Having house guests is always an interesting situation. More often than not, your house guests will be relatives or close friends, but let's discuss having house guests that you've met in your travels.
We think one of the great joys of travel is meeting new people... making new friends. If we really feel a connection with those new friends, we invite them to visit us if they ever come to the U.S. Through the years we have had the pleasure of several visits. This year we've had a number of guests, so here's what I can share with you.
If you've ever had house guests, you know that the experience is both great fun and also extra work. If your guests are from a foreign country, it adds a different dimension. And depending on where you live, you might be wondering, "What do I do with them?"
For one thing, we tend to take our house guests to all the local tourist types of places and attractions that we would never go to by ourselves, but that's pretty obvious.
The other thing we find our foreign visitors like is just to see our house, how are the rooms arranged, how we live, what our appliances are like. Take them to the grocery store. They enjoy just seeing how we live. It's the type of thing we're interested in seeing when we visit different countries. It adds to the learning experience.
We take them to friends and neighbors houses too if we can. Some recent visitors got a kick out of seeing the construction site next door. They build houses in totally different ways where they live.
If you have foreign visitors, you need to be sensitive to the fact that they might be eating foods that are unfamiliar to them. We put out bowls of fruit that would be familiar to everyone so there is something to eat if they get hungry in the middle of the night... bowls of candy and nuts. Bottles of water. While we encourage our house guests to just open the refrigerator and take what they would like, some guests might be uncomfortable with that, so make it easy for them.
Sometimes I'm reluctant to share my kitchen. I'm fine if guests just want to keep me company, but I've learned that some guests feel better if they can help... make their own sandwiches or help set or clear the table. If they don't do things exactly my way, that's OK. It's only for a few days.
If you're going to take them sightseeing, you need to discuss how early you need to get up and get going... so everyone is comfortable with the timetable. Discuss what they would like to see, and decide who is going to pay if there is an admission fee.
Let them know your work schedule, and suggest some things they can do while you're gone. If they're not driving, is there someplace they can walk? Can they get around on public transportation? They might like some time to themselves. Some of our guests have enjoyed just having a day to sit in our yard and relax while they catch up on reading and laundry for the rest of their trip.
The main thing to remember about having house guests is to make them feel welcome and to communicate with each other so everyone's needs and expectations can be met.... then having house guests will be a great experience.