My parents have a spare room which they have been eager to put to use as Dad’s medical expenses mount, so I offered to manage it for them as an Airbnb listing. Airbnb has been so problematic in rapidly gentrifying areas of Berlin that it’s actually been outlawed: developers were buying up whole buildings and certain streets became so filled with short term pleasure seeking tourists it was impossible for residents to find homes. However in a context like Brisbane, filled with overlarge houses where older people like my parents want to continue to live independently, it seems to me one of the best uses of the internet. Meanwhile Berliners have been making new arrivals from Syria welcome using an innovative ‘Airbnb for refugees’ set up by two local men. You can register your spare room and the government, who are not much addicted to locking up children and families offshore in tropical death camps, cover the rent so that a new family can settle in.
This is the review left this morning by our most recent visitor, who arrived jetlagged and disoriented off an 18 hour flight from Shanghai. She is here to study for two years. I feel good to know we have welcomed someone on first arriving in a brand new country and brand new climate, and I love knowing that people can experience each other, as strangers, through this medium and can build trust. We stayed with an Egyptian family in the Bronx last October and their hospitable kindness was transformative of our visit. In this case the tiny errors in my guest’s English just make me love her the more.
“This was the first week I came to Brisbane. I really love the house Cathoel offered. She is really a patient and warmhearted people and can offer everything I need when I live here. The room is tidy cosy and quiet which offers me a perfect circumstance to have a good rest and the Chinese decorative style impressed me a lot. The transport is convenient and easy to buy commodities nearby. All in all, it is really a wisdom choice for me to choose Cathoel’s house. Living here for a week was enjoyable experience for me.”