Couch Surfing

I found a new way of traveling and meeting people, it’s called Couch Surfing. This is a community where people volunteer for hosting travelers. Of course these people are also travelers, so when they travel [hopefully] they can be hosted.

I know this community from a friend of mine and I realized this community is mentioned in the Lonely Planet guidebook. But the reason to join this, in the beginning, was because I wanted to find free accommodation for my trip to Italy. [See: Surviving Italy]. At that time I wasn’t successful in finding free accommodation in Italy but I managed to meet some people from CS and I enjoyed it. They were so welcome, warm, and nice; it made my travel different. I had something more to remember; not just beautiful places to see but also experiencing the places from locals’ point of view.

Me and my CS friend in Italy.

Back in Bremen, I thought nobody would ask me for host because Bremen is not a major tourist destination. I am sure people would prefer to go to Hamburg rather than Bremen. Bremen is just a small city which can be explored in a day; for sure, nobody would spend a night in here. But I was wrong!

Apparently, Bremen is a transit city. There’s a cheap flight that based in Bremen. And since it’s cheap, don’t expect it has suitable schedules. Most of the flights are very early or very late. In addition, the waiting period for a connection flight is a little different. I have my first guest due to this strange connection. She’s a Lithuanian girl who travels from France to Lithuania. Although she got a € 2 ticket price but she has to stay in Bremen for 2 nights for the flight connection!

When this girl contacted me, I was busy in writing my thesis; so I told her that I can only provide her a place to stay but I can’t showing her around. She agreed with the condition, because apparently, nobody else gave her positive response! So that’s how I got my first guest; accidentally. But it turned out very nice. The Lithuanian girl was an interesting person to talk to which made me relaxed during my boring time in writing thesis. It was a nice experience.

And from this point, I keep getting requests from others. My second guest was a guy on a motorbike asking me in the same day when he needs the accommodation. Apart from guests that stay at my place, I also have hosted people for sight seeing around Bremen. From this, my references getting more and more, which raise my credibility. When I have to travel to Köln in a sudden, I can find a host easily. (Well maybe it’s just luck also!)

But the funny thing now, somehow I become addicted in hosting people! After 3 months in joining this community, I have hosted 4 people who stay at my place and 4 others for touring. Well maybe hosting people is a way to escape me from the boring thesis writing routines. I can have time to do something else with somebody new; this is a way of refreshing. I keep hoping somebody contacts me and requests. Even after I finish my thesis writing now, I am still craving for hosting people. And somehow, I feel sad to know that I’ll leave Germany soon which mean my chance to be a host becomes less or even extinct. This mode of travel is still unpopular in Indonesia. But of course, who knows…?!!

My 2nd Ramadan

This year I am experiencing the fasting month in Germany. My first one was in 2007 when I just came to Germany. At that time, I had the fasting month during my language class and the beginning of my study.

Last year, I had the fasting month in Indonesia because I had to do my research. Surely it is nicer to have it home as the environment is very favorable. Most people are fasting so you won’t feel alone; and the foods sold during this time are special – they are sweet and fresh for regaining the energy loss during fasting.

But hey, then the point of doing fasting might get wiped away. Fasting is about being decent and modest. The higher the temptation is, the more advanced one become. Advanced in controlling yourself.

So, to do fasting in Europe is a nice challenge. First of all, the fasting time is longer. In Indonesia the fasting time is fixed the whole time. It’s always around 14 hours. In here, of course it’s depending on what season the Ramadan falls. If it’s during winter then the fasting time is very short (less than 10 hours); but during summer that could be killing (around 20 hours!). This year it’ll be around 16 hours. Of course, practices make perfect. One has to train oneself to be able to do the long fasting time.

For me, I like to challenge myself. So no matter where, I’ll try to do my fasting. The thought of being able to control myself sounds so cool to me. Well, welcome Ramadan!

After Thesis Submission Party

After we (me and my classmates) submitted our thesis on the deadline day, we are having a party. This is to celebrate our freedom. Finally, we are free from reading numerous literatures, comparing and analyzing our data to literatures, and being confused by supervisors’ inputs.

Furthermore, we were always together in our first year of study, but then we went separate ways in the second year. So, hearing updates from the classmates has become part of our life. We’re a big family; we need to stay in contact one another. That’s why the party is important for us.

Of all 19 people, only one person has a secured PhD position. One person has a baby and will get married in the next spring. The rest are having some options where nothing has really settled. I am included in this part. I still look for opportunities to stay longer in Germany or Europe. However, if I don’t have it until September, I’ll go home and looking for a job there. It’s so interesting to see that most of us have a blurred future now but probably by the end of the year, everyone will have something secured in his or her hands.

Well, what’s the best way to think about your blurred future? Party, of course!


Finally… I have finished writing my thesis and have submitted it! Pheew… what a relieve! I have started my writing from May; and although I have finished my first draft on mid-June but still I have to revise many things. Even 2 days before the deadline, I still received a last-minute correction from 1 of my supervisors.

I have 3 supervisors; while normally there’re only 2. In the beginning they said that they won’t confuse me, but uhm, theory is different than the practice. I found myself confused in incorporating all the inputs and suggestions. There’re period when I just read my thesis back and forth without knowing what to improve.

To add my suffering, my laptop even got struck by a virus! It worked so slowly. I have no idea how this could happened as I have my (free) anti virus. I ended up downloading any free anti viruses that I can found from internet. This strategy worked. My laptop can perform normal again. However, sometimes it turns off by itself!

Another thing… when I try to burn a DVD, my DVD driver didn’t work! For this, I stayed awake until 3AM trying to figure it out. I uninstalled the software then install it again; God knows how many times. But still it can’t work. In the end, I had to burn my DVDs at my friend’s laptop!

Not to mention all the sleepless nights and had to stay inside during nice weather… But those are over! I have finished and submitted my thesis!!!! Now it’s time to relax and start to rearrange everything; especially anything related to my departure to my home country. Yep, I won’t extend my stay in Germany as there’re no suitable PhD positions now. But for sure I won’t burry my dream to pursue the PhD. So who knows, maybe after awhile I’ll be back to Germany again J