Two Irish lassies, Amy and her friend Rachel, arrived to our home in San Diego on August 7 dragging the largest suitcases I’d even seen. Amy’s mom, Louise, and I had connected via HomeExchange.com last April and worked out a unique plan. (See last week’s blog post for e-mail transcripts.) I was to provide hospitality to the two 21-year-old girls and in exchange my husband and I would vacation in September at the family’s holiday home located in the village of Kinsale, Ireland.
From the minute I opened our front door when Amy and Rachel smiled their sweet smiles and began speaking in their adorable Irish brogues my family was smitten.
The girls dragged their suitcases as I showed them to the guest room that included a pair of twin beds.
“Oh, this is grand! Separate beds,” Amy squealed.
“Yeah,” Rachel said, “We’ve had to share beds in a couple places. One time it was a twin!”
The girls told me they’d been saving up their euro for months to take this 5-week college graduation trip to California. They laughed easily and finished each other’s sentences.
They had barely arrived when Amy and Rachel joined my husband, Stan and our son Dillon at a San Diego Padres baseball game. The girls ordered hot dogs.
“It’s what you do at a baseball game, right?” Amy said.
“That’s what they show in the movies!” Rachel added.
The Padres beat the Cubs 7-4, with the luck of the Irish cheering in the stands.
On Tuesday when I drove “the Irish,” as we began to refer to Amy and Rachel, to Ocean Beach I pointed out Gallagher’s Irish Pub on Newport Avenue.
“Do you girls like Guinness?” I asked.
“No!” Amy cried. “It smells like an old man!”
My daughter, Michele, celebrated her 21st birthday while Amy and Rachel were in San Diego; by Wednesday the birthday preparations began to heat up. I think I’ll let the photos tell the story.
Throughout their visit I was amazed how naturally “the Irish” became part of our family. They watched the Olympics with us, explained their definition of boot (car trunk) and bin (trash can), and Michele introduced them to California burritos and carne asada fries.
For one week Ireland became more than just a country; Ireland was two young women with hopes and dreams and unanswered questions about love and life.
That’s what excites me most about home exchange; every time we home swap I’m reminded that we have a lot more in common with the rest of the world, than not. We’re all just people, doing our best to discover who we are and where we fit in. And making new friends around the globe is a great place to start.
What is your favorite way to make personal discoveries? Share your thoughts and comment below