There is a lot of hype surrounding CR. Around campus it is a known fact that CR is different than any other study abroad program. It seams to me that is because, in short, past CR travelers return positively changed. Along with the general positive stigma of CR, us CRiners have spent the past four months listening to the incredible stories of those who have already experienced what we are now living. We were told about incredible adventures, deep talks, and a connection that can only be described by one word–familia. However, we were also told to go into the experience with no expectations. So, as much as I had fallen in love with this idea of friends who become family and history that comes to life, I tried to keep my expectations low so that I could be open minded to the uniqueness of CR9, and also not get hurt if for some reason, CR did not live up to the hype. But let me tell you, even though it has only been a week, I am really starting to see all of these amazing aspects that CR is built on. It’s happening, it’s all happening!
One of the first times that I noticed CR living up to the hype was on our first night adventure where we went to the plaza in front of the Humboldt University library and were told to go look for something that looked interesting. Eventually we all stumbled across a glowing square in the ground. The glowing was from a room beneath the plaza that was filled with barren bookshelves, the room was separated from us only by a piece of glass. Dr. P then proceeded to tell us that we were standing in the exact location where Hitler lead book burnings during the beginnings of World War 2, and that this room we were looking down into was the memorial for these burned books. In that moment I realized how deep and real the learning on CR would be, my skepticism for the reality of true and fun intellect that would really happen was alleviated in that moment.
A significant time when CR met my secret expectations of deep friendships and growth, was when Kate, Kendall, and I got to simply sit at a coffee shop together and talk and blog. To give you a little background, the three of us had just spent the past three days, along with Will and Christian, exploring the city of Berlin united by the group name Charlie. Kate, Kendall, and I were not close friends when we arrived in Berlin, but sitting at that coffee shop I felt a sense of respect, appreciation, and admiration for them that I only usually feel for my closer friends. It was such a precious feeling in that moment to not only love my new friends but to finally fully believe that CR did indeed create special and significant relationships.
As far as the group goes, the fact that we had a dance party at a Mexican restaurant, in Germany, that got busted by the local police, says it all. That night, along with many other nights I have spent with this incredible group, my expectations have been exceeded, and wow has it been fun. I cannot wait for even more of these experiences that make CR, CR, and I fully trust at this point that it will just keep getting better!