Family cooking and sharing dishes
Lifestyle & Relationships

Adventure Hostess: Making My Home a Global Community

Country of Origin: Argentina

(Audio recording by Brooklyn Riepma)

Several people passed by my house this year. Many of them just passed by temporarily, but other people stopped by and stayed as long-term friends.

For me, being an adventure hostess meant that everyone who needed a place to stay for some days, weeks, or months could come to my house. Welcoming people at home for over a year was my “specialty.” 

I’m from Argentina, but I live in Italy, working as a research assistant for the national research center. I became an adventure hostess for fun. It was a way to recover human relationships after so many months alone with my boyfriend, Coni, during the lockdown.

Most of the people who came to my home here were friends. Others were friends of friends, or strangers with just a tentative link initially. The people who came to my house did so by word of mouth. I think that because I’ve been living in the city for a long time and my house can host up to six people.

The house has two bedrooms but there is also a comfortable sofa bed in the living room. The maximum number of people who stayed was six and that offered an interesting mix of outlooks and priorities.

Seeking a life change

I think these people were looking for a big change in their lives. When they got home, they told me that they had left everything in their country to start over and turn the page. 

I am sure that I was part of that first change that they were seeking, not because I am conceited, but because I was part of their lives at a fundamental time: the time when they launched into their new lives.

Dinner table with a glass of beer on it
(Photo courtesy of Pexels/Chanita Sykes)

One day, this last European summer, Claudia, a woman no more than thirty years old, came home while I was still on vacation. We connected because she’s related to one of my mother’s friends. While I was visiting family, she called me to tell me that she had lost her job after an unpleasant situation and that she had nowhere to sleep.

Photo of a olive colored couch in a living room with a coffee table in front of it
(Photo courtesy of Zaida Obeid)

She agreed to head to my house to sleep even though she had to take several trains to get there. Claudia vacuumed my house a lot and I liked that because, like her, I am allergic to dust. Claudia drank beer as we don’t like wine any more, and during her adventure, we drank more beer so that her story would take on the color that she wanted.

A mix of friends

Other memorable interactions happened with Coni, Juan, and Ale. 

Because of all the people staying in my home, we were lucky we had those armchairs that can be bought in big furniture stores for your first home. These are great for sleeping in, or just for enjoying a coffee in the living room.

I remember Juan by the black glasses he wore and the fact that he also drank beer. He brought me a very tasty brew from Belgium.

Ale is a professional judoka. He is one of Coni’s friends and one of the most transparent people I’ve ever met. People tend to be more opaque or like the frosted glass used for bathroom showers.

Sometimes people don’t directly say what they feel and try to be politically correct when it comes to expressing their feelings. But Ale said everything he thought without analyzing how he said it. Since he is a genuinely kind person, he never offended anyone.

hot cup of coffee with smoke hovering over the cup
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Gaelle Marcel)

A young couple, Lem and Dan, spent even more time with us. They didn’t always come as just a couple, but sometimes as a trio with the cat, Raymond. Sometimes, Lem had to leave for her citizenship process and her partner didn’t like her going, but Dan was quite happy at home.

We cooked typical food from his country, Venezuela. Every time Lem came back, Lem would make us do short gymnastics routines. Ale would too, but he was more demanding about it. Because of Ale’s advice, we bought a TRX suspension trainer that I sometimes use to swing in the trees of the city square.

round bread/cookie dish
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Alexandra Tran)

Little moments make the big picture

I could share thousands of anecdotes from everyday life with them, especially the “logistical or operational details,” as I like to call them. But those are precisely the details that could be boring to others. 

However, for those of us who live in the moment, those details were what transformed day-to-day life into an adventure.

For example, when you walk into the bathroom you always find Raymond standing by the bathroom sink waiting for someone to turn on the faucet for him to drink water from.

Ale did gymnastics after tying her elastic bands on the living room window, Dan cooked cornmeal cakes called “arepas” and tried to get all kinds of ingredients to make them taste just like the original ones.

Lem had online English classes very late; sometimes classes would be at midnight until three in the morning due to the time difference with her teacher in Buenos Aires. Some of us even walked behind her camera in our underwear when she was having her class.

Then, life makes everything go on. For now, I’ve stopped being an adventure hostess because I’m moving to England for a while. Now, I’m the one living in a house with lots of other lovely people.

I think becoming an adventure hostess helped me cast my worries aside. Or maybe what bothers me is not staying still with what I always do. And my life becomes an adventure because from time to time these stories interrupt my history. 

The experience of living with people and friends does not compare to interacting with people going for coffee or dinner. In coexistence, we can truly enjoy the minutiae of life.

Thank you to Johana Htwe, Brooklyn Ripema, and Julianna Wages for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Lifestyle & Relationships team.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to the DG Sentinel, please visit our submissions page here.

For many years, people have called Zaida “Poro” more times than “Zaida.” Zaida was born in a town in Argentina and grew up in a slightly larger city. From university until a few years ago, Zaida lived in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires. Zaida currently lives in Italy but will soon be moving to England for a while. Zaida likes to tell stories, but not in a traditional way. Zaida prefers to ignore things that are always heard and tell stories differently to entertain the reader.

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