communal hospitality in Malacca, Malaysia

We arrived at our hostel in Malacca Tuesday afternoon. It’s more of a home than a guesthouse. The owners – a family- live here with their guests. Every corner, detail, and imperfection in this open and sunny house jerks a happy giddy.

Vines sprout from a styrofoam box-turned green planter, and they crawl around sinks and mirrors. Gold fish tanks in every size and form – bowls, peeled glass jars, and pots, are everywhere on the floor.

The parents/owners/couple move naturally about because it’s their home and ours. The shelf in the open kitchen holds tea, snacks, breads, and jams for guests. There is a handmade sign on a coffee tin asking for donations from thirsty contributors. On the other side are plain shelves overflowing with quality books – comic books, French books, English books, novels, magazines… signs above urge guests to read and help make their library grow. It’s genuinely communal here, and I can’t help but want to contribute to that very healthy spirit.

The first thought that ran through my mind while floating happily throughout the home here in Malacca:

So this is what it feels like to live in Northern California.



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