Good evening friends! Before we get into this fantastic topic, let me give you a little life update. In my last post, I had just finished LPN school. That was five lovely weeks ago. Today was my second day of RN school. Thus far, I’m loving it! My lecture/lab instructor is extremely organized, puts much effort into his PowerPoints and class content, and LOVES teaching. All of this combines to me knowing I am going to love his class. Yesterday, I had a four hour lecture which included general semester introductions, advanced physical assessment, and the beginning of lecture on starting IVs. It was positively lovely to see all my dear classmates again. Unfortunately, we could not see each others’ smiles because we all have to wear masks. 😦 But I am more than okay with that since I am just glad to actually be on campus and not trying to do this class online.
Today, I had a 3-hour lab. We watched our instructor do a complete head-to-toe assessment on the mannequin and then we paired off and did one on our classmates. I got paired off with one of my favorite classmates so I was fairly relaxed. After we finished and were back at our desks and finishing up our narrative charting of the assessment, the instructor had soft, classical music playing. The music combined with having just been assessed was literally putting me to sleep. 🙂 Our instructor asked us which we preferred–being the person assessing or the “patient” being assessed. We said we like being assessed much better. He was not expecting that answer. I think it is just because we are pretty comfortable and know each other well enough that it’s kind of like getting a mini massage. 🙂
I came home from class today and got right to work outside at my desk in the sun. I studied 7.5 hours today. I am now relaxing here in “my” spot on the hammock under the deck, listening to my “Emotional Favorites” YouTube playlist and listening to the birds tweeting out the day as the sky pinks and the air cools. It is my second favorite part of the day (coffee here in the morning being my favorite). Tomorrow I work at the office. It will be a nice break from studying.
Just in case you are interested in what I’ve been listening to lately, I will link them here. I am currently obsessed with “Will There Really Be A Morning?” by Conspirare and “Crown Him With Many Crowns” by Oasis Chorale [go to 12:07 because it is a very long video of the whole concert]. Very different from each other, but both give me all the feels in very different ways. The first affects my soul in a way hard to explain, just fills me with wistfulness and longing that is hard to put into words. The latter fills my soul and spirit with awe and drives me to tears of worship. I simply cannot imagine how marvelous worshiping the King of Kings will be when we are actually in His very presence!
“Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright!” -Matthew Bridges
It just thrills me to no end, that even the angels–holy and great though they be–retreat in reverence and awe at the mystery of salvation. It’s so incredible!!
Okay, this life update is getting far too long. On to the topic at hand.
I have been thinking for a while about writing about Couchsurfing and my interesting experiences with it. And no, I’m not talking about sitting on the couch and surfing the internet.
Couchsurfing is a hospitality website that is similar to AirBnB but it is free and the emphasis is on getting to know your hosts and actually hanging out with them. The hope is that you give some and take some. There is no money exchanged, although it is expected that you not take advantage of your host and it is a nice gesture to bring some kind of gift for your host. The theory is that sometimes you host and other times you will be hosted.
I came across this fascinating website several years ago while reading a book called, How To Travel the World on $50 a Day. This book intrigued me because I absolutely love traveling, but the coins sometimes be few. However, I am all about cheap adventure and fun and seeing what adventure can be had for less. So I was reading about this Couchsurfing thing. I promptly put down the book, downloaded the app, and set up a Couchsurfer profile. That was the beginning of some very unique experiences.
You upload a picture of yourself, put in your values, interests, likes, places you’ve lived and visited, what kind of accommodations you have to offer, etc. You can also become “verified” by payment, phone, and address. Of course, I did all three, because that’s how I roll. 🙂 Being verified makes you look more official, trustworthy, and serious about it.
So shortly after, I got a splendid opportunity to try it out. The total solar eclipse of 2017 was on its way and I was determined to be in the path of totality. Not sure why exactly, but I settled on Clarksville, TN. I found an elementary school teacher, middle-aged, nice and safe looking. 😉 I asked to stay with her for one night over the time of the eclipse.
Wonder of wonders, she accepted. So Marlee, Justin, and Daniel and I drove all the way to TN one fine Sunday. We pulled up to the gated community at dark and were met by our pleasant hostess. She showed us into her home, gave us the key to her apartment, the code to her community, told us there were drinks for us in the fridge, and left to spend the night with her friend. Yes, we literally had just met, chatted a little, and were left to our lovely selves in her cute, tiny apartment. Crazy!
