Why You Should Couchsurf
Trip Start Jul 03, 2011
172Trip End Jan 17, 2012
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I had the best time in Brussels. The absolute best. I was immediately impressed by how diverse and multicultural Brussels itself is (as it should be-- it's the capital of the European Union). I was awed at the grandiosity of the Grand Place, a plaza with towering gold-encrusted guildhalls centering the area. I was tickled at how small the famed Mannekin Pis really is (Brussel's famous fountain of a little boy peeing).
However, what made my time here so special was not so much the city itself as the people I was staying with. I met Sarah on couchsurfing, and she warned me that she and her boyfriend Thibaut were very busy and couldn't hang out much, but I was free to crash at their place. When I got there though, they went out of their way to make sure that I had a good time in Brussels. I spent the days alone, but every night we stayed up late together talking and playing.
What I love about Thibaut and Sarah is that their ability to have fun. They traveled around the world learning games from different cultures, and now they make games out of recycled material. Thibaut explained his philosophy of forming bonds through laughter and the act of play, and I was deeply impressed not just with the idea but the act; Sarah and I sat up late playing backgammon and other games each night and we made paper mache together for the first time in my adult life.
In addition to games in the traditional sense, they made sure I had fun in a host of different ways. One night I went to an art exhibition with Sarah and Thibaut's sister Mailis. Another night they had friends over for a dinner party. Today Mailis lent me her bike so I could ride to the outskirts of Brussels and see the famed Atomium (picture below). No moment was stationary, everything was fresh and fun. Once again, couchsurfing opened up my eyes to a new way of approaching life. I love to play, and this just affirmed it. Game on!