Friday, April 19, 2013

Дом под деревом - the Treehouse

For my first evening in Russia, I set out on a 15 minute walk to Дом под деревом (the Treehouse) for an alt-CS meeting (alternative CouchSurfing meeting).

My walk over felt invigorating. It felt good to have a destination when I set out to contrast with all the times I head out without having anything in mind. I was eager to meet up with other travellers and Москвичи in their own town.

Between houses 14 and 16 and through the gate, a small green house (was it a house) was there. I entered, took off my shoes, and was greeted by Alexander, who I had already talked to on CS around 6 months ago, and a few other folks. Most were locals and a few were from other countries. They were playing Uno.

Дом под деревом is a beautiful environment that seeks out to be more like a home than anything else. "Treehouse is not a cafe, but a house with more hospitable attitude towards guests and free donations system of payment." It felt good to arrive and I quickly changed into my typical Mägi-pants and took off my socks too.

Tea was made.

We all moved upstairs.

Alexander & Renata
It's hard deciding if I want to describe the actual happenings (conversations) or the feel of it all.

The feel was connection. The feeling was, "Will just a week in Moscow be enough to connect with all of these beautiful humans?" The feeling was being able to let my guard down and be myself

Couchsurfing is a magnificent community of folks who are willing to welcome strangers into their home or are willing to put themselves into the hands of someone they don't know, yet. It's based on good-will and trust. One host of mine has just offered me his house keys even though he'll be away for the weekend. I was also welcomed to join him on his trip to St. Petersburg.

In the second half of the meeting, I got to work on my Russian and was so grateful to Istemi, Alexi, and Renata for working with me on it. They were so patient as I sounded things out. Definitely go in some much needed laughs there, too. It was very encouraging.

After the meeting, Istemi and I set out. He had offered to walk me home. We were headed to my hostel but on the way, we stopped and got borscht and a salad with what I think were quail eggs in it - some sort of mini-eggs. He's from Turkey.

The streets in this neighbourhood feel quite safe. I haven't explored all of Moscow and I'm sure it has it's sketchy parts (as all good cities do) but this wasn't one of them.

I was safely deposited back at my hostel. I had had intentions to blog but, by midnight, I crashed. My body was exhausted.

Finally sat up at 11 AM - although I'd been slipping in and out of sleep since 7:30 AM. I feel pretty rested - a bit foggy and groggy, but I'll be up and jumping in no time. I'm deliberately giving myself time to breath and think before setting out.

I'm grateful to be here.

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