2001 USA-Germany Travel Record

October 5, 2001: West Virginia

We got up 5:30 a.m. in the morning and loaded a suitcase and some snacks onto the car. We will visit Ms. JoAnn, one of our closest Internet friends, at Vienna in West Virginia. It may take some six hours. As the street in Washington DC is unfamiliar for us, it took a lot of time to pass downtown Washington DC.

We drive Inter-state for the first time in three years. It was very comfortable to drive a broad way.

We took a rest at a point of interest called Sideling Hill that features a grand view of Virginia plain. This is a good rest Ms. JoAnn suggested us by an E-mail yesterday.

I-68 cuts through the hill here and we can see the fault and geological layers clearly.

After a short rest, we stopped at a parking lot of a golf course. My husband said to change the driving to me. I was a little bit hesitating, but after a short test, I could soon enjoy a comfortable drive on I-68 without problem.

On both side of the highway are beautiful scene of colored leaves of the forest. We were admired by the grand view of the nature in West Virginia dotted with beautiful farms in the forest.

After about two hours drive, we changed the steering and dropped in a small antique shop along the country road. There were just a couple of houses around it. A good-willed old woman sits inside of the shop and explained us many displays. As we have no kitchen tray in the apartment of Washington, we bought a small tray there.

We finally arrived a small town in which Ms. JoAnn works as a high school teacher. After taking a simple lunch in the town, we drove up a narrow slope leading to the high school to meet her. Just after we arrived the high school, she ran out of the building to welcome us. We were really delighted. This is the first time to meet her actually. We have been exchanging E-mails more than six years and we knew her by pictures. This is why I don't feel to see her for the first time.

JoAnn soon introduced us to the principal of the school who was very frank. He visited Japan several years ago according to a teacher exchange program between USA and Japan. He gave us a commemorative gift, a small wooden model of the school.

After enjoying chatting for a while, JoAnn then took us to look around the school. There are about 250 students in this Catholic school. JoAnn teaches Latin and others. This is a classroom equipped with personal computers connected to the Internet. The speed, however, is too slow, JoAnn said.
This is the gymnastic hall. On the wall are many commemorative pennants in white and blue school color.

The school is of a Catholic school. I took a picture in front of the symbol of the crusaders.

I was guided to a PC room and introduced to the students who are learning in wearing clean original clothes. The desks of the students are arranged to direct the entrance of a classroom. This is not like that in Japan.

Lockers in the corridor and spacious dinning room made me recall dear old scene I saw on a TV. After seeing the class, we went out of the building. I found a motto on the wall of the building that reads something like "to learn wisdom together with Jesus Christ." This is just the same of Freedom Campus from which my son graduated. Many student said good-bye through the classroom window.

I have long been expecting to meet JoAnn for a long time. Despite September 11 Tragedy and her son's hard experience in New York City, we could meet at last. JoAnn told me that all the public facilities in this small town with population 43,000 have been watched closely by security agents since then and all the houses of the town keep hoist Stars and Stripes.

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