On the plane, they give you peanuts. Lots of them. So I stuffed them in my already overpopulated laptop bag for the kids at home, who had told us to make sure we brought back airplane peanuts.
The first thing I noticed getting off the plane in North Carolina was the air. As I told a friend, it is smooth as silk there. A pleasure to breath. Which was nice, but at that point we were tired and unfamiliar and it was dark. We drove to the hotel through a corridor of trees, then commerce, crawling along the last bit trying to make out where we were to stay.
The hotel our hosts put us up in had fantastic service that helped make the trip enjoyable. They were prepared for any question or request of ours and always had a pleasant demeanor. Also, they always replace the glasses in the rooms. I saw stacks of them on the service cart. When I couldnâ€™t find a meeting place, I knew I could go back to the hotel and ask for help. Of course they would know the area, but they didnâ€™t make me feel stupid for a stupid mistake I had made in my navigation.
But the decor was reaching for a classical style and not quite making it. It felt a bit goofy and pretentious. I mean, what girl wants to sit on the white throne next to a line drawing of a fountain with nudes comprising sulking women, cherubs, and a hero with his sword in the upright position? Or sleep under a cheap copy of â€œBirth of Aphroditeâ€ http://www.timelessmyths.com/classical/gallery/aphrodite.jpg?
The next day Vladimir had his interviews and I was to be given a tour of the city. Anxiousness about what all this was going to mean to our family and future saturated our thoughts as we laid ourselves down, hoping to shed enough of it to be rested in the morning.Â