We probably shouldn't have been surprised that our German couch surfer, Sandra, had marijauna in her possession. I mean, we live in Washington where it's been legalized, and we've heard that it's pretty expensive in Germany. But we were still taken off guard when she asked us if we'd like to share a joint with her. Fortunately, our awkward pause (we may have plans to live in a van, but we're not really the weed smoking kind) prompted her to offer us a way out - "Oh but maybe you can't? Because you work at the hospital, yes?". We were like "Yeah..."
Okay, let me back up. It's possible that you have no idea what I'm talking about. Couch Surfing is an international hospitality exchange website that allows people to connect with potential hosts for a free place to stay while traveling. We joined the network awhile ago, and although we've never stayed anywhere as guests, we've hosted some very unique people. The most recent being Sandra. She contacted us a few weeks ago saying that she was coming from Germany as a foreign exchange student and needed a place to stay for a couple of days before before moving into her dorm. We were happy to have her and she was grateful and pleasant. The only thing was that all she seemed to want to do was smoke weed. At any given time of day or night she could be found out on the porch smoking, and she happily sat on our living room floor rolling joints each evening while we watched TV. This experience didn't even come close to our last couch surfer though! Valeria, a Russian gal we hosted about five months ago, was about as close to textbook manic as one could get. From the moment she walked in the door she carried on an extremely rapid and animated one sided dialogue that never ceased, hour after hour. All we did was nod our heads and make affirmative sounds now and then while she talked about how she was traveling around to clear her mind, her time at a yoga commune in Massachusetts, how shocked she was to see a female body builder with an obese child at a hot spring in Colorado, and so on and so forth. And while she talked she was a flurry of activity, making tea, performing stretches, and doling out honey sesame paste for us to eat. The next morning she decided to make us breakfast smoothies, which ended up being a pulpy apple mixture with chunky bits of banana and raw oats. She was lovely, but by the time she left I swore I'd never host another couch surfer again. Obviously that didn't last! Valeria reminded us a lot of our first couch surfer, Heidi, who was a Canadian nurse in town for a conference. Although Heidi was not quite as extreme as Valeria, she too talked for hours on end without pause, often visiting the topic of us helping to find her a man even though we were complete strangers. Even when we'd say something like, "Well, I think we're going to head to bed since we have to work in the morning" and then move meaningfully towards our room, she would just follow us and keep talking! I don't really know where this story was going, so I'll just wrap it up by saying, if you're looking for a way to incorporate some more adventure into your life, consider hosting couch surfers. And it's a great way to get used to conversing with complete strangers, which is a useful skill for traveling. Just don't host any men if you're a single lady - call us paranoid, but there are just too many creeps out there.