When you live in a global tourist zone
Wonderful post. I kinda of feel this way anytime someone visits and I do not live anywhere exotic. Playing tour guide has its fun moments, but can be grueling. The best situation is when guests stay in a hotel and hang with you during the day - unless it's family, then they stay with us. Just another lovely and thought-provoking piece of writing, dear friend.
We landed in September and had our first guests over New Years. It was wonderful and I was so happy to be with them and felt so sad when they left. Our next guest arrives in February and since she has already visited Portugal I think we'll be able to pull weeds, plants seeds and relax together. A new friend I've met in Portugal has a Word document they provide to their guests with suggested itineraries. They have lived here six years so the idea of visiting the same places doesn't thrill them and it also gives everyone some space to be on their own. We will create our own document I'm sure as more head our way.
“Fold them into your life like laundry” - still tearing up saying this phrase out loud. It’s mundane and intimate, so much happiness and connection in there. Beautiful.
Here's my personal email, LaDonna: firstname.lastname@example.org. Drop me a note, please.
OMG! Perfect! How you can nail those feelings in virtually every post, over and over.... kudos. And yep, looking forward to the next friends!
Thank you for expressing so eloquently that double edged feeling. We are older and less energetic so that is another concern. We tire quicker, however, having guests sitting on the sofa looking at you, also stresses me. Like you said finding the balance is very challenging. I thoroughly enjoy your writing.
This hits on so many of the things I wonder about- will there BE people to sit and pull weeds with, to share pickup duty with, to sit and drink tea with? Yes, the ones that come might do this- I think there’s a difference when family vs friends visit. Family seems more willing to engage in the mundane and to hang with the kids and pets and fold laundry. I keep coming back to the question of community. I read these blogs and have watched a few YouTube vloggers who have moved there with their families. The ones I have found have a different energy. They have hustle. Not like ‘polishing a piece of writing 9 times or writing poetry daily or sending out multiple manuscripts and being rejected’ hustle, but a watered-down Tony Robbins hustle that offers E-courses or memberships or meet-ups to monetise their coloniser energy. They don’t use words like “liminal” they use words like “ex-pat community” and it grosses me out. Early on in my wondering about Portugal I stumbled on your blog (I don’t know how anymore, but am still so incredibly glad I did). I was so excited that there were people, gentle, introspective, thoughtful people who had the same thoughts about leaving the US as I do. Artists, writers, educators, maybe. But I will be honest, I have not really found more like you. Maybe it’s that introvert/artist/writer conundrum of having to leave your house to meet other introverts and I am just doing it wrong. I dip my toe into Facebook or Substack and end up recoiling. Maybe they are there, the gentle souls, and you are just the only one with a blog. Have you found people in real life that are kindred spirits there in Portugal? Even if they don’t live an arm’s length away and can’t share pick-up duty? Whenever I find some lovely quinta that I could afford somewhere in a place I don’t recognize and fantasize about holing up and pulling weeds and creating a space for loved ones to come stay, I wonder if other gentle souls who are progressive would be nearby to become community with.
As usual you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. We finally made an important decision that unless it is just ONE person we are very close with, we just don't ask anyone to stay with us anymore. Unlike you guys, we are in a smallish 2 bedroom apartment in Lisboa...just can't do the sharing thing every other week ;-) We LOVE our friends, but apparently that loves ends at our front door ;-)
We also have discovered, we don't have to do every thing with every single visitor! Go see Sintra, here's how you get there! Walking tour, here is how to register, etc. It has made us more sane, more appreciative of visitors and simply happier about sharing our time with visitors.
And now, we have friends actually moving here!! This will prove very interesting ;-)
I, as you know, adore your writing...please don't stop. I look forward to your musings LaDonna (can't do a hug emoji, so this will suffice!).
Oh, this was so wonderful! I live near a "place to visit" and I get it. Thank you for loving and hosting your friends.
I totally get it. When I lived in Florida, I went to Disney World 17 times in 8 months.
All the Feels. ❤️
Beautifully written. I’m sure this resonates with many expats who have moved to desired locations!
Another lovely, well-written post, LaDonna. My mum always said guests are like fish, they start to stink after three days. I think both parties need to be very mindful for it to not be true.
Such a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you for writing about this--you expressed this complex set of feelings so gracefully and beautifully.
We just said good-bye to our first guests, but we're still new enough ourselves that we (mostly) were embracing the "we've got to try to see everything NOW" attitude.