southbound

Great news! I’m totally not dead.

I was thinking maybe we could focus on that instead of the fact that I totally ditched you for the past few weeks, still haven’t finished my final Ecuador recap and currently lack the focus to finish reading an issue of US Weekly, let alone the copy of Anna Karenina I started almost ten months ago.

Yes? Good.

So, like I was saying, totally still alive. And while the majority of the past few weeks has been completely and utterly lame, marked mostly by my inability to do anything constructive, this past weekend was actually kind of great. So I thought I would tell you about it. You know, just to try to get back in the swing of things, and assure you of my existence.

In my past life of being a diligent blogger capable of stringing sentences together on a regular basis, you may remember me mentioning the engagement of my adorable friend Katherine this past winter. Well, those Southern women don’t fuck around. Girlfriend got her ring in January and was well on her way to a July wedding by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around.

So down Dave and I drove, to Western North Carolina, starting with a short three-hour leg to DC on Thursday night.

I thought I was totally prepared. I arranged to crash with a friend in the district, plotted our course on Mapquest, purchased an ipod cord so we wouldn’t have to suffer through my annoying addiction to the ‘seek’ radio button for 12 hours straight, watched commercials for the new Say Yes To The Dress in Atlanta (internal monologue: “I’m spicy! And I’ve seen Steel Magnolias!”) and assured myself we would be just fine below the Mason Dixon line. I was totally ready to be southified.

But some things, my friends, cannot be prepared for. Like discovering that the “town” you thought you were staying in is, in actuality, a Methodist summer getaway. With roads like “Baptist Bible Drive.” And cultural attractions like the World Methodist Museum. Per usual, I cannot make this shit up.

My friend Lauren laughed at me when I finally figured this out. Like, didn’t I know Katherine’s dad was a minister? And that all of her friends from this town had parents who were ministers? Yes, yes I did, but it’s funny what you can block out until you’re sitting in a house on the shores of Lake Junaluska clutching a pillow embroidered with the words, “the lord is my shepherd.”

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a culture shock, the prayers before meals and the sleeping in houses according to gender and the being petrified that someone was going to figure out Dave and I slept not just under the same roof but in the same bed most nights.

And we had a few awkward encounters, like when Dave attempted to get changed for the rehearsal dinner at the girls’ house, because we didn’t want to bother Katherine’s mom for the key, only to have her run in the door, point at him, and promptly remove him to the boys’ quarters. (That woman has eyes all over Lake Junaluska, I’m telling you.)

Or when Dave had to try on bathing suits at the local KMart.

Or when I spent an hour with the flat iron only to find my efforts turned to big, barrel curls in the North Carolina heat. Clear proof the South hates Jewish hair.

But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t tell you what a fucking awesome time we had, being somewhere different and doing different things, together (minus the sleeping part.)

We spent Saturday floating down a creek in bright red inner tubes, alternatively holding hands and drifting our own separate ways, always finding out way back to each other again, and always smiling. Maybe it was just because I had weddings on the brain, but the whole time my head was swirling with metaphors of the happiest kind, and I couldn’t help but feel so lucky to be somewhere beautiful with my partner, my buddy, my other half.

Also, it was funny to watch him tie the tubes to the roof of our little Honda.

It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, probably since that awe-inducing bike ride through Ecuador that I, um, still haven’t gotten around to telling you about. Whoops. Moving on.

More lovely things about the weekend:¬†Everyone involved in the wedding was beyond warm and hospitable. Katherine’s mom arranged free housing for us, the family members we sat with at the rehearsal dinner were chatty and kind.

As an honorary bridesmaid, I really felt like a part of the celebration and the commitment they were making to each other.

The ceremony made me tear up. She looked stunning. I know they’re going to be so happy together. The band played Blink 182 to close out the night. They had Shock Top on tap at the reception. I danced until my feet hurt, and then I took off my heels and danced some more.

And, for all my bitching about how different it was down there and how culturally and religiously apart I felt, you should probably know that Katherine insisted on doing the horah. At her methodist wedding reception. With her minister of a father.

A fabulous and surprising weekend all around.

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