Wednesday, January 14, 2015

on being a hostess

I've never considered myself much of a hostess. To be honest, when I got married I hadn't really had a lot of experience with cooking, and for the first year of our marriage Waldi (because he's an ingenious cook) made most of our meals and I made the salads and washed the dishes. I also struggled a lot with inviting people into my home. 

In Vancouver we lived in an old apartment building with a stellar view. Our apartment was very small and also very sparsely decorated. This was mostly because we had no money, but also because somewhere (deep) in the back of our minds, was the possibility that we would maybe be moving halfway around the world at some point and we were thus hesitant to collect a ton of possessions. Anyways, all this to say, I was embarrassed of our lack of cute Pinterest-y decor, and quite simply furniture and therefore struggled with inviting anyone other than my family over. 

Fast forward several years to us living here in Marburg, on the top floor of an old apartment building with a stellar view and, you guessed it- not a lot of furniture. It takes awhile to build up a household again, but because of the nature and culture of our group of friends (and because of the fact that eating out here is quite expensive) we found ourselves opening our door quite frequently and inviting our new friends into our tiny apartment. 

Slowly, we got more furniture and I got more comfortable with inviting people over (and started to cook more often too). And somewhere along the way, I became captivated by the magic that happens when we bravely invite people into our homes and create a space for them to tell their stories. I was surprised to discover that I love being hostess. Welcoming people into my home, cooking them a delicious, healthy meal and sharing conversation together around the table. Who knew? 

For me, this is not about performance. It's not about how much furniture we have (once friends of ours even brought their own chair to a party...), how cute our decor is, or even how good the food tastes. I've learned it's ok to ask people to bring a salad or desert and it's more than ok that we don't have enough matching dishes. It's even ok that we sometimes have to sit around our coffee table (on the couch or even on cushions on the floor) in order to find enough room for everyone. It's not perfect, but it's also just not that important.

What's most important is creating a place at our table where people feel welcome to sit down and stay awhile, to be themselves and to share their stories, and of course, to break bread with us, whether they are good friends we know and love, or new friends we have yet to get to know. People who share our values, or those we have nothing in common with. 

So my friends, here's to life around the table with you, to many more evenings spent in each other's homes, eating and talking and learning together. Bravely opening our doors even though what's inside is less than perfect and at times quite simply messy.

And I sincerely wish all of you many lovely meals shared around the table with those you love. 

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