A few minutes at an airport pay phone yielded heaven sent weekend hosts: a family in the church in Virginia who could not have been more gracious.
Sure, you can stay with us. When we were in college, we did stuff like this, too. Here are the directions to our house and when you get to the end of the Metro line, call and I'll pick you up to drive you the rest of the way. You can have the entire basement to yourselves. We'll feed you many meals, including Sunday dinner and every breakfast. Want to take a drive? Here are the keys to our Suburu.
They were fabulous.
I don't remember one single thing about the Students for International Development conference, except that we hooked up with some people from it to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant one night. It was fun and messy.
I do remember that, for whatever reason, Cassie and her boyfriend deemed it prudent to go home early -- as in, catch the next flight home -- a few days into our trip. I remember it being in the middle of the night or early in the morning and without so much as a "thank you, we're leaving, goodbye" to our hosts. I remember being mortified by their rudeness and lamely trying to apologize for them the next morning at breakfast. I spent money I did not have to buy an extraordinarily nice flower bouquet for this wonderful family when we were leaving to try to express "thank you, goodbye, I recognize that what our friends did was inexcusably bad form."
I remember the awkwafication between me and quiet, brooding, I-think-he-likes-me Nate ramped up a hundredfold all of a sudden due to our new status of being left alone together on this trip that wasn't our idea, staying with people we didn't know who had every reason to be bugged. Did I mention that he was a painful conversationalist?