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To live life with a smile, know there is a solution to every problem, always strive to have new experiences!
Uber Computer geek with extreme interest in traveling in Russia (I have been 21 times in the last 8 years), 4 times in Ukraine, a couple European trips, and one trip around the world. I love to travel and go on vacation, and now tell all employers that I pretty much work to go on vacation.
For work I have traveled to England, Scotland, and Australia, besides all over the USA. For fun I have been to Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Romania, Ukraine, and mostly to Russia but also Australia, Thailand and Europe.
I come from a big Italian family, with 10 aunts and uncles by blood, plus their spouses, with 2 brothers, a sister, 2 nieces, a nephew, and 24 cousins. I grew up in the kitchen helping my grandma and aunts cook while they watched me as my mom worked, so I got a love of cooking early on in life, but somehow never developed a love of washing dishes... strange... :-)
I can do internet security and full meshed VPNs, setup web servers, email servers, fast networks, but can't organize my desk to save my life.
I can read, write, speak, and blind type in Russian, but only at basic levels. In some topics I am almost conversational, and in other areas I can just get by. I start every conversation in russian with "Izvinete pojualsta, moi russki ochen' plohoi", which translates to, "I am very sorry, but my russian is very bad" :) It helps.
My personality type is ENFJ / ESFJ (split 50/50 between the N and the S). If you are not familiar with these personality types, you can check a pretty good definition here:
I recently added a vkontakte profile also - http://vkontakte.ru/id50293776
Also, I am trying to improve my Russian and learn some Ukrainian. There is a free site for learning languages called LiveMocha.com. If you want to join using this link, we can be connected there as friends, and you will get an extra free travel crash course lesson, since I have referred so many people. This is just to help people out (I don't get any money from this, just sharing the extra travel course) :)
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and learn to accept things you can not change.
Smile, be positive, help people where you can, and you will acquire loyal friends that will treat you the same way back, and occasionally meet some very kind strangers as well. People gravitate to smiling, positive people.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I mostly host and surf when I can, and share my travel experience with people in several groups. I have found I am able to participate in many of the discussion in Russian groups, around Visas, and helping first time travelers, since I have been so many times, so that has been fun. I scan the San Francisco group and often host people that can't find a place. People usually have no idea where San Jose is and that there is easy train travel between San Jose and San Francisco. :)
I try to give people rides occasionally also, and help them to understand how to travel on CalTrains. I work 1/2 way between San Jose and San Francisco, and sometimes can help someone with a ride to CalTrain station in San Mateo, and show them which side of the tracks to stand on to get to San Francisco.
I try to help people that need an emergency couch if I can, and lately have been trying to organize some weekend breakfast meetings in San Jose area. CS Friends do it in Moscow twice a week and it seemed like a really good idea!
I have driven and given rides to a couple couch surfers, which is how I learned about the site. I have both hosted (a lot) and surfed some (both alone and with my girlfriend). I have made friends both directly and indirectly through CouchSurfing, some which will last a lifetime! I got to do my first Surfing in Vegas and Kiev, Ukraine, and it was great! I also surfed in Paris, Moscow, New Zealand, Budapest, Prage. I also was able to meet many CouchSurfing friends all over the world, and 99.9% of which were very friendly people, who both kept me company and were there when I needed a little help. The kindness of strangers to each other, through this site, is amazing. I love being a part of it! It has been very cool experience. I think CouchSurfing is a unique personal type that Scientists have yet to discover :)
I have been trying to be more active in SF events and weekly meetings and host small events in San Jose sometimes (breakfast meetings, Frozen Yogurt trips, etc).
I like traveling, cooking, learning new computer technology, or helping someone see how they can use technology to make their life more comfortable.
I like sharing experiences from people from around the world, and seeing how people are more the same, than different. Everyone has a nagging, over protective mom that worries too much, but at the same time would usually do anything for you :-) From this core similarity, its fun to explore other things that are the same, and laugh and lament about them together.
Here is an example of my love of cooking. If you need someone to handle the BBQ, I'm your man! My record is cooking 5 chickens and 5 tri-tip steaks, on 2 BBQ's at the same time:
Music, Movies, and Books
I like all music except country and classical, and extreme rap that is just noise or hate.
I like rock ballads most, but most types of popular music, modern and classic rock (but the Doors is a little too "classic" for me, sorry).
Groups like Nickleback, 3Doors down, Van Halen, 38 Special, Lifehouse, Journey, Breaking Benjamin, Hither - are all types of music I could listen to non-stop all day. Through in some Scorpions, AC/DC, and then maybe some Michelle Branch and Colby Calley, and that pretty much covers the range of music I like :)
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
I think one of the most amazing things I have done, was my first trip to Russia, when I didn't know any of the language, and I had never met anyone I was visiting face-to-face. I was purely trusting in relationships I had made over the internet, and references from friends. It was absolutely fantastic trip, the best in my life. I have been 13 times now, and have seen more of russia than most russians, and I have "survival" level russian language skills now :) I never imagined I would take up such an interest, and have such adventures, but it really changed my life.
Teach, Learn, Share
I have been working with computers for 24 years, and never gone to college or a university. I am near expert level on Mac's, Windows and Linux, as well as Firewalls and Internet security. Everything I know has mostly been from someone taking the time to show me, and giving me a chance to explore my potential. My ultimate validation of my skills was my time working at Microsoft in the Hotmail group.
I am happy to explain and share what I know with people, weather it is about computers, cooking or travel experiences. My life I have today is only because of people taking the time to teach me something and give me a chance, and I am happy to try to help others where I can.
Countries I’ve Visited
Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Russian Federation, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Countries I’ve Lived In