Friday, October 16, 2015

en Amérique

It was a choppy flight from Incheon to San Francisco, but I reached my homeland in one piece. A nice United Airlines staffer routed me directly to DC from San Fran, thus saving me the burden of transferring at Chicago's O'Hare. I arrived at National Airport almost 90 minutes earlier than scheduled (10:30pm as opposed to 11:50pm); I took advantage of airport WiFi to message my buddy Mike, who was on the grounds and ready to pick me up.

The drive down to Mike's place in Fredericksburg was both familiar and surreal; I admired Mike's new car, and we chatted desultorily, almost as if I'd never left the States. When we got to Mike's home, I was greeted by Mike's wife and by a pack of friendly dogs, two of which were being dog-sat.

After a brief-but-comfortable slumber, I grabbed my Honda Fit, which Mike and his family have been holding in trust, and drove off to The Guest House at Lost River, West Virginia. Got lost twice en route, but eventually found the place (photos of everything forthcoming). The resort is in a quiet part of West Virginia, which may be almost a redundant thing to say. It's somewhat, sort of, in the mountains, and it features beautiful vistas. The drive to the resort was gorgeous, too; I very unsafely snapped photos of the autumn-tinged landscape as I drove.

At check-in, one of the resort's proprietors kindly gave me a brief tour of the grounds, after which he showed me to my room. I re-parked my car around back and settled into my room, which was quite nice.

Sean and Jeff had arrived only a few minutes earlier, as it turned out. They have a massive suite that sits right over my head. I've already met a few of the major players involved with Saturday's wedding, including the wedding planner, whom Sean adores for her aplomb and acumen. After sitting and talking with a few new people, I retired to my room and wrestled with the notion of sleeping. Sean came and visited me before I napped; we talked. I discovered, while talking, that the US State Department had recently sponsored Sean (as one-fourth of a quartet) on a trip through the Caribbean islands as a sort of musical ambassador.

An afternoon nap went longer than expected, and Sean brought me back dinner: a salad that I had requested before drifting off into dreamland, and which I ate after waking up. The only meal the resort serves is breakfast, which means we guests have to drive out to find local eateries for our noon and evening meals. Not a big deal.

(During my tour of the grounds, I was told that breakfast begins promptly at 9 o'clock, and that a bell is rung to summon everyone to the table for a family-style meal. I haven't been summoned to table by a bell since I lived in Switzerland. My Swiss host family used to ring a dinner bell promptly at 7 o'clock. I found that bizarre, and as it turns out, most Swiss families don't use dinner bells. My host family was a mite weird.)

I had to do a bit of research, before leaving Korea, on how to avoid cell-phone roaming charges while overseas. The secret appears to be that you put your phone on "airplane" mode, then kick in the WiFi. I forgot to activate the "airplane" mode while I was in San Francisco; that gaffe went on for ten minutes (and I received a sudden torrent of Korean-language text messages informing me of the costs of roaming) before I wised up. I expect a massive phone bill next month. Someone really needs to work on making a globally operable phone network such that the whole world is your home, and nothing counts as roaming. Unless you're on the moon.

The wedding rehearsal is Friday afternoon; I have several kinks to work out in my presentation. The actual wedding is Saturday; someone's going to have to use my phone to take pictures of the blessed event, since I'm the officiant and will be unable to take any pictures. Right now, I'm going to look over the wedding program again, then head off to bed.



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