When your Mum comes to town

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By Zosia Gontar, Second Year Psychology

With Mother's Day coming up next weekend, what better way to prepare than reading about Zosia's experience when her Mum came to Bristol?!

Coming from Poland, I don’t usually celebrate Mother’s Day until the 26th of May, however this year I was lucky enough to have my mum come and visit me for a weekend, which for both of us was a celebration of our upcoming birthdays in late March (hers is one day after mine!). It was the first time she’s visited me this year so I was quite nervous to hear her verdict on my new house and lifestyle in general. I spent the whole morning before her arrival cleaning frantically, not only my room but also the living room and kitchen, which, as I live in a house of nine, you can imagine were in a bit of a state. Not entirely sure how, but I managed, and by the time I had to go and pick mum up from the coach station, everything was clean and shiny, with (nearly) dust-free carpets.

It was the first time me and my Ma were going to spend some time by ourselves in quite a while, so I was really looking forward to it. At the same time, I was quite anxious about what we were going to do and how to celebrate her visit to make it as really memorable. Last time she was here with my dad and younger brother, it was early in my first year and I still had no idea of what Bristol had to offer, so I left them with an impression of it being rather boring and with way too many furniture shops. Now that I have come to realise for myself that the city has a lot of hidden gems, and has so many things going on, I’ve been anticipating a family visit so that I can prove to them that I live in a really extraordinary place.

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Epigram/ Zosia Gontar

So, two weeks or so before my mum’s scheduled arrival, I sat down and drafted a list of potential places to go. It included the most landmark Bristol sights such as the Suspension Bridge, Clifton Village, the SS Great Britain, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol Old Vic, St Nicholas’ Market and Cabot Tower. I hatched a highly ambitious plan which would include visiting all of the above in less than 3 days, whilst also having time to eat in some nice places and talk about all the things we needed to.

So, if your Ma comes to visit you in Bristol around the time of Mother’s Day, or in fact any other time of the year, make sure you take her to places you care about – because if they mean something for you, they will mean something for her too.

As is usually the case, the reality was quite different to what we had originally planned. On the first night, we managed to see ‘Noughts and Crosses’ at Bristol Old Vic which we both enjoyed. My mum loved the way BOV was refurbished – how its old architecture fuses with modern design. We also managed to check off the list the Museum with the Da Vinci exhibition, Clifton Village and the Bridge from a distance (we were tired and it was super windy). To eat, I took her to my personal favourite places for Sunday and Monday lunch – East Village Café and Falafel King. Out of a lack of other ideas, I offered to take her to the newly opened Polish restaurant on King’s Street for dinner, but she just laughed and said she was fine. So, we ended up defrosting my tomato soup which we ate in my room.

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Epigram/ Zosia Gontar

For 3 days though, it felt like enough. I realised that rather than seeing a massive amount of sights, Mum was just happy to see how I live, where I spend most of my time and how I navigate this independent life in another country. She seemed to love everything: hearing me speaking English, the way I decorated my room, what I cooked, the short walking distance to Sainsbury’s, the pretty houses in Clifton, Banksy’s graffiti, the odd statues of Gromit that are scattered around. In the end her verdict was that Bristol is basically better than Paris, because not only it is quite beautiful; there are a wide variety of things to do and also it is so much easier to live.
So, if your Ma comes to visit you in Bristol around the time of Mother’s Day, or in fact any other time of the year, make sure you take her to places you care about – because if they mean something for you, they will mean something for her too. Chances are that what she will be most happy doing is having a little window into your life. Seeing how you live your everyday life and how you manage on your own will make her feel happy and proud – which for her, might be the best present there is.

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Epigram/ Zosia Gontar

Featured image: Epigram / Zosia Gontar


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