Trip Start Sep 07, 2007
Trip End Jan 12, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So we're still obsessed with Charlotte. The first day or two was a bit dicey because we found ourselves in some rather questionable neighborhoods as we tried to find our way around. Our campground is about 20 minutes from Albert's office, and about the same distance to the Kingdom Hall. The not-so-great neighborhoods were on the way to the KH, which was a surprise because the Hall is actually located in a beautiful neighborhood. I guess every big city has its pretty parts and not so pretty parts. Anyway, after several days of meandering around town, grocery shopping, field service and house hunting, we found that the majority of the area still has the same charm that we remembered from our last visit. The major metro area is definitely city, but you need to drive only 10 minutes or so in any direction from downtown and you're in country atmosphere. Beautiful homes with land. Good southern hospitality. Everybody waves as you drive by. Sometimes I would forget to wave back and kept thinking "wow, I'm a rude Californian". Takes some getting used to, this everyone is friendly business. We love it.
It was so nice to visit the congregation again. A few people even remembered us from the last time we came through, even though it's been a few years. Albert was able to take a morning off from work one day and we got to enjoy a great day out in service. The sisters were so friendly and welcoming, and kept telling us we should stay. I'd have to say not to tempt us. I really like it out here. A couple of the sisters were downright kooky. We fit right in!
After the meeting on Sunday, we were invited out to lunch with the Reames family. They took us to a local diner that served regular southern cooking. So good. It's hard to find country cooking like that where we live. Gotta love greens and macaroni and cheese. And for dessert they treated us to banana pudding. I haven't had that since I was a kid. Mom used to make it all the time. I now feel inspired to go buy some Vanilla Wafers and make it myself. MMmmm.
On Saturday, we took a day trip up to Greensboro. We have friends there whom we haven't seen since they were serving at Patterson. They left Bethel when they got pregnant, and Nadia is now 2 years old! So it had been too long. We had such a nice visit. Nadia is an absolute doll. Such a friendly little snugglebun. She played shy at first, but once she warmed up, we had a lot of fun with her. And, of course, we loved their little dog Callie as well. We do get a little goofy over dogs, don't we? They had her trained to stay in her little bed. She couldn't come out until told to. But this little thing is smart. She would see a toy or something that she wanted, so would stretch herself as far as possible, leaving one foot in the bed, and reach for the toy. Hey, one foot is still in, she can't get in trouble, right? It was hilarious.
Adam and Beth took us to a Mexican restaurant near their home. Who knew you could get decent Mexican food in the Carolina's? It was so nice to chat with Beth over dinner and get to know her better. Adam and I go way back, but I really haven't had much of a chance to get to know his wife, so this was nice.
After dinner, they took us to see Adam's office. He's an attorney and has his own practice. The office is set up in what used to be a cute little house. He has the same furniture that he had at Bethel, so we laughed about how the pictures of him sitting in his office chair would look exactly like the ones we had taken of him at Patterson. Except that now he had his wife and daughter in the picture with him. Too cute.
The rest of our visit here in Charlotte has been fairly non-eventful. When Albert wasn't at the office, we found ourselves spending quite a bit of time looking at houses and checking out neighborhoods. We just can't get over how affordable homes are out here, and how much you get for your money. And we really love this country atmosphere. Trees everywhere, beautiful weather and all types of recreation nearby are quite tantalizing. (Okay friends, don't panic yet. We're only looking-that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be moving!) And they experience a fair amount of growth in the congregations as well. One sister told me that they have 3 Circuits, in the Charlotte area alone! That's a lot of congregations! It's just a nice place.
So now we're looking forward to company. My dad and stepmom are arriving tomorrow night and will be staying with us for 9 days. Albert has built in a few vacation days to his schedule so we're going to leave on Saturday and head down to Myrtle Beach. Should be fun!
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