Just visiting

My little brother came to visit me last weekend.

During my year and a half here at Queen’s, Adam has celebrated his sweet 16, learned how to drive a car, sprouted to over six feet tall, grown traces of facial hair and realized that girls no longer have cooties.

I missed all of these milestones.

Thanks to the wonder of Facebook, text-messaging and the occasional phone call, my brother and I have managed to maintain a fairly close relationship while I’ve been away at university.

When Adam asked if he could come visit me in Kingston, I said yes without hesitation, and was determined to give him a jam-packed weekend so he could get a glimpse of my life here and maybe even foster some strong pro-Queen’s sentiment while doing so.

Throughout the weekend, I was shocked at how much our relationship has changed.

Without our parents around, my brother and I were able to interact as not only brother and sister, but as close friends. No topic was off-limits and I suddenly found myself being more open and vulnerable with him than I have ever been before.

On his last day in Kingston, I took him out to a student lunch at McDonald’s. In between bites of his McChicken he said to me, “Emily, you’ve changed since you came to Queen’s. Not in a bad way; you’re just more open-minded than you used to be back at home. I’ve really noticed that this weekend.”

I had thought the same thing about him.

He’s now more confident and independent than he used to be. He has his own opinions on current events and is incredibly well-read. I also don’t remember him having such a quick wit.

It made me wonder why I didn’t notice all these things about him before. After all, it had only been a month since I had said goodbye to my family at the end of the winter break.

This question was on my mind, even after he left on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve changed since I left my parents’ house and I guess that’s only natural.

What’s also natural is that many people in my hometown still see me in my former light, which no longer reflects the person I have become since arriving at Queen’s.

There’s a definite disconnect between who I was then and who I am now. As a result, I find that if I’m home long enough, I start to revert back to my old way of acting and former world views.

Adam’s visit brought this to my attention.

During my time here, I’ve been exposed to a wide range of people, ideas and opportunities which would not have been available to me in Bolton, Ontario. These experiences have changed the way I view the world around me. As such, I have changed my opinions on where I stand on certain issues, especially politics.

I’m not the same person I was a year and a half ago, and it’s only for the better. I just have to learn how to embrace my new self in my old town—and accept the fact that my little brother might end up getting his G2 before me.

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