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Parents Weekend 2015: A Brief Oberlin Tour

November 15, 2015

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.

mom wearing a big 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.
 
mom in womb chair
"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.
 
mom and Kira in front of Arb
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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