Host Mom

18 Apr

ImageThere have been many factors that have made my stay in Ireland a grand one, but nothing as much as staying with an Irish lady. Before I left the US, I had many plans set in place for what I was going to do and how it was going to look in Ireland, none of those plans actually happening—the home stay being one of them. I thought the family I would stay with would have a few children; I would ride around town in their car and eat dinner with them as a family. Beyond that idea, I wasn’t quite sure what would happen. It is hard to fully explain what the actual experience has been like, but I am going to at least try.

My “host mom” has four grown children and five grandchildren. Three of the four live in the United States and the other in London. When she isn’t hosting students, she lives alone and teaches at a Catholic school in Dublin. If I were to stop there in the descripton, one might never understand who she really was and what she taught me while I stayed in her home. The first thing I say to people when they ask about her is that she knows absolutely everything. This is hardly an exaggeration. I will come home after my day in classes and tell her all about what I am learning. In return, she will nod in agreement, than make her knowledgeable remarks about it. Not only that, but any question I asked about Ireland’s politics, religion, history, etc, she had an answer and description for. If I was headed on an exploration of Ireland, she could tell me off the top of her head what bus(es) to take or what to do while there. All this comes from living in Ireland for 50+years. It was a normal occurrence for us to sit down at the dinner table and talk for a long time, eventually moving the discussion into the living room to sit by the fire and sip our tea. ImageSpeaking of which, she got me to love tea and all it had to offer. As nights went by, I got to know her family through the stories she told me. She would tell me about her time living in the US—totalling 14 years– or about the other students she has hosted over the past ten years. Her friends would come over every other Saturday and occasionally I got the chance to just sit and listen to them banter on about American politics with them sometimes inquiring about my time in Ireland or what I thought about the US.  She answered any questions I had with a smile on her face and sometimes a laugh due to my naïve little mind. She always asked by name how my friends or parents were doing. She graciously opened up her home to any guests I wanted to have over to the house and would almost instantly offer them a cup of tea as they came to visit. She cooked delicious meals every evening and bought me my favorite foods. My feet were always numb from the cold, so for my birthday, she even bought me a fuzzy foot warmer. She’s kept me updated on the latest Irish events and even some American events. 

There are those horror stories of people getting a host family that are just awful. Their room is tiny, the family is rude, the kids don’t like them, etc. It is one of those “hit or miss” kind of deals. Luckily, I have been one hundred percent blessed to be living in a home with the best host ever. The entire time, I have tried to not take for granted where I am living or specifically whom I am living with. I’ve learned more about Ireland through my host mom than I ever would have thought possible. There have definitely been some cooking techniques and other little quirks that I will be taking back home with me because of her. Like I said before, I tried to picture and plan out what living with an Irish family would look like, but fortunately, I was dead wrong and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I am going to miss my room at the top of the house, the little village of Sandymount, the nights by the fire, but more importantly, I am going to miss my host mom.

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