GUESTS ARRIVE AS STRANGERS AND LEAVE AS FRIENDS – My take on Airbnb

Six months ago we took a leap of faith in sharing our home with strangers, and we became Airbnb hosts. In this four months, we hosted a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds, and I can proudly say that I loved it. This is one of the best experiences we had in our lives. It not just helped us earn extra money, but we met amazing people on the way who we can proudly call our friends. No matter what our religion or beliefs were, we lived under the same roof and shared our food. It was overwhelming.

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While the United States was a new country for me, Airbnb made me feel connected to the people here. It gave me a window to look at the world differently.  I am not the primary wage earner for our household. However, I bring in more income for our family by hosting Airbnb in our home. It makes me feel confident.
The best aspect of this journey is meeting wonderful furry beings. We hosted cats, dogs and recently a bunny named Daisy ( She is my favorite) along with hosting heir parents.
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When was the last time you had Mexican guests cooking you red rice? I had that privilege. We bond with our guests so well and share our cultures including food. People come to us and talk about their families, their culture and their vintage houses in the northwest. They try to learn about our culture and it seems like #onewrold #onelife
Airbnb helped me share my hospitality with others. In this fast paced life hospitality has shattered to pieces. Airbnb made it possible for us to open our doors and our hearts to travelers across the globe.
This is what Airbnb gave me, and this experience is priceless.

Anyone craving some “Uber Cool” food?

You all know I have always promoted new bloggers and here’s me promoting one more. I feel their loneliness on this blogosphere as I was there once. Also, did I tell you how interesting this blog is? It’s a food blog 😀 And you can never go wrong with recipes, can you?

I tried, for real tried and the recipes are uber cool – Here give her a try – Backyard Recipes

Chapter 4 – Au revoir New York

The year was 1932, the clinic was filled with men sick with some unknown cause. Some of them were struggling with breathing, while many had lost their ability to hear and were having minor seizures. Almost everyone looked invited by death.

Their below poverty line status brought them to this free treatment camp at the end of Monte Rosa Street in western Alabama. These men, for the most part, were illiterate sharecroppers and all they knew about the disease was “it was a mild fever with some allergic reactions.” That’s what Dr. AM have been telling them.

Dr. Anne Marie was their primary care physician. She promised their families that it’s just a start and they will improve in time. “The medicines are working” she would be heard saying to the relatives. Something was unique about this patients, their color, they were all black men.

15 years later, a file was lying on the desk of special agent Bo Scottsdale. Her chirpy self got a roadblock in the tongue when she saw “a file” on her desk. Files never got her good news, and they always signaled to a spark of life about to go dark. She hated this job but she was protecting the country, and under the name of the motherland, she was ready to fight any evil that came in the way.

Bo Scottsdale was Active 56’s best assassin. She was trained for this job right from her teenage. Bo was a special child, she was a great fighter and had a presence of mind beyond imagination. She could single-handedly take down four giant men without any weapon. She was approached by Active 56 at 14 years. Her mother convinced her that it was her best chance to do something for the nation, a kind of opportunity not everyone gets. It paid well, she got to go places for work, and she had some of the best work colleagues.

The only drawback; it was a secret agency funded by government to maintain peace. The aim of Active 56 was to create a balance in the world. They would eliminate any kind of threat without creating panic and chaos. Their Intel came from CIA.  The institution had 56 world’s best assassins, and within no time, it was evident that Bo was the best they had. She could handle dangerous operation seamlessly and gracefully. No trace of anything left behind.

A doctor in her mid-sixties named Anne Marie had a target on her back. Bo was ordered to take her down with the claims of Doctor being a traitor and the reason for the death of 399 black men in 1932. As Bo read the file, she slowly unearthed her history.

Dr. Anne Marie was a renowned doctor of her time, and in 1932 she took part in a covert operation financed by some international drug company to study the effect of their drug on Syphilis. All the participating black men were never told they had syphilis. In fact, they were not even told about any kind of study. Those people came from such poverty that most of them had never seen a doctor before. They could only visit Dr. Anne Marie because it was a free medical camp. Their families had high hopes of curing them, but they all died the slow and sad death. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctors involved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.

Bo saw the attached pictures of dead men, and she felt sorry for them. Some of them were so young that Bo could imagine their alternative life where they had a beautiful family of their own and were living happily. She felt a pit in her stomach for all the anger she had just developed for the doctor.

“People like her are cancer to this society, ” she thought to herself, and she prepared on taking her next target down.

The doctor had been hiding since 15 long years after a whistleblower unearthed her covert operation but now no one could save her from Bo.

Natasha was done with her work by 5:30 pm and decided to head home and start her private investigation with Chloe. She was determined to know all about herself. She took the taxi to work every day, and Chloe would drop her back.

