With the year quickly coming to a close, I thought I would reflect and share with you my favourite guest and the interesting hosting experience they brought me this year.
As hosts are we allowed to have "favourites"? I've heard as a parent you're not meant to, or teachers now to think of it...as hosts surely it's fine as our guests don't know where they fall in the ranking (unless you most multiple guests at the same time of course!)
My experience with my favouite guest actually started out pretty badly: she lives in China and couldn't write or speak English, so the Airbnb app (poorly) translated the very few interactions we had before she arrived!
She instant booked, was new to the platform, didn't have a profile picture or any information up and her first question to me was to ask if I would collect her and her husband from the airport! I was planned to be working when they arrived so I had to decline, but I agreed to pick them up locally once I had finished work.
Radio silence for weeks and then a message to say due to a family emergency she would travel alone, and could I still pick her up, of course I agreed and the following evening went to the local station to pick her up- having explained as much as possible how to arrive there from the airport.
She didn't show up! I still waited. 30 mins later I got a frantic call from a taxi driver saying he had a Chinese woman in his taxi, she was crying and gave him my phone number to call...so I explained the situation and he drove to the station to pick me up, and then drop us both at my place.
Even though she couldn't speak English or I Chinese, we still spoke to eachother as if the other could understand and she seemed much better after I got in the taxi. Because I didn't know what she was going to look like as she didn't have a profile pic, I was surprised she was around my mothers age, around 65 years old.
At home we chatted through a translation app, and even though it didn't translate everything quite as we'd liked we communicated well!
I went to work the next day, taking my guest with me to the underground station to buy a pass and explain how to travel around- she wanted to go to China Town, and off we went our separate ways. I worried about her all day! She sent me a message later to say she had bought food and would I like some, so I said yes.
I reached home, walked down to my door from the street to some amazing smells, to find her cooking up a storm in my kitchen, and she had cooked the most amazing Chinese meal for us from scratch, it was so wonderful, and she looked so happy and bright for the first time since she arrived, I didn't have the heart to say that I don't allow guests to cook in my kitchen!
She stayed for 3 days with me, and insisted on cooking for me everyday, she couldn't understand why I was living alone, and was concerned that I wasn't able to look after myself or cook properly as a single man...my lack of a rice cooker very much worried her :)
We got on so well, had some brilliant chats through the translation app, and I ate very well for those 3 days...I really felt like I had my mum living with me and not a guest!
That was when I was new to hosting: I didn't manage my settings especially well and I wonder now if I'll ever have an experience like that again...probably not, and maybe that's why I look upon this guest with such fondness :)
Feel free to tell me about your favourite...if you allow yourself to have one!
*Part of the Community Center's Month of Celebration
@Paul I've had lot of good ones, hard to choose. But funny, I read an article that said that while parents always tell their kids that they don't have a favorite, the fact is that they do, and that all the kids are well aware of which it is. Doesn't mean the parent loves that one more, or even grants special treatment, maybe just finds them easier to get along with.
And your guest feeling concerned that you live alone and have no one to cook for you reminds me of when my daughter took a 4 month trip to Nepal when she was 19. The Nepalese couldn't understand why a young woman would be on her own in a foreign land - they kept asking sympathetically if all her family was dead.
Great perspective Sarah! Your tag is missing for some reason. This is true about perhaps finding one easier to get along with than the others, I know my mum gets along best with me, and my dad with my older sister.
Funny Nepalese story too, those cultural differences I find so interesting.
Thanks Paul, a lovely story, sometimes I can't believe I actually get paid to have this much fun!
You certainly are allowed to have favourite guests, just as you are allowed to have horror stories! It's how you fit them all into the jigsaw puzzle of your life that measures the character of you as a person Paul......
And from your posts, yours is a fairly outstanding one!
Lol, sometimes my guests ask me that too but, unlike you, luckily (or unlukily) I have a couple of horror stories up my sleeve to keep them amused.
What a lovely story and it shows what a great host you are, not just for the little extras like picking this lady up from the station, helping her to buy her ticket etc. but for not being put off by the lack of prior communication, which normally raises alarm bells for me.
It sounds like you turned a potentially scary experience for her into such a positive one for the both of you. Plus my mouth is watering right now thinking of that yummy Chinese food!
Very interesting story! Some guests are nice surprises! :)
I also have had few guests without pictures on their profiles. At first they were kind of mistery, when they arrived they turned into great guests! :)
My favorite guests are the ones that has returned! It is nice see them back again!
We have had so many truly wonderful guests,I've been wanting to send out some sort of holiday greetings- but my favorite forever will be a young kid named Spencer.
Spencer's one of those people who is best described as an old soul. We were hanging out with the cats & the subject came around to de-clawing cats. I explained that it is actually amputating their first digit. He was aghast and exclaimed"why would anyone ruin a cat like that! it's so disrespectful!" Later, I was feeling a bit sad about my beloved cat Lyrah's health issues & physical limitations and Spencer leaned forward and said, gravely: "Maybe you should just concentrate on what she Can do". Words to live by, he, I'm sure, had heard someone use the phrase but his earnest sweetness and authenticity, well! Every day there's a moment when I need to remember to turn my focus to what is in my power.
On the subject of kids, we all have favorites and as long as it isn't a fixed favorite all is okay- the kid who brought by a treat when mom was sick is currently in higher favor than the one who borrowed the truck and brough it back with only vapors in the tank- and it's a drive to the gas station- and a new dent they know nuthin about. I love them all equally but sometimes one of the 3 is easier to like or, not so much. Sally
That Spencer is a wise kid. What a great outlook to have at such a young age. I have recently got into the habit of being grateful for what I have. My pup had some issues recently and I was determined to keep calm for his sake, I tend to get overemotional where he is concerned as he came with me to Ireland seven years ago and kept me sane during some dark times. Spencer's words will be with me today, what a great way to greet the day.
I once had the most sweet polite guest. He wanted an extra night and profusely thank me (full price paid) and every little interaction with him was that way. He later asked for some parking stickers and I could not run fast enough to the house to give them because it was my turn to do something nice. At the end I forgot to refund his deposit (another platform, rare bookings, no habit in doing it). He had to call me and when I apologized profusely he was the one calming me down. I do hope life is good to him, he deserves it.