Open House   // gina

A few weeks ago, my little sister was here for a visit and we got talking about the idea of communal living versus that of individuals or couples living “alone”, separate from the extended family/friend network that used to be the norm. For example in Italy, until quite recently really, it was common to have multiple generations of a family living in the one building. This obviously has both pros and cons, but the overall idea was that extended family members lived together supporting one another, if also at times driving each other mental.

Lucia suggested that the current norm of “isolated” living in the West puts a lot of pressure on a couple. That quite simply put: 2 is not enough. That it is, perhaps, not how we are “wired” to live.

I initially dismissed this as exaggerated hippy talk. I thought, in a wise older-sister-voice, “Maybe you’re just not at that stage yet Lucia, but one day you too will want to live alone with your partner in your own place”. And then I took a closer look.

In Blacksburg, USA, where we used to live, Jeff and I had dinner with friends multiple times a week either in our apartment or theirs. Unannounced drop-by visits from friends were the norm. We lived “alone” together, Jeff & I, but were really a part of a close network of people.

Now in Italy we are already busy creating a web of new friends around ourselves. Sharing meals, pilates lessons, and days in the mountains. Also, since June we have had a total of 16 friends/family members to stay with us for anything from one night to a week, coming from America, Ireland and the UK. We obviously like having an ‘open house’. It seems that, in a way, we are trying to create our own type of modern ‘commune’ existence. Apparently we understand the importance of it, even if I’m ready to argue that fact with my little sister.

Every visit has been special. Every guest has left their mark in our home. Sitting alone in the kitchen typing this post I can imagine and almost sense every friend/sibling that has joined us in our lives here so far. Preparing dinner together, making a pot of tea, washing the dishes… The busy readying before heading up hiking in the mountains. It doesn’t just feel like they have visited us, but rather they have lived here for a while, and will be back again soon.

They will be welcomed home 🙂

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