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The 14 days of Valentine tribute to the love of couchsurfing continues.

DAY 11 – ULM, GERMANY

HE: Quit his job when his wife got cancer and now volunteers a lot in a hospice

SHE: Quit her university administration job when she got cancer

And that deserves a hat!

And that deserves a hat!

When we left Serbia we travelled through Hungary, spent a few weeks in Austria with relatives and then landed at our next couchsurf in Ulm.  I had selected this couple because we had a lot in common, including breast cancer.

This couple hosts A LOT of couchsurfers – to the point that they have established a rigorous application process.  Luckily for us, they agreed to host us right away (I prepared our application meticulously) and I like to think that’s because they were as excited to meet us as we were to meet them.

We clicked right away and definitely plan to see them again.  They gave us our own apartment, packed us a lunch for our journey to Legoland, offered to have us stay longer, told us we could housesit for 3 months while they were in Thailand, regaled us with stories of their years in Africa, gave us a flat of organic apples and generally embraced us in every way.  They also shared insights from their cancer experience that were invaluable to me.  Most precious of those were about work and the evaluation of whether or not to return.

“Pigeon Recipes” statue in Legoland

“Pigeon Recipes” statue in Legoland

My nickname for them was going to be Fearless because I thought cancer had turned them into fearless warriors.  But I realize that they have fear and what is so remarkable about these two people is that they face it head on.  Their name is therefore Unstoppable.  What I admire most is their ability to confront what happened, to determine a path that makes sense for them and then to set themselves on that path.

Berlin Zoo in Legoland Ulm, weird no?

Berlin Zoo in Legoland Ulm, weird no?

People, with cancer and without, genuinely want to make changes (lose weight, stop smoking, exercise) but steering your life away from everything it has been is terrifying and difficult.  Unstoppable completely changed and did not waver – they quit their jobs, became vegetarian, took to exercise, started walking barefoot, gave up alcohol, and learned to say no.

After decades spent travelling the width and breadth of Africa, they had, in recent years fallen in love with Thailand.  They had forged connections there and now spent months of every year visiting their adopted country.

The Unstoppable hat as modelled by Paris

The Unstoppable hat as modelled by Paris

The Unstoppable hat is endearing, lovely and quirky, like the couple it is meant for.  The colours of the yarn remind me of the jewel colours of Thai silk.  It is knit in Liberty Wool and the pattern is Luuk Hat by Annis Jones.  Knit on 5 mm/US 8 needles and available for free on Ravelry.