We thought the entire adventure exhilarating! We slept there that night, bought snacks and watched the eclipse the next day, and when the giant light of day returned, packed up and drove home again. It took hours longer than it should have because of all the eclipse traffic, but it was worth every drop to me. That was the beginning. I was totally hooked on this Couchsurfing bit.
My first surfer was an older lady from Michigan who periodically visits my hometown and wanted to stay with us for the cultural experience. 😛 She loved it and even got to attend our school picnic, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Later that same summer, I hosted a dear girl from Michigan who is originally from Vietnam. She just wanted to do a week-end getaway and make new friends so she came and visited us for the week end. We had a lovely time!
Still later that summer, I hosted a well-seasoned photo-journalist from Chicago. She has done freelance photojournalism in Jordan, Afghanistan, etc and was taking a break from the trauma of those countries by working for a news company in Chicago. She rode her bicycle all the way from Chicago to my house over the course of a week. After staying two days with me, I dropped her off at the train station and she took it back home. She was a very interesting, sweet, considerate guest who did her own thing in town during the day. She went to our youth activity with me in the evening the Friday night she was here. She even got to here some of my ex-Amish church people sing her the “Loblied” (however that is spelled) for a little cultural education. 🙂 She seemed to really enjoy our time together.
Last summer, I got a request from a man in Belgium who was sailing [yes! I said sailing!] to America. He believes in not just the destination, but the journey, and he does not like air travel due to its effects on environment, etc. I very clearly annotate in my profile that I only host ladies. However, when I get requests like his, I refer them to my married sister and her husband, who are also on Couchsurfing. So last August he arrived, and my sister and her husband and he came over for supper and the evening. He made us some amazing curry to eat over rice and we introduced him to “Haystacks.” 🙂 He was a fascinating person: from his French accent and little “aye”s instead of yes, his old-world linen shirt and sailing, to his shock at my brother’s home-made explosive fun in the swamp which he found shocking considering we are “non-violent” people. 🙂
(Chris, if you read this, feel free to correct my assessment of your reasons for sailing in the comments. 😄)
After our Belgium friend, I hosted 3 elderly ladies from Traverse City, MI who came on the pretext of visiting my touristy hometown, but who actually just wanted to come visit my family and experience our culture. 🙂 They loved to talk, and thoroughly enjoyed attending church with us on Sunday–even witnessing the baptism we had that Sunday. They still write us letters and wanted us to come visit them sometime. Maybe someday.
Last fall, I had another most interesting group of couchsurfers–I got a most cryptic request from a group of “Menno” young people from Ohio. I thought this would be very interesting–and it was. They were on a week-end challenge with their youth group to travel and do as much as they could within a limited time frame and do it as cheaply as possible. Courchsurfing at my house one night was part of their genius money-saving plans–and I was thrilled to help. They were fabulous to host, joined right in with our church family night, and just generally made themselves at home at my house, which makes me happy. 🙂
They have been my most recent surfers. A man from Brazil had reached out to me and was planning to come in April of this year to fulfill some life-long travel goals. He was going to stay with my sister and her husband. His goals were to go to Disney, visit New York City, and visit an Amish community. 🙂 Coronavirus cancelled all his plans so he may come later this year.
I have yet to use CS as a surfer myself since that first time when we went to the eclipse. I am itching to try it again! The network is world wide and there are hosts on CS all over the world. I just think it is simply the coolest thing ever to make random friends from other lands and cultures who may give you an excellent opportunity to visit. Regardless, each person enriches in one way or another.
And now–I know you all want to know about the marriage proposal. That story is the best of all because it is so outlandish. I sometimes do things that are perhaps not the sanest or the wisest–but regardless–after the fact, they produce interesting stories.
One day as I surfed Couchsurfing profiles, I was friended by a young man from Egypt. I read his profile which completely intrigued me–not because I had any interest in what it sought–but because his idea completely fascinated me. Here is where most people would probably have moved on–and wisely so–but instead I friended him back because I was curious about his far flung proposition.
He was looking for an American wife. He planned to become a doctor and wanted to complete his training in America where the programs are better. But he needed a way to gain residency/visa/entrance whatever. He was looking for a girl on Courchsurfing who would agree to marry him as his ticket to America. Of course, when he saw I had friended him back, he messaged me. I will insert the screenshots of our entire conversation below for it tells the story better than I. Enjoy! 😛
So long friends! Go have yourself an adventure for me!