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I was actually born and raised in New York City. :-) When people tell me how cool that is, I tell them, "Thanks, I chose my parents carefully."
I have a 2 BR apartment at the edge of the Bronx. If you think we might really get along, read the "My Home" and make a request. :-)
I got some education (Harvard, NYU, one or two others) and along the way I lived for three years at International House (http://www.ihouse-nyc.org), a residence for full-time graduate students and young professionals doing internships where over 75% of the 700 residents are from outside the US. Living there is what made me want to travel.
After being laid off from a soul-crushing job, I got my passport stamped for the first time ever in July 2009... in Iceland! And then I went crazy to make up for the lack of travel in my life: 3.5 months in Scandinavia and Western Europe, 6.5 months in Asia, 1.5 weeks in Colombia, 65 cities, 25 countries.
During this time, I:
- learned not to be afraid of the unknown
- did a lot of touristic things
- did many more non-touristic things
- learned what a hostel is (really, I didn't know before that!)
- rode the European trains an average of once a week (nearly got stranded in the middle of Czech Republic)
- discovered Couchsurfing
- danced salsa in almost every city I went to
- DJed salsa in: Reykjavik, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Madrid, Bangkok, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai
- lived for 5 months in Malaysia as part of a failed effort to establish myself as a salsa DJ and instructor in Southeast Asia
Best year of my life!!!
I returned to NYC in 2010 and made friends from all over the world as a substitute for travel until I left to be an expat again... :-)
In 2015 I traveled again for 4 months: 2 months in Guangzhou, China; 3 weeks in Melbourne, Australia; 3 weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 1 week in Cebu, Philippines. Not as much fun as the 2009-2010 trip (I got arrested and went through dengue fever in Malaysia), but I did get to swim with whale sharks.
In 2016 I traveled again for 2 months: Edinburgh, The Scottish Highlands, Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, Budapest, a tiny village in Austria (Steyregg), Linz, Puglia (Italy), Malta, Zurich, and Berlin.
Say "yes" to more things.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
At first I thought Couchsurfing couldn't possibly be something sensible or sane, but now that I've been a part of it since August 2009, it is an insanely great community that I love being a part of.
From January 2013 - January 2016, I organized and hosted the Thursday night weekly meetup, and many other events. In the process I met literally thousands of people from all over the world, and occasionally I hosted.
I've surfed 12 times and hosted about 45 people so far. My experience of Couchsurfing has been awesome, with one minor surfing exception. I hope that you can contribute more awesome experiences. If you want to stay with me, you must tell me how tall you are. Your actual height will not affect my decision, but if you don't tell me, then I'll know that you haven't read my profile very carefully, and your chances will be lower. But... if you are from a country that I like, or from a country that I have not hosted someone from yet, your chances will be better. :-)
Couchsurfing's computers have a good sense of humor -- when they first implemented "tags" to indicate my interests, it automatically generated tags (which I have since removed) such as: make up, modeling, opera (I really don't understand where any of that came from, I didn't mention any of those anywhere in my profile!), surfing (I've never done this), swimming (I know how, but don't seek it out), and religion (I lost interest in this many moons ago).
Here are my interests in my own words:
- drinking wine, preferably red (I learned to like it while I was in Europe), but my favorite is vinho verde
- picnics in the park
- drinking wine at picnics in the park
- drinking wine at the home of a friend rather than a bar
Note: I am not an alcoholic (I think). To quote one of my recent favorite TV characters: "I drink, and I know things. It is what I do."
- karaoke (I actually have a HUGE collection)
- Preferably vegetarian food for reasons of social justice, sustainability, and pollution... but it's not a religion.
- Foreign foods, especially typical foods. I would rather eat at a food stall in Asia than in a good restaurant in the US.
- Theater: I've seen The Book of Mormon, Wicked (5x), Matilda, Les Miserables, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Motown, In The Heights (2x), The Lion King, Ragtime, Chicago, Mary Poppins, Avenue Q (2x), The Addams Family, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot, Hair, Rent (2x), Baby It's You, Bullets Over Broadway, Memphis, Stomp, Blue Man Group, Guys and Dolls, and probably a few others that I've forgotten...
- If you dance salsa "on 2" (New York style), let me know, we'll go out dancing (or at the least, I'll tell you where to go). If you dance salsa on 1 (LA style), we could still dance.
- Movies of all types (yes, even chick flicks), particularly foreign ones where I have to read subtitles. But *not* horror.
- Good conversation and travel stories
Oh, and... traveling. :D
- salsa dancing
Music, Movies, and Books
Movies: The Princess Bride; Up; Amélie; Ong-bak; Thank You For Smoking; Office Space; El Laberinto Del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth); Ondine; Shall We Dance? (original Japanese version).
TV: Black Mirror, Veep, House of Cards, Silicon Valley
Books: One Hundred Years of Solitude; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Like Water For Chocolate; The Kite Runner; Wicked. Last book I read: A House for Mr Biswas (that was a depressing book).
- Salsa! -- FANIA, El Gran Combo, Sonora Ponceña, Hector Lavoe (70s salsa, also called "The Golden Age")
- Cheesy (I mean awesome) music from the 1980s
- some Top 40 music through all the decades (it's popular for a reason, right?)
- good music that you expose me to
Podcasts: This American Life; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; The Moth.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Malaysia, May 2015: 8 days of dengue fever. No pics for that; I did not manage to photograph the mosquito that caused me so much misery. On the other hand, I could show you a photo of of an IV needle in my hand...
Philippines, May 2015: after recovering from dengue fever, I visited Oslob and swam with whale sharks: https://goo.gl/photos/wj5riprxNgPTnRZW6
In July of 2015, I was a model in the 2nd annual NYC Bodypainting Day: https://goo.gl/photos/XziXMxLqTKjhT1z97 (caution, NSFW (not safe for work))
In July of 2016, I was a model in the 3rd annual NYC Bodypainting Day: https://goo.gl/photos/Y1RwcVDEor3qNENt8 (also NSFW)
Hardly anyone writes just *one* amazing thing they've done in this section... including me. ;-)
Teach, Learn, Share
I can teach English (I am an expert in the language) and Spanish, although Spanish is not my mother tongue.
In bursts, I try to learn French by using Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
I seek to learn the word "cheers" in as many languages as possible. I'm up to about 21.
What I Can Share with Hosts
I am not sure why they have this section. I am sure you can choose a thing or three from the rest of my profile.
Countries I’ve Visited
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Vatican City State
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, Malaysia, United States