I love hosting people.
Not so much hosting parties. With people.
Just hosting humans. Living in my house. Doing their own thing. Not reliant on me.
When my husband, Judah, and I first moved to New York City in 2005, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens. When friends or family came to visit, they slept on a blowup bed on the living room floor. With two cats roaming freely, a litter box feet from their heads, and Judah and I walking through the living room to the human bathroom during the night, there wasn’t much privacy to be had.
About five years after moving into this one-bedroom apartment, one of my theatre friends who lived in Baltimore asked if she could stay with us while she was in the city for rehearsals.
For two weeks.
This was the longest anyone had stayed with us to date.
She slept on an inflatable mattress. In the living room. For two weeks. I loved having her with us. I felt bad that she didn’t have any privacy. I wished she had a room of her own. With a door. To shut out the cats. Who strangely would eat paper. Her script wasn’t safe.
Thus was born my desire for a second bedroom. And hosting people.
I wanted to be able to host friends and family when they visited the city. To help make it affordable and possible. To host friends, or acquaintances, who needed to be in the city for a day or two for auditions or a month for rehearsals. Friends who wanted to move to the city but needed a starter room while they searched for their first apartment.
Judah and I had been diligently saving money to buy our own place the entire time we’d lived in New York. Six years by the time we actually bought our house.
Judah would prefer to have a studio apartment. Totally open floor plan. No walls.
This would provide no privacy. With visitors.
I wanted two bedrooms.
For privacy. With visitors.
In 2011, we bought a three-bedroom house. Not a studio. No open floor plan. Lots of walls. And privacy for all.
Very shortly after we moved into our house, an actor friend came to live with us for a month. She was moving to the city from Florida and needed a place to stay while she looked for an apartment. I was thrilled to be able to provide her a room and then send her on her way to make a life for herself in the “big city”.
The whole reason I wanted a second bedroom was being realized.
Many of our guests are actors. When you do a show outside of NYC, you live in cast housing with the other actors. There is an ease that develops from co-existing in a shared space. Everyone has their own room but also shares common spaces, like the kitchen and living room. All this in addition to all the time spent together at the theatre, on and offstage.
Having actors stay at our house felt simple. Normal. At least for me.
Mi casa es su casa. I love to tell people this when they stay with us. I don’t want them to feel like a guest in our home. I want them to feel like they live here, even if it’s only for a few days.
If you need something in the kitchen, feel free to root through the cabinets. If you can’t find it, ask me. But no need to ask me before looking for yourself. Need a glass of water? Go ahead and grab one. Our house is your house.
I like having people around. I like helping people. And I like not having to be responsible for them.
As an introvert, Judah might prefer a studio apartment with an open floor plan that has no privacy because he prefers not to need privacy because he wouldn’t be hosting anyone.
But, you’d never know it if you stayed at our house.
When anyone who lives with us for any length of time walks through the door to our house, Judah calls out a warm, friendly, “Welcome home!” from wherever he is.
He extends this to me when I come home, too, but I live here. All the time.
I love that, even though it might not have been his first choice, he has fully embraced sharing our home with others, and lovingly welcomes everyone “home”.