December 22nd, 2014 | Uncategorized
I decided in August that I’d stay abroad for Christmas and New Years this year because I would probably spend every Christmas for most of my life back in the states. Being away from my parents, brother, and niece isn’t always the easiest thing… this will be the first christmas I don’t get to watch my niece run down the stairs and open all the presents Santa left for her.
This year, I’ll get to wake up and enjoy a peaceful Christmas morning with Ryan. Thanks to the handy time difference, we’ll have five hours to ourselves before I get the FaceTime of wrapping paper flying everywhere back in Pennsylvania with tiny glimpses of my family in the background.
We had initially planned to spend the holiday in Europe, but decided to put off the travel until January because of the enormous price decrease. Instead, we’ve been invited to spend Christmas at the Maguire’s house. I don’t know how to thank that family enough for everything they’ve done for me (and many others) this year.
Gareth tells us that we don’t know what difference we are making with the kids here until later in life through our work, and I’d say that he and Deirdre don’t know what difference they are making in the lives of so many, either. They’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime, they’ve allowed me to share it with those I love, and they’ve facilitated my work with youth here that has a trickling effect within the community.
They created all of this based on, as Deirdre explained to me, “the scholarship package they would have wanted” at our age. I know, in addition to Ryan and I, they’ll be hosting several other victory scholars (past and present) this Christmas. If that doesn’t prove that SCL really is a family, I don’t know what does.
As soon as Christmas is over, I have my best friend, Barb, flying over for a week to celebrate New Years. I know Thanksgiving has long passed, but I can’t help but feel more grateful than ever. They say home is where the heart is, and although I’ll be missing my family back in PA this holiday, I know I’ll be surrounded by enough love and joy to feel right at home here in Northern Ireland.
Victory Scholar: Ashley Montecchio
Present University: University of Ulster
Alma Mater: Rosemont College