What Makes a Home?

I’ve told you about setting up our house – buying kitchen utensils and towels and creating a garden.  But when does a house actually turn into a home?  Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe it has nothing to do with towels after all.  I have decided that a house becomes a home when people know they can find you there.  When friends knock on your door and join you for a laugh or a snack.

If that is true, then yesterday our house became our home.  I guess it already was since our children had spent lots of time eating and laughing here.  But yesterday I was thrilled to receive surprise guests.  We were in the kitchen doing some tidying up, when I heard a little voice calling my name. “Karen.  Kaaaaren….”   Grant and I looked at each other, not quite sure what we were hearing.  We looked out our kitchen window – which looks through the garage and out to the grate dividing the sidewalk from our home.  There peering through the gate and calling my name was little Jose, with Isabel and Laurentino beside him.  Apparently they had been given a ride to somewhere nearby and were walking back to the orphanage.  Remembering where we live, they had stopped in for a visit.

I was super pleased and ran out to give some hugs and invite them in.  First stop….. fruit bowl in the kitchen.   Second stop….. Wii game console.  We went for a walk, played some games, bought some caramel popcorn and then the kids announced they had to go.   Grant drove them home – and I felt like a real Abuela (a Mexican grandma).

It was only a few minutes later that our invited guests arrived for our first dinner party.  Gregory and Martita and their sweet children joined us for a Mexican feast.  I made the guacamole – the enchiladas and burritos and sopes were brought in from the neighborhood restaurant.  Soon I’ll be making it all myself …. maybe……  Again we ate and laughed and raced Mario around the track.  We laughed at them for wearing sweaters and complaining it was cold (only 75 degrees!) and they laughed at us for using a dish cloth instead of a sponge to wash dishes.  Our cultures and languages collided and melded and became a new kind of friendship – one where we know we are different but we choose to be united anyway.

That is what I think home is.  People coming together to enjoy one another in a place where they feel safe and comfortable and loved, whether they have been invited or just happen to be wandering by.  Yesterday we were lucky to have both – and now I know this house can be our home.

PS  Today we had a surprise guest too – a hummingbird joined us for breakfast in our garden.  How cool is that?

8 thoughts on “What Makes a Home?

  1. I LOVE this Karen! Sharing your home and food with friends is one of the greatest joys. It is so fun reading of your adventures here. Sean would fit right in in Mexico. He is a big fan of the sponge for dishwashing. I am more of a dish brush gal. 😀

    • Ranae – my whole adult life I have been inspired by your family’s time in Jamaica. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live and serve in a different world. Now’s our time…. thanks for sharing your time with us

      • Aw, that is SO cool! If ever we find ourselves in Mexico, we will have to share food together! I ADORE Mexican food. All of it, but especially tacos. I think I could eat some
        Sort of taco every single day and never tire of them. Haha. I love that we can get glimpses of your life daily via Facebook and your blog.

  2. Hi Karen, I am a friend of Janet Shindle’s and she has been telling me about your move. My hubby and I are making the move to Mexico this spring/summer and I enjoyed reading your blog. It is a great idea to blog so the folks back home can follow your adventures.

      • I sent you a facebook friend request and explained. I didn’t think this comment went through for some reason. We are moving to Ajijic on LAke Chapala. aout 40 min S. of Guadalajara. I will have to ask you quesions as they arise for sure. Thanks

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