Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Ever heard of it? You can go to this website and create a profile. At this point, you can view people's profiles from all over the world who are willing to let you stay at their place for FREE. Danielle and I decided to take advantage of this and got in contact with a lady from Kenya who lives in London with her three kids.
When we arrived at the airport, we called and left Sarah a message saying we were on our way. She had previously emailed us several times confirming our stay, so before we left the airport, I called our backup hotel and cancelled our reservation. Well...that wasn't the best idea, ha! Upon arriving at our couch surfing destination, we were "greeted" by Sarah's 15 year old son Lewis. He didn't say anything to us. I asked if his mom was home, and he said she was sleeping. Here we are with 6 bags of luggage, our cab had just driven away, we had no idea in what area of London we were, and I felt a little bit awkward...
Well we finally went inside and our luggage filled their hallway and blocked one of the kitchen doors. We felt so bad and explained that we were moving here for six months. I don't know if that made any difference. We visited for a little bit and the kids insisted on letting us watch tv, even though we said we didn't need to. They left it on CNN, and we all watched a press conference with George Bush. Finally we told them they could change it, and they were so excited. They just assumed we wanted to watch news about Bush because we were American! When we went upstairs to take a nap, we realized we were taking one of the kid's rooms and felt terrible. We were under the impression they had an extra room. Because of this and some other things, we decided to find somewhere else to stay.
We called a friend in the states later that night and had him book us a hotel online (which was another ordeal I'll talk about in the next post) since we couldn't find an internet cafe. We then walked around the town that night and didn't start heading back until it was dark. After awhile of being lost and literally having no idea where in London we were, I decided we should stop and knock on someone's door for directions. There was only one house lit up on an entire row of houses so we stopped there. The lady was kind of surprosed but very helpful, and we eventually made it back to Sarah's.
We spent the evening talking with Sarah and her kids, and it was fun listening to their different accents. Sarah still has hers from Kenya but the little girls speak the "Queen's English" because that is what they are taught in school. They were really cute (pictured above) and are obsessed with High School Musical. When we finally went to bed, we slept in our clothes that we were still wearing from the plane because there was no room to bring our bags upstairs. Then we wouldn't sleep under the covers because Lewis had told us earlier that his room was really dirty, he hadn't cleaned it, and he had spilled crumbs everywhere a couple days earlier. Did I mention we had no heat? What a night!
This was an interesting experience to say the least. I would definitely do couch surfing again even though our first time didn't go quite according to plan. Hopefully I can do it while I'm here, but I will make sure to only bring one bag. Raquel, if you're reading this, I hope you'll still look into couch surfing!
** If you don't want to read these detailed posts, Danielle has a summary update on her blog with pictures so go look! **