Sacre Coeur Street Performer

Sacre Coeur Street Performer

Friday, October 1, 2010

Couch Surfing!

I love Couch Surfing! What is it? "A worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit". The mission? "To create a better world one couch at a time." I first heard about Couch Surfing from Julianne one of the awesome counselors at the utterly fabulous Camp Augusta and thought it sounded like a great idea so I signed up as soon as I got back from camp. So far my experience is similar to this expressed by another Canadian couchsurfer: "I expected to meet interesting people and to hear the non-tourist version of the cities I stayed in. What nobody warned me about was the genuine hospitality of my hosts."

My personal goal is to be the best CS host possible. When I’ve hosted sometimes that has meant cooking a meal and sharing time together, like when Christophe and Vanessa come through San Mateo enroute to Hawaii. Another time that meant opening our house to David and Siri who just got married and were traveling around the US before returning to their teaching jobs in Minnesota. I warned them that I couldn’t socialize much because I was preparing to leave for France for three months but gave them a key and the freedom to come and go as they wished so they could explore the bay area for the three days they were in town.

We also try to be good CS guests but have been charmed and amazed by the generosity and kindness we’ve been offered. Veronique and Sebastien and their beautiful girls were wonderfully hospitable to us! I cooked them a meal which I think they enjoyed and our kids played together joyfully in spite of having no shared language. The girls got the biggest kick out of dressing Kaizen in a flamenco dress and lots of laughs were shared.

Francoise and her son made us a delicious meal Chicken Provencale and offered us comfortable rooms in their unique and interesting house. We really enjoyed our day with them in their beautiful space and bucolic town.

Between Oct 5 and 6 we had two great CS'ing experience in Lyon, which is, apparently quite filled with musicians.

Amine Matani generously hosted us and Soleil loved on his roommate's cat while Amine and Joe talked musci, science and other geek-stuff.

Then we headed over to Rusty Stegeman's place where I made dinner for the troupe (lentils, chicken and roasted potatoes) which was followed by a fun night with Rusty, Sam and their friends. By a wild strange coincidence, while in Paris, right after checking out Rusty's profile, Soleil and I happened to meet Charles and Anais the day before they moved to Lyon to become the new roommates.

A great night with some really awesome young people! They let Kaizen teach them to play Werewolf which was followed by a great jam session. Joe was pretty happy to stay up drumming with some great musicians until 4am.

The next morning Rusty cooked up some American-style pancakes for everyone.

Joe and the kids enjoyed a dinner with Jean and Laurence in Aix-en-Provence which I had to miss as a result of a road trip to Florence for April's birthday celebration.

Then on our way back through Toulouse, enroute to L'ariege, we stopped off again at Sebastien and Veronique's house. Sebastien had just run a race so the house was filled with his colleagues and race teammates. Kaizen gave the girls a mini-tour through Spore.


I can’t wait to share more of our cs’ing pictures and memories here as we travel around.

And when we get home I’ll be sure to pay it forward!

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