REBECCA ROBERTS, Host:
All weekend we've hearing stories of folks coming to Washington for Tuesday's inauguration, stories about history and family and friends and long distance travels. Well, our final inaugural journey has all of that, plus it's a love story. Christopher Kilday is in the studio with me. He's a guitar teacher from San Francisco. Thanks so much for joining us.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER KILDAY (Guitar Teacher, San Francisco, California): Thanks, Rebecca.
ROBERTS: Your story starts in Cuba, actually, where you were studying classical guitar?
Mr. KILDAY: That's right. I was. I wanted to go to Cuba because I'd heard that the musicians there were the best in the world. So, I took a trip there, and I went to the Institute of Superior Art which is in Havana. And I remember that at the ensaya(ph), everybody was playing and I was outside. And I remember there was this beautiful girl I had seen there, and I began talking with her and it seemed that she was single. And in the course of our conversation, after about another hour, I had realized that she was the girlfriend of the bass player, and so I had to kind of become a friend. And that was OK.
And two days later, I was there in the same ensaya and I saw her and I greeted her and she poked her head around the corner and the second after she poked her head around the corner, her identical twin sister, Yaremys, appeared. And ever since that moment, I, you know, I fell in love with her. And that basically was it for me.
ROBERTS: Well, Yaremys Rodriguez Gonzales is also here in the studio. I understand you've been in America for about 12 hours now (laughing).
Ms. YEREMYS RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Yeah, like 24 hours.
ROBERTS: Twenty-four hours. And do you have any impressions, so far?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Yeah. I'm adjusting to everything, to the weather because it's very cold, in here. There, it's very warm, very hot, is in Cuba. So here it's very cold, and I miss my family there too, very much.
ROBERTS: How long have you two known each other?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Three years and a half.
ROBERTS: So, you're planning on getting married.
Mr. KILDAY: Oh, you know what? That's one thing I need to take care of. Yaremys, will you marry me?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Of course, yes.
ROBERTS: You hadn't done that before?
Ms. RODGRIGUEZ GONZALES: No.
Mr. KILDAY: No.
ROBERTS: We're taking a little break for the bride to kiss the groom here. (Laughing) I feel like I'm intruding.
Mr. KILDAY: No, no, not at all.
ROBERTS: So, what are you going to do tomorrow and the next day and goodness, for the rest of your lives? (Laughing)
Mr. KILDAY: Tomorrow's Monday we're going to the Black Tie and Boots Ball.
ROBERTS: That's the Texas Inaugural ball.
Mr. KILDAY: That's the Texas Inaugural ball. A friend of mine gave me tickets to that, a die-hard Republican who could just not - he couldn't go. (Laughing) So, he gave us the tickets, which was very nice. We'll do that and on the day of the inauguration, we have friends who we're going to meet, and we're going to put on our triple coats and go out there in the cold and brave it and try to see what is to see, yeah.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: I will freeze.
ROBERTS: I mean, I'm from here, and I freeze.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Really?
ROBERTS: Yeah, it's cold.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: I think I'm not going.
(Soundbite of laughter)
ROBERTS: Now, conducting a long-distance romance and planning the future, it's all overwhelming under the best of circumstances, why throw the chaos of the inauguration into it, it's almost like you're borrowing trouble?
Mr. KILDAY: Well, we are trouble. That's true.
Mr. KILDAY: The K1-visa process is a long and complicated process.
ROBERTS: What is a K1-visa?
Mr. KILDAY: Yeah, the fiancee K1-visa.
ROBERTS: Got you.
Mr. KILDAY: I applied for this visa about 16 months ago and only recently did we know that she would be able to come in January, and then maybe possibly, February. You really do not know what the exact date you're coming until the very, very end, and she was very lucky to get the opportunity to have her ticket on the 13th. So, we knew she was coming, but we didn't know when, and we really hedged our bets, and we're just lucky that it happened during this time, and it's really an auspicious time.
ROBERTS: Chris, you teach guitar in San Francisco?
Mr. KILDAY: Yeah, I'm a performer and a teacher.
ROBERTS: And so, how is this all going to work? Are you going back to San Francisco? What's your plan?
Mr. KILDAY: Yes, I'm going back to San Francisco.
ROBERTS: And is Yaremys going to join you there?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Yes.
ROBERTS: Have you been to San Francisco, yet?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: No, no, no.
ROBERTS: So you're moving to a city you've never been into before. What are you going to do?
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Well, I'm going to help Chris and everything, and I don't know, to get a job.
ROBERTS: This is such a big change for you.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Yeah, it is in every way, everything is different.
ROBERTS: Well, Christopher Kilday and Yaremys Rodriguez Gonzales, thank you both so much for joining us. Congratulations.
Mr. KILDAY: Thank you.
Ms. RODRIGUEZ GONZALES: Thank you.
Mr. KILDAY: Gracias.
ROBERTS: Really, honestly, I did not see that one coming. After an exhaustive check of our archives, we feel pretty confident in saying that is the first ever on-air proposal on NPR News. Our Inaugural Journey series was produced by Travis Larchuk.
Parting words today from a writer who knew something about journeys, John Steinbeck, author of "The Grapes of Wrath." He wrote, "A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us." That's All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Rebecca Roberts, have a great week.
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