Marina Kharitonova

Richmond, VA, United States

Accepting Guests

  • 92% response rate
  • Last login 4 days ago

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  • healthcare informatics, epidemiology
  • Electrical Engineering, Public Health
  • No hometown listed
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me


Help people effectively


I was born in Russia and moved to Chicago as a teenager, where I spent most of my life in the US. Now I live in a wonderful town in the American South where I work as a healthcare analyst. I like my apartment, my neighborhood, the trees and flowers that grow here, the cats that live here, the weather, and local fruits and vegetables. I used to travel with parents when I was a child, then for a while I loved traveling alone, because I could, and now I'm learning to travel with friends.

I smile a lot and talk a lot. I can be sarcastic and my sense of humor is on the dry side - Russian background combined with years of British comedy conditioning. I'm organized, reliable, and have a good memory, but the downside of that is that it's hard for me to deal with change and uncertainty. I was once described as "very peculiar about everything."


Everyone is against generalization and categorization in this age of individualism, but I actually really like generalizing. Basically my whole career is built on trying to sort people into groups, to find out why certain groups do certain things, and how to best help them. I find that this actually helps me understand individuals better. It also, believe it or not, helps me appreciate the people that have truly broken out of their environmental predictors - CouchSurfing is full of such people, the fact of inviting "strangers" into our homes is very unusual for most of our societies in itself.

I believe that hosting is a community service. You do it because you want to, because you are excited about your guests, and because you understand the hardships of travel and want to give travelers a comfortable place to rest, recuperate, eat, clean up, check email, do laundry, etc. You also do it because you fundamentally trust people and operate under the assumption that nobody is going to steal anything from you or hurt you.

You should not host if you're just trying to get some references, feel that you "should", or because you think you're doing someone an amazing favor. If you can't treat your surfers like welcome and honored guests, don't host. I don't use CS because it's cheaper than a hotel, but because it's better than a hotel - warmer, more personal, more comforting. If you're going to treat your surfers like suspicious freeloaders that should be happy they have a roof over their head - just don't host.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing


I host regularly and surf everywhere I go. I also organize CS meetings in my city.


CS is the way to meet smart and warm people even in the most god-forsaken village and the most impersonal metropolis.

However, there have been a few weird experiences as well, about which I will be happy to tell you if I meet you :-)


Art, music, folk art and folk music, yoga, swing dancing, anthropology, tea, flowers, fruits, vegetables, cooking, ceramics, photography, crochet; Public Health, Medical Anthropology, Social and Behavioral Health

I work in a health management company, and I am an epidemiologist, so I'm interested in everything health (and disease) related.

Music, Movies, and Books

Some movies I liked recently: Hunger Games, Los colores de la montana, La Nuit de la Verite, The Meaning of Tea, Walking to School, Le Herisson, WELCOME, Un Prophete
TV: Peep Show, The Americans, Portlandia, Mad Men. But actually my favorite type of TV is British crime drama, I love everything from Poirot to Midsomer Murders.

My favorite book is "Vanity Fair". For a long time it was "Lust for Life" by Irving Stone. Oh yes, and I am a Hunger Games fan!

I like mostly folk music, especially African, Middle Eastern, Latin, and Russian, as well as any type of throat singing (I've seen Siberian and Inuit live). I also listen to and attend opera, classical music and jazz concerts. I usually try to time my travel to music festivals and attend at least one musical performance during every trip.

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

Ate magic truffles while visiting Keukenhof garden in full bloom.

Teach, Learn, Share

Hungry travelers can count on a meal at my house. I like learning how to cook traditional meals of different countries. I can cook really good Russian food, some Georgian food, a couple of Indian and Ethiopian dishes, one Dutch dish that a Couchsurfer challenged me to make, and I can make about 100 different salads and smoothies as well as at least 20 soups.
And yes - everything I make is vegetarian, even the boerenkool was made with vegan sausages.

I know how to make fermented pickled cabbage, cucumbers, and I make my own kim chee. You can always taste them in my kitchen and learn how to make them.

I don't have coffee or a coffee maker, but my kitchen has every kind of high quality tea you could wish for.

What I Can Share with Hosts

A cup of tea

Countries I’ve Visited

Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States

Countries I’ve Lived In

Russian Federation, United States

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