Cole Taylor is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing their story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism and media writing major at Lasell College, they are studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Cole talks about their visit from their parents, aunt, and uncle who came to see them in Dublin recently.
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When I left home, I knew my parents, aunt, and uncle would be visiting me halfway through my journey, but I never expected the time to come so quickly. At first, I was upset that they were planning on visiting because I wanted to experience this adventure on my own since I worked incredibly hard to get here, but once I really thought about it, I was excited for them. Why shouldn’t I be? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and anyone would be lucky to have that.
When I first arrived in Ireland, I underwent a plethora of emotions. I missed home but I was also incredibly interested in the culture abroad and all the country had to offer. As time went on, I began to miss my parents and friends more than I imagined I could. Being a whole ocean apart is quite different than one state apart.
Photo: All of us
I counted down the days and before I knew it, the day was here. On March 16th, I woke up at 3:45am to venture to the airport where I waited until 5:30 for their plane to land. I stood with a sign that read “The Taylors” in hopes I would really surprise them—they had no idea I would be there. It seemed like forever went by. A few minutes after asking a woman if she was waiting for a flight from Boston, I heard “Nicole!” and when I looked up, I saw all four of them heading my way. I could not get to my parents fast enough. I hugged them so tight. Honestly, there is no feeling like seeing familiar faces after two months in a foreign place.
Photo: Airport sign!
We exchanged hellos and talked about their flight as we walked to the rental car wing of the airport. I was beyond excited to show them around parts of Dublin even though I knew they would be exhausted. I remember my first day in Ireland and boy was it tiring—I cut them some slack but also forced them to stay awake until at least 6:00pm.
Photo: Car rental
The first full day, I showed them around the city center and lead them to my internship site where they met the team. They even brought Maine maple syrup from home as gifts to my coworkers. We had a Guinness together and they toured my little apartment.
My parents were grateful I knew my way around because without my knowledge of the city, they wouldn’t be able to do as much in one day. It would be spent reading maps and asking locals where to go. Knowing this was their first time in Europe, if you will, I was prepared to witness some culture shock.
For starters, the walking; I do not think any of them were prepared for the amount of walking that actually takes place in Dublin. Although they rented a car, it was not feasible to drive in the city center. Since I am used to the walking now, it was quite comical to hear them say things like “Are we almost there?” or “How far away is that?” or “Can we take a bus there?” Honestly, I do not blame them for saying all of those things because I experienced those feelings upon arrival too.
Photo: Walking Fitzwilliam
Another thing I noticed was the grocery store experience kind of threw them for a loop. No mom, they do not have Snapple here and yes Aunt Lisa, shampoo is somewhat expensive. They gave me flashbacks. The most entertaining part was watching them at the checkout line. The cashier did not give them a plastic bag and did not bag their items—this is totally un-American. The frustration was obvious, but I made sure to step in. I explained the way it works here and even though it did not completely alleviate the irritation, I am sure it gave some insight for their next supermarket experience.
The most amusing part of the first two days I spent with them was the adaptor situation and not being able to use all electrical devices the same way. Long story short, my mom’s hairdryer burnt her hair and caught on fire. Oh, the things you learn while abroad.
It has been incredibly fun spending time with my family in another country. It is cool to see them experience the things I did; only now, this is home to me and I am used to all the things that seem to be annoying or overwhelming at first. I am happy for my family. They spent two days in Dublin and since then, they have been driving to different parts of Ireland to experience the country as a whole. They have been making several memories while seeing one of the most beautiful countries, in my opinion. When I see them before they head back to America, I guarantee they will have adjusted to the lifestyle and grown customary to the culture.
Photo: Aunt Lisa & Uncle Alan
Aside from the intercultural aspect, it has been wonderful being able to see family during my time abroad. Of course, they are proud and love hearing stories while at home, but having the opportunity to experience it first-hand is remarkable. I am thankful that my parents have the vacation time, proper finances, and desire to see the world—to see me seeing the world.
If you feel frustrated or annoyed that your family wants to visit you while abroad, try to see the bigger picture. I am not normally a person who gets homesick, but rather a person who misses familiarity. It is quite comforting to hug your parents and family after an extended time away. Plus, if they have the opportunity to see the world just as you are, they should—everyone should. They will carry memories throughout the rest of their lives and it is something you will always be able to share with them.
My family may only be here for 10 days, but those 10 days are changing their lives in multiple, positive ways and what more could you want for someone?
Photo: Dad & Uncle Alan
Mom and dad, thank you for helping me get to where I am. Without your love and undying support, I never would have made it. Also, thank you for coming to Ireland. You both deserve it more than you will ever know. If this is the only chance you had at visiting another country, I hope it is something you never forget because seeing different parts of the world is something many people dream of doing. You did it.
Aunt Lisa and Uncle Alan, thank you for joining my parents in coming to Ireland. The memories you have made here will be forever branded in your minds and this trip is something you will value for the rest of your life. I hope you loved it as much as I do.
See you all very soon.
Cole's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.