You might remember my post a little while ago, where I mentioned signing up with couchsurfing.org in an effort to start getting over my social phobia. Well, today was the day!! I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I almost called the whole thing off, how many times I composed emails in my head detailing all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons why it was just impossible for us to host him, or how many times I agonised to Luke about any number of ridiculous things that I thought would go wrong the second the stranger walked through our front door.

In the end I’m ashamed to admit that Joel arrived on our doorstep, not because of my gracious – and brave – invitation, but by sheer dumb luck! He emailed me yesterday to say he was on his way, cycling madly all the way from Te Anau, and that he would arrive either today or tomorrow, he left me his mobile number at the bottom of the email and asked me to sms him our address.. which, of course, I didn’t do. I know, I know, shame on me! In my defense, I didn’t actually have any credit, but I do have a home phone so I could have just called him, but I was stupidly paranoid about the whole thing so I just kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, until about 6pm when I noticed a very worried looking man cycling up and down my street, his bicycle overloaded with camping gear and water bottles and saddle bags packed to bursting point. What a sorry sight he was!

My heart gave an almighty, panic stricken, jump when I saw him, and I did consider just ignoring him altogether, but you’ll all be pleased to know that I didn’t leave the poor man to fend for himself (which, for the record, wouldn’t have been so bad, there is a caravan park just down the road) and instead I took a deep breath and went outside and introduced myself.

So here he is, lovely Joel, who isn’t at all intimidating or scary and in fact is just a lovely little sunburned French man trying to have an adventure. What a mess I must have looked, the strangely nervous, barefoot, dreadlocked hippy girl, all a flutter at his arrival! I made us some chamomile tea (like any good barefoot, dreadlocked hippy girl would!) and we sat around my loungeroom chatting and watching the sunset over the mountains. I offered him dinner but he had already eaten – thank goodness for that because I’ve no idea what I would have made for him! – And now, 6 hours after his arrival, we have compared life stories, taken photos of each other, exchanged email addresses, compared our New Zealand panoramic photography, become facebook friends and I’m in the process of convincing him to settle in Queenstown so we can be coffee buddies.

He is tucked up in bed now – exhausted from cycling over 100kms today – and I am sitting here, marveling at my own absurdity, it’s moments like this, when I am awash in the happy glow of socialising with friendly people that I really have to wonder about myself, I mean I practically gave myself an ulcer worrying about this very night, and now it is here and it’s absolutely fine!

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