Guest Post by Vilo Elisabeth
I moved out of my parent's house a few months before my 19th birthday, to attend college in another state. I packed up everything—even the things I was not taking with me, since my youngest brother was going to be moving into my bedroom once I left. My mother did not help me pack, she said that she was in denial that I, her oldest, was really leaving. My father decided to drive me from Ohio, where we lived, to Utah, where I would be attending school. I appreciated both the extra room to bring more things with me and the chance to spend quality time with him. On the three day drive I asked him questions about his college days, and how he met my mother. I had heard many of the stories before, but never tired of hearing them, and loved the new fragments that would surface. He, anticipating my budding romantic life, gave me some advice on dating.
Although it was a big change for me, going to college in Utah also had many reassuring comforts. I was born in Utah, and had lived there for over 13 years. My Grandfather Gill had taught at the college that I was attending, and all 4 of my grandparents, not to mention 2 of my great-grandparents, had attended school there. My brothers and I had spent countless hours exploring the campus with my grandmother on weekly outings, and had attended many concerts and performances there. I would be living with cousins, in the basement of the home that my mother had grown up in, and where I had spent much time over the years. On one of my first trips to the campus bookstore, the cashier looked at me and asked if I was Vilo Gill's daughter. It was the first, but not the last, time that someone would recognize my heritage by my face alone.
I started to learn what it meant to be an adult. Going to the grocery store, it occurred to me that I did not have to buy what I knew my parents would. I alone was in charge of my time and my plans. But I had my older cousins to turn to for help and advice, as well as my great-uncle Carl and his wife Dolores, who were living upstairs. Around the corner was my aunt Janice and her family. My parents and grandparents were just an email or phone call away. Since my grandparents still owned the house, I did not have to pay rent, and my Grandfather Art had given me some money for school, in addition to my scholarships. I did not get a job that first year.
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