It's happened every time with the six Guests we've hosted. Andrew has been no different. It's only week three and already he's settling in.
I can't believe how much fun it's been since he arrived. I would never in a million years think that I'd have so much in common with an astrophysicist! I'm learning so much, having a barrel of laughs and I can’t believe the changes his presence has made in our lives already. And from what he's shared, it's making a massive difference in his life too.
This is one of the most surprising things that comes out of Xchanging. It's not just the practical help that you receive as a Host and the personal time you get back, it's the personal Xchange that happens too. Having a Guest in your home opens your world up to new ideas, new experiences, new ways of thinking, and at times, news ways of living.
For the past month, my team has been insisting that I hire someone to assist our company with Customer Care and Content Creation. My office is in my home, which happens to be in the outskirts of Melbourne. I was finding it very difficult to find someone who was ideal for the position and who was happy to come this far to work each day.
As I got to know Andrew, it quickly dawned on me that he could be the person to hire. Initially it didn’t even cross my mind, as he is an astrophysicist and we hadn’t talked about if or when he had planned to work. But as I got to know him, I realised his skill set, initiative and ability to pick up things quickly was what I was looking for. I asked him if he would be interested, and he replied with a resounding 'yes'. He began the next day, and what would usually take most people a day to learn, he picked up in an hour or so. He’s not only making a difference in my life on a domestic and personal level; now he’s taken some of the pressure off my professional life as well. And for Andrew, he's gone from being newly separated, with no where to live, no job and the pressure of completing his PhD to having a new home, people who care for him and a job.
Andrew is a vegetarian. Although we aren’t, we do aim to eat less meat and more vegetables but of late, we've been eating far too much meat. When you're so used to one way of living, it's difficult to see the changes you need to make until someone else's values are presented to you. We were delighted that Andrew is a vegetarian as we are now able to commit to eating less meat, it's more cost effective and far better for our health. Andrew doesn't mind being around meat, he just prefers not to eat it, so we still have a steak and fish once or twice a week. Living with a vegetarian has caused us to lean more into a healthier lifestyle and be more conscious about what we're eating. We're already feeling the benefits of it. Did I say he's only been here for three weeks? Wow!
Andrew and my daughter, Tijana, who have become friends, have been talking about getting a compost bin and reducing our waste in general. My daughter told us about an initiative that Woolworths has taken on, which is accepting soft plastic waste for recycling. In addition, since we’re eating a lot more vegetables now, it made sense to start composting, especially as we have a large vegetable garden and quite a few fruit trees. So, on Sunday the three of us headed over to Bunnings and bought a twin barrel compost bin. I spent the afternoon preparing food for the week and very quickly noticed how much soft plastic was separated from our rubbish and the amount of vegetable waste we had for the compost bin. It was an eye opening moment and will definitely reduce our household waste and increase how much we recycle.
It's important that your Guests feel like it's their home but it does take a couple of weeks to settle in. In the last couple of weeks I've noticed his suitcases were still unpacked. I guess he was feeling a little insecure the first week or so not knowing if this was for real. He had so much going on in his life when he arrived that I could understand if he was feeling a little apprehensive. But I walked past him room yesterday and noticed he was unpacking his suitcases. Seeing him unpack and making the room his own was lovely. It was like he was leaning into the opportunity and opening himself up to what was possible. We got him a work desk for his room and a plant and he was all set. It's nice that he has a space to not only sleep, but to relax in if he wants his own space.
I LOVE that my laundry arrives folded in a basket outside my bedroom door. I put it in the washing machine and next thing I know it's there! He's the best folder in the world. He's also re-organised my laundry storage cupboard and the kitchen is spotless everyday.
Did I mention he's only been here three weeks?
So, have a think about how you could change the way you live and the wonderful, new experiences a Guest can bring to your life.
Ludwina Dautovic | Host, Melbourne
This post is part 2 of a series of blog posts by Ludwina Dautovic, our CEO. She is in an Xchange with Andrew Butler. To get the beginning of the story, start reading here. You can also read about Andrew Butler's journey as a Guest here.