Luckily this is not my first time traveling with the team to Europe. Last summer I was here for both Formula Student Germany (FSG) and Austria (FSA). I remember being wide eyed and trying to take everything in and at the same time help the team be competitive. Now that this is my second year helping the team and traveling to a once unfamiliar place, I have a better sense of the overall experience. I know what to expect this round so I can enjoy in its entirety while it is happening. Last summer I remember returning home and thinking to myself, “Wow. Did that month really go by that fast?”
So far, this trip has been much more gratifying because I am not as distracted by all the new things happening around me. It feels comfortable, almost like coming home after a year away. The team members I met last year, turned into friends over that year and seeing them again this time around makes it even better. Being at the shop in Germany now feels just as comfortable and a normal routine as being in the shop at Oregon State University.
I think it helps to do ‘normal’ things while traveling abroad. Taking a walk down to the local market to buy food for the next week gives you a great opportunity to see the livelihood of the city. It is also cool to run in the mornings or take an afternoon bike ride down to the waterfront. Even on the first day of taking an hour run around the town I had a few friendly people express “guten Morgen” (Good Morning) as I continued on my way. It was nice to receive the gesture as a guest in an unknown town. It kind of puts everything into perspective; no matter where you are in the world, you can still wish someone a good day and hopefully make their day better in doing so.
It’s that human connection that originally brought the two sides of GFR together; diverse people coming together to accomplish a common goal; amazing stuff. It is a privilege to be a part of that experience again this summer.
But aside from having these connections, there is always more work to be done and progress to be made. This past week the team has tested extensively in preparing for Formula Student Germany. There is never enough time to accomplish all the goals to feel 100% ready before going to competition. Time works against you in that way. But we do the best we can. We are all looking forward to next week. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s racecar time!