It was a full day. A good day. Chinua was out doing some photography, so I made dinner and put the kids to bed, which is no easy feat, mostly because I started making dinner at 4:00 and finished at 7:30. (Why? Solo, of course, is the answer.)
Dinner was a hit. I've been thankful lately for little snippets of healthiness from my kids, like when Leafy says that his favorite food is rice and vegetables, or when Kid A enthuses about how he loves cauliflower more than any other food in the world. It's taken a while, but they love our way of eating here. And they can handle spicy foods now. All it took was time.
On Friday we are taking a train to Delhi, to register Solo's birth and get him a passport. The boy will finally have a nationality, and it will be American, given that his brothers and sisters all have US passports. I'm really excited for a little trip to Delhi (trying not to think too much about what the weather will be like there) because I want to check out some book printers and fabric shops and tailors. Oh, I have my ideas. I'm always full of ideas.
Our living situation here has become so sweet, since now we have these great downstairs neighbors at the height of the monsoon. I went down to bring one neighbor half of the fresh milk that we're sharing, and borrowed some sugar to bring back up for my coffee. We're neighbors like that. When he was looking for his daughters later, he knocked on the door and asked "Permission to come aboard?"
It wasn't just talk. They sailed from Australia to South India, then ran out of wind early in the season, and decided to stop in India until the winds change. (Like Mary Poppins.) They then drove all the way up here. This is kind of a big deal. They are wonderful, adventurous neighbors, and the kids play together really well, although familiarity is starting to kick in. ("You ALWAYS... you NEVER." I could tell them from experience that these words are never helpful.)
Some other friends from up the hill called this afternoon and asked if they could come over to watch "the Office" for a while. I said of course of course, and down they came to lounge on our bed and laugh over the complete awkwardness of the best show on TV.
I'm very thankful, for the ways we can open our home. I'm thankful that people are comfortable coming over, that we eat together and share, that we drink pots of chai, that even at the very end of the day, when I'm beside myself with trying to get Solo to sleep, at those moments when I'm muttering away in my brain (I'm too tired for this, I hate days like today, I hate my life, this is too much for me) I can still hear some muffled giggling in my home from friends watching a funny show, and sigh, and know that it's going to be alright.
This is what I have learned about hospitality:
1. No one cares if your house is perfectly clean. What everyone craves is to be welcome.
2. The smallest things are gestures of inclusion. A cup of tea, the offer of your kitchen if they'd like to make themselves a sandwich.
3. Children are very hospitable, if you allow them to be.
4. You can fall apart, even with people over. You can say, "What a day, I'm so tired." People want to help.
5. The world is full of lonely people. Invite someone in.