I know I haven’t gotten caught up yet…I’ve been a lazy blogger … there’s a whole slew of things to tell you about (including my awesome USA trip with the BF!).
But for today I want to talk about something else. CouchSurfing.
Yesterday was my first CouchSurfing Event – evening drinks on the beach in Marseille and it was wonderful! For over a year I lived just across the street from this beach, knew that the CouchSurfing group would be there every Wednesday night in the warmer months but I never went…I was scared. CouchSurfers to me always seemed like mythically confident world travelers and I was WAY too timid to throw myself into that mix. Until now.
About a year ago, while my BF was interviewing for jobs in the south of France, we needed a quick place to crash for 1-2 nights so we looked into CouchSurfing it in Antibes. We were lucky, at the last minute someone said yes! A stranger let us come and crash, and hang out and make music and watch a near marathon of Community with them (which is why now, my BF and I have watched the entire series! Highly recommended for laughs all around!). Since then, and since my move into an apartment that actually has a couch that isn’t also MY bed, I have wanted to pay it forward … give other desperate and interesting travelers a place to crash.
So, randomly this weekend, I listed my couch here in Marseille and immediately got some requests. I decided, hey, why not. I accepted two 20-something girls from Finland to stay with me for 3 nights. Granted, I wasn’t even there for the first two nights (I was Cat / Guinea Pig sitting for some friends) but I decided that why should I say no to these seemingly harmless girls, even if they are strangers. I know I know, you’re probably thinking — YOU DID WHAT?!? Yes, I let them use my place while I wasn’t there. But we first discussed a lot over email, then over drinks when they arrived. I wouldn’t have let them stay there in the end, if they were psycho. ALSO, I looked around my apartment … if they were klepto, they’d be sadly disappointed. I had nothing to steal. Haha. Even my fridge was bare, seeing as I hadn’t been there much.
Anyway. I am glad I did this. I feel good about giving back. And it has been cool to hang out with them a little. Tonight they’ve offered to cook me dinner for a picnic somewhere in Marseille ! (Which again is great, since I have no groceries 😉 )
Last night, after work, there was a CouchSurfing meet up at the beach. Bring some drinks and small foods and hang out for a few hours. So I went! And my couch surfers came too a little later. It was wonderful. I met people from everywhere, all of whom were super nice. I had a few drinks, spoke a ton about myself (too much?? 😦 ) in French, in English. It really was a nice time. Apparently there are lots of regulars so I will try to go often this summer and keep the conversation and cultural exchange going !
Main point here: I am so proud of myself. It is almost 2 years ago exactly that I first visited Marseille and when I reflect on everything that has happened, the person I am vs. who I was then … it’s amazing. I have changed so much, for the better. I am adventurous, excited about life, meeting people, experiencing new things. I have let go (a bit anyway) of my timid self and I am trying to open up even more.
Attending these meetings, putting myself out there, accepting new people into my home and sharing culture and experiences with them … it is a great step in the right direction ! WooHoo! Here’s to more of the same !