My parents changed our house into a Bed and Breakfast when I graduated from high school. They had the bed and breakfast up until a few years ago when they retired.
I remember being very skeptical of allowing people to come in and stay at our home. However, it ended up being a natural fit--my mom is an early riser, a talker, and a great cook.
I have no idea how many people went through our doors over the 15 years or so it was open. Many people came back over and over again...I can only imagine that part of their return was the great conversation and part of it was the homemade cinnamon rolls...pecan muffins...stuffed omelettes...english muffin bread...homemade strawberry jam...biscuits and gravy...mmmmmmmmmm......
Anyway...I digress. :)
My parents are very strong Christians. They always started breakfast off with a prayer. They always went to church on Sundays and Wednesday nights. If guests were planning to come in, they explained that they would be at church and then left the door to the house unlocked and told the guests how to get in (even if they didn't know them).
But above all of that...or maybe because of all that, they got to know people.
My mom would tell me stories about people from Germany, New York, or even others in Missouri. They exchanged recipes and talked about their kids. She kept a world map and put pins on the places where each guest was from. She took a picture of everyone who walked through their doors. She even convinced guests living in and around Dallas to meet up with me once they returned home and deliver the homemade goods she had packed.
My mom found common interests and she connected with people no matter who they were or where they were from. I believe she felt that each person she met had something new to offer her...and, in the process, her conversation must've offered them something as well...or they wouldn't have returned so often.
I appreciate that lesson.