This was the first photo I took of C1B in the Dominican Republic:

And this was the last:

The students’ posts during the past two weeks demonstrate our efforts to improve knowledge of service and leadership. But part of what makes these trips special goes beyond that. It’s the birthday cakes and trips to the clinic. It’s munching on Raptor Doritos and queso cebolla. It’s finding your tocallo and earning a spot in the McFamily. Living together brings out all sorts of emotions in us. Some love waking up to Drake, some prefer show tunes, and some prefer a polite knock on the door. Strangers become siblings. You begin to feel closer to people you’ve known for two weeks than those you’ve known for years. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, your emotions and memories of the experience are more vivid. Leaving these trips is like a break up that neither side wants. You laugh, you cry, you promise to visit. Many of us will maintain these relationships, but the thirty of us will almost certainly never share the same physical space again. However, the mental space so cluttered with notifications and to-do lists now seems a little clearer.

When the group starts counting off and running impromptu nightly meetings on the plane ride home, you know the love-hate relationship with norms of a shared experience will be remembered fondly. To the students: thank you for treating me, Luna, Carissa, and John John like teachers, parents, and friends. We care about each of you deeply and C1B might as well be tattooed on us. None of us can rub our noses without the expectation of a squat in return. Know if any of you needed something, we would do all that we could to help you. Keep in touch and I hope to see you next month for fries and whenever possible after that. For now, C1B on three.