In honor of the upcoming Raisin festivities, Owl Eyes has virtually interviewed a St. Andrews’ couple that, before getting married in Sallies Chapel after Louise’s graduation in 2012, teamed up during Raisin to be the ultimate mom/dad combo.
Meet Louise, from Northern Ireland/Jersey/Scotland. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in History and Latin. Her husband, Mike, is an American from Denver, Colorado, and began his St. Andrews life in 2009 after taking a gap year. They had an academic family together in Louise’s fourth year/Mike’s third year, some of whom came to their wedding! They now live in the South Denver area in Colorado, having moved out to the States a few days after Mike’s graduation in June.
How did you meet? We met through the Ballroom and Latin Dance Society. Well, we actually first met at a Sallies Freshers week BBQ in my third year, where a mutual friend tried but spectacularly failed to set us up. It was mostly awkward and we then did the usual St. Andrews thing of pretending we didn’t know each other for a few months. Mike then started attending the Ballads (Ballroom and Latin Dance Society) classes a couple of weeks later, where I had been a member since first year. (Side note: single guys of St Andrews, if you are looking to meet girls, this is the place to go! You will be outnumbered about 2 to 1, so your odds are pretty good!) We started talking and getting to know each other at the after class socials, although I don’t think we actually danced together until quite a while after we’d been dating…far too awkward! We eventually had our ‘first date’ in November, which is a funny story in itself…lots of misunderstandings and awkward moments to say the least. But it must have gone well because the rest, as they say, is history!
What was the best part about being academic parents? My favourite part about being academic parents was getting to know our kids and doing fun events together, although this kind of slipped away a bit after Raisin once we got distracted by wedding planning…sorry kids! This sounds cheesy, but it’s nice to meet these little excited/scared freshers early on in their St. Andrews life, and then see them grow up and become cough.mature.cough students who know what’s going on in their later St Andrews years.
How was it being Academic parents and a couple? This was really fun and actually made things a lot easier. Plus you get to be involved all day rather just in your ‘slot’. There were a few of our kids who had different mum/dads but most of them were ours together. We did joint parties with friends, which was good because most of the kids who had different parents were my friends’ kids – it was like one big incestuous family…the best kind! The only ‘downside’ was that my party and Mike’s party were both in my flat, so the kids were in the same place all day, but nobody seemed to mind too much. In fact some kids at the mum’s party enjoyed it so much they asked to come back at night for the dad’s party, even though they weren’t the dad’s children! We planned lots of activities for both parties – this is definitely what makes a successful party. Don’t think you can just buy a lot of alcohol and a few bags of Doritos, put them in a room and people will have a good time. Your party will end early. Note to future parents: if you are planning food twister, make sure you have a planned escape route. Cover the floors and walls because that stuff gets everywhere!
What was the most embarrassing from your Raisin (either your own or one of your kids)? I don’t know if it’s possible to embarrass our kids, they are, for the most part, shameless! In fact, I think most of them would take pride in the ‘embarrassing’ things we made them do! We have some video footage though if you’d like to see?…
What was your favourite Mom/Dad Raisin Moment? I think watching everyone parade to the Quad for the foam fight, all dressed up in their costumes (My kids were all babies) was pretty hilarious. Even more so because Mike was their Raisin receipt. They managed to carry him well though! So many strange looks from locals and tourists…I’m sure everyone who has participated in Raisin knows what that feels like!
What’s the best part of the Raisin tradition? The morning after, aka Raisin Monday. As a parent this is the funniest part of Raisin. Seeing everyone feeling horrendous at first but then slowly come round to really enjoying themselves. Once that costume’s on and your en-route to the quad, foam in hand, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the moment!
How did (he) propose? I went to visit Mike in Colorado in the summer before my fourth year. It was my 21st birthday when I was out there so we were able to celebrate together. Mike never really gave me a birthday present though and kept saying ‘you’ll get it in a few days…’ but I mostly forgot all about that. A couple of days later we went up into Maroon Bells (two peaks near Aspen), which is meant to be beautiful in the summer. We went up there and started on our mini-hike with Mike acting unusually nervous and me terrified I was about to be eaten by a mountain lion or bear! The whole day was pretty disastrous to be honest. The moment we arrived at Maroon Bells (after a 4 hour drive to get there) it started pouring with rain. Not ideal considering our plans for a romantic picnic by the lake. Also, as soon as we stepped out of the car we were hit with the most awful smell! Turns out that was the day the park authorities had decided to pump out the toilets! Nevertheless, Mike was very persistent that we should still go on this delightful picnic, which was weird… this is about the time that I was getting suspicious about what he was up to. We had talked about getting engaged but not for another several months or so, we hadn’t even been together a year yet! But Mike was definitely acting weird. It all eventually turned out well though. We kept laughing about how bad this romantic picnic was turning out as we sat eating in the rain. The sun eventually came out though and we were able to find a nice spot by the lake to look for wildlife. This is when Mike decided to get down on one knee and propose. It was very special…and emotional! I’m sure all the passers by were wondering why I was crying so much.
Finally, do you have any relationship wisdom for couples at St. Andrews? People want all different things from University relationships. Not everyone wants to meet their future spouse and get married in their early twenties, which is fine. It just so happens that’s what Mike and I had always wanted so that worked out well for us. Plus, I achieved my dream of marrying an American and living in the states! Woop! Hello Green Card…just kidding.
I think the main thing is to talk about what you want out of the relationship early on so nobody gets disappointed. Four years goes by very quickly, but it’s also a long time to waste in a relationship that’s going nowhere after graduation.
Oh yeah, one more thing. We found one of their kids and asked him how he felt about Louise and Mike's Raisin parenting….
It was great that my academic parents were engaged because it made my family different! We all went to their wedding the following year which was wonderful- Max Fabiszewski, Son.