Thursday, June 6, 2013

Couchsurfing experience #5: Dimitri

Dimitri is an amazing host. The exact kind of host you'd want to have as your first solo couchsurfing experience, actually.

His situation is actually surprisingly similar to mine. He moved to Paris for work. What he saw was a great opportunity for career advancement and to escape the inevitability of the downfall of his home country's economy (he being from lovely Greece). He works for H&M Corporate and loves what he does. He's friendly and easy going and advances in work steadily.

This is perhaps where our similarities end. He's a gay man, owns a hilariously overactive Boston terrier named Shorty, and had to leave behind his longterm boyfriend in Greece. This has caused a lot of tension between them, as you can imagine that would for any relationship, though they have continued seeing each other about once a month since he moved about two months ago (right around the same time I moved, strangely enough).

He works a lot and is loath to leave Shorty in his apartment during the day but there is no other way. Because of this, he has installed a doggy cam so he can check up on him from his phone during the day. I think this is hilarious.

He loves to cook and living in Paris has caused him to (like my theory of my living in Paris) become more unhealthy than he was previously. He figures this will come to a climax at some point in his life and he'll go back to exercising. Until then though, he'll continue enjoying as much French wine and cheese and food as he likes. Groceries aren't so expensive there so he cooks multiple times a week and that's all good.

He has a gorgeous and very spacious apartment. When I stayed there I stayed in his spare bedroom, which is behind its own closed door section of the apartment. It also has its own complete bathroom. It also has motorized window shades. Which completely black out the room. The first night I shut them completely. When I woke up I just assumed it was still early in the morning. Hence why I slept until 11am. It was ridiculous.

The entire apartment was newly built and is located in a posh suburb right outside the main circle of the city, similar to how I'm situated outside the main zone of London. It takes him about 20 minutes to get to work via metro. He lives a 10 minute walk from the nearest (and only) metro station in his area.

Life is good for him, despite boyfriend troubles. He loves his new city but worries that his company will move him in another year to live in China. He doesn't look forward to this though thinks his boyfriend would join him there because he loves Asian culture so much.

And that's Dimitri, in a nutshell. He was a wonderful host - a style of roommate that I would wish to have, should I ever want to live with people again (highly unlikely).

I imagine we'll stay friends even beyond the normal host-couchsurfer relationship. Because of him I am no longer afraid of couchsurfing by myself. I know not all of the future people I stay with will be like him but I wish they would be. I also know that when I start hosting I will never be like him, depsite wanting to be.

He showed me a side of Paris that I'm glad I got to see. No longer are my thoughts of Paris tainted with images of dirty streets and snobby French people, instead they've been replaced with beauty sights, good laughs, beautiful objects and wonderfully homey and filling food.

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