Keeping an open door

Last week we hosted a couple of friends at our apartment, and had a busy, fun and full-on week. That now seems like a long time ago. The world becomes broader and less understandable the older you get, which seems like the wrong way of going about it. I don’t want to talk about the deaths, war and fear that feels much closer to home than ever before. There’ll be time, when the facts come out and whatever form the aftermath takes, takes form.

Though I’m going to be focusing on our visit from friends in this post, and staying clear of dwelling on recent world events, I can’t help thinking about them in light of the events. We are so lucky, and I’m certain, with more than a touch of shame, that before too long life will continue as before until the next disaster. With that in mind I want to begin by thanking my friends for visiting, all the way over here in chilly Sweden.

Our one day of sunlight

Our one day of sunlight

So what do you do when you have visitors to your home city? You can start by pointing out landmarks, apologising for the weather and prompting them to attempt to pronounce difficult local place names. These are tried and tested methods. Things to avoid include the contamination of the local water supply requiring the boiling of all drinking water for the entirety of their stay. This does not add to the fun atmosphere. Neither does the dryer breaking down and then blowing the fuses. Do not do either of these things.

Little incidents such as these aside, I think we did pretty well, though if we’d had a chance to advise about the dates of the visitor from Australia, we would have suggested more or less any month rather than November. All Summer activities are over, Halloween has just finished and Jul festivities won’t start for another week.

On the other hand, letting guests go grocery shopping and then making you dinner two nights in a row works quite well. Especially if they decide to try local food and make traditional meals and bring along delicious bottles of lavender and strawberry schnaps and ice wine that just needs to be drunk.

Guest-cooked dinner

Guest-cooked dinner

Or keep you up late into the night with laughter, company and stories, and not minding when you have to get up early for the work the next day and drop something in the kitchen. Or give you an excuse to enjoy a rare sunny day in town.

So here is my list of dos and don’ts for when you have visitors:
– Do point out landmarks, and don’t make up lies about them.
– Do get people to try out the local language, but don’t overdo it.
– Don’t allow the water supply to be contaminated. If it is, get lots of water bottles ready and keep bread crumbs away from your big pot.
– Don’t let the dryer break down.
– Do enjoy the sun, as much as possible.
– Do find them local wildlife, and allow them time to photograph them.
– Do let them make dinner, as often as they like.
– Do provide homemade bread and homebrewed beer.
– Do have a good time.
– Do let them sleep in.

Home baked bread

Home baked bread

I think I have also learnt what it’s like to live in a share house, including the bathroom queue. I now know that I could manage in that sort of environment, but there is also something to be said with sharing your space with only one other important person who doesn’t have overlapping shower times.

In conclusion, when someone asks if they can stay, invite them in.

4 thoughts on “Keeping an open door

  1. Hi Danika. Lovely to see from you again. I’ve been rather overwhelmed with my own stuff for a while and will have to track down through your delightful blogs.
    I’m amused by your comment about aging, me being at least twice your years and still struggling with the big questions.
    I’m also amused by your comments about the timing of your visitors. We used to be invaded by northern hemisphere visitors in February every year – holidays over, weather revolting, me exhausted – so I agree, timing is important.
    We miss you at TNG. Please send something to Tim SAP for our anthology. I’m sure those who don’t see your blogs would love something from here if you don’t have time for other writing.
    I hope you get time to read some of my blogs too.

    • Hi Vicki,
      I notice you have been very busy too, congrats on all the talks and events you’ve done with your book. Your website is looking great too. I have been following your blog, and hoping that sometime we can get over to Europe and explore some of the out of the way towns too.
      I’m glad the comments amused you! I hope we never stop asking the big questions, though it would be better if they weren’t prompted by such horrible events. As for visitors, I think Swedes have a very romantic idea of Australia, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to know that they moved over en mass as soon as the heat starts rising.
      I’ll be visiting Australia next month in fact, so I hope I can catch at least one TNG night while I’m there. I have something for the anthology that needs a bit of editing, which I hope to get to Tim soon. He’s been sending me reminders so I’m trying not to forget!
      Thanks for the comment and hopefully I can see you in December!

  2. You’re adorable. I had the best time. Sleeping in for 9 hours attests to the quality of your couch! Er you dropped things in the kitchen? You must have dropped them really quietly.

    When things like this happen it makes the world smaller and more friendly. I’m closer to you guys now than I am to Bergen and most other places in this little-big land. :mrgreen:

    All of the hugs!


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