26.9.09

A Drop By House

I want a drop by house.

It's not a very American concept but I remember as a child I had a few friends who had drop by houses. Friends and family would drop by and the door was always open. Coffee and tea, or a beer, and a bite to eat and 20 or 30 minutes spent catching up and looking out for each other. Their homes may not have been fancy showcases but they held a warmth that stemmed from the hospitality of the owners.

These homes fascinated me because my family spent a good part of my childhood moving around. Our roots were not running deep in the places we stopped along the way. My parents were focused on work and family and on a few good friends who on special occasions we would visit or who would visit us.

As soon as I could afford to, I carried on with that very private lifestyle and got my own apartment, without roommates. Occasionally I had guests over for planned events but mostly my social interaction occurred outside the home.

I remember the first weekend I moved in with M. in Germany I was in for quite a shock, when I found out he had a drop by house. People were always ringing and stopping by for coffee and a chat. To be quite honest, I didn't like it all. In part because I didn't know the people yet and in part because I was not used to it and found it unsettling to have this unexpected influx of people throughout the day.

Over time I have become a dinner lingerer for hours on end with friends in restaurants, a Sunday outdoor fitness fanatic, and a big fan of afternoon kaffee and kuchen with a visitor or two.

As I think about the big*, empty apartment I will move into in two weeks time, I think mostly about how I want it to feel and be used rather than how I want it to look. One thing I hope it becomes is a drop by house.

*By German standards

8 comments:

C N Heidelberg said...

I always romanticize about this concept. I'm not sure if I could ever handle it because I like having days when I don't have to worry about being presentable or that there are a few dirty dishes out... but I do like the idea of people being welcome into my life. Hmm!

cliff1976 said...

Yeah, what CN said.

Plus, having a Drop By House means you have to be there most of the time. Could cramp your travel style!

aimee said...

i'm with CN and cliff. love the idea but like my alone time.

that said, i think a drop by house is a very southern american concept. when i was growing up in arkansas, everyone's house was a drop by house. the worst was when some people (very few) would drop by at dinner and mom would have to stretch our dinner for three to dinner for six or seven.

aimee said...

sorry, to clarify...not saying southern america came up with the idea (obviously given how young america is)...just that it is an american concept in the southern region. :-)

Expat Traveler said...

I think a drop by house is awesome, especially if you have some good coffee, wine, eats and a couch to sit on...

Sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe one day I can drop by for a visit!

The Big Finn said...

Be careful what you wish for...

Our first place in Switzerland was the drop by house of the neighborhood. At first, it was great.
Then, it got to the point where we couldn't enjoy a quiet meal in our backyard without a bunch of people walking into our yard and parking themselves at our table... for hours! Some people would just walk into our house, yell upstairs that they just needed a beer, would help themselves from the beer fridge, and leave. Or... sometimes we would have the blinds rolled down because we just wanted to watch TV alone, and people would knock on the outside of the blinds because they "thought" we were at home.
Eventually, it all became too much, and we HAD to move in order to preserve our sanity.
Now, we live on the top floor of a building, and only people with a key (us!) can take the elevator to our floor.
My advice? Tell people they're welcome, but to call first "just to make sure I'm home."

Michelle said...

I found your blog through ....I can't remember now, even though it was 5 mins ago, but someone elses blog. I loved this entry and had to comment - hope you don't mind another expat reader (and a Michelle, to boot).

Yes! A Drop By House! Our here in Germany has become that as well, and it's one of those "couldn't put my finger on" reasons of why I liked living here. As I said "homes just seem so much more open" - and less like fortresses in the town i live in now.

That said, my own beef is the "dinner hour drop by-ers". People in my village seem to have little concern over calling or coming in and standing there watching while we are eating dinner. I guess I better learn to offer them a bite....

- Michelle

Michelle said...

Hi Michelle - Welcome! Will check out your site soon!