{ Parents Weekend 2015: A Brief Oberlin Tour }

Sometimes, sharing a song with someone else can make you love it even more. You realize how well you know the lyrics and key changes, how fun it is to pump your fist during the chorus. When the final notes play and you turn to your friend to find a smile stretching across their face, you feel as warm as you did the first time you heard it. The song becomes new and exciting once again. You rekindle your love for it through someone else -- they make you see it with new eyes.

It's been almost a month since I went home to California for fall break (which was wonderful), and a week ago my mom Rhonda came to visit me for Parents Weekend. She had never been to Oberlin before, so we had a spectacular time exploring it together. I got to introduce her to all my favorite places, and through that journey, I rediscovered the things I love so much about this college.

On Friday, we ate a glorious dinner at Black River Cafe and spent literally an hour gushing about how much we loved it. Then I took my mom back to Barrows and she met my roommate, Maddy. She approved of my dorm decorating choices, which made me happy, and even tried on my giant winter coat.


Thanks L.L. Bean!

Saturday was the Oberlin tour. We had a long list, but somehow managed to accomplish everything.

First, we went to the library to check out the womb chairs, which are Oberlin icons. I didn't realize my mom thought they were called "moon chairs" until she said, "Wow, it feels like I'm in a womb. They should be called womb chairs!" I gave her a very strange look and we had a good laugh. This goes to show that the chairs' name is appropriate. This loud exchange took place on the fourth floor of Mudd; having a conversation there was weird for me, as that's usually my study spot. Surprisingly, no one seemed to mind -- I think everyone can appreciate the excitement of a parent experiencing womb chairs for the first time.


"Kira, take a picture of me!"

Next, we went to Stevie for a lunch of pizza, salad, and soft serve. Going to the dining hall with my mom made me realize how accustomed I've become to the hustle and bustle; by now, I'm used to juggling plates of food and saying hi to random friends I encounter in the pasta line. Having my mom with me gave me perspective on how much I've really adjusted to college. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and compare myself to people who seem more used to everything, but having my mom here, someone who knows very little about what it's like to live in Oberlin, proved to me that I do know what I'm doing, and that I belong here more than I sometimes think.

Our tour included many of my favorite Oberlin destinations, such as Ginko Gallery (where you can go to play with kittens!), the mailroom, the gym, and the art museum. We also explored the Conservatory, a place on campus where I haven't spent much time, and were lucky enough to stumble upon a rehearsal for the Collegium Musicum 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert, for which alumni returned to perform medieval, renaissance, and early baroque music as part of a choir. It took my breath away and was a stunning reminder of the amount of beautiful music being created on this campus every day.

One of my favorite moments with my mom was going to the Arb. I've loved visiting it over the course of the semester and watching the leaves of the trees change color and then fall away. Being in nature always helps me be more reflective. Honestly, the Arb factored into my decision to come to Oberlin -- it's reassuring to know that if I need to take a breather from the excitement of campus, I have somewhere to go. Being there was even more special with my mom, and we took time to reflect on how our lives have changed over the past few months. I've only recently begun to realize that my going to college was as big a deal for my parents as it was for me.


So happy to be together!

We finished our weekend with tickets to the incredible Acapella Extravaganza at Finney Chapel and pumpkin ice cream (our favorite) at Cowhaus Creamery, the perfect end to a jam-packed Oberlin day.

Saying goodbye was hard. As welcoming as Oberlin is, it's still difficult to be separated from my parents. Though I know being away from home will get easier and easier, I'd be lying if I said I haven't been extra homesick since my mom left last weekend. But I take solace in the knowledge that now she can picture me in beautiful Oberlin, going about my day. Parents Weekend 2015 will be a memory that sticks with me forever. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to merge my worlds and to spend time in my new home with one of the people I love most.


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{ Responses To This Entry }

Lovely post!! I didn't realize how many sights you guys saw. What a wild weekend! I'm so glad I got to meet Rhonda, even if it was just for a fractured few minutes in the Kahn stairwell. I hope Oberlin keeps feeling more and more like home to you :+)

Posted by: Hanne on November 15, 2015 1:30 PM


What great photos.

Looks and sounds like you had a LOT of fun. Loved the photo of Rhonda in your coat.
Listening to all the places you took her, it sounds like you have found so many places already. So glad you are finding your way about.

Posted by: Caroline Morton on November 15, 2015 2:43 PM


It's a sleeping bag coat! My mom is obsessed with coats that feel like big warm blankets, and every time she's in New York in the winter she ultimately steals *her* mom's blanket coat. You're going to be so warm all winter :)

And hurray for wandering in the arb. I highly recommend tromping out there (bundled in your winter blanket coat, of course) amidst a snowstorm in February or March. It's utterly silent except for shoe-crunching, and it's completely breathtaking.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 16, 2015 3:57 PM


Someday Robyn and I would like to visit you at Oberlin. It sounds wonderful. You remember that's where my best friend from years ago went to school and now you, Kira. And after all, you're family to us...I'm so happy Rhonda got to spend that wonderful time with you. You are both lucky!

Posted by: Ellen Maremont Silver on November 16, 2015 10:32 PM


Hey Kira! I really liked the point about how having an outsider here reminded you of how much you belong here already.
It is really easy to look at upperclassmen and feel inadequately adjusted to college, but in reality we fit in a lot more than we think already!

Posted by: Teague on November 17, 2015 2:49 PM




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