Before this experience, I only hosted once and she’s a fellow Filipino. I have received many requests from different nationalities including German, Malaysian, Russian but I had to turn them down due to different circumstances.
I accepted a request once from a Russian couple and I was so excited I was thinking of interior decorating my apartment, looking at Pinterest, thinking of buying appliances so that they can cook Russian food for me. But then days before their arrival, we were robbed right in our apartment so I had to decline the request. It would be too awkward to accept strangers when we were just robbed (and I’m broke anyways).
And then, I received a request from two Russians. I checked my schedule and I’ll be off on the day of their arrival anyways so I accepted the request. I was quite busy a few days before that so I wasn’t able to prepare a lot.
It would be too generic to say I love the experience and I had fun. Instead, here are 5 ways how unique that experience was for me:
1) The reaction from around me were negative and disheartening.
And I never expected for them to react that way. They go…
…Where did you meet them?
…You don’t even know what their work are and you’d let them stay at your house?!
…What if they are scammers?
And the best one which made me think twice:
…You’ll never know they’re probably ISIS.
Well, I met them and they are certainly not dangerous…
…though they kind of attract danger because they were guy magnets.
I’m not good with conversations and I’m not prepared. But we shared quite a few experiences and stuff about Hong Kong.
I learned that these conversation points were helpful:
…food (Russian vs Hong Kong vs Filipino cuisine)
…language (What’s this in Russian?)
…make an observation about something they have (talk about the ukulele one of them had)
…something about their work, not just the details of it but something related to it (when we went clubbing, we talked about mix drinks because one of them worked as a bartender)
I’ve learned also that you can’t always throw the questions and instead share some of your stories too. That’s something I have yet to learn because I found myself caught off guard when they asked me
“How about you?”
Like I said, I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t think they would leave it all to me. I just thought, okay, tell me the places you would want to go and I’ll help you go there. It doesn’t seem to work that simply. As a local, you should know where to take them and it means an endless list of possible go to places.
4) Boy magnet
When I was with them, it’s funny I felt like I’m absorbing their goddess vibes or something, like, never in my life a guy comes up to me and hit on me but with them, like in one day, I got 2 guys hit on me. And since it’s a first, expect A-W-K-W-A-R-D.
And the thing with them is they’re not like my Pinoy friends who would shove off those guys’ advances. Instead, I found myself in one of those movies wherein when they pick the vibe that a guy is hitting on you, they’ll excuse themselves to the toilet so he can make a move on you.
I think it was an interesting experience.
5) As a hospitable pinoy attitude, you have to spend even though you got no obligasyon. I guess it’s just an inherent trait of every Filipino, to go to lengths of making an utang just to give your visitors a nice welcome.
I fell in love with CouchSurfing.
It’s like where did I get the guts to do those stuff?
But I’m happy.