Le pineau and lapinou
Filip (Belgian) and Ana (Mexican), two students studying engineering in La Rochelle, just left. About a week ago Filip emailed me, through couchsurfing.com, asking if I could accommodate them for a night on their way back home after couch surfing and touring the south of France. I immediately said yes (though I didn't really think anyone would want to stay here, but there you go) as I've used couchsurfing quite a bit and need to put more karma in my corner.
They came in last night at 8:30. I helped them bring in their bags and they gave me a bottle of Pineau. Very generous of them and I quickly felt a pang of guilt. Before Julia and I stayed in Madrid she asked if we were supposed to bring a gift to the host. I said it wasn't necessary, but taking them out for a drink is probably customary. In London I was a total mooch off of my host Kai. He was just a really good host anyway and we went halvesies on all the booze, but London isn't cheap. So here I am, a total moocher who has only leeched off of the generosity of these other couch surfers.
So we went into the apartment, they showered and then made spaghetti. We all chatted and ate. I made it my goal to try and swing karma my way by being an annoyingly hospitable host. We went into town and I stopped at the ATM, crossed my fingers and took out far more than there is in my account (so I can buy a train ticket too, and also because it will be replenished in good time). We sat down at the bar, Le Flamand (coincidentally Filip is Flemish [flamand]), and met up with the normal Montalbanais crew. I bought us a girafe of Bel Pils and we had a good time getting our drink on and chatting. I had visions of hosting more people back in the US and getting all of you to join couchsurfing so you can host people and never need to pay for a hotel room again. Do it (it's not just for Europe)!
This morning I went to the bakery and bought some pains aux chocolats then brought and awoke Filip and Ana with the chocolate treats. We then walked around Montauban and I got to appreciate it all over again. I hadn't really walked around to the places we went since I first came here and I realized I really will miss this place. I think France in the summer is the best and I'm getting robbed of that.
Also, my landlord's pet rabbit (named Fripon [Rascal] but often called 'Lapinou') I see scurrying around the backyard and have gotten to play with a few times is adorable. I now understand Veronica's obsession.