Although he might argue he’s been to the US before, I would hardly call Disney Land and World true places. So this Christmas, Jack came home with me for his first, true American experience in and around Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Asheville, North Carolina. I ran him slightly ragged, trying to meet all the people, go all the places and be everywhere at once, but it was a great trip.
And meeting Harlem for the first time!
We flew into Charlotte, arriving really late (sorry mom and dad) and crashing at about 6 am our time. The first few days in Charlotte were spent floating around Central Avenue’s shops, meeting my parents for the first time, dinners at family friends’ homes, meeting cousin Suzanne, and a housewarming party. My mom organized this huge Christmas party inviting more than 50 people (most of whom I’ve never met) and it was only at the end that we learned we were the guests of honour. My mom knows better than to tell me these things at the outset.
The next day, we drove up to Raleigh to first surprise some of my old co-workers at after-work drinks, and then to meet up with other friends for the annual Christmas Eve Eve Party that the Buchanan bros organize every year. It’s pretty painful driving up to Raleigh just for a party, then back the next day (as it’s Christmas Eve the next day), but generally worth it because it means seeing everyone at the very start and not worrying as much that I might miss them later in the week.
After the party and brunch the next morning (Jack’s first grits), we drove back to Charlotte for a few days around Christmas with my family & reconnecting with other friends.
Although I go home for a few weeks at Christmas, my days are fleeting and it’s a real challenge to fit everything in. This year, on top of that, I wanted Jack to see as much as we could fit in. Between Charlotte – Raleigh – Charlotte and the next Raleigh, we took a day trip to Asheville to have brunch with a friend, wander the shops of Asheville, and drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Back in Raleigh, we were all over the shop. New restaurants, cocktail bars, breweries… old haunts and the Greatest Hits of Raleigh. The first night I picked a place and just invited people to come if they could, which worked out in the end. Then it was brunches and wanderings…
Run the Jewels!
El-P’s final countdown
Tapas in Durham Visiting Fullsteam in Durham
Jack in beer paradise at Tasty Beverage Beasley’s for chicken and waffles delights… all this heavy Southern food reminds me of Jim Gaffigan explaining why Southerners are so slow.
And back in Charlotte, at the Book of Mormon!
Introducing Jack to the delights of Geografacts
Dad got me a haircut for Christmas, and free haircuts mean I’ll actually go for something more extreme. 7 inches off! But it’s never looked as good as it did below. I just have zero patience with hair that requires maintenance, so this doesn’t work for me. Too much coifing and curling for me. Growing it out again!
Selfie interruptedOur flight home was cancelled, so we were stuck in Charlotte for two extra days.Instead of resting, I decided to make good on my promise to finish my damn quilt, which I had worked on years ago but not actually got around to quilting. I worked for two days straight getting last minute supplies, laying it all out, working on the batting and ironing and pinning and cutting and quilting and seam ripping and quilting and binding and…… one hour before we had to leave, I finished! 169 squares of wonder and one full grown Harlem for scale.