Sunday, 8 July 2012

Couch Surfing in Moscow

Rocking up to a stranger's house in the middle of the night, in a dark neighbourhood of a foreign metropolis, might not sound like a good idea to many people, but couch surfing was a great way to start my trip and was full of benefits unavailable to me if I had opted to stay in a hostel.

Masha, who works as a storyboard artist, along with her housemates showed me incredible hospitality and made my stay in Moscow so memorable. I had my own personal tour guide, my own bedroom, my own set of keys, friends if I wanted them and freedom when I needed it. I felt more like a temporary housemate than an intruding guest, and all from the kindness and generosity of strangers. 

Masha and her cat.

I'd recommend couch surfing to anyone with the confidence to throw themselves into the deep end, it's a great cultural exchange and was also a great way of saving a few Roubles in Russia's most expensive city. I learnt a lot about Moscow, a city which previously I knew precious little about, and I hope I helped improve Masha's English, as this was one of the underlying reasons that drew her towards accepting foreign strangers in her home. The language barrier was a minor issue between us, with some miscommunication, and her eyes would dart like nervous minnows through a broken stream of conversation, meaning jokes were harder to crack, and were generally met with blank expressions. Despite this, and the fact that my Russian is non-existent, (apart from the four words I learnt during my stay which helped me navigate many social interactions during my short stay in Russia) we got on very well considering we were two complete strangers suddenly living together. 

My most memorable experience that couch surfing provided me, was our midnight cycle around Moscow, which you can read about in my previous blog post.

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