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A Teen's View

Goodbye for Now

Olivia Sielaff

(8/11) The time has come. I must leave Emmitsburg, my house, my family and friends to pursue what lies ahead in college. I didnít think this time would come so soon and I didnít expect to have such mixed emotions about it. This past year as been a whirlwind with leaving highschool, prepping for college, getting financially situated, planning for my future, spending every spare minute with friends, and mentally preparing myself for leaving my family and meeting new people. Iíve had a while to reflect on leaving the nest, and as August twenty-fifth draws closer, and more dorm-room supplies pile up in my room, all that leaving entails becomes more of a reality.

After living in the same place for eleven years things have the potential to be somewhat boring and routine. The same roads, the same restaurants, the same buildings, and the same lady who sits on her porch are the same today as they were yesterday. It wasnít too long ago that I couldnít wait to go some place else for a change of scenery. However, something prompted a change in my perspective on living in Emmitsburg. As you might know, my family recently opened Holy Grounds Cafť (and St. Philomenaís) in the town square.

Running a family business is a lot of work, and for us it requires at least one family member to be in the store everyday. So every night when my family sits down at the dinner table we have a story to tell about an interesting request we had at the cafť or a customer who gave us some good tips for improvement. Not only that, but also we get some Ďregularsí in the store who we can expect almost everyday. We also have met many people by participating in community events and supporting other local businesses (my little brother never fails to order a bacon cheeseburger from The Palms when he works on Wednesdays). Besides learning a lot about coffee, my family and I have come to learn so much about the people in our community and how supportive they are for us small businesses. Everyone Iíve met within these past two months has made me realize that Iím going to miss the people of Emmitsburg and the small-town life that passes by our windows each day.

But what Iím also leaving behind for a few months at a time is the everyday life of my family. The longest Iíve been away from all of my family members has probably been for a week or maybe an extended sleepover. I canít even remember! Itís going to be different eating dinner in a cafeteria instead of at the kitchen table every night. But my mom has a plan to Skype me while my family is sitting down for dinner so I donít miss out on my little brother Ben playing with his food or other dinner shenanigans. Weíll see how that goes. Iím also going to miss seeing my extended family and babysitting my little cousins. I canít forget about our weekly drives up to Harrisburg to visit my grandparents (and theyíre freshly-baked cookies). And what about walking my dog every morning? Living away from my family is going to take some time getting used to, but Iím so thankful for all the time weíve gotten to spend together because of us kids being homeschooled and my parents working close to home.

Iím so thankful for all of the support and help my family has given me so far in preparing for college, too! My mom and dad have been through every form, application, and phone call with me and given me all their wise advice. My grandparents and aunt have helped me stock my future dorm room. And my brothers have assured me that theyíll be waiting to annoy me when I return on breaks. I canít help but think that if I couldnít have made it this far without my family, then will I be able to make it even farther in college? But I see now that all of the love and encouragement my family has given me will last for a long while.

Although I am very excited to start my college life, itís difficult to forget about the life of my family and friends that will be going on back here in Emmitsburg. I suppose college will be like a small "town" but nothing like little Emmitsburg. When Fall comes around, Iíll wish to be back to see the mountains change color; and when the first snowfall has me trudging across campus, Iíll be thinking of sledding with the Shields family. Not only am I sad to leave this beautiful town with its distinct seasons, but Iím also sad to leave the people Iíve come to know and appreciate. I wonder if Doc will remember my name when I come back on breaks? And my family. I wonít be going to church with them every Sunday morning nor will I help my mom make delicious home-cooked meals.

I know that Iíll make many new friends and come to feel comfortable as a college student. Yet there are many changes that have to take place before that can happen. My family and friends have guided me through some of those changes already, and I am so thankful for their love and support. However, I can be sure that as much as my life will change, the life and people of Emmitsburg will be the same when I return.

Read other articles by Olivia Sielaff