Today I looked at houses for my mom’s friend Jean. Most of them had people living in them. It was so interesting to step into someone’s home, a complete stranger, and feel a little bit of who they are and what their lives were like. I felt like I saw a piece of their personalities and even their pasts. I realized how much more I noticed and thought about them than if they were the person standing in front of me in a line or even someone I were to have a short one time conversation with. It felt different and a little weird to walk into someone’s home, which is something so intimate, for a completely non-intimate reason.

Here are some of my highlights:

Home 1:
There was this quiet woman whose accent and manner told me she moved here from a different country. She looked plain and shy but her home was decorated with such color, life and good taste. I imagined she grew up in a wealthy family and now that she is older and living alone her children, especially her daughter, wanted her to be in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids running about. She likes to go out, especially to go home decor shopping. She likes to get to bed early, first watching some television or a movie before she sits on her bedroom porch to read next to her homegrown garden in its little rectangular pot.

Home 2:
There was a young married couple who are so madly in love and with a new baby. I could tell they are comfortable being themselves which reminds one of a fairytale and a little corny for some. They moved into their first home and really made it their own. They enjoy taking couple and family portraits and make each other feel like they matter. On weekend afternoons where they are both off they open up their windows to let the light pour in and put on a family movie, most often a romantic comedy like Princess Bride. They are probably the nicest people you would ever meet and I know this with just out simple exchange of “Hello, we will go take a walk while you look around.”

Home 3:
It was one of those Asian homes where they keep the furniture covered in plastic. Some of the rooms looked like the occupant was only staying there temporarily with asian mattresses stacked on top of each other in an otherwise empty room. However the master bedroom and the daughter’s room had so many personal items I thought it felt cluttered. The loft upstairs had two mattresses in it as well for naps and the master bedroom had a bunk bed. Most of the lights were kept off and there were carnival-like big stuffed animals sitting in the living room. The older Chinese woman who lived there said she has three grown kids and I noticed she had a lot of high heels, much higher than what I would wear but non of them were too sexy looking. You could tell she was a hustler, someone who lived for good deals and probably gambled at local casinos in her spare time. She talked way more than most to me selling me on what a great neighborhood it was being able to watch all the park activities nearby and how the security was so good there.