There are certain moments and times that this thought is really solidified, and certain experiences that leave me knowing I'm doing something right.
I have our house up on the Couchsurfing website (it is just as it sounds -- people write to you to ask if they can stay, for free, at your place during their trip to your city), and ever since the day I switched my status to tell people I'm able to host, I literally get at least one or two requests a day. One day, I actually had 15 couch requests. If we wanted, we could host people here nearly every single day of the week and weekend, and usually more than one person or group at a time. It's amazing to see how many people come to Sevilla, and after living here for the last year, I completely understand why.
Which is why I get SO excited about having couchsurfers! I love showing people the city that I have come to adore, and I also love, so much, meeting people from all over the world! It's possibly the thing I missed the most when I was living in California after studying abroad -- looking around the room and hearing a variety of languages and accents, and seeing a group of people who all come from very different places, but who have developed a deep, instant bond, just because we're all out in the world, away from our homes.
Since I switched my CS status back in November, we have had quite the variety of couchsurfers! Our first one was a girl from Mexico, who was studying abroad in Barcelona. Then we had a Polish couple, who was travelling around Andalucia, and were here for my debut Thanksgiving dinner, giving it an extra special touch! They were followed up by a Ukrainian guy, and then a Chinese girl, who was studying abroad in France, and then an Erasmus student in Madrid, from Brussels, Belgium. And they all led up to this past weekend, the big kahuna, and probably the highlight of my weekends here in Sevilla, and the CS experience that will forever have my heart.
We had four different surfers, from four different countries, all travelling alone, but all staying here, in the warmth of my heart and our home. I first said yes to this awesome guy from Cyprus (a beautiful island between Turkey and Greece, something I learned through meeting him), back in December or late November. And then, I think I got the weekends mixed up because we were having so many coming, because I accepted another couch request from a guy from Greece. And then I decided to throw a girl into the mix, and accepted a request from an Aussie. And then, just two nights before everyone was supposed to come, and there were still countless requests coming in for that weekend, I told an Italian girl she could stay as well, if she didn't mind there already being three others coming. I thought my roommate was going to kill me. LOL.
I don't know why I wasn't feeling uneasy or unsure about what I had set us up for, perhaps it's because I know that these kinds of situations usually always turn out amazing. And after the weekend we all spent together, I am thanking my lucky stars and God that it' so hard for me to say no to people, ultimately resulting in the formation of a sweeet lil family for the weekend!
The Aussie came first, on Friday, and that afternoon the Greek came as well. Now, I'm just using nationalities here, because while I do remember everyone's names, I don't know if they want their information blasted out on one of the most-read blogs on the WWW. ;-) But anyways, so they came, and then we all had lunch at my place with my roommate, and played a fun card game, and then just kind of hung out. We wanted to go out that night, but since I'm not exactly the best person when it comes to the "where are the clubs and party" question, I reached out to everyone I know here to try and find a good place to take them. In the end, we went to La Alameda, one of the main spots to go at night here in Sevilla. We ended up meeting up with, get ready for it, the Sevillan guy I had met on the airplane from Dallas to Madrid coming home after the holidays at home, and his friends. Hah! Life is so great!
It was cultural-exchange mayhem, and it was a blast!
The next afternoon, the Roman gal came, and we did a bit of sightseeing, then came back to my place for some tapas and wine, and then went back out to meet up with: people the Aussie had met in her hostel, the other couchsurfer who was going to stay at our place, some of my friends, and then, we all combined with another friend and his group, in the Alameda, once more. And again, we passed the night laughing, loving, and acting like we'd known each other forever.
It was amazing, on Sunday, when we were talking about how long they'd been with us, to realize that two had just come two days before, and the others the previous day. We all felt like we had known each other for far longer, like at least we'd been living together here in Sevilla for the semester as Erasmus students. (The European study abroad program.) It was so sad to say bye to them, and watch as one-by-one, they walked out the door, but not my heart, and onto their next destination.
Some people may think I'm crazy, heck, there are plenty of moments where I think I am, but it's the moments and experiences like those ones, that really remind me why I wanted to return to the world and leave the comfort of home. There's something really special about the bonds you make with people when you're travelling alone and staying with a stranger. And there's something really amazing that happens when you get a group of people together, who are all from different countries and cultures, but who, in the end, are pretty much all the same. All full of feelings, fears, curiosities, desires, doubts, dreams, and the same red blood that pumps through our bodies, and hits our hearts, which all emit the same love.
The world isn't the scary place the news and papers make it out to be. It's actually really full of loving, helpful, kind people, who are just as curious, scared, and unsure as you are. We literally are all the same, all one. We're all part of the world, there's no possible way to deny that, so how could we not be connected? Our feet are planted on the same magic space ball, after all! :)
Infinite thanks to Chamaizing, Kon-stan-ti-nos, Camilla Disaster, and Arif for seeing something in me that made you request my couch, and for being so open and okay with me being a lunatic who said yes to four people at once. I adore you all, and you are welcome here, or wherever I am, at any time in our lives. I know we'll meet again, and we'll always have this one special weekend to remember; where we all came together so suddenly, and really, quite perfectly. Safe travels my little darlings! <3
Along with it, I am sending you blessings and light. Blessings that can know no bounds, and a light that can fill you and carry you through your days feeling in awe of the amazing world that surrounds us.
I love you world, I love you so much, and I am so happy to know you love me too!
PS. The world is pretty connected, and everything is so, so circular.. on Sunday, we went to meet up with another CSer from Sevilla, who can't host, but can meet for a coffee with people. Last night, I went to the intercambio (language exchange) meeting that my friends go to each week (and I sometimes go to), and who do you think I saw? The gal we met up with for coffee, AND my friend from the plane! I usually bail on going since Thursdays are my earliest days and I'm pretty wiped out by the time work ends, but I went last night, even though I'm limping b/c of turf toe, and they were both there, she alone, he with one friend, for their first times! Oh, life! ... :)
I love you.