People that ruled this year (that I did not know were going to rule).
- Mainz Roommates: Amelia's best friend was studying on a Fulbright in Mainz...so we decided to visit and kick-off a Euro-trip. Not only was Lydia an amazing host, translator, map-reader, and traveller; her roommates let us interrupt their studious lifestyle for over a week. They gave up their bedroom(s), cooked us an amazing meal (and a hangover breakfast to boot), refused to let me buy a round of beer, didn't complain when we showered daily, talked late into a couple evenings about all aspects of life, and were remarkably quiet while I lay in a bed with the worst 36-hour flu of my life (complete with hallucinations).
- Tim in Berlin: Tim rented us the spare room in his flat. Not only was it remarkably clean & in a s super-sweet location; but he went above and beyond. He let us do laundry (and use his detergent), printed out train tickets for us, and had a binder full of cool stuff to do. Definitely one of the reasons that, as soon as we left, we were scheming how to get back to the city.
- Pieter: Ok, so I'd met Pieter before. He was an exchange student from Belgium while I was in high-school, when I still had a buzz-cut, no music or artistic sense or taste, and generally, was merely another shitstain from Kokomo sucking up valuable resources.
We met up again over the Summer five years previous, when I was able to host him while he travelled across the States. We bonded over him introducing me to Refused (while still in high school), as well as our quasi-bohemian lifestyles that were well beyond the norm of the factory town I spent high school in.
Wanting to head back to Belgium while overseas, I reached out to see if we could visit & impede on his life for a couple days. Amelia was nervous as she had only met him for a minute or so; her nervousness was contagious, and while rhythmically swaying on a train for eight-hours, we wondered, "Will we have anything in common? Will we be in the way?" and the like.
Only ten minutes into the visit, we felt ridiculous for our case of the nerves. Not only was Pieter (and Daphne, his better half) the most humble & generous host we could've imagined (cooking us dinner...immediately! driving to Antwerp with us, buying drinks at the music-venue hop...I could go on & on), but we rarely lacked for things to talk about. And that's quite an achievement for two self-conscious Americans with niche interests and a tendency towards clamming up. Needless to say, we can't wait to host them in Indianapolis, or wherever we hang our hats.
- Couchsurfers: We hosted a 2-piece Italian band, and a brother & sister from Bordeaux this Summer. Sometimes, you need to bend over backwards for people you don't know. Extend into the universe a kindness, that, you hope will be like a perfectly thrown boomerang, and return to you in the interminable future. Thank you, Elli & Silva, Clement & Zoe, for restoring a sense of hope for the world, and humanity in general. Thanks for being literate, cultural, interesting conversationalists–––and thanks most of all for eating my food and drinking my beer. The world isn't such a large place when you meet great people through the kaleidoscopic Internet.
- Okay, this is turning into a who's-who of our trip, and I don't want to ruin my future, unborn blog entries by continuing this sappy trail of Thanks. Amelia's family in the UK (who housed us, fed us, and put up with our shenanigans & constantly wet shoes) should be mentioned, too. I believe I drunkenly murmured more than once, "If the world ends, this is where I wanna be." Not even sure where I was, but I maintain that sentence is scientific truth wherever it comes out of your lips.
All I know is that getting along with random people, distant non-relatives, and sweaty travelers like they're old friends is one of the distinct pleasures of being human.