Monday, October 6, 2008

Home exchange: I heart Geordies

On Saturday night we drove about 80 miles west of our house to meet our future home exchangers from northern England. They were on their first trip to the States, on a home exchange near enough to our place that I thought it would be interesting to get together for dinner. I have to admit that I was nervous about meeting people that I had only traded a few emails with, and it's uncharacteristic of me to invite them to dinner. I have no idea why I suggested it. So we drove up to to the home they are exchanging, which made it even weirder since it's not even their place but also sort of cool so we could see what the house looked like. This particular house is small, what realtors would call quaint, and its affluent area and charming guest cottage make it a desirable home for exchange. I knew that the swappers have young grandchildren, so I thought this would be like an evening with someone's grandparents, all proper and polite with the kids bribed with candy to keep them quiet. I thought I was going for tea with the Queen. I was totally wrong. These people were amazingly young in both their appearances and in their spirit, and after a few awkward minutes of introduction we settled in for an evening of laughs and great companionship. They enchanted us with stories of home exchanges across Europe and shared tips and advice for us as first timers. It seems the people from this particular region of northern England are called Geordies, known for their friendly nature and hospitality, and I can't think of better people to show us the ropes.
photo: BBC

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