Cathy has had guests over before, and I kind of figured it would be the same. They'd spend all of their time together visiting and going out, and I wouldn't interact with them so much, maybe just once or twice. I was quickly proved wrong when Cathy's mom asked me, "You must be so tired from traveling! Do you want some dinner? I'll just whip something up for you quickly." An hour later, the three of us sit down at the table to a dish that had just come out of the oven. It was hard to believe that was just "whipping something up." After all, whenever my mom does that for me, she makes eggs or a sandwich or something else that really is quick. The funniest part was, she then said, "Just try a little bit. If you don't like it, I'll make something else for you." I wasn't going to tell her I didn't like her cooking! How rude would that be? Plus, I didn't want her to then be cooking for another hour. Besides, I truly did like the food.
Our only common language was English, so that's what we spoke to each other. I have to admit, it was a little nice having someone come in and be willing to cook and clean for us. It was especially nice not to have to buy any food for a few days! This was also at the same time as other exchange students were leaving, so I was going out for drinks and dinner with several people one last time.
So it was just the three of us Wednesday through Friday, but on Saturday, Cathy's sister Martina came as well! It was like a big old family reunion in the apartment. Although they were so happy to be able to all be in one place at the same time again, they warmly welcomed me into their family for the week. Martina currently lives in Santo Domingo, and had a layover in New York for several hours. When I met her, she said, "You're American, right? I have the New York Times, and you're probably the only person I'll see in the next few days who will actually appreciate this." That night, we had a family dinner together and just sat around talking for a few hours.
As nice as this was, it did make a few things apparent to me. It showed me how independent I've become in this year as well as the past few years, and I've always known I'm an independent girl. The first night or two, it was nice to be doted over and have everything done for me. Afterward, though, it was almost frustrating when Cathy's mom told me not to do dishes or even vacuum my own room, that she would do it later. At one point, when I'm putting dishes away, she even asked, "Are you sure you know where they go?" Fortunately, Cathy had the sense to say, "Mom, she lives here!" It also made me realize how much I've missed living with a lot of people at once. Even with just Cathy and myself, it gets quite lonely here, and it's difficult being away from people whom I've known for years. Combine that with the fact that so many people really are going home, back to California, in the next couple weeks, and it was hard not to feel incredibly homesick.
Once Monday came, Cathy and her family went off to Brussels, and I was left alone again. I no longer had a host family, just my small little apartment all to my self.