Last year we had 3 Colombian exchange students stay with us for most of the summer. My husband and I affectionately refer to that period as “the Colombian invasion.” 🙂

At times it was so frustrating. Sometimes we wanted our space back, or we got tired of the language barriers, or it was inconvenient to help them with whatever they needed help with.

But in spite of all that – or perhaps because of it – it ended up being one of the most amazing summers of my life. 

I learned and grew so much during this period.

What “the best guests” look like

Interestingly enough, I don’t consider them “the best” because they kept the place clean…or they followed the house rules…or they communicated clearly via the app. Because they were staying in our home, there were plenty of awkward moments in the beginning. And a misunderstanding or two about using the kitchen and the laundry.

But beyond all that, we developed a rhythm and friendship as we “did life” together.

I learned about their culture, their food, and their passions. And I got to share mine with them. I was reacquainted with my love of Spanish, through lots of Spanglish and lots of laughter. We had dance parties in the living room, where we rolled up the carpet and they showed us how to dance salsa and bachata. They taught me how to make patacones con todo, a traditional Colombian meal, and I taught them how to make one of my favorite desserts, pavlova. 

The heart of hosting

This is the heart of why I host. It’s why I want to share my love of hosting with the world. There are so many things that we miss out on when we isolate ourselves in our own cultural bubble, in the safe world of the comfortable familiar.

Forcing ourselves out of that bubble can be hard, perhaps even scary at times. But that’s precisely where the most beautiful things in life come from – from the challenges that push you to become a better version of yourself. 

The best hosts are not the ones who simply provide all of the amenities, but rather the ones who provide a home. The ones who make guests feel instantly welcomed – like you’ve been friends with them for years. 

The best hosts are the ones who attract – no, create – the best guests. They’re the hosts who make guests feel so at home that they’re instantly comfortable opening up and being themselves.  

Are you creating the best guests?