Wow. Rome. If you might remember, I was assigned to do my pre-reflection on this city many many months ago. It seems surreal to think about sitting in the Milton lobby next to a certain Emma Kight, trying to figure out this whole “WordPress” thing together. It is even more surreal to think that I was actually THERE, in Rome, more recently with the rest of CR11. Revisiting my first blog, I recall writing about the city itself as described by a CR alum, Mack Warren. She talked about being swept into the past by the history of Rome. After being there myself, I can confirm the time machine qualities that Rome possesses. I would describe myself as a very visual and physical learner/understander. I work best when I can see the topic of interest right in front of me rather than reading about it or having to imagine it. Touring around the actual Coliseum and the Forum that had literally been there for centuries with our guide and her stories and her special book, I was able to get a grip on what Rome may have looked and felt like when it was younger. It was a special experience to be able to appreciate history in a way that I was comfortable with.
In my pre-reflection I also talked about what I was most excited for. Naturally I went with the obvious cop-out: “everything”. But eventually I decided to narrow it down to the friendships I was going to make and build on the experience. Truthfully however, I was more nervous about this aspect than excited. After going to the meetings on campus and meeting my peers, I had gotten it into my head that I wasn’t going to be able to make any friends. Everyone was so outgoing and already seemed to be best friends, while I was still shy and uncomfortable. I was convinced that I would be left in the social dust of CR11.
My fears could not have been further from reality. Within the first few days of Berlin I found myself getting genuinely close to my roommates Gabby and Lauren as well as with the members of Team Charlie. Now looking back at where we ended in Rome, I am glad to call the members of CR11 some of my best friends, and I can see us getting even closer this semester and the rest of our lives. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about the other people on CR. I should have seen that one of the most important aspects of this entire experience is to build meaningful and lasting relationships, and to come out of it empty-handed in that department would be a failure and almost impossible. I am glad to say I think that I have succeeded in that respect.
When I think about Rome, I reflect fondly on WhaiWhai and Ghost Bird’s victory. I remember being split into teams and thinking “There is no one in this group that I would dislike being in a group with.” Cultural Routes has a knack for bringing out the best and sometimes worst qualities in a teammate, but just as importantly, it has a knack for teaching you how to accept and love each other for exactly those qualities. Although our secret victory video did not go as planned, victory was nevertheless sweet…and I will be taking full advantage of the bragging rights we have earned for much time to come.
Rome marks the end of a grand adventure. However… (get ready for this cliché) it also marks the beginning of an even grander one.
Here’s to the future of CR11!