The kids are (finally) back in school, and I have some mental and physical breathing room. So, I’ll start by writing that age-old back-to-school essay: What I did on my summer vacation.
This could take a while. It was a good vacation with a lot to chew on. Let’s start here:
Our first Airbnb experience
This summer we had our first Airbnb experience. (Spoiler alert: it probably won’t be our last). For almost a week, we stayed in someone else’s house very close to where I grew up. We made the decision to use Airbnb because for an extended stay, we got much more room for our money than we would have staying in a cramped expensive hotel room in the suburbs of NYC. This saved us both money and sanity, both extremely important things to have on a vacation.
I found the whole experience to be an exercise in trust. The owner of the house trusted us with her space and her possessions. She left us the keys to her car, just in case we needed to move it. We trusted her that she would honor our reservation and that the house would match her description. For part of our stay, there was another guest present. We trusted her assurance that he was a NICE man. He was. She trusted that we would not sue her if our children got hurt on her trampoline.
In exchange for her trust, we tried to use only what we really needed and tried to leave the space cleaner than we found it. I enjoyed cooking in someone else’s kitchen and using their dishes. I have a great fondness for dishes, so this was fun to experience and use another set, when I can’t possibly justify purchasing as many different sets as I am tempted to.
The kids had fun. Our daughter enjoyed the bunkbeds, switching from top to bottom bunk on alternate nights. Our son opted for the room on the third level with the giant tv, despite the heat. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of how other people lived, hearing their stories and trying to piece together other pieces of the story from the clues they left in their physical spaces.
The house itself was a large colonial style house built it 1908 and mostly finished with a renovation. I appreciated and admired the large rooms with tall ceilings and beautiful moldings. I grew up in a nearby house, built in 1890, so I understood and appreciated the creaking floors, claw foot tubs, the original glass doorknobs that sometimes fell off, doors that don’t shut properly, and the brick wall in the kitchen where the original stove went. For me, it was part of the charm. Especially because I wasn’t completely responsible for it and it wasn’t forever.
While I am sure that there are Airbnb horror stories, I am most grateful to report that ours is a good one. Given today’s climate of distrust, fear and anger, it felt good to trust, to put our faith in the inherent goodness of people. We arrived reeling from the latest rounds of shootings and bombings and sat in her peaceful garden watching the fireflies and bees go about their business. Her home was comfortable and comforting and oddly enough, it didn’t feel odd at all.