Making friends the CS Way...
CS stands for CoachSurfing...
Care for someone (C4S) is an apt title or motto i have in heart when i learned about CouchSurfing while browsing on my facebook one time, went on to read the link where i came across the greater knowledge of what CouchSurfing really means.
CouchSurfing is the biggest travel community available online, and luckily being back home after working far away in Dubai for almost 20 years of my life, I am quite a stranger in my own town...in my own country. Now finally, I am now a couch surfer myself and happy to be part of this wonderful community.
WHO I AM BASICALLY...
I grew up being a timid, simple, hikikomori type of woman in my younger years. Families are my friends, got one playmate from the place where i grew up in Quezon City that had remained as my childhood friend to date despite of decades or years sometimes that we don't really see each other. I've got a few close friends from high school that i have not heard from for 27 years until we finally caught up with each other thru facebook just over a year ago. In there, i've met a few good friends during my masscom days in college too that i that had developed a deeper level of friendship. I've known a few people on the net that have been good friends of mine for years and have just met or talked with on phone and on skype. In Dubai, i've made a few real true friends out of the many i have met or have known of in my 20 years of stay out there. It is a fact, i have made a lot of friends along the way of my 44 years, and i am lucky at least to have made TRUE GOOD FRIENDS at the count of my fingers from one to ten. Friends that i had for years, virtual or personal. Friends that I love and cherish from my heart and whom i know feels the same way for me.
Friendly, sisterly, motherly...i guess that's what my family and friends would tell you about me. I had always been a warm, trusting and friendly type of person from before.
WHAT IS COUCHSURFING?
CouchSurfing is an adventure making new friends. It's a community that offers "hospitality exchange, social networking services" for more than 3 million profile members in 246 countries and local territories. It officially started in 2003 by its Chief Inspirer Officer, Casey Fenton along with Daniel Hoffer, Sebastien Le Tuan and Leonardo Bassani da Silveira, a group of different people with each own expertise who has one aim, that is to connect global travelers into one community.
As to my own perception, CouchSurfing is not only made for the purpose of getting "freebies" tho'. When i say freebies, i mean...free stay, free meals, free drinks...free transport and all other services FOC (free-of-charge). But i'd say, any of what i mentioned are the stuffs that "may" be enjoyed by any member of the group, one thing or the other, depending on the host's (the CS member who will take you in) availability, capability...and inner perception of his/her couch surfer guest.
MY NEW COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE...
CouchSurfing tho' is another experience and another form that could be described as a "two-way" friendship. I went to the site, look at what it is all about, looked at other members profiles, couch surfing experiences, activities, similar hobbies and interests shared with each other or groups, and a lot more other useful agendas. I'm proud to say that in a couple of weeks i was in, i was able to meet 3 new CS friends, first was Milo, a fellow filipino...a very interesting gentleman who works as a community coordinator for the US Peace Corp..second was Maymie, a pretty young college stude from Canada who came over as her university's representative to join a Global Economic conference, and the third was Ririe, a very nice and simple lady in her 30's from Jakarta who simply hopped in a plane over the weekend just to explore and see what it is here in Manila. A self-professed writer herself, a warm and friendly woman who likes to travel and meet good people along the way. I had met three (3) new friends from CouchSurfing in a span of a week, i had coffee & chat at the mall once, i had toured the Fort Santiago and Taal Volcano sightseeing twice in a week for Maymie & Ririe, separately...had them experienced running under the rain while we tour the city, rode the horse-driven cart called "kalesa" (in tagalog language) around the busy streets of manila on our way to Intramuros, had maymie tasted fresh coconut hooked off from the tree and drank from its husk, ate "suman" a traditional local sweet made from sweet rice cooked in coconut milk and brown sugar wrapped up in banana leaves, while ririe had a taste of the "banana cue", traditional banana fried in melted brown sugar coating on sticks and mongolian hotmeal (own choice of vegetables, rice, noodles, sauce, gravy, meat, beef, fish flllet cutlets or fishballs) on live cooking stations at the mall, and had the chance to ride the traditional "jeepney" at downtown manila too. Something simple but new and exciting especially for those who are new in town.
An impromptu coffee meet-up was great with Couchsurfer Sobie from Poland and a newbie like me, Melody.
Latest of my CouchSurfing rendezvous was meeting a nice chap from Singapore. He was a traveler indeed but mostly with a purpose. A kind and great guy who cares about children, those who are homeless and those who are hungry. He had actually opened my eyes to reality of hapless children in our own land, struggling in poverty. Interested as i was, went on my way to Ulingan or Smokey Mountain as it is commonly known in Tondo. Met the people in charge of the Malaya Kids Ministry and was warmly welcomed. Together with a few CS new friends i met Archie and Vichelle, we were able to plan out our first Outreach Feeding in Baseco that had changed our lives, seeing life beyond being blessed. Poor little happy kids touched our hearts and made a commitment to help Malaya Kids in any way we can at least by conducting Outreach Feedings once in a month which eventually became two Saturdays a month since June. My journey in the Outreach gave me the chance to meet good friends among the CS group, and a lot of acquaintances who had participated in our activities in Baseco and Ulingan. Glad to have known CSer foreigners like Rupesh and others who played a good part in helping out for the feeding, people who are blessed but despite of their natural zest for life, travel and fun they had the compassion to share their blessings.
Recent activity that we had has been an awesome one, a truly different experience of bonding and community service as well.
WHAT IS IT TO BE A GOOD COUCHSURFER....
To be a worthy CS member not only means having a nice house or room or space you can offer to requesting couch surfer visiting your country or your area. It is not by having a posh car or SUV's to take your couch surfer guest around town or out of town. It is not in being rich and capable to offer invitations to fancy clubs or restaurants that will make your hosting a stand-out with your couch surfer guest in the process. It is not by the number of friends that have added you or is on your list that makes one CS member above all others who might have less friends or still none at the moment.
Making friends the CouchSurfing way for me is measured by the sincerity of your motives, interaction with fellow couch surfers you get the chance to meet, new ideas or lessons shared within each other that is beneficial (i.e. learning languages, traditional dishes, cultures, way of living, life or work experiences, crafts, sports ,et.al) and most importantly, is the impact for each and every encounter you have with any CS member that you hope to last.
MY LAST WORDS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP...
Friendship shared whether by CS, Hubpages, Facebook, long distance, mere acquaintance, virtual or personal...as long as it is sincere, means awesomely priceless!