I realized this weekend that I am most definitely NOT the perfect host. Actually, far from it. As our hosts in LA anticipated and provided everything we could want and more, it became clear to me that, as I judged myself by comparison, I have been the host with the least in the past. So here is my public apology to all our past guests. Positive intent but bad execution. I’m a sort of “take care of yourself” person. I don’t expect anyone to take care of me, being fiercely independent and all. When we have guests visit us, I have always told them to make themselves at home and just assume they will. Who am I to hover when I’ve told them that what I have is theirs?
This self-revelation came when we visited Thom’s brother Jimmy and his wife, Shari, to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert at LA Sports Arena. Worried about that pesky LA traffic, I suggested we take public transportation vs. driving, even though we didn’t expect the concert to be over until very late. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Finally, after much conversation and hearing Shari’s concerns about the walking involved and train service limitations, I accepted that we should drive and, boy, was I glad that we did. Not only do I need to be a better host but I need to be a better guest too. First lesson-listen to your hosts! With Bruce playing his heart out for nearly 4 hours, we were able to quickly exit and jump in the car to hit the highway and get home by midnight. Arriving earlier in the day we got to check out the space shuttle Endeavor prior to the concert. So fun! Thom declared it a perfect day-experiencing the space shuttle simulator and dancing to Bruce and the E Street Band. I may not be a good hostess but I do good at birthday presents for my hubby!
But back to being spoiled rotten. Not wanting to put anyone out, I think I was rude in denying Jimmy and Shari the right to take care of us at the level they wanted to. I don’t really eat breakfast so no need to cook, right? But here came a lovely fruit plate and breakfast wrap our first morning. Instead of being nice and eating it, I declined and that was probably rude. Shari is from Hong Kong and embodies the Chinese culture that we saw when we lived there. Food is important and when family comes together, sharing a meal is significant. Shame on me! Lesson learned.
I’m the one, who in the past for work events, did not order enough food when in charge of picking the menu because I didn’t want to waste food and liked to save money. I learned quickly from my boss in China that he expected that to never happen and I had better forget the budget and order the damn food and lots of it. To the point that I knew to also order takeaway boxes so everyone at the meeting could take home leftovers. Okay. Good reminder for family gatherings as well.
As we drove to dinner Friday night in LA traffic, I was thinking to myself, aren’t there restaurants closer to home? But no, on we went until we reached an adorably charming town where an old lemon factory had been converted into shops and restaurants and I bought some handmade jewelry from a friendly artist. We ended up eating outside under the stars and, with Jimmy ordering LOTS of delicious food, we had a night to remember. Had I been in charge, we would have schlepped to the closest place and probably gone home hungry.
Today, we had barely gotten back from a huge dim sum feast today after our foot massages (heaven!) when Jimmy was pre-ordering pizzas for dinner and concerned that he get everyone their favorite toppings. This morning when the power was out at the house, he was up early to run to Starbucks because he knew we loved our caffeine fix. By the time he got back with venti Americanos for all, the power was already back on but, just in case it wasn’t, his guests were prepared to start the day right. Jimmy and Shari ARE the perfect hosts. Me, not so much. The first step is admitting it.