One reason I feel especially lucky to be having this study abroad experience (and third visit to Europe) is because I’m grateful for all that my parents have sacrificed for me. My dad has never been to Europe and my mom has been only once, the summer after her sophomore year of college where she studied in Valencia, Spain. She was able to travel around after her stay and went to Grindelwald, Switzerland and did some hiking. My mom likes to tell me this story: describing the beauty of Switzerland, the nice couple who picked her up as she hitchhiked and the bus stop her friends and her had to sleep in one night. After an eventful journey, they made it to the Alps. Armed with leather Swiss hiking boots and stylish knee high red socks, my mom trekked up a glacier. For memories sake, they broke out their swimsuits and posed for pictures atop the icy plateau.
She recounts these tales with such clarity, as if she has played the memories on repeat so as to keep reliving them and to not forget them. It’s always a treat to hear my mom’s stories from her youth because it reminds me that my mom was just a young woman once too. She bent the rules, took risks, survived tragedy, made her own way through life. Nowadays, she seems to worry about me a lot. Probably because she knows that I’m a bit like her: a free spirit prone to shield the whole truth from the parentals.
As I accidentally ended up in Grindelwald and hiked along a snowy path in my bikini, I felt a distant but distinct connection to my mom. Being half a world away from home and visiting a place from (what had always just been) a story is just so surreal. Thinking about how timelessness of the scenery made it especially special–a place seemingly untouched by society or time. Also, I realized that I owe so much to my mom since she seems to sacrifice so much to see me happy–which she’s definitely accomplished.
The older I get the more I relate to, respect and appreciate my mom. I owe so much to my mom and hope that one day I can give back to her. For now, all I can do is say “Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom. You da best.”