Prepping for guests

7 Feb
The room is ready for guests

The room is ready for guests

Li’s parents are spending the Chinese New Year holiday with us which they also did last year.  Having houseguests is always interesting and I try to anticipate different needs that people will have.  In the spare bathroom I have small bottles of toiletries and tooth brushes collected during my many trips.  The spare room no longer has drying clothes or spare suitcase storage and I’ve picked up and filed or trashed the papers that tend to collect on every surface.

Li went to the grocery store and we are stocked up on nuts and fruits and other good things.  The kitchen has a new bottle of soy sauce, a full bag of  fragrant Thai rice and lots of eggs.

We are ready.

And yet, I’m not.

Having guests not of my choosing can be a little touchy.  Li’s mom makes me eat every single time I see her and the food is not always of my choosing.  Li’s dad watches Chinese TV at all times of the day and night at super high volume.  I don’t control the temperature in the house or anything else.  Knowing this going in makes it tougher.

But that is what you do for people you love.  You celebrate holidays and eat food and smile and soon it will be over.  The memories will get sweeter and time will pass and it will be ok.

One of the benefits of our relationship is that our holidays are different.  We never need to argue about where to go for Christmas.  I am the expert on western holidays and he on eastern.  Christmas was wonderful and Chinese New Year will be too.

So what tricks do you use when prepping for guests?  Any tips I can use to make the guest experience ( and my own) more pleasurable?  Any cultural difference stories with houseguests?  Please share and keep me smiling.  Going with the flow can be hard work.  I think I’ll need a vacation after this!


23 Responses to “Prepping for guests”

  1. expatlingo February 7, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I have in-laws (from America) visiting over CNY too. I’m looking forward to seeing them and watching them experience Hong Kong (they’ve never been to Asia), but at the same time I am already pre-planning some time on my own. I know I’ll need it!

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      I think it is different when you are related to the visitors, there is a whole different type of understanding. Good luck with your own guests!

  2. Kristin February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Oh dear, that’s always tough! My in-laws tend to always visit us for three weeks which can get rather long. No matter how much you love your visitors, it is exhausting to put your life on hold. That’s why last time I made it clear that apart from little excursions with them, I wouldn’t change my routine, like e.g. they like to stay up until midnight, whereas I prefer to go to bed earlier and get up at 5am. Of course, I made some compromises but in general, I sticked to what I felt I needed to …well, stay sane! ;-D And it went really well last time.
    As with other guests, I always put tourist guides in the room so they can come up with ideas what they want to do and when. That’s much easier than playing the part of the tourist guide 24/7.
    Good luck! 🙂

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      I know, in laws are really the toughest. Might I say I am working a little extra this week? For others I have the drill down, lots of tourist info, maps and other things but most of my materials are in English which is a bit tough in this case! Two weeks is about my limit. We’ll see how I fare this time.

  3. Valerie February 7, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    You could move to a place where there is no room for guests 🙂

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      This is an idea, but with the Chinese version of filial piety, that may mean I would be the one sleeping on the floor!

  4. Nate February 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Luckily, we are the guests, so all I need to bring are gifts. But, that in itself can be problematic. I tend to always bring alcohol since I can never remember what is the appropriate Chinese gift to give and to whom. Money and booze – can’t go wrong.

    Good Luck-

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks, I’ll take all the luck I can muster. Keeping a sense of humor is key too. Gifts are important here, I think alcohol and fruit are the universal choices. Be a good guest and I will keep you updated!

  5. ladyofthecakes February 7, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Can’t wait for the debrief… 😉

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Me too, as that means I will have survived! That said though, they are lovely people but viewed best from a slight distance. 🙂

      • ladyofthecakes February 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

        Are you sure you’re not talking about MY family here??
        I’ve also got a guest arriving on Saturday 🙂

      • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

        Perhaps all families share some characteristics! Enjoy your guests too.

      • ladyofthecakes February 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

        I will, because I only invite people I REALLY like, lol. Duty/obligation invites are NOT issued from these quarters, no Sir.

      • ladyofthecakes February 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

        You inspired my latest post…

  6. sarahinguangzhou February 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Yes this is why a favour living in small apartments so that people never stay more than 2 nights.

    • gkm2011 February 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      That is an option for sure, but not short term as I have another 18 months on my lease! I do like guests most of the time, but less than a week please!

  7. thirdeyemom February 8, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Good luck!!!!

    • gkm2011 February 8, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Thank you. They have arrived already. More to come.

      • thirdeyemom February 9, 2013 at 6:49 am #

        Extra good luck! 🙂

  8. Naomi Baltuck February 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    A shopping trip for groceries, clean up the guest room, and my office, in case guests need a private workspace. It is always a good excuse to catch up on the housework, and as you said, it is what we do for our friends and loved ones. (I have someone visiting from Portland this weekend, and am so HAPPY to have a clean office now!)

    • gkm2011 February 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      My mom always said that the best reason to clean house was to have visitors. I agree – to a point! My grandma always said the best visitors left while you still wanted them to stay. A clean house is a good reward.

  9. becky6259 February 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Sounds like you’ve gone all out to make your guests comfortable! I’m sure they enjoyed their stay!


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