See ya, Arkansas!!

This whole journey began with a video saying “in 149 days…” Now, I’m approximately 13 hours from boarding my first flight to begin CR. I know everyone says it, but seriously, where did the time go? My friends and family have all been saying things like “I’m so jealous of you” and “I wish I was you,” and I honestly don’t know that it’s fully set in that I’m the “you” in those statements. I am the one that gets to have this incredible experience. 149 days later, it still doesn’t seem real.

My biggest fear about this trip sounds bogus. My fear is for our three and a half weeks to begin… because I’m afraid for them to end. I’ve grown to know and love these fifteen students, and I know that I will only appreciate them more when our time in Europe is over. I’m already dreading our last morning in Rome together. I’m the worst at goodbyes, and that goodbye is not one I’m ready for. But that’s silly, right? There is so much life to be lived in these next three and a half weeks.

I’ll be honest and say that I feel a little prideful being from the Southern United States, where people tend to be extra kind and courteous to strangers. For the most part, we smile at each other, we open doors for one another, and we say “have a good day.” When we travel as TCU students, we are not only ambassadors for our wonderful university, but for our state and country that we call home. My goal for myself is to show as much kindness as I possibly can to the people I meet. I want to walk away from an interaction and leave someone thinking, “that American was the nicest person I’ve spoken to all day.” Because for the brief moments I get to spend with people I’ll most likely never lay eyes upon again, I have the power to make an impact on their day. I want it to be a great one.

My hope for our group of sixteen is that we would be selfless. That we would always put the needs of others before our own. That we would compromise when necessary and be willing to bend our plans for one another. I fully believe that we will all get the most out of this experience if we think about ourselves as individuals least and think about the good of the group most.

I love these people. There are some that I don’t even know that well yet, and still I love them. I have so much faith in the character of each of these people. We are going to have a stellar time – I can feel it. To you fifteen: I’ll see you so very soon! Here we go!!