“What should we call ourselves? NC Private Investigators” Chloe laughed

“Shhhhh…..just be fast. I want to get everything before Pa enters this house.”

“Yes my Nancy Drew, I will fast, super-fast.”

Natasha was little confused about the whole situation, but she needed to find out about herself, especially when Pa was so strict about keeping things away from her. They went to the storage, pulled out every bag and started to open them one by one. Old clothes, newspaper cuttings of disaster around the world and some old dusty novels. Nothing of particular significance.

“Dude, you are like the first chic I know without any family pictures popped out from anywhere”.

Their house might have been decorated with best paintings from artists around the world, but there wasn’t a single family picture.

“Honeybunch, this is taking us nowhere” Chloe had that grin on her face

“Tell me what? You have that face again.”

“errr..well nothing just a thought.”

“What thought?”

“Do you…ummm…can you…I mean…”

“Say it, Chloe.”

“Can you trust Pa? I feel he is hiding some bomb there.”

She looked around one more time, just to be sure. She couldn’t find a thing. She took an intake of breath, trying to think straight. Her instincts aligned with Chloe but her heart said differently. She trusted Pa too much, but she had seen him being strange all the time; having those secret conversations in whispers, talking to some strange men every Tuesday, going quiet when she entered the room, and a lot of such small little things that were pointing towards Pa being dishonest with her.

“Oooooh look what I found, your medal.”

“My medal; lemme see.”

“oopsy whoops sorry doesn’t belong to you. Whose Scottsdale? Your mom?”

“My mom? My mom was Erin Landberg, and she was ….”

“She was? What? “

“Chloe I don’t remember my mom, ” and she started sobbing. A large arm circled around her waist as Chloe hugged her trying to comfort her. For next few minutes, she was lost in her own world, oblivious to the sound of the door knob opening.

 

Chapter 3 – Au revoir New York

She had an incredible time with Alex, and she promised to answer his call if he does call. She wanted to go to his place later that night, but she had to be home, in time, for her meds. Pa was very strict about it. Every night Pa made her the dose of medicine that kept her stable. Pa said if she skips them, she will start forgetting herself. She was already too sad, not able to remember her life completely before the accident. She could not take the chance of forgetting whatever is left of her life in her memories.

“How long do I have to take this awful medicines Pa, I am tired of it.”

“Just four years my Darling and then you are free, you can go back to your apartment, and Pa won’t bother you.”

“You don’t bother me Pa, I love you,” and she hugged him tightly.

She could see Tuileries gardens all around her. It was a beautiful site. The place looked more like a station as if it was built on a historic station and not was an art gallery. The paintings around were all dated 1848 to 1914. The gate had a sign that read “Musée d’Orsay”

“Hi honey” A man confronted her from behind holding her tight in his arms. She could feel his strong masculine hands round her waist. He gave her a peck on the cheek and asked if she liked the place. A little girl came running to her. She looked just like her; anyone could tell she looked like her. The same face and the same mole above her lip.

“Here’s come my princess” And the man lifted her up.

“Mommy, this place is so beautiful” she exclaimed, and that’s when her phone started buzzing at full intensity.

Natasha had her eyes wide open. The Alarm next to her bed was buzzing at full intensity. She had to reach the library by 8 am, and it was 7 am already. She had a text from her working partner Chloe that she was going to be an hour late and that made Natasha panic as now Natasha would have to be on time to open the library. Normally Chloe handled that part well. She was an early bird, always on time and Natasha was relieved as it was fine if she was 5-10 min late on a regular basis. She had a quick shower, and she headed to the mirror to put on her make-up. As she glanced herself, she couldn’t help thinking about the little girl from her dream. She gently touched her mole remembering how the small girl looked exactly like her.

That day at the library she was scanning through all the books on Past lives, and psychic connections. When Chloe came, Natasha had a book titled “know your past” in her hands.

“You reading that?” Chloe asked

“Yes, just curious about the title.”

“Seriously? You believe in rebirth and all that shit?”

“I cannot say I do, but I like to keep my mind open, whoever wrote it had something to say, so I am just scanning.”

“Your old man giving you a hard time?” Chloe was not sure why would Natasha pick that book while she normally was found reading ancient history and magnificent architectures around the world.

“He is trying his best to take care of me, but I want out, I am done living with him.”

“Are you still on those funny shots?”

“They are my meds, Chloe; Pa says I am going to forget everything if I don’t take them.”

“Can he make me something to forget my reality?” Chloe laughed

“Sure, why not” Natasha chuckled

“Anything to forget David and his annoying self.”

