Monday, March 17, 2008

Receiving Guests When You Stay Overseas

I've lived overseas since I graduated from university, most of that time being in Singapore. Over the past 5 years or so, I've split time between Singapore and Shanghai, and am currently in Shanghai for this semester doing some language studies.

When you live overseas, it is a common thing to receive guests from your home country. It can vary, whether that is a good thing or bad. I've had surprise guests come in who I didn't even know, but were friends of one family member or another. That can always be interesting. But over the 15 years that I've been living overseas, it's mostly been fun when I've had guests come in from home to see me. This past week, my best friend and her children (my godchildren) came from Singapore to Shanghai to visit me, and we had lots of fun.

When you have guests, there are always some things to think of in order to get the place ready to receive them. It's great if you can do so well enough to avoid mishaps, but that doesn't always work out. You can minimize the risk of unpleasant thigs by thinking of a few things:

• always have a standby plan for meals, such as a favorite restaurant you can bring your guests to and know you'll get good food and good service

• make good plans for transportation, whether public transportation, private car, or walking (most of my guests like to try out various forms of public transportation, so I try to think of that in advance)

• make sure and have extra towels, toiletries, etc., on hand for your guests, so that they won't be inconvenienced if they forgot anything

• try to visit some places with your guests that you've never been — it will be interesting for you too, that way

• make sure and leave a bit of free time, in case something goes wrong and you need to reschedule a visit to one place or another (that happened during this recent visit, and we spent one day "making up for disappointments")

• relax and enjoy your guests — ultimately it's more about the time spent together than it is about how exciting and itinerary you can plan

Those are some of the things I always try to keep in mind when I have guests coming. There might be other things to consider too, but I find that if I do these things when I have guests coming, it makes the visit a lot of fun.

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Sharon said...

I've got guests arriving today. These are great tips. If only I could figure out how to work from home efficiently when my guests include two young children, making a total of three under fives in the house.

Sun Singer said...

We had to think through many of those same things early last summer when my two brothers and their children were here at the same time. Co-ordinating meal preferences, transportation, bedtimes, etc. is easier with a little planning.


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