Couch Surfing and My Hip Dad

My dad got home from a fishing trip today and saw that there was a random car with an out of state license plate in the driveway.  After putting his gear down and giving me a hug he says, “Are those couch surfers or do you know those people?”  I love that this is my dad’s response, and he couldn’t have said it any more nonchalantly, like it didn’t matter that there could be two strangers sleeping in the extra bedroom in his house.

I introduced my dad to Couch Surfing after living a very active CS life in San Diego.  My apartment was always filled with strangers from other parts of the world.  These strangers, or instant friends, became more than just weekend guests.  They became a part of my world, some staying for extra days, weeks, months, and it was beautiful.  I made some very good friends at the time, by hosting and meeting other local hosts, friends that I still talk to and friends that I will stay connected with for the rest of my life.

This is the part of Couch Surfing that I wanted my dad to see.  I wanted him to see that CS is not a community full of freeloaders and people that want to steal your precious stuff.  It’s about being comfortable with yourself, your surroundings, and letting other people into your life.  It’s about opening yourself up to others which is something all of us should practice.

So, after hosting a frisbee world champion, a couple of dudes passing through trying to avoid the busy city, a couple of girls that just wanted to go on a bike ride in the forest, and many friends of friends of friends my dad has become part of the Couch Surfing community without even realizing it.  He is now used to and comfortable with meeting new people, and his generous hospitality has extended beyond the realm of family members.  He has grown to trust his daughter and her judgements (I hope!).  Above all, he has learned the importance of hydration and making new friends.  Much of my happiness and knowledge of the world comes from meeting new people, sharing lives, and sharing homes.

That is the type of thing a person carries with them forever, whether they are on the Couch Surfing website or not.  We learn to share from the moment we come into contact with other human beings.  Remember what they taught us in school, “sharing is caring”.  Thank you dad for being so open, accepting, caring, and way hip.

Another Birthday, Another Reason to Celebrate

Today is March 5th. It’s just a normal day for most people. Ideally, the snow is melting and the Earth is starting to peek through. Today would have been my mom’s Birthday. My dad would have been siting on the couch, waiting, and watching some sort of fishing show on TV as my mom would have been upstairs in the bathroom for hours getting ready for dinner at the restaurant of her choice. My brother and I would probably be teasing each other or enticing the dog to bark at the fish on television. My mom’s phone would have been ringing nonstop, all of her friends and the family calling to wish her a happy birthday. She was a popular lady. Once she was finally ready to come downstairs the four of us, possibly joined by my grandparents, would have driven to the restaurant for a lovely meal and back to the house for wine, candles, and ice cream, maybe some pound cake.

We would have been doing the same thing we do every year for all of our birthdays, but it would have been special since we’d all be together. The rest of the family would come over on the weekend for a proper celebration and more cake, candles, and singing. My mom would have gone out with her girlfriends for a few more parties.

We tend to think of our birthdays as marking another year gone by; therefore, making us another year older. Once you reach a certain age, shall we say 25, every birthday is a year closer to 30, and then closer to 40, and then, in the blink of an eye you’re turing 60! Where did the time go? How am I getting this old? What are these wrinkles on my face? Do I really have to get any older? I’ll just turn 39 for a few more years. Some of us even fear our birthdays, and when the time comes to celebrate we convince ourselves that we want to sit at home crying over romantic comedies on television. Some of us may also convince ourselves that we are nothing to make a fuss over, that we are not worth our friends and family going out of the way to nice things for us. But, we are missing the point!

Birthdays are a celebration of the day we were born, the day we came into this world to start our beautiful journey. Every year that goes by is another year we are lucky enough to be among friends and family, lucky enough to do new things or enjoy the same old things, lucky enough to experience life! We gather with those we love to celebrate all that happens in a year, to celebrate growth, to celebrate the love we gave and received, and most importantly to celebrate the fact that YOU are here today! We celebrate the past year, your current breath of life, and hopes for the future and good things to come. After all, It is tradition to make a wish before blowing out the birthday candles.

So, this year on your birthday remember that you are important, your life is special, and if some one wants to throw you a party, take off your sweatpants, stop complaining, and live a little! You are here on this Earth. Remember to enjoy.

SuzieQHappy Birthday Suzie Q