International housewarming

Pink "Jubilee Celebration" English rose by David Austin.

Pink "Jubilee Celebration" English rose by David Austin. Photo: David Austin/Wikimedia

As a realtor in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, I have been honored to be included in many different house-warming rituals and ceremonies with my clients. Following are a few I remember with pleasure and respect.

England

My client was a woman originally from England. She signed the papers to buy a house in Silver Spring, and was scheduled to take possession in a couple of months.

But it was spring and my client wanted to plant a seedling from her grandmother’s garden. It was a certain hardy rose that grows in England’s Lake District. I negotiated with the seller, who kindly allowed my buyer to plant at her new house before she actually took possession.

Observing all the rules, my English lady brought a rose cutting wrapped in moist cloth through airport security. It was quarantined at Dulles Airport for routine testing. After a few days, the US Department of Agriculture approved the immigration of this future rose bush.

We researched online and found planting instructions, then drove around to find the correct soil. Finally, we planted it at the house. For my client, her new house in America had a piece of her grandmother’s home in the Lake District — England’s rose.

Bolivia

Bowl of quinoa on wooden table.

An ancient food from the Andes, Quinoa was called by the Incas the "Mother of all Grains." Photo: Lauri Patterson/iStockphoto

It was early spring, the day before settlement on her new house. My client from Bolivia and I visited the house during her lunch break. She and her sister brought a dish of quinoa (a seed/quasi-grain), which we ate there for good luck and long life in the house. It was tasty, with a strong grain flavor. Months later, she showed me how to jazz it up with fruits and nuts.

China

It was the dead of January and freezing cold. Before he made the final decision to buy, this Chinese opera singer had a request. He said it was personal and hard to explain. In short, he had to know if the house as positioned on the hill had the earth energy to allow him to sing out loud inside. We visited with his Feng Shui (風水) advisor. The test showed the house was fine, except the front path from the street to the front door. We had it moved about four feet to the east, so it caught better light.

Flag map of the world

Flag map of the world. Image: Transparent 6lue/Wikimedia

India

They had lived in America for years, but this was their first house purchase in the US. It was a new home which they had designed. Before the interior walls were sealed with drywall, I got the builder’s permission to visit after hours. My clients washed the front steps, then placed a small vessel in the wall of the family room. Within days, it was sealed inside the wall. For many years, it would help protect their family.

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