It’s been a busy time over here in Mantes La Jolie – we’ve had visitors. I love houseguests. When I was little, we always had hoseguests during the summer – our cousins would come up and stay, or my grandparents, or uncles and aunts, or friends. We were a “relax, have fun, don’t worry about a thing” host – we would never worry about what to eat (an impromptu barbecue, some sandwiches, tomatoes from the garden…) or what to do – The creek is for swimming, go for a walk in the woods, play in he tree fort, kids! The adults would sit around and chat, the kids would run free – summer evenings were alwys spent watching the sunset, catching fireflies, or playing kick the can.
That was when I was little. When we lived in St Thomas, we had tons of houseguests. They came to visit the islands, and stayed with us. No problem – here’s a set of keys, we eat around seven, have fun! People were always dropping in, so I got used to being a host, got used to having to quick scramble for some clean sheets, find sleeping arragements for everyone, and stock the fridge with cheap eats for everyone. It became second nature. I hardly remember a time when we didn’t have a house guest. It is one way we remember time – “when did that happen? Was it when Jewel was staying with us, or Henry?”
Then I grew up and left home, and met my husband, and we started to travel, and everywhere we went, we had houseguests. We had guests in Argentina, in England, in France – my husband got used to people literally calling from the airport (and twice waving and calling to us as they walked across the polo field – “Hey, Jenny and Stef! Just came over for a few days! Can I stay with you guys?” ) We filled the house, we had fun – and we still get houseguests, and I feel so lucky that people want to stay with us.
Our latest guests were my cousin’s daughter and her friend – they stayed four days on their epic trip across Europe. And now it’s my nephew – who has come to enjoy some French bread, rest and relax after graduating, and have some fun. Tomorrow we are off to the pick-your-own farm, and Friday we are headed to Paris to see the dino exibit and to have a picnic in the Biois de Bologne.
Houseguests, at least for us, are more than welcome!