Humans Are Amazing

I’ve been following the incredible story of the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners since last night. The spirit of human endurance can be nothing short of amazing. There is something very uplifting about refreshing the live blog at CNN to watch the number of rescued miners go up and read about the reunion of each man with his loved ones. Can you imagine being trapped 2,000 feet underground for more than two months? The ways in which the miners (and the world) came together to support one another throughout the ordeal is the stuff of a tearjerker novel, but it’s all real. I think I’ll remember this the next time I catch myself feeling like doing anything is just too hard.

We have had the most wonderful weekend away in Luray at the wedding of our American friend Leigh and her Dutch groom, Roelof. We have really come to know Roelof, his family, and their friends in the Netherlands and think very highly of them and consider them all our friends too. It was so nice to reunite with them after last seeing them in November 2009. For many, it was their first trip to the United States, and some are turning it into an especially nice vacation by traveling up and down the East Coast.

We hosted four friends, Roelof’s brother Johan and his girlfriend Xaviera, and Leigh’s close friend Anita and her husband Gerald, at our home two and one nights (respectively) and also toured Luray Caverns with them. All four are very kind, sweet, and fun. After being shown so much of the Netherlands on such a personal level on my last trip there, I was happy to return the favor and show Leigh’s friends my little piece of America. The four of them got to see a stretch of the downtown Columbia Pike area and ate their first American burger at P. Brennan’s before we caravaned to the wedding. The wedding itself was so much fun with lots of music and dancing and I even got to do plenty of emceeing (along with fellow ceremoniemeester, or Master of Ceremony, Frank). Leigh looked so beautiful, Roelof made a handsome groom, and it’s clear they are destined for a lifetime of blessings.

After touring Luray on Monday, we returned to Arlington with Johan and Xaviera. We all had beers on the balcony, a walk around the Rosslyn and Courthouse areas, the unparalleled deliciousness of Ray’s Hell Burger, and the fun of seeing (many!) planes zoom right over your head at Gravelly Point as they land at DCA (Ronald Reagan). The next day, Eric was off work and so he went into D.C. with Johan and Xaviera, helped them get settled in at their hotel, showed them how the Metro works, and took them to the Natural History Museum. Today they texted with the sweetest message saying that they went to the National Mall today and loved it, and “remember it’s not goodbye.” So I think it’s safe to say we’ve made many friends from Holland that we will keep for a lifetime. For me, this is a large part of what travel is all about.

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