When you call home as a college student, it is often difficult for family members to imagine you in your new environment. They do not know the layout of your room besides for the pictures you sent them, cannot understand the personalities of your suitemates, or where you are sitting during lunch at the dining hall. My roommate and I always talk about how strange it is that those you have spent the most time with in the past 20 years may not know or be able to picture the habitat in which you find yourself now. This all changed for me this weekend – my older sister Sam came to town!
Sam had been to Nashville once before; her husband’s extended family still lives about 20 minutes outside of the city and her mother-in-law is an alumna. However, over this past weekend she was looking at the city from a completely different perspective – through the eyes of a Vandy student! Having graduated college five years ago, Sam has been a little removed from the undergraduate life but was eager to see how I spend my days.
I was giddy on my way to pick her up from the airport Friday. After a long hug, we made our way back to campus. I finally had the chance to introduce her to all of my suitemates, so both her and they could put faces to the names. Friday night was low-key; we had a delicious vegetarian dinner at Nashville’s Sunflower Café (Sam has been a vegetarian since she was nine years old – vegan and vegetarian restaurants are few and far between in this BBQ-loving town!) and topped our veggie burgers off with a bowl of ice cream from Maggie Moo’s on West End.
Saturday was jam-packed! One of the organizations I am involved in, the Pre-Nursing Society, was hosting their annual Miles for Mercury 5K run/walk to benefit the Clinic at Mercury Courts. The Clinic is a nurse-managed primary care clinic for the homeless and underserved populations of Nashville. I dragged Sam out of bed to help setup for the race then run it with me. She had just run her first 10K the weekend before, but was a great sport and agreed to participate in a race again. After the run we took a stroll around campus so she could get a feel for Vandy. She was surprised that it seemed more urban when she first arrived, but came to realize the campus is also a beautiful tree-filled arboretum with plenty of grass in sight! I showed her the major landmarks of campus, weaving in fun facts and stories that I learned from my tour guide roommate Anna. There’s never a dull moment on campus; Relay for Life was already setting up for a successful day of raising $157,000 for the American Cancer Society. People and the color purple were sprinkled throughout campus, and she witnessed the passion and involvement of our student body.
As mentioned before, Sam’s in-laws live in the area. It was only fair that they got to see her as well – I had to share :). We headed over to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens for lunch and to see all the flowers planted around this estate. A 20-minute drive from campus, Cheekwood is the perfect fall escape with a rich history and seasonal exhibitions. We had a nice walk to digest our lunch at their restaurant, as we toured the mansion and awed at the Japanese gardens. To wrap up our busy day, Sam and I stopped in Hillsboro Village to shop for a little bit (if you’re coming to town, make sure to check out Pangea), before we explored Broadway for a true Nashville experience with live music!
Sunday was naturally a sad day – the day for goodbyes. It felt like she had just gotten here! We went to church in the morning before a nice brunch at Provence in Hillsboro. We loaded up on our coffee for the day (the “Honey Bee” is one of my favorite lattes) and I drove her back to the airport to fly back to her home base in D.C. Luckily, there are only 16 days until I see her again for Thanksgiving…phew! I’m happy she got a taste of Nashville and had the opportunity to see her little sis in this new environment. And, she already has plans to come back down and bring our brother next time!
What activities you do with your family members when they are in town? Comment below!