Sunday, February 26, 2012
Hanging 10 on couch-surfing
Maybe a year or so ago, Joseba and I got started on couchsurfing.com and I wrote a little blog about it. Anyone remember? Couchsurfing is that website that is a social network where people travelling can connect, meet up and sleep over at people's homes where they are visiting. But it's more than just crashing on someone's couch, the website community seeks to bring people all over the world together while sharing different ideas and finding similarities.
Having finally settled into our home in San Sebastian, we decided to get back into the couchsurfing action and updated our profile. Here we were able to convey what kind of hosts we would be and what kind of people we are as well as who we are looking to host. With photos of our seperate travels and trips together along with this blog's quote ''One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure that it is worth watching'' along with some other info, we basically showed the world that we are a happy-go-lucky couple hoping to meet new people and share experiences with people from all around the world who are equally openminded. With that done, we just waited and sha-bammmm then came the requests.
Possibly because we live in a goregeous little beach town or maybe because our improved profile was so awesome, we got a lot of requests. Couchsurfing doesn't require you to accept all the people who request to stay with you, of course. They recommend reading each request well and checking out the person's profile and seeing thier feedback other people have left about them. A few requests were just 'hey, I'm coming to San Sebastian and need a place to stay for 3 nights, can I stay with you?' To these we normally responded no, because we didn't sign up for this site to be somebody's free hotel. We signed up because we like Couchsurfing's vision: A world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with people and places they encounter. Then came a request from a French girl from Bordeaux.
Geraldine introduced herself and explained that her and her best friend had always heard great things about Donostia and wanted to explore it themselves, seeing as it is quite close. They had read our profile well and even my blog and requested a weekend that we had free, so after reading her profile and seeing her gusto for life, we decided to say yes. The clencher for me was the quote on her profile by Mark Twain that I just love: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed with the things you didn't do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. And that was that - we started planning for their arrival excitedley.
They arrived via train and had already told us some great news - that 1) they would be arriving with a surprise and 2) they were going to cook us lunch. We couldn't have been happier. We headed off to the grocery store where they did thier shopping and told us they would be making...crepes! So French! At home they gave us the surprise - handmade cinnamoon pastries (Les Cannelés Bordelais) that are very typical from the Brittany region of France, where the friend, Fanny, was from. Delicious! With dessert before lunch we soon enjoyed our crepes with ham, cheese, tomato and egg. Mmm mmm.
Excited to show them our little city we headed out to see the town and weren't a bit impeded by the heavy snowfall! Both of them were so happy to see the city - the old part, the pintxos, the beach, the buildings - everything. We wandered around for a bit until we decided that it was just too cold to be touristy and headed to a chill bar where we talked about everything from our travel's to love. Hours passed in the cafe and we all just clicked, talking away and enjoying each other's company. Geraldine had lived in India for a year teaching French and had many amazing experiences to share. Joseba has also travelled to quite exotic places and happily told us about his trips. We learned about them and them about us - it's exactly what couchsurfing was set up to create!
The rest of the trip was equally as nice. With lots of laughing as well as tasty treats, we were delighted that they had requested our couch for a weekend. We spoke mostly in English, but from time to time, Joseba would bust out some French - he actually speaks some. Whereas, from time to time I would bust out some of my French which consists of ballet words and phrases like fli fly flew. This garnered quite a bit of laughter and lead them to ask me where I learned such an accent? Beauty and the Beast, but of course mademoiselle! We even watched a couple clips of the film, and they were shocked with Lumiere's accent. Apparently in the French version, he obviously cant have a silly French voice, but instead has a Spanish one.
They gave us a mix tape of French music they like and in return we made one for them - not just exchanging stories but music too! We even made plans to head up to Bordeaux one weekend and visit them - which will be our first time 'surfing' and not hosting - woo hoo!
So thank you couchsurfing, for creating a place to meet people from all over the world and enjoy new experiences. We definitley enjoyed our weekend getting to know two new friends and showing them our version of Donostia. And in 20 years, I agree with Mark Twain and I can surely say we won't be disappointed by having hosted these two nice girls!
at 11:11 AM