One last look back before our farewell dinner in Copenhagen
As I sit here and ponder about what to write, memories flourish. It’s hard to believe the connections one can create in only three weeks. I’m seriously trying not to get too emotional, and thinking about all the laughs, jokes and good fun times we all had in Copenhagen.
On Sunday, July 9th, I had to say goodbye to session I, a group which I loved so much and created some amazing connections. I’m not afraid to say that I cried saying goodbye to those students and my fellow PL Keira. I thought to myself, there is no way session II will be as amazing as session I. Upon arrival from the US, I met the students from session II and I told them how much I loved session I and how incredible the students were. One student from session II said “we will be better than session I.” I smiled and said, “we will see.” Inside I was telling myself, “I doubt it…” You must be wondering, what is the final verdict right? Heheh
I remember coming outside of Cabin, holding a bag filled with goodies from the session I students, and two plants which CIEE Copenhagen adopted. I remember meeting Riley, all smiley and happy to be arriving at Cabinn after a long journey from the US. Everyone was tired, but they were ready to get the ball rolling.
Talking first impressions, I remember Maddie and Emily waiting at the lobby for. I told myself, “aww I think these two will be my favorites, they are so sweet.” I remember seeing Dylan and Matthew and thinking to myself “Oh here comes trouble, these two will be the bad boys…” hehehe, and Louisa, “oh she’s so calm and so sweet.” But let’s not forget about Kyle, I think everyone was waiting for his (late) arrival, and when he entered the room with a huge smile on his face, I told myself “this kid will be everyone’s favorite, what a happy student!!!” And from those first impressions, I can honestly say I both nailed it and got it completely wrong… But I’ll let the students guess which ones are right/wrong.
As the first week progressed, I can recall bonding with session II like by day 2-3, in contrast to session I which took about a week for us all to fully embrace and have a deep connection. And there’s nothing wrong with that, the important thing is that we all connected.
I took notes from my session I fellow PL Keira about keeping a list of ”random acts of kindness” I saw, and I was so impressed and how sweet these students were. I remember telling Riley, “we have two gentlemen in this group, and their names are Dylan and Matthew.” Yup, the two boys who I thought were going to be trouble, ended up proving me wrong right from the very start. I won’t go into details on all the acts of kindness I’ve seen these two amazing humans do, but it’s worth noting it. From the very start of the program to the very last day (Friday July 28th - 3PM as I’m writing this).
One thing I loved about this group was the sense of community, unity and inclusion. It’s so hard to encounter a group who can embrace all of those qualities, and this group certainly did. From day one, we gave them the freedom to roam the city, explore, live their best European life and be safe, and not once were we disappointed. They all followed the rules, and nobody complained about ANY of the rules we had. I love how responsible everyone was, and how each student looked after each other. As I write this, I am in fact getting teary eyed, because it’s so rare to find a group of people who genuinely care for each other. I will say it now, and I will say it again, I love you all so much, you made this CIEE experience so amazing.
I feel so thankful for these students for making my and Riley’s job so easy. Whenever they thought they would be late, they were so quickly to communicate with us and let us know where they were and what they were doing. I loved getting the curfew pictures from Willa and her friends at 9:40pm, asking if they could finish their movie before going to sleep, and my answer was always yes, because that’s the kind of trust we built. I loved and appreciated the 1000000000 thank yous from Mason every time we assisted him. I can’t say enough what an amazing, polite, intelligent human Mason is, and I will miss him so dearly… and yes Mason, I will even miss you terrible dad jokes, and your Canadian accent hehehe. Let’s not forget Gabriel, he is also a class act, someone who always volunteered to go somewhere with other students so they were not alone. Gabe you’re AMAZING!!!
But man oh man, I will most certainly not forget little Sela (I mean little, because she is really really short hehehehe). Sela is such an incredible, funny, sassy, intelligent and very very talkative human. Oh the laughs I had with you… Thank you for calling me unhinged and for repeating “noiiiceeee” every time you were around me. I will miss you so so dearly. Also it’s worth mentioning that Avani is a superstar for staying up all night listening to Sela hehehehe. We love you Selaaaaa.
I cannot forget to mention Khadijah, our paparazzi… Man the amount of horrible ugly pictures she took of me could make a whole photo album. I am actually excited to see the TikTok she will create with all the videos/photos she took of me. Thank you Khadijah for being so real, so humble and for being so sweet and amazing.
My list of mentions can go on and on… and I am on a time crunch to get back to the CIEE center for our farewell dinner. I do however want to thank Julia as well for being another sweet heart, and for being so appreciative of our work. I am so incredibly proud of you, and you will do so well in college this fall. PACE has just gotten a super star!!!
I must start ending my blog with a major shout out to my fellow, amazing, rockstar, goddess PL Riley for being one of the greatest coworker I could have wished for. You have worked so hard, and take time to go above and beyond for our students. We all love you so so so so much. I am sad to say goodbye to you tomorrow, and I will certainly cry buckets of tears. I owe you so much. I love you dearly. Also worth giving a shout out to the CIEE Copenhagen staff, for being so incredible. Literally EVERY single person working in Copenhagen have made this experience so worthwhile and easy for the PLs and students. I have not only gained some connections but I have made some amazing friendships this summer. I will not forget any of you.
To finally end this post, I must answer the final verdict about which session was the best… and the answer is… both! I have grown to care, love, appreciate each and every one of my students. You all have brought your qualities and I have learned so much from you all. To all my students (both session I and II) please stay in touch with us. Myself, Riley, Keira and CIEE Copenhagen would love to hear from you.
Sending all my love, you’ve all been so “noiiiiceeeeee” —Marcelo