One of my goals for this experience was to push myself, in many ways. I wanted to push myself to make friends, interact with foreigners, and do things that I was scared to do. In Rome, I felt like my trip had come together and that because I tried new things, I found my familia. In Florence, I realized that I still had some work to do if I wanted to truly be able to call everyone on this trip familia; therefore, continuing this experience throughout my years at TCU and beyond. I had not shared all that I needed to with certain people and I knew I needed to tell people how I felt about them, not just that I love them, but why I love them. And that is hard for me. Sometimes it is easier for me just to go along with a gut feeling rather than think about why I feel that way. What I learned throughout the trip, especially in Rome, is how to love on people again. How to make people feel special and valued, because they are special and valuable.
It is a little scary to be so upfront with people because I don’t always know what to say or I am afraid that my feelings of friendship will not be reciprocated. However, in Rome I knew I had to overcome these fears to cement the friendships that I have found during the past 3.5 weeks. For me, this meant talking to my peers about fears that this group would separate after the trip and explaining why I had those fears. Being able to talk to people about my concerns is tough but I found it to be a lot easier when you really care about that person or people.
In addition, I knew I had to give out four awards to people on the last night in Rome. This was one of the hardest things about the trip because I could give an award to every single amazing person on this trip. I gave my awards to Kate, Chandler, Jacey, and Cole, all people that made my experience so meaningful. However, every single person on this trip has impacted my experience in the most positive ways. Riley exudes light, Will is the best cheerleader and true friend, Christian is the most grounded person, Josh wins chivalry and respect for everyone, Madeline is so introspective, Sarah is the strongest person I know, Andrea is patient and so kind, Davis is super intelligent and open-minded to all perspectives, Matt has such a sweet and genuine personality, Lance is so humble and funny, and Cassie is understanding as heck and the perfect roommate. It used to be hard for me to explain my feelings, but this group made it easy. No one is judgmental and everyone just wants to spread love. I did not want to let the group down by not spreading as much love as I could so I was nervous about giving awards because I wanted everyone to know how much they were appreciated. I still do not know if I did a good job, but I know how much everyone means to me, which is a step in the right direction.
For me, pushing myself meant developing relationships that were meaningful and letting those people know how much I value them. This culminated in Rome when it was time to say good-bye and live our last days in Europe together spreading love. I had to leave my comfort zone and spread true words of affirmation. This group of 18 made it easy and I appreciate them so much for every moment and memory on CR9. I am so excited to spend the next three years with CR9 and continue to develop our relationships.
P.S. Everyone start saving up for Europe Part II!!!