Utmost Gratitude

Wow… CR 11. It is almost unbelievable to think that I was ever even in Europe, yet the memories feel so fresh. However, the more time has passed since I came home, the more I have come to appreciate the Cultural Routes experience. If I am being quite transparent, coming home from CR was very sad. Knowing that our time in Europe was over was hard to come to terms with. During those first few days after arriving home when I thought back on memories from CR, it made me sad to think about the times that were had because I knew that that special time was over. Thus, I struggled to reflect on my experience because I didn’t want to think about the fact that it was over. 

            However, the more I thought about the whole experience, with some help from some wise people, namely Kyle Hepting and Grandma Donaldson, I came to grasp that I shouldn’t be so sad it’s over but incredibly glad it happened. CR 11 was the adventure of a lifetime. I had a ton of fun, made very deep and meaningful relationships, and learned a ton about myself and the world. Yet, Cultural Routes was just one adventure. One of many more to come. In fact, due to this experience, I feel so much more inspired to chase these adventures in life. Thinking about the epic journey that was CR in this frame of mind just makes me incredibly grateful to have been a part of the experience. I can only thank my new familia and express my gratitude to them for making this experience so special.

To Harris Podell:

Thank you for being so consistent. Thank you for being somebody I can confide in. Thank you for being a source of wisdom. Thank you for demonstrating how you live your life guided by your moral compass. Thank you for our new, strong friendship and brotherhood that I am so grateful and appreciative of. 

To Kynnedi Rone: 

Thank you for staying up way to late with me in Berlin and uncovering how similarly we think. Thank you for asking questions. Thank you for being curious. Thank you for being honest about your thoughts and feelings. 

To Madelyn Hicks:

Thank you for always being the last one in museums and churches with me. Thank you for showing me how passionately you live your life. Thank you for asking big and important questions about your faith. Thank you for teaching me the importance of grace for myself. Thank you for your incredible singing voice.

To Kevin Crump:

Thank you for caring so much. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for being an incredible friend and brother. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for opening up to me.

To Lauren Klingemann:

Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for being so so so goofy. Thank you for brightening the day of everyone you interact with. Thank you for being sincere and loving. Thank you for being unapologetically yourself.

To Sarah Covell:

Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for one of the coolest conversations in the Beer Hall in Munich. Thank you for being goofy. Thank you for being authentic. Thank you for making me laugh.

To Taylor Harville:

Thank you for being the best CR mom ever. Thank you for always making sure we were getting off at the right station. Thank you for being one of the smartest people I know. Thank you for being so brave and strong. Thank you for being an inspiration.

To Brent Hewitt:

Thank you for teaching me to be confident in my thoughts and opinions. Thank you for being goofy. Thank you for being extremely thoughtful. Thank you for being so open to sometimes difficult dialogue. Thank you for the late-night talks in Florence.

To Claire O’Connor:

Thank you for always making me laugh. Thank you for being unapologetically yourself. Thank you for being All In 24/7.  Thank you for being such a meaningful and caring friend.

To Chloe Creed:

Thank you for being so thoughtful. Thank you for passion for literature. Thank you for being open to new friendships. 

To Connor Nolan:

Thank you for being a pleasant surprise. Thank you for being just the coolest dude I know. Thank you for your passion for engineering. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for being so thoughtful.

To Cooper Gollier:

Thank you for being one of the sweetest people I know. Thank you for boldness in your faith. Thank you for being so caring of everyone. 

To Emma Kight: 

Thank you for doing the seemingly impossible and putting CR 11 in the record books. Thank you for teaching me about leadership. 

To Griffin McPherson:

Thank you for always making an effort with me. Thank you for inspiring me with your sick clothing style. Thank you for being open to difficult dialogue. Thank you for being a unique perspective. Thank you for making an incredible video of CR 11 that I will forever be able to look back on.

To Gabby Douthitt: 

Thank you for being so weird in the best way. Thank you for being incredibly thoughtful. Thank you for dreaming big. Thank you for one of my most impactful conversations in all of CR 11. Thank you for being somebody who I know will be there for me. 

To Sydney Galloway:

Thank you for all of the unseen hours you put in to make this experience happen. Thank you for always providing beneficial wisdom at our pre-CR 11 meetings.

To Davis Donaldson:

Thank you for going on CR 9 because I don’t think I would have gone on it if it weren’t for you. Thank you for supporting me along the way. Thank you for answering my many questions. Thank you for allowing this to be my own experience. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for being the best big brother anyone could ask for. I love you man.

To Bea:

Thank you for challenging my world view. Thank you for asking tough questions. Thank you for giving me pro-tips on etiquette (you know what I’m talking about). Thank you for supporting Dr. P. Thank you for keeping CR 11 in line but also being someone we could talk to.

To Dr. Pitcock:

Thank you for being so selfless. Thank you for all of the hours, seen and unseen, that you put into this incredible program. Thank you for the intentionality and purpose in which you do everything. Thank you for being someone I can go to for advice. Thank you for challenging you. Thank you for choosing me for an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

These are my people. MIA SAN MIA. 

Something I learned on CR is that you can see the wonders of the world but the most interesting things in life are the people around you. Cultural Routes is about the people. Europe is incredible and the experiences I had and things I saw in those places were remarkable, but what makes the experience what it is is those individuals that embark on the journey together. And that’s why CR doesn’t end. Our time, all together, in Europe MAY be over, but we will still be able to meet up for meals. Hang out. Check in on each other. Do fun things together. Go to museums. Have deep conversations. Become closer friends. Grow as people. And cherish very special memories for a lifetime. Although I greatly wish we could do it all over again, I am so excited about continuing the mission of CR by growing in relation at TCU with my new familia. 

I am very thankful for everyone I journeyed with on this epic adventure. Thankful for the CRs that came before us and set the tradition. Thankful for Dr. P. I cannot express enough gratitude I feel towards this experience and program. I really do not know how to finish this blog because it is hard to put a closer on something so vast that is hard to sum up. Nonetheless, I will end this with how I end almost all of my personal journal entries, which encapsulates my fullest feelings and gratitude for the people, places, adventures, conversations, laughs, cries, food, lessons learned, and memories.

Thank you CR

-Peter Donaldson

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