Sunday, February 1, 2009

Couchsurfing in the U.S.- que buena onda!

Last week, we found ourselves bound for Athens, Ohio with no place to stay. After some very heartwarming first experiences with couchsurfing in Chile and Ecuador, it was a natural choice to go ahead and try it here in Ohio as well. There was certainly a wide range of choices as couchsurfing.com listed over 100 "couches" in Athens. I picked out five who I thought we would be the most compatible with and four of those five responded either with an invitation to stay at their place or connected me to someone to meet with in the graduate school. We ended up picking Bubba for our first place to stay. Bubba was very hospitable...

And was more than willing to let Joo sleep on his couch.
Bubba also had an owner who lived with him, named Becky (shown below as the black-haired female that is not my wife), and she was quite hospitable herself! Becky was a true woman of passion who had followed her love for cooking, sewing, and horses into careers in all three. Most prominent is her work with equine-assisted psychotherapy (www.eapathens.com) which basically utilizes horses to work with a variety of individuals as a form of therapy. She welcomed us warmly and took Joo to thrift stores, yoga, and a coffeehouse while I was meeting with professors. She even connected us with a real estate agent so we could check out some of our potential living options if we were to move down to Athens. She also lured us out of bed each morning with tantalizing scents from the kitchen downstairs as she cooked us breakfasts...
Her house was plastered with mannequins she had somehow inherited as well as various other arts and crafts she's put together. Considering that she was our first impression of Athenians, it's no surprise that our entire trip was positive and encouraging.
While Becky was more than willing to offer her home as long as we wanted to stay, I had already made contact with another couple for a place to stay on our third night. Greg and Regina. Greg reminded me of my good friend Justin and Regina had an almost identical personality to Joo's older sister Jusu. Maybe that was why we fell in so easily with them and had lots of engaging conversations over music, psychology, psychics, sports, and relationships. The funniest moment for me as a math major was when Regina (who is a psych PhD student) was talking about certain experiments and how they had to intentionally induce stress in a research subject. Can you guess their method that was by far the most effective? That had to sit in a chair and continuously subtract 7 in their head from a four digit number... complete with time constraints and scolding. So you see, math really is useful in the real world ;)


Athens went on a Level 3 Snow Emergency and so we ended up staying an extra day. Greg whipped us up some pancakes and Joo returned the favor with some of her famous kim-bap. We also picked up some helpful tips on economical living in Athens as "poor grad students." For example, the Athens branch of (www.freecycle.org) is a website where people constantly post things they want to give away for free- from books and appliances to computers and cars! All in all, it was a very successful trip and now the wait begins to see whether enough scholarship money will roll in to pursue that option or if it will be elsewhere...drumroll please...

2 comments:

  1. What a cool posting you guys!!!!!!!! Bubba's couch will always be warm and cozy!!! Ha ha!
    Becky, Jasper, Allison, Bubba and Smudge!!!!!

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  2. Believe it or not I used to work in lab with Regina so I know ALL about the pressures of subtracting seven from big numbers! How ironic!! Glad you had a good time, we enjoyed getting to know both of you! Safe travels to Korea!

    -Allison

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