Throughout the semester, everyone had his or her families visiting them. Most of my roommates had one or both parents stay for a week in Florence and spent time with them in Venice or Rome for the weekend. Before going abroad, my mom and dad told me that they were going to visit with my uncle, brother and his girlfriend at the end of October. Conveniently, the dates that they were coming fell upon my fall break. Since it’s difficult for abroad students to go home for the holidays, we are given a break of 10 days. Most students travel the world through a popular travel agency called Bus2Alps and tour places like Berlin, Prague, France and Brussels in almost two weeks. With all my friends planning trips to different countries, I initially felt left out. I thought I would be missing out on their adventure while I was in Italy with my family. I missed home my first month abroad, but as time went on, I missed my family even more as I saw my roommates and friends with their parents. Even in college, I had never been so far from my family for so long.
I really started to miss my family when I would talk about them to the parents of my friends who visited. I would tell them stories and talk about their jobs for some time. Being so far from home has not only made me miss them, but also appreciate them. When we are teenagers, we don’t entirely understand or respect our parents. In my opinion, until we grow older, we don’t comprehend how incredible they are. For example, I remember talking about my mom and hearing her explain how she could only come see me during fall break because she’s studying biochemistry at Harvard.
Listening to my friend’s families applaud my mother made me think about how incredibly blessed I am to have both my parents. I felt ashamed that I gave them a hard time at first about wanting to come see me during my fall break. By the time the end of October came, I couldn’t wait to see my parents. Hugging my parents after two months was such a happy moment for me, I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. During the break, my family and I stayed in Rome for two days and then went to Florence. In Florence, there is a beautiful cathedral called the Duomo that reaches 114 meters high. Before my family came, I had never climbed to the top. However, my brother, his girlfriend and I challenged ourselves and climbed up the 463-step tower to the top. The journey was cramped, dark and dusty, but we made it. It was so worth it and unlike anything I had ever seen. To see the city up so high by yourself is one thing, but to be able to enjoy it with your loved ones is just spectacular.
After we spent a few days in Florence and Rome, we went to London. I can honestly say that London is thus far my favorite place I have gone. In addition to having no language barrier, a Chipotle and beautiful men, London is also just an incredible city to be in. It’s not true about the food being bland, or at least I didn’t experience bland food. If you like Indian food, then you would love the national dish of London, chicken tikka masala. Legend has it that it was created for British soldiers stationed in India in the 1940s while the country was fighting for independence. One of the best places in London to get the dish is called Chor Bizarre. The restaurant is now so popular that another is opening up in late December in New York City called “India Accent.” After six days of exploring new places and foods, my mom and dad had to go home. However, my older brother had a conference for his job in Amsterdam so instead of going back to Italy early, I saw the city with him.
My brother and I have an age gap of 13 years, so it’s been difficult for us to remain close all our lives. Usually, I hate it when my brother lectures me, but at this point in my life, everything he said to me about life in general was so incredibly precious. I was going through a rough patch and for a couple weeks I had been bummed out at times, but Erik helped me through it after spending an entire day together. I learned that my brother, next to my dad, is the most important man in my life. He went through everything I was going through and for the first time ever, we communicated and bonded like we never bonded before. Since my brother is an electrical engineer, he travels constantly for conferences. With him traveling so much and with me at college, we were never able to spend together. In Amsterdam, it was the first time I was able to have a drink with him while talking about life. My time in the Netherlands has made my relationship with Erik stronger than ever. Now that I’m 21, he feels that he can talk to me as an adult now because I am mature enough to handle any criticism. Looking back on the events of fall break, I had an incredibly memorable time with my family. I saw and learned so much with them, and a nice bonus was that I didn’t have to pay for anything that entire week.
I urge all of you to appreciate the time you have with your families when they come to visit you at school or abroad. Sometimes you don’t realize how far from home you really are until you finally see your loved ones after a long period of time.