One of the hardest parts of living abroad is being away from your loved ones, especially your family. While my friends are so important to me, I’ve personally found it more difficult being away from family. Because my friends are mostly my age with fewer responsibilities, when we begin to miss each other too much, the prospect of a spontaneous Eurostar trip is far more likely. Whereas, with my family, their varying responsibilities such as university applications and A-Levels (my sister) or leadership training schemes (my mum) make it far harder for them to visit. Also, it feels odd to not have family nearby during major life events like birthdays as it’s taken for granted that we will have a big family celebration at my grandma’s house.
However, I was fortunate that my mum and sister recently found the time to visit. Both my sister and I have major birthdays this year as she’s turning 18 and I’ll be 21. My sister is a very big music fan and this year, I cemented my status as the best older sister by keeping an eye out for music concerts in Paris. In our home town of Leicester, we don’t regularly get many well-known artists playing in our city. But in Paris, I managed to get the best 18th birthday present of all: tickets for all three of us to see my sister’s favourite American rapper, Angel Haze.
Although I will try to visit for my sister’s actual birthday in June, the chance for my sister and my mum to visit became a birthday treat. The experience of finding our way together to the concert or getting to show them around the Paris sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc du Triomphe and even my favourite ice cream place, Amorino, was an amazing memory for us all! Despite the fact that I felt the slight pressure to make sure the weekend went smoothly, even the heavy rain failed to dampen our mood.
Therefore, while it can be difficult being away from home and potentially missing big family moments, there are ways to avoid the sadness and find a way to make the best of your situation to instead create an unforgettable memory. Like the torrent of rain while we went up the Eiffel Tower demonstrated, every cloud has a silver lining, because then we got the funniest photos ever!
How do you and your family celebrate special events?