I discovered Hannah’s beautiful blog over a year ago, and quickly fell in love with her lovely, funny, writing and gorgeous photos. I was thrilled to meet her at a dear friend’s wedding in the fall, and am so honored to be featured on her blog today. This one is on hospitality–and should be a fun one for any of you who have sat or slept on our dumpster doomed couch. :) Enjoy!
When my husband, Andrew, and I, first bound together our souls and wallets in the summer of 2012 and moved to a new state, we, like many who get married a year out of college, were broke. Worse, he had just started his own business, and I had no job yet, so steady paychecks were not a thing. We moved to a tiny, quirky basement apartment in the heart of Charlottesville, Virginia, which we were completely in love with.
Kindly, Andrew’s grandparents bestowed on us their old couch, of the pink and green floral variety, with uncomfortable patches of fading fabric around the bum area. We decided to cover it up with an even uglier poop colored brown slipcover, that didn’t quite fit, so flashes of neon colored floral peep out at its feet. The couch has one leg, so the others are held up by three wooden blocks that are roughly the same height. I realized early that vacuuming underneath this mammoth was not going to happen.
This couch has travelled with us to two different states, and three homes. This month, we will leave the servant’s quarters of the college mansion-turned-dorm where I work and study and buy a house of our own, and finally, it is time to get rid of this ugly brown-floral-neon couch. But, standing here in my living room, looking at the unwanted friend that has become a fixture in our homes the past three years, I feel sadder than I thought I would be to see the back of it.
The couch is given the worst of our culture’s furniture stereotypes: couch potato, lazy bum, bump on a log. It is on the couch where too much time is spent eating junk food and watching movies, playing video games, relishing in general un-productivity.
But the couch, for us, was the place we sat two weeks after getting married, nervously balancing our dessert plates and coffee cups while entertaining our first “new” friends. It’s the place where we discussed all the taboos: religion, politics, money, with friends late into the night, until someone inevitably fell asleep on it. We’ve spilled cake on it while hosting birthday parties, chicken dip during Superbowl parties, and we’ve got a burn mark on it from a sparkler let off in the house. This is where I met with my RA staff, where I counseled college freshmen over a cup of French Press, where I wrote most of my manuscript and then critiqued it with classmates over glasses of wine. This couch has served as our guest room, our entertainment center, our table, and desk. Over 200 people have sat on it, slept on it, or spilled something on it in the 3.5 years since we’ve taken it in. This ugly couch, in many ways, has given us the biggest gift in our marriage: it has served as the center for our community.
I think that for students, hospitality can be something we think we’ll get to later in life. It’s something that will happen when we have more time, more space, more money; when we’re not living in dorms with filmy white paint, when we’re not scrambling to meet a deadline, when we have more to offer than an ugly brown couch.
Head over to Hannah’s blog to continue reading!