebrated both Christianity and Hinduism, which is extremely unique and allows him to have a very different outlook on life. He truly cares for everyone and believes in equality of all cultures and people. We brought this up several times, and it was an extremely fitting topic of discussion in a city of Berlin; the former capital of oppression and systematic racism. I loved hearing Nishu talk about how a doctor saved his father’s life, and how he wants to give back to the field however he can. Not to mention, this guy is definitely one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He was so observant that he explained to us that a slightly chilly day could be described as “slightly colder than warm.”

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Okay, honestly I have no idea what my life would be like without Emma. She has become one of my closest friends over the last year and has made such an incredible impact on me that ranges from something as small writing encouraging notes and leaving them on my Bible in my room back in Milton Daniel to something as large as reminding that my self worth is something so strong that not even I can screw it up. But in the course of this week, I have loved watching her grow and learn more about herself. She discovered that her personality was a little bit different than any Meyer’s Briggs test could ever tell her. And she discovered (though probably already knew) that she is amazing at reading maps in German. Emma is a very independent person, but is incredible at supporting others and letting other people support her. Sometimes I feel like she already has a lot of the answers and asks questions to make other people realize they might have some of them too. Emma comes from a family that absolutely loves Jesus. She can’t pick a favorite family member because they all inspire her in different ways, but she has a heart for law and justice, and wants to pursue law just like her father. She just cannot do criminal law; she never wants to be in a position to defend someone who she knows is in the wrong and have to fight for something she doesn’t believe in.

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Above is Brooke Boisvert. I also finally discovered how to pronounce her last name this week: it’s like boy-ver. I think. Honestly who knows. Anyways, Brooke is truly amazing. I started the starbursting moment off strong with the classic, “So Brooke, tell me about your family.” It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person just from that one statement. I learned about her amazing parents who have been excellent role models for her, her two brothers who are way cooler than she is. Living with two younger brothers has been an incredible experience for her; she’s gotten to watch them grow and mature in ways that are different from her own experiences. Brooke was a killer navigator in Berlin and was probably the sole reason we were able to figure out the S-Bahn/U-Bahn system. Her sense of humor is pretty much the same as mine, so we got along very well. While we only had a few heart-to-heart talks throughout the time in Berlin, we were comfortable with walking in silent contemplation next to each other, which says a lot more about a relationship than the ability to make small talk. Brooke is just one of those people that can be the both the funniest and deepest person you’ve ever met at the same time. I love how this combination allows her to utilize empathy for everyone around her and know how to react to whatever situation with the exact right words or actions.

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Last but certainly not least is Olivia Chambers (aka OC). OC is, as Shrek would put it, like an onion because she has layers. And I’m not talking about the layered look that California’s usually pull off. I took a class with her in the fall and got to hear her perspective on many subjects as it was a seminar-style honors class, but she never brought up stuff like the fact that she was a professional musical theatre actress back in the day. This blew our minds when she finally revealed that to us, and it really speaks to her humility. One of the questions that our group brought up was “what qualities do you look for in a significant other?” And I absolutely loved her answer. She said she doesn’t feel like she should be going through life with a list of expectations to check off; she’ll just be disappointed by not getting exactly what she wants. OC is comfortable with taking her hands off the wheel and letting the Lord make the plan. Olivia truly goes through life viewing everything and everyone as a gift to be appreciated and she always manages to find the light in the darkest places.

The words above could never come close to fully conveying how incredible the people with whom I got to explore Berlin were, but I thought I should give them some credit in their ability to carry out one of most important things we set out to do: build a familia.