My mother came to visit me for the first time and I really wanted to show her the best of Bloomington. She was only here for a weekend, and I wanted to make the most out of it. While it's easy for the parents of domestic students to pay a visit, for us international students getting a visit from back home is a real treat, and we of course want to show off Bloomington as best as we can. Here is a list of things you want to make sure to show your parents, international student or not!
Providing a little "guided tour" of your everyday life is, of course, mandatory. We're on campus almost every day, but it's also really beautiful and especially so in the fall. Kirkwood is also a must, and after my mother saw it she was so impressed she called it a "fairytale town".
Since we only had three opportunities to eat dinner downtown, it was a tough choice to make. Downtown Bloomington offers a number of great restaurants. We ended up with Farm, Samira and Taste of India. Farm, one of my favorite restaurants in Bloomington, only has local ingredients and the menu varies depending on the season. Samira has Afghan cuisine, and, well, you can guess for yourself at Taste of India. For us these three were perfect, but whatever your parents might like, there is probably something for them close to Kirkwood.
Of course we went to The Chocolate Moose! There might be other good places in town, but this is without question my favorite. Good quality ice cream with a real taste of college life, this was the obvious place to go (and we went there more than once...). Blu Boy also has amazing desserts, so we had some raspberry truffles which were quite the success as well.
When we went to Lake Monroe the weather was absolutely beautiful, and it was much appreciated. It's important to do something you think your parents might especially enjoy, and for us that meant nature. We climbed the Fire Tower, which I'm never doing again (I was never a fan of heights), but it was so worth it. You can guess what the view was like at the top... And if not, it's time for you to see it for yourself!
A friend and I really tried to find out just how many possibilities we had. After a lot of Google searches and discussions we decided to go to Bluespring Caverns in Bedford, which is really close to Bloomington. Of course, it's impossible to take nice pictures with a stubborn cell phone camera, but believe me when I say that we were all impressed.
Finally, I took her to the farmers market which she really appreciated. It's filled with odd-looking vegetables in all sorts of colors and shapes, as well as bread, coffee, cheese, and even great desserts. We ended up buying a lot of vegetables, but going just for the atmosphere is also worth it. The community feeling is really unique and is one of my favorite things about Bloomington.
The weekend was such a success, and hopefully it'll make it easier to drag both parents down for graduation (fingers crossed!). Bloomington has much to offer, and so choosing what to do depending on you and your parents' interests is important, as well as the mandatory walk on campus and downtown. Needless to say, Bloomington successfully impressed my mother, and it'll probably impress your parents as well.