There were two instances I was brought to tears in public on this trip.
The first was losing my phone in Barcelona, but the second was because of what my group did a couple weeks later.
Level 1 and 2 take separate classes, except our 141 culture class. One day after class, everyone was trying to decide plans to hang out. One of the girls was talking to me outside and from behind me, another girl named Eunji said, "Hey Cassie... We have something for you."
I turned around to the whole program in a semicircle around me.
MIND YOU I am rarely ever surprised. I can always tell when something is going on so I was shocked to see them all just staring at me in silence.
"What is going on? You guys are freaking me out," I said.
Eunji awkwardly reached in her pocket and half got down on one knee and handed me a box.
"We got this for you," she said.
It was a box from one of the Nokia prepaid phones that everyone got here to communicate with each other.
At that point my roommate and I had shared a phone because we didn't use it much and wanted to save money. I said, "Awww how cute, you all got me a phone of my own since I don't even have my iPhone anymore?"
( I used to be able imessage and use chat applications like viber/kik messenger on my iPhone)
But Eunji said "No... Open it. Open it."
No one had said anything and was still watching me.
I opened the box and at the bottom was an iPhone. I said, "Wait, what is this?"
I started tearing up.
Eunji explained that they all pulled together to buy me a new phone. She messaged everyone to ask for those who wanted to, to pitch in money to help get it for me. They knew I was staying in Spain 3 months longer than them and I was worried about not having an iPhone to communicate on-the-go and use it to get around.
I couldn't say anything. And as stupid as I felt, crying in front of my group for THE SECOND TIME... I was so humbled.
To break the silence, someone said... ok lets all group hug...
An the all came to hug me, as I was crying in the streets in front of the Institute.
::Fade away scene with corny but meaningful music::
But in all seriousness, I am still partly in shock.
We all grew close through this trip. Even seeing other groups come in and out of ACCENT, I feel we had the best and closest group. This whole experience made us bond, but I still didn't expect a group of people that had known me for 6 weeks to do something like that for me.
When you lose something, you live and you learn. Material things come and go. But this phone was so critical for my navigating through my trip beyond the program that it was hard not to be upset over.
For so many of us, this trip was a stretch on our/our families wallets and money is tight. So to have them want to help me was unbelievable.
So to everyone to contributed... Words can not describe my gratitude for your generosity. Thank you so much for wanting to do something so nice for someone you've known in such a relatively short time.
Especially Thank You to Eunji Kim. I know you were the brains of the operation, got the phone from your friend and messaged everyone to help out. You have the biggest heart (and feist lol) trapped in the smallest body :) You always wanted everyone to just have a good time and be happy and would do anything to make that happen. Also a big thank you to Vanessa Lauj. I know you were the Robin to Eunji's Batman and helped organize the whole thing too. You are so sweet, amazing and full of love and also willing to go out of your way for others.
This blog is an ode to all of you guys for helping me again take pictures for my blog, be able to message my mom to let her know I'm still alive and well and like all your guys' crazy pictures from the trip on instagram :)
I knew before this that I had the best group I could ask for during this experience, but their compassion has truly amazed me.
Thank you so much.
And Cassie is now back on the grid! See you all on facebook, instagram, voxer etc. And you can thank all the annoying selfies of me in front of monuments to my group!
|Eunji and Vanessa: Clearly the brains of the operation|
|The whole group and our teachers|