This weekend was probably the highlight of my whole year abroad. I got to do a homestay in Southport, England. My hosts, an older couple, Bill and Patricia, were the sweetest people I think I have ever met. It can get a little lonely being away from your family for a whole year, so it felt great to be in a home with a home cooked meal and a cozy bed. From Southport, I took the train to Liverpool for the day with a few other study abroad students. I promised myself on this term abroad that I would see more of the UK, so this weekend was a good way to do it. I saw the Beatles Story (which was awesome because one time in high school I wrote a ten page paper about John Lennon), went to the Maritime Museum, the pier, Chinatown, and just got a good feel for the city in general. We got back to Southport just in time for dinner. I hadn't eaten a home-cooked dinner in a really long time, and Patricia's cooking was unbelievably good. We had chicken, vegetables, stuffing, fries, and mashed potatoes, followed by a dessert of assorted homemade pastries. I still have dreams about this meal. The next morning was Easter Sunday and Bill and Patricia gave me a Cadbury Egg. It was unbelievably sweet. They took me for a drive around Southport afterwards and I got to see more of the city, including the gorgeous botanical garden.
If there is one thing I recommend you do during a term abroad it's a homestay. Not only do you get amazing home cooked food, but you get to experience life with a British family. Bill and Patricia were lovely people and they were a delight to get to know. At one point Patricia said "Well our kids don't really come around much, so we love doing this for the company," which nearly broke my wee heart. I think looking back on this experience a year from now, this homestay will probably be the highlight of my experience.