Away from the hustle and bustle of city life and tourism, Riomaggiore served as a mental break from the type of learning we had done in Germany and Switzerland. We adopted the Italian pace of life as we swam in the Ligurian Sea, enjoyed gelato, hiked the cliffs, and explored the quaint coastal town of Riomaggiore. Without the museums and memorials that filled Berlin and Munich, Riomaggiore could have served as a break from learning, but instead Riomaggiore became a city where we were focused on learning more about ourselves and each other. Diving into meaningful conversations with the other members of CR11 allowed our group to have a turning point where our bond as a familia really started to deepen. So instead of giving you all a recap of what I saw each day, I am going to give you a recap of all of the fun, meaningful, and deep conversations I had each day in Riomaggiore!
As we were swimming in the Ligurian Sea, Gabby and I shared both struggles we were having on CR, and how to squeeze the most out of the rest of the days we had on CR. Having this honest conversation with Gabby allowed our friendship to grow as we knew we were able to confide in each other.
After having an arduous debate at dinner the night before in Interlaken, it was time for Sarah, Kynnedi, Chloe and I to present our findings on the hot topic of the stages of dating! So, on our first night in Riomaggiore, we broke dating down into 3 no-fail stages known as springboarding, courtship, and loverboy-lovergirl! Directly following our presentation, Connor and Brent performed a very theatrical skit summarizing our presentation, which ended with an agreement for them to “jointly file their taxes.” Funny moments like these create fond memories for us to treasure.
On our second day in Riomaggiore, we hiked up the cliff to the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, which overlooked the city and the coast.
On the way up, Kevin and I had really meaningful conversations about how we ended up at TCU, our experiences freshman year, religion vs. faith, our family, and why we are the way we are. This conversation really helped me to reflect on my life and learn so much about myself.
On the way down, Chloe, Kynnedi and I talked about strengths we saw in each other that added to the group. We determined that Chloe brought a philosophical side and a sense of intentionality to the group, Kynnedi brought a commitment to honesty and a way of accurately reading and analyzing others, and I brought a sense of positivity and a genuine care for others. Being able to determine each other’s strengths showed how well we had gotten to know each other over our time on CR. Additionally, learning that Kynnedi and Chloe viewed me as someone who genuinely cared about others was very affirming because it is something I strive to do.
Later that day, we traveled to Vernazza, one of the other cities in Cinque Terre. In Vernazza, we relaxed on large rocks on the coast and watched the waves roll in. Harris and I had a valuable conversation about our futures and beliefs we hold true. Discussing my passion for becoming both a doctor and a mom helped me to become even more passionate. I have found that when I am able to engage in conversation about things that are important to me, those topics only become more important to me and my passion for them increase.
When we returned to Riomaggiore, Claire and I came across a church. After spending personal time in prayer, Claire and I talked about how we both determine that God exists and how we see God working in our lives often. This conversation helped to strengthen my faith as I was able to keep in mind the constant reminders of God working in my life and hear about the evidence of Him working in Claire’s life.
At night, we had dinner at Dau Cila, a restaurant near the water. At dinner, Peter, Griffin and I tried engaging in deep conversations to get to know each other better, but for some reason, we couldn’t hold it together. The whole time we couldn’t help ourselves from cracking up. We did learn a lot about each other but had some good laughs doing so!
On the third night in Riomaggiore, we had homemade Italian dinner at Piedro and Daniela’s house. This night was full of fruitful conversations. Dr. P told each of us why he wanted to take us on CR. It was interesting to hear which strengths Dr. P saw in each of the members of CR when he selected us and to compare that to what I had learned about each of the members of CR11 throughout this experience. Later, Daniela shared her story of how she ended up in Italy. She left us with some important advice including to value our education, and to never give up on our dreams.
Once we returned to Riomaggiore, Kevin and I shared meaningful life experiences, how we had changed from high school to college, and what our individual experiences were like on CR. Talking with Kevin made me realize how people who are very similar in lots of ways can still view the world differently.
The next morning we left Riomaggiore and headed to Florence!
Riomaggiore was definitely the city where I felt a turning point in the strength of the friendships thus far on CR. Thank you so much to everyone who shared such meaningful conversations with me in Riomaggiore. Your vulnerability allowed me to learn so much about you guys while also discovering so many new things about myself!
Sending love from Omaha,