good life with claire troyer
Part of cultivating a good life is learning about other cultures and embracing people when we cross paths with them.
One of the best parts about the family I grew up in was learning the joy of hospitality. We have a legacy of opening our homes to others that stretches back generations and I’m thankful for it. In my family history hunt, I have come across photographs of my great-grandmother serving a holiday meal. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but I have heard stories about how people would just “happen to drop by” their house on the weekends because they knew she was one of the best cooks and always had more than enough food to share.
This sounds just like the home I grew up in. One of our favorite holiday traditions is to skip exchanging gifts on Christmas and instead open our home to others – specifically to students who travel across the world to come study at our local universities. These students come to study in America and also to immerse themselves in our culture. Many times they long to visit an American family’s home but are rarely invited into one.
Our family has been blessed to cross paths with many students and invite them in for holidays including Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other nights throughout the year. One of our favorite memories was when we set up an Easter egg hunt for my young cousins and the students asked if they could join in. They had the best time running around hunting for the eggs. We learned that the following year we needed to double the Easter eggs we were hiding! My cousins enjoyed racing the college students and the rest of us enjoyed watching them experience an American tradition.
We have been blessed to have students from the Philippines, India, Ghana, Morocco, China, Sri Lanka, and Saudi Arabia – just to name a few! They have told us many times they are blessed to come visit, but we really feel like we are the ones who are blessed. They share their stories, culture, language, food, and more. We end up laughing together a lot – as they try to have us pronounce a word in their language or as we try to figure out the English meaning for a word they are describing. Despite our few communication gaps, the conversations we share are sweet and the memories we make stay with them when they return back home.
(Pictured at the top, you’ll see the map that hangs in my parents’ home. When students come visit, we ask them to “pin” their home. We always love adding to it and seeing how far they have come!)
Sharing in these holidays, meals, and traditions with these students has really made our lives richer. Who could you reach out to this week who just might need an evening of hospitality and a dose of laughter? After all, doing life together is what truly makes for a “good life.”
Claire Troyer is a part of our Creative Team using the Project Life® App. She currently lives in Illinois and her family now consists of her parents, two sisters, a bonus brother (in-law), and three grandparents.