David was Chloe’s younger brother and most of his life he was found high on drugs. He caught that awful habit from his school. Chloe and David were orphans living with their old aunt, and she was very old and sick for most of the time. Chloe loved David, he was the only thing she had of their parents, but his habits were making her life difficult.

It was one snowy evening when Cloe returned home from work and Aunt Sheila informed her that David was nowhere to be seen. He usually returns from school by Afternoon, except for Wednesdays and Fridays when he had his soccer practice. It was a Tuesday, and when David was not back till 7:30 PM, Chloe called his friend Mike. According to Mike, David never showed up at school that day. She was worried, panicking mostly and went to the police station only to find that they already had a male with a similar description in their custody.

David had to be admitted to a rehab where they found out about his drug abuse which had been going on for a few months now and last night, David had OD’d a drug that made him unconscious in the streets where police found him and took him to the hospital. While in the Rehab, David hated the place and Chloe tried to be encouraging and motivating every time she got a chance to be on the call with him. David had to earn the call privileged with his behavior, and he missed Chloe.

The scariest thing in Chloe’s life was that phone call from Jordan Shepherd’s Correction House.

“We think David just tried to cut his wrist,” they told her on the phone. Chloe was at the library where she busted into tears and ran towards where he resided. She had made sure that David would never do that again, she decorated his entire cell room with their pictures; from when they were young, to their birthday parties, and to their happy picnics.

“This is what you will miss if you try that damn thing again,” she told him, and David got it loud and clear. He served his remaining time with good behavior and was soon home with Chloe. David was too ashamed to be back in school. Chloe tried hard convincing him about it but he just never wanted to be back there. Chloe decided to give me some space and let him decide on when he wanted to be back. Cloe was tired, she laughed a lot, but deep down she was sad and tired. She shared this part of her life with Natasha who often showed her a lot of compassion.

Natasha sniffled through the pages of the book reading all about “can someone remember their past life? She was sure that something was happening. All her dreams, people she saw, they all indicated something.

“Do you mind me asking what exactly brought you to this book.”

“I am not sure you would get it. It’s not normal I know, but it’s very strange.”

“Well I believe in fairytales, I have hopes of someone coming on a white stallion for me so I am sure you can give me a try” Chloe chuckled.

“Ok let me show you something” Natasha turned her chair facing her computer and typed the words “Musée d’Orsay” on her computer screen. The google search results brought them to the website of Musée d’Orsay; the art gallery in Paris. The pictures suggested that the place was built on a historic railways station and also it had Tuileries gardens around it.

“I have never been to Paris, never, I came with this name from my dream last night. I saw this place with this gardens and ….everything! You know it’s scary” She was scared a bit while trying to explain Chloe with her hands.

“Are you sure you have never been to Paris? Maybe you did as a child and you went to this place? You said you don’t remember much about your past life, so maybe you did go here and you just don’t remember it?” Cloe made sense. Natasha decided not to ask Pa this time but to search her own house. She wanted to know everything about the life she had forgotten.

Chapter 2 – Au revoir New York

She worked for a library around the corner. She was the bookkeeper, and she loved her job. She met a lot of strange, interesting, funny, and witty people on their way to read something. Not a single familiar face in two years. The strangest part was that she had forgotten all about her life before the accident. She could remember things in bits and pieces; things that felt more like imaginations from stories Pa told her.

She used to sit for hours trying and remembering Meghan. She didn’t even know which hospital Meghan was admitted to. Pa never allowed any information flow towards her. Meghan was more like a ghost to her. She had some friends; like just a handful of them that she met in these two years. She would often hang out at PB’s bar; often alone and then once in a while would just bump into some random guy to escape her boring reality.

She remembers the exact time when those strange dreams started. It was right after some loud music, strokes of paint brush and bathroom sex. It was pretty intense. She was a beautiful woman standing tall at 5’8 with big blue eyes and slim figure. She had a mole right above her lip, and that made her smile the best in the world. It was not hard for Natasha to please guys, she was natural.

His name was Alex Lennox, and he was known for his paintings, sculptures, and prints and was represented by numerous galleries internationally.

He had just finished working on a painting and was headed out to meet his girlfriend, Riley. He often stayed so immersed and busy in work that Riley often complained about his disappearance and that day he decided to surprise her by taking her for dinner at 65 E. 55th St., the most expensive restaurant in New York know for its Scandinavian cuisine.  Much to his own surprise, he found Riley in bed with someone else. Riley totally forgot about that hidden key under the carpet that Alex used to sneak in and surprise her.

