The Words of the Kovic Family
So, I was heading to Korea for one of the most unusual weddings in the world but now it was just about to get even more weird. I was going to walk down the aisle alone. I mean, even for a Unification Church member of ten years this was stretching it. Well, here's a brief preface to it and then I'll get on with the story.
Legally, Hong-Yu can't step foot out of The United States Of America while holding a green card. So unless I want to jeopardize her chances of becoming an American citizen there's really nothing I can do. But from the way I told you about how I felt about her, I really regretted going without her.
So, how's this going to work? Oh, it's really very simple. I bring a 8 X 10 framed picture of her with me to the Blessing ceremony in Korea which will represent her there with me while she stays back in the states. She will, with other Unification Church members who share her situation, get together on the day that the Blessing takes place, fully dressed in her wedding gown, as she participates in the ceremony. Well, you'll see what I mean as I go on with the story.
My plane arrived in Kimpo International Airport in Seoul on January 9, 1989. There was a shuttle for all of the Unification Church members who had come for the wedding to this little village where the church has established a soft drink factory that makes a beverage called McCol. It's a cola-type drink that's made with ginseng extract. So guess where this wedding ceremony is going to take place? That's right, in a soft drink factory. Sound weird? Oh, we're just getting started.
Actually, for a soda factory, it's a very nice place. It looked like it was a fairly new construction. It was very clean; it didn't look like any soda factory that I could imagine. It was very late at night when we arrived and there was a matching going on in this huge hall with a stage up in front. I wasn't there. I was with all of the newly arrived church members in another building at the McCol complex. I remember this large room that I came into. All around me were small groups of six or seven people involved in prayer to spiritually support what was going on in this matching ceremony. What I think happened was that when church members began arriving there was really nothing to do but wait until the matching was over. So, rather than just wait around and get bored those first wave of Blessing participants decided to start this prayer continuum for the church members who were in that hall waiting to be blessed by Reverend Moon.
I don't know if you've ever entered a room where there's a lot of people praying. There's this atmosphere about the room that just hits you right between the eyes. It was a feeling of peace. Most of us aren't able to see spiritual activity from the higher realms but you can always feel it. You feel it in your heart. At first I felt slightly uncomfortable but the more time I spent there I felt I needed to be with my brothers and sisters as we all invested our hearts to support True Parents as they were matching so many of their members to their betrothed. There was this very holy atmosphere that was created and it was so wonderful to be a part of it.
Well, eventually me and everyone else there got very tired. The matching ceremony ended and it was time to go to bed. Now, where were we going to sleep? Where else do you sleep when you're in a soda factory. Well, how about the storage room where they store the boxes where the cans of McCol are packed into? Hey, this is the Unification Church, remember? Man, we thrive on doing unusual things. And a lot of times because we worked so damn hard we could sleep anywhere. Well, that anywhere at this particular place happened to be the floor of this storage room. It was a really big room, so we all grabbed a few of these flattened cardboard boxes. And you know what? Reverend Moon's wife was so nice to us. It was her idea to purchase thousands of these really warm Korean wool blankets. I still have one of these great blankets. The best blankets in the world are either made in China or Korea. They really know how to make blankets especially down comforters. My in-laws know this store in Beijing where they have the best down comforters. But in this particular situation, Mrs. Moon purchased for us all these super warm wool blankets. They're so big and heavy that the weight of it just lays over you and embraces you with it's warmth especially on a cold night as it was back then.
The next morning we all got up around eight. The room was wall to wall Moonies. There were members not only from America but practically all over the world. They had breakfast for us all. Have you ever had Kimchi and rice for breakfast? No? Oh but then you haven't had breakfast in Korea.
Allow me to explain what Kim Che is. Very simply, Kim Che (pronounced Kim chaay) is fermented cabbage and it is very spicy. It is a staple in the Korean diet. It takes a little getting used to but once you do you really love it. Let me tell you about my Kim Che experience. Although it was served along with Unification Church holiday meals back in America, I never liked it much so I just avoided it. But I was in Korea now. There was no other food that was being served. You either ate the Korean food or you went hungry. I wasn't about to go hungry because of my indifference with the local food being offered. As I said, the more you eat Kim Che, the better you like it. Oddly enough I started to like it. I more than liked it, I became addicted to it. I got to the point where I ate so much Kim Che that I started to get high. I don't know what the hell they put in that stuff but it had this aphrodisiac effect on me and I was flyin'.
Well, after I came down from my Kim Che induced high, it was time for the Holy Wine Ceremony. We all gathered in The Great Hall at the McCol factory. It was beautifully decorated for the wedding. There I was with my 8 X 10 framed photo of Hong-Yu. It was very much like the Holy Wine Ceremony that I had been through with Makiko seven years earlier but minus the bride to be. So when the platter of wine cups came to me I took it in my hands and instead of giving it to my fiancé to drink, I splattered a few drops of Holy Wine onto the picture without the glass, of course. Then I took a sip and it was all over. Now it was time for the Blessing ceremony.
We all gathered again in The Great Hall. There was an area in the Hall for all those Blessing candidates, as we were called separate from the others who were with their spouses. Then we were organized into the Wedding March. So, while holding that framed photo of Hong-Yu in front of me I marched with all of the other couples in that majestic phalanx in between Reverend and Mrs. Moon, The True Parents, as we were sprayed with holy water. I have a most memorable photo of myself going through this but unfortunately for you, my scanner died and I was not able to include this image in this article.