Anyone who knows me can tell you that I live for family. Quite literally, my family is my first priority and one of the only things I actively think about all of the time. Out of maybe five conversations I have, my family is what I am talking about for three of them. So, coming abroad was especially intimidating because I knew I would get homesick. The first few weeks I was behind in work, gaining the abroad weight, and homesick. However, I grew out of it! I felt like I was really getting the hang of the abroad thing; then my family came. Having my family come was the most amazing thing I could have imagined when considering coming abroad. Though now I am right back where I started: few pounds heavier, behind in school, and very homesick.
The visit was honestly amazing and I could not have asked for a better trip. My dad flew separately, so I got to meet and greet not only my mom and four siblings at the hotel, but surprise my dad at the train station. He was originally supposed to meet us at the hotel, but I anxiously went to Termini and smiled widely as I saw his standard, blue University of Michigan jacket on the platform. After seeing them that first day, I started regretting how fast I knew the trip would go. I started getting pits in my stomach when we would go to my favorite places because I knew in a week’s time that I would not be able to return without feeling sad and wishing they were by my side. Still, once I saw them I spent every single moment I could with them.
Although we were only in Rome for three days, we walked over fifty miles, saw more than ten different historical monuments, and had gelato five times (hence the few added pounds in a short week). The trip was a classic O’Brien vacation with a twist: actual site seeing centered around food as opposed to a beach vacation centered around food. But, my favorite part of my family coming was how genuinely happy my parents would be at times. The best part of my day would be my dad or mom saying out loud to no one in particular “I cannot believe we are actually here.” Being able to share this experience with them was unreal. I never dreamed I would be able to talk to them on the phone and have them truly know what place or food or area I was talking about because they had been there. This vacation my parents and siblings were no longer living vicariously through me, but were actually living with me. I know that sounds cheesy, and it is, but I would not have it any other way.
That whole week brings me to where I am now, sitting on my bed, reading the short post-it note letters my mom always leaves when we travel, and feeling crazy homesick. But this homesick, being behind in school, and a being a little curvier is a state that I wouldn’t change for anything given the experience I got to have.