In one of my networking meetups Bea, a life coach, mentioned hosting exchange students on a regular basis and how it opened all kinds of experiences and worlds to her. I felt very inspired and envious and thought that if we could move our office we could host guests in our downstairs bedroom. It has a nice bathroom is a little separate from our bedrooms, but too far to use it for our kids. So, hosting. We could have someone live with us. Bringing the great stuff about traveling and meeting new people, ideas and adventure right into our house without having to pack up and go anywhere. Great!
A couple of days later I got an email asking for families to host a soccer coach for a week. There was need for this in 2 days. We were not ready yet. The room wasn't set up as a guest room yet and I didn't have the energy to do so. I contacted the person asking for host families but made it clear we weren't ready yet, but interested. Another day passed and I got another a little more urgent email that it would be really great if we could host the next day. Husband was in. 'Sure, we like to help.' So we got our act together, cleaned up in no time, put a make-shift bed together, our spare mattress on top and waited.
Late at night, past the kids bed time, he finally arrived. James. Friendly, young dude from the UK. Moving around with the soccer circus for a while. We quickly learnt he is the perfect house guest. He reads good night stories to the kids. Enjoys every meal we offer, is always polite and also very funny with a bit of normal quirkiness to not make it too awkward. We enjoy taking him along to the beach or dinner. We took the water taxi and walked back (missed the return boat). Met some of his friends. He plays soccer in the alley with the kids. We as a family act a little more civil being around someone else. More polite. Less exaggerating. He is social but not overly. He feeds on Raisin Bran and whole milk. He does stuff outside the house and comes back. He helped grab a ladder to catch a swarm of bees and watched the kids for a night out. No need to entertain or please. Overall, he just blends in perfectly.
I think he enjoys staying with us, too as 1 week became 2 weeks and 2 weeks became 4. :-) We feel honored he still isn't sick of us. Now he is traveling again and it feels strange to see the guest room empty. He will come 'home' soon before he will take off for a longer time. I am excited to hear about his adventures and his future. I can't imagine having missed out on the opportunity to bring him into our lives for a bit and excited who will come next if we keep our door open.
And, thanks Bea for your inspiration!
James at the Bee Fest with Sarah and Tim
Optimistic, curious, human bee.