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Learning, teaching, laughing, loving.
I've been a member of couchsurfing for many years, but just returned after a long break of recovery from open-heart surgery to repair a genetic defect that also affected my father and brothers.
My chest was sawed open, my heart was frozen and stopped, and my aortic artery was replaced with an artificial material that was originally designed for the Space Shuttle... yet now I am extremely healthy and can expect to live a long life!
It makes me so very proud to be a scientist, and determined to take every moment of life as a wonderful gift to be enjoyed and shared. I am a very lucky man, and I want to enjoy life with others!
Beyond this, I often get questions about the Bronx -- forget every stereotype about this part of NYC! I'm very fortunate to be a New Yorker living in a beautiful, friendly, safe area of the city filled with people seeking new opportunities and freedoms. They are endlessly inspiring and remind me constantly of what makes New York City so special and unique.
Personally, I spent 8 years as a high school teacher, then went back to university to earn a Master's degree in developmental psychology. As part of my studies, I conduct research exploring how public policies and social environments promote the development of positive interpersonal relationships, authentic identities, and prosocial communal behaviors.
I also teach a course in Adolescent/Young Adult Development, and working with students is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my life. I plan to leave this world a better place than I found it.
When Ted Kennedy died, the NY Times wrote that he was:
"A hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy figure who persevered, drank deeply, and sang loudly."
Sounds like a good philosophy to me. (I promise only to sing in the shower.)
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I think that being a caring "big brother" type comes very naturally to me, and I'm extremely relaxed, easy-going, and always open to new ideas and experiences.
I want you to feel entirely at home here while seeing the best of what New York City has to offer. I know NYC extremely well and have lots of tips about the best places to go, how to get there, and what to avoid. If you include your regular email, I can send a "travel guide" that I've written. It includes many useful NYC tips and detailed information about the city, places the go, using the subway, staying at my apartment, etc.
In my teens and early twenties I hitchhiked and surfed throughout Western Europe, and from 2001-2003 I was an active host but had to quit when I started the 80+ hour job of being a teacher. Returning to post-graduate school has given me the time and space to participate again.
Through Couchsurfing I've had the opportunity to host amazing people from all over the world of every description -- male and female; old and young; singles and couples, straight, bisexual, and gay; new and experienced travelers; and even a naturist, a circus trapeze artist, and a Navy submarine officer.
I also had the opportunity to be part of two artistic short films by Miřenka Čechová and Jirka Matousek while they stayed at my place. They are incredibly talented and creative Czech surfers, and it was a great pleasure to share in their artistry. The movies take place entirely in my apartment and neighborhood, and may be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/71489413 and http://vimeo.com/76330162. (The blanket you'll see was actually knitted by my mother when I was a child!)
Each guest has enriched my life in his or her own way, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow and have fun! In return, I hope to offer a safe, comfortable place to stay, plenty of nourishing food, and real friendship. I also have a huge scar on my chest (from my surgery) that I'm proud to show anyone!
My interests? It's a very long list -- some of my favorite things are good books, orchestra concerts, big smiles, baseball games, whiskey, doing research, teaching, crossword puzzles, friendly hugs, exotic cooking, happy eyes, creativity, laughter, camping, breasts, long conversations, cheap travel, history museums, social policy -- well, maybe there are too many! Life offers so much...
More than anything, though, I love (a) my dog and (b) learning about life and its mysteries with fascinating people I'd never be able to meet in any other way... always with lots of laughs, of course. Memories of love and laughter remain forever; everything else passes away.
Music, Movies, and Books
My apartment is full of books -- I read constantly, and love a good book on any almost any subject. I also download a lot of movies and music, and always have a wireless Internet connection (and laptop computer) available for guests to use.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
The most amazing thing I've ever done occurred while I was on a date at 2:30 AM at a dive bar on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan (before it was overrun by hipsters and yuppies). She spilled beer all over her jeans and I promised, on the spur of the moment, to find her something dry to wear.
I walked out into the cold February street and asked the drug dealers on each nearby corner if they had any clean trousers. No luck. Finally, a man appeared carrying a basket of clothes fresh from the laundromat. I paid him $40 for a pair of used, but clean, sweatpants.
Everyone cheered when I walked back into the bar holding the sweatpants above my head in triumph. My date changed into them, and looked even more beautiful than before -- plus, I felt like the world's greatest boyfriend. I was convinced that I had to marry her just so I could tell the story to our children.
Two months later she went to Spain to teach a dance class and fell in love with a cook there. (But I will still tell the story to my children!) :)
I should also add campaigning for President Obama in 2012 -- I spoke with people all over the country, listening to their personal stories and discussing Obama's policies. It was an absolutely amazing experience that taught me so much about my own massive, diverse country.
Teach, Learn, Share
I hope that teaching, learning, and sharing are a part of everything I do.
If you're interested in a great introduction to New York City, nothing compares to E. B. White's essay, "Here Is New York." What he wrote in 1949 is still true today: http://engl379-oconnell.wikispaces.umb.edu/file/view/White+on+NYC.pdf
And here's an amazing blog that everyone interested in NY life (or just life in general) should check out, whether you're coming to visit or just want some inspiration: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/
Countries I’ve Visited
Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Countries I’ve Lived In