After 30 years of living in California, my husband and I moved back to Cape Town for a more extended visit than our usual two to three week stays. Packing up our apartment, saying our goodbyes and traveling half way across the globe was both physically and emotionally tiring.
What a difference it made to receive such a warm welcome when we arrived in Cape Town!
If you have guests coming to stay at your home, check out our blog, 10 Simple Ways to Make Staying Guests Feel at Home.
When you are welcoming someone who is making a big move such as coming to study in your town, or relocating from another country, there are simple ways in which you can help make this large transition easier for your friend (or a stranger that you wish to help).
Here are some of my thoughts. Please add yours in the comments below. I would love to hear how you have received welcome from others or what you have done to make others feel at home when they have been visiting you.
Anticipate their arrival and ask if there is anything you can do in advance of their arrival such as arranging a crib/cot for a baby.
If they are initially staying at your home, place a small card and welcome gift on their bed. Even a chocolate on the pillow will say, "You were expected" and preparation was made for your arrival.
If possible, meet people at the airport even if they are renting a car. It is very comforting to see familiar faces in the crowd when you arrive at a new place. This is especially helpful when coming to a new country for the first time.
Stock some basic groceries in their fridge if you have the ability to get into their home, or bring some in a cooler to give to them. Heading to the grocery store after a long journey is not that easy and can be very confusing if you are a foreigner. I remember having a splitting headache after my first grocery shopping trip in the USA. How could there be so many different types of peanut butter?!
Draw a small amount of cash and give it to them in an envelope if they are coming from another country. This can help if they need to get a quick cup of coffee or pay for parking.
Bring a cooked meal that they can warm quickly. Only stay and eat with them if they press you to do so. They may need some peace and quiet and an early night. (My friend Kerry brought a home cooked chicken pie and salad for supper when we arrived in Cape Town. It was delicious and later other friends stopped by with meals for us.
Share some basic information on the immediate neighborhood with advice on good places to shop and eat.
Flowers brighten a room and make a house feel like home. Add a card or note with a personal and affirming message to make the gift even more meaningful.
Check in with them a few days after they have arrived to say if they need anything else. It can take a few days for people to catch their breath and then start to feel a little homesick or disoriented.
A little something extra:
My husband rented a condo in Cape Town for us to stay in for 6 months, sight unseen. He found it on the internet and after a friend checked it out, we made a plan to rent it. I didn't even know what was going to be in the cupboards etc. When we arrived in Cape Town, it was quite an adventure to walk in to the condo in person!
The first thing that struck us was the amazing view from our window!
And then I noticed that the only chintz plate (a type of china that I collect) on the wall matched the only piece of chintz I own that is in South Africa- a teapot I bought at an antique store! The painting on the wall done by the landlady matched a table cloth that I painted to use while in South Africa and the beaded flowers matched two that I own! The cushions matched my little protea themed bowls. It makes me think that this is exactly the place that we are meant to be living in during this season! What do you think? (Check out the photos!)
Many people around the world are traveling and moving to new places. Some are making these journeys by choice and others are being forced to move due to dire circumstances. As we all learn to practice generous living and true hospitality (the goal of Heartistry is to encourage this!), let us look out for opportunities to provide a warm welcome to those that need it most.
And you never know when you will be a recipient, just the way that I currently am!
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You can SHARE this post by clicking the Share button below. I would love to hear how you have either experienced welcome yourself or been able to welcome others in the COMMENTS below.