Christmas With the Coughlans

January 5th, 2015 | Uncategorized

Hello everybody! I want to share how I spent my first Christmas  away from home.  I was very fortunate to have an amazing family adopt me, and with open arms have me spend the Christmas holiday in their home! The Coughlin’s are a family of five- Joe & Gillian and their 3 awesome kids- Katie, Eoin, and Little Joe. This family has been working with the Sport Changes Life program and looking out for the Victory Scholars who are attending the Galway area college programs for several years. 


Since I arrived in Galway, I have built and maintained a strong relationship with the Coughlin family; they have made me comfortable that while away from my family stateside, that I have someone who will be there for me when needed. I feel honored that they trusted me to house-sit over the holidays while they went on vacation for a few days; this was definitely a great opportunity as they left me with a full refrigerator of goodies!! After only a few months of knowing the Coughlin’s, they trusted in me enough to watch over their house… I guess that’s the “Friendly Irish” in full effect!

So Christmas Day went kinda like this…I spent a few nights at “home” with my “adopted family”.  We leisurely awoke on Christmas day and around 11:00 am we opened presents. This was definitely different because at home, my younger brothers would be jumping on my bed and screaming at me to wake up, at 6 in the morning, so we could open presents under the tree! I was pleasantly surprised to have a Christmas present under the tree as well!   The Coughlin’s let me know that I was a part of the family too. After the excitement of gifting died down, we later had an Irish dinner, comprised of turkey and dressing, ham, Brussel sprouts and carrots. We watched “Christmassy” movies all afternoon and this made me feel right at home.  Big shout out to the Coughlin’s for making this day special for me!

Thanks to modern technology I was able to share Christmas with my family back at home as well. We “FaceTime” during the present opening and I had presents there too!  It was exciting to see all the smiles on the faces of my family members.  They were “virtually” throwing wrapping paper in my face! This Christmas was not so much about being spoiled with presents, but rather being thankful for all the blessings in our lives. Being able to share Christmas with the Coughlan’s’, AND, to see my family healthy and happy on FaceTime, was my ultimate blessing and one of the best Christmas presents I could ask for.  Having been blessed with the opportunity to share in another culture with my adopted family at Christmas time through the Sport Changes Life program as a Victor Scholar…PRICELESS!


Victory Scholar: Darryl Durham

Sport League: Conference Carolinas

Present University: National University of Ireland Galway

Alma Mater: Belmont Abbey College


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