With a hard face, he stormed out of Riley’s Apartment, not to mention even few bitter words from Riley on how he never had time for her and he she wanted to break-up since a month now. He saw PB’s around the corner and decided to swallow his grief with some whiskey on the rocks. While he had his glass, gulping his sorrow, controlling his anger towards Riley; he saw Natasha in another corner looking equally sad. She was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. She was staring at her Martini glass while listening to “Let her go” in the background. Alex could see questions all around her face.

He signaled the waiter to send her another glass with a cherry on the top. When the server reached her, she was surprised

“I am fine, plus I never ordered this”

“It’s from hay gentleman across the table mam.”

Natasha looked at Alex in the corner, winking at her. She approached him boldly with the new glass and gave it back to him.

“Well, I am not interested.”

“It’s ok; I just felt you needed one more.”

“What makes you say that?”

“You see, we have some similarities.”

“And what is that?”

“We are equally sad” Natasha laughed a little and sat on his table. They started talking about New York, and he was telling her all about his work nd how Riley ditched him.

“I fell sad for Riley; painters are my best bet” Natasha liked him.

He charmed her with his jokes and his paint brush, and when he started telling his tale, Natasha got immersed in it. He had a Picasso charm to himself. Being an average looking guy with torn jeans and a blue shirt with some permanent color stains on his hands, he was nowhere in Natasha’s league, but something in him evoked her. He even offered to paint Natasha

“You are a muse material,” he told her. I need to paint you to throw you out of my head

“I accept the offer, ” and it soon followed with kisses at first and some hot romance on the dirty bathroom floors later.

While making out with him, Natasha went blur again

Je me faux pas Vivre sans toi 

 

The words were echoing in her ears. And then the loud music was back again.

 

Au revoir New York

Hello everyone, Are you all wondering what this title all about? Thats the name of my new book or story (If i finish it) So while I have had a long writer’s block, I have decided to overcome it by writing a story I have in mind in chapters. I will post a chapter here every now and then, and I would love to get you feedbacks. So I am waiting for you all to read it 🙂 – xoxo

 

There was the golden sky with the sun setting on the horizon as its golden rays spread across the water like a blanket. He touched face delicately and kissed her on the cheek while she kept staring at the horizon

“This is beautiful.”

“Just like you” He replied

And she woke up, looked around zombified for a second. The surroundings looked alien while she was still immersed in her dream state. Slowly everything started making sense. It was her room, the pink walls and her favorite dolly box lying in one corner. She looked at the painting across the bed; a beautiful waterfall and she stared at it for a brief moment. Painting always attracted her; she loved them for the thought of looking at some real place on the earth painted by someone.

“Natasha” she heard her father knocking on her door. She was still in her bed, the sheets were crumbled, and the bottle of water on the side had been tossed off to the corner of the bed. The mirror on the side caught her attention. She could see her shorts and a pink star wars t-shirt thrown on the floor. She remembered wearing them the last night she went to bed. She looked at herself in the mirror, and it was a pink satin nightdress.

“Really? When did I bloody change?” She was frustrated. She had been having the same dream again and again for some time now. She had been waking up with a strong urge of knowing the man from her dream and that urge was getting stronger every time she woke up.

“Tu es belle” the words keeping ringing in her ears. She could hear them loud and clear.

“Natasha, are you up?” she heard her father knock one more time.

“Yes pa, come in.”

Her face looked tired though she had just woke up. She had that look of frustration in her eyes.

“What does “Tu es belle” mean Pa,” She asked her father who looked at her from the corner of his eyes.

“Are you ok?” He asked

“I think so.”

“Where did you hear that?” He asked curiously

“I don’t know; I just picked it in my sleep.”

He gave her a look of concern and then ask her if she was taking her medication properly. A year ago, Natasha had a bad accident. She was out for the concert and it was 1 Am when she was returning home with Meghan in her beetle when someone hit them from behind, and the car was completely overturned. Her father had to get her a new car, and since then Meghan was in a comma. Natasha was never allowed to visit her. Doctors had advised against it as it would have caused a traumatic effect on Natasha. Though she was walking, she had a traumatic brain injury. Till the day she could not remember how they crashed or who was it that crashed their car. She woke up in the hospital with her Pa overlooking her face. She could not remember anything and all she knew about that night were the stories that her Pa told her.

Mr. Masters, Natasha’s father checked the bottle of the medicine lying on the counter next to her. It was half empty; meaning she was indeed taking her medicines.

Things were fine for two years after the accident and Natasha had been staying with her dad, recovering under his care. She had spoken to him a lot about moving back to her apartment which had been locked from past two years, but Mr. Masters was always reluctant about it. It was six months back that this flashes of a man had started in her dream. Mr. Masters called it an illusion of Natasha’s mind.

“You are watching too many movies” he would tease her often, but Natasha always felt a strong connection to the man in her dreams.

To be continued…