University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame


Easter: Finding Your Home Away From Home

Don’t let the distance scare you. At Notre Dame, I’m more than 2200 miles away from my native San Francisco, CA. So for the four-day break to celebrate Easter, it just didn’t make sense for me to travel back home and spend the long weekend with my family. Instead, I celebrated Easter with my future roommates in Chicago and Valparaiso (“Valpo” is in northwest Indiana about an hour from Notre Dame). Debra, Emma, and I went to Emma’s home in a Chicago suburb. Thursday night, we had a fantastic home-cooked dinner at her home and settled in, meeting her family and watching a movie together.

Friday, we drove into Chicago to explore the city. We visited the Field Museum, tasted Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, saw “the Bean” in Millennium Park, and walked around the city streets. I had never been to Chicago before (except for the airport!) and loved how I saw elements of San Francisco in a far-away city while still being a new experience. Saturday, we went back into the city to see The Second City (famous comedy group) perform their best material from the past 50 years. It was another great taste of Chicago culture!

Easter Sunday, we went to Mass (always fun to experience Mass at another parish!) and then drove to Valpo to celebrate Easter with Emma’s family. Even though I wasn’t at home, I saw bits of my family in the people I met this weekend. Her uncles reminded me of my uncles, her cousins of my cousins. It was so wonderful to feel like a part of someone else’s family – they were all so warm, inviting, and kind. Coming to Notre Dame from so far away, I was definitely worried about missing my family on weekends like this. And though I did, getting to know a new family made it more manageable. I saw parts of my family in a small Indiana town more than 2000 miles east, and yet I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

After spending time with Emma’s family, Debra, Emma, and I went to Ingrid’s home last night. We met her family, celebrated her brother’s birthday, and played pool and Risk. Monday morning, the four of us saw Titanic in 3D and then drove up to New Buffalo, MI to the famous Redamak’s for burgers. I’d say hitting three states in a weekend is pretty good! This Easter weekend was extraordinary, and we were met with incredible hospitality wherever we went. Though I wasn’t in California, I was welcomed into the homes, celebrations, and traditions of my friends. It felt like a home away from home. Yes, Notre Dame is far for many students, but don’t let that discourage you. I almost attended college in California, but I enjoyed being a traveler, a visitor, and a guest this weekend. It’s fun to be from out of town and really experience new surroundings.

For more photos of my Easter weekend adventures, please visit: