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I grew up in rural Connecticut, a state covered 95% with trees, in a house next to a lake. I have always had a passion for swimming. If you visit me there in the summer you will find me dressed as I was all summer as a child, barefoot and bathing suit clad.
My family is an academic family-- my parents were both professors-- with a useful balance of intellect and practicality--- my mom is a world famous philosopher and one of her accomplishments was to design and build a dock for the lake that was then used for parks throughout the state. We also all love animals and worry about social justice.
I attended Yale college and university and the University of Connecticut, gaining three degrees in linguistics, and then quit the PhD program to visit Germany for a two week intensive German course. I stayed for there for 5 years, passing as a German most of the time. I also spent a lot of time traveling in Western Europe and a lot of time in various parts of France. From there I got a job in Ireland, where I worked for two years. I was reticent to come back to the States, which I had learned to see in a very different light. The only place I could even try to fit in was Manhattan (NYC), which has been described as "a small island off the coast of Europe."
I have stayed in this area for 15 years; now across the Hudson River from Manhattan, in Jersey City, New Jersey. This is where I would welcome a guest: 30 minutes or less to the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
I have a passion for fancy (show-type) rats and mice, and have 4 rats and 5 mice: but if I put you up, I can keep them in my room; and they do not travel with me. My occupation is to run a large rat and mouse website through Facebook; occupation used to mean how I occupy myself, not that I get paid: I am disabled, with a traumatic brain injury. You will likely not notice.
This does mean I can be free any time you need or want me (with a little planning ) because I stay at home most of the time. I am also thrilled to bring you out on the town (Manhattan, NYC)! My favorite spots are in the colorful East Village where I spent 5 years.
I am a smartass :) which means I find humor in anything. I am also very kind and caring.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I am fascinated by it. I found it because I need inexpensive lodging when I travel-- plane and train tickets cost enough. But wow.
First of all, I keep telling people that if I lived with a German family for a month I would again be indistinguishable from a native speaker for the first five minutes, as I was 15 years ago. But how on earth could I pull that off? Wow, couch surfing, awesome! The same would be a little less true for a stay in France, but at least I would again be able to hold a conversation.
Second, as mentioned below, talking and learning about other cultures and seeing mine through their eyes is awesome.
Third, I love having guests.
Everything 101. That means the first course of every subject in college or university. I want to have a basic understanding of how it all works. Sadly, you can only fit so many courses into your course of study, outside of your major.
I love to be able to hold my own in conversation with the random stranger beside me at a dinner party
I love to travel. I love to learn about other cultures. I am always interested in seeing the US through they eyes of other cultures.
What I most love is humor. Humor is the last thing a non native speaker learns. It depends on a deep understanding of cultural attitude; an understanding of the humor of that society-- they are different! Germans don't get the Far Side and Americans don't get (pardon the title) The Little Asshole. And timing, timing, timing.
I am a linguist and thus I love language. I love logic and grammar and how it all intersects.
I'm crazy about rats and mice. See third photo for little baby dwarf rat Sasha, the rat who has most won my heart.
Music, Movies, and Books
There isn't a whole lot I wouldn't read in the right place and time.. In movies and books I really like strong female characters, but that doesn't stop me from reading everything else too. There are several singer/songwriters that I watched grow from a back room and audience of 8 to a half dozen albums and national and international tours, and I love them: Randy Bandits, Two Man Gentleman Band, Sally Fingerett, Ritt Henn, Uncle Bonsai, and a few more. I really love singer/songwriters. I also have a soft spot for 70s and 80s rock and dance. I enjoy stir fries, Indian, vegetarian... There were six vegetarian restaurants within about 6 blocks where I used to live in the East Village, which was heaven.. Love to bring you to my old haunts!
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Well actually what I am doing now. Despite a traumatic brain injury I have created, and now run, a 20,000 member group/site through Facebook, with 5 satellite groups, an extensive library, a medical clinic, a nursery, and a close knit community. About the care of rats and mice!! It is the biggest community of rodent lovers in the world.
Teach, Learn, Share
A liberal arts college education and several years of world travel make a person an excellent dinner table companion.
Rats make incredible pets: They are as playful as dogs, far cleaner than cats, pint-sized, and the most loving animals you will ever encounter. They are also used to detect landmines and identify tuberculosis patients far faster and more accurately than any human method. Google Apopo or HeroRats. They can sniff out drugs far better than dogs; and can also be service animals and therapy pets.
Electric toothbrushes make awesome scrubbers for difficult to reach corners.
What I Can Share with Hosts
My varied experiences, my insight, my humor, my ear.
Whatever you ask for.
Countries I’ve Visited
Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Countries I’ve Lived In
Germany, Ireland, United States