After a little more than two months of being at home, I found myself sitting at the edge of my bed staring at my suitcases. I always thought that as time went by, packing and saying bye to the people who mean the most to me would get easier, but this is usually the time of year where I prove that theory incorrect. As I made a strategic plan to fit everything I needed for the coming semester in my suitcases, I realized that there was something different about packing this time. Instead of getting ready to go back to school, I was getting ready to visit my American family.
I met Paige and her family the day she moved in freshmen year. I got to Lafayette a couple days before she did for the international student orientation and I could not wait for more people to arrive to fill the empty building where I was staying. I remember running into her room when she was unpacking and introducing myself to her and her family. As we got to know each other, we just became closer and closer until we realized we were long-lost twins who had found each other in college.
After a long trip back to the U.S., I was supposed to met Paige and her mom, who were picking me up. I was really tired and a little overwhelmed; however, the moment I saw Paige and her mom, I dropped my suitcases and ran towards them. When they saw me, they also ran towards me with the biggest and brightest smiles I had seen in a long time. From the moment they greeted me, I felt so welcome, happy and comfortable with them.
When we got to Paige’s house, I met the rest of her family, who also made me feel at home from the moment I walked in. I was so excited to see them that I absolutely forgot that I was tired until Paige’s mom pointed out that I should nap before meeting the rest of the Triola family during a family gathering that day. Once Paige helped me settle in, I tried to nap, but I could not fall asleep thinking about all the great and fun activities we were going to do during this project.