Ryan and I just got back from four days in Raleigh, NC! We went for the wedding of our friends Sarah and David, who Ryan knows through work. And actually he introduced them to each other! Sarah and David are the most warm and generous friends and when they lived in Arlington we used to hang out with them all the time. Every time I see them, I wish we were neighbors again. But, anyway, enough gushy nostalgia. Look how pretty and happy they looked! It was so nice to be at their wonderful wedding, but I’ll talk more about that in a bit. First, let’s talk food and shopping.
It was fun being back in the US but also sometimes weird. Here’s why. It was nice sounding like everyone else. I knew that the words, phrases, and structures of my sentences sounded were the accepted vernacular and if I said “pants” no one thinks I mean “underwear.” That might sound silly, because yes we all speak English here, but it was nice really fitting in. It was great to see things that were familiar, even if it was just a highway or a Target. Also the weather was so lovely! Bright blue skies, warm sun, and temperatures read in Fahrenheit. Just kidding, I’m totally getting good with Celsius, but the weather was truly to die for. I loved the changing leaves the sunny weather!
It was weird though to be “home” but not have working cell phones and have to use an adapter for my hair dryer. I saw a commercial for the new iPhones and the script in the US is almost exactly the same as the UK script, the difference is the actors. It’s weird because, I immediately knew the actors in the UK commercial, but I couldn’t place the American actors. But the weirdest thing was when Ryan and I crossed the street we looked for the cars on the left. THE LEFT. I’m adapting to my environment people! I’m really glad I am adapting, but it was weird to notice it.
The best part of the weekend was getting to see my family and friends. My parents flew down to Raleigh and spent the weekend with us. We also saw a ton of our friends from when we lived in Arlington. I will tell you more about my friends later, as I got some flack for referring them to “friends” and not by name.
We arrived on Thursday after almost getting bumped off of our flight from JFK to Raleigh. It was super stressful but we made it. My parents picked us up and took us to the Angus Barn, a really nice steak house that looks like a cozy country cottage on the inside. I so greatly regret that I didn’t take any pictures because it was a wonderful welcome-back America meal. We had giant steaks, potatoes, greens, and fried apples. We also shared cheesecake, key-lime, pecan, and chocolate chess pies. The steak was so tender and the chocolate chess pie was rich and gooey. Glutinous I know! I highly recommend going there if you want to have a hugely filling American steak dinner.
The next day Ryan had to go do groomsman things, so my parents and I went shopping at Target. I have so missed Target. I love that at Target I can buy everything I need and things I didn’t even know I wanted. I bought nail polish, and Tylenol, and a shower drain cover, and candy and more. Here are some things I didn’t buy, but are examples of why Target and America are awesome – because you can buy anything. In the Halloween section they had skeleton hands salad forks! I also found a HALF GALLON bottle of salsa. A half gallon. That is about the size of my whole fridge. Along with that there was mix for maple bacon cookies (which ordinarily I would buy just to find out about it). Also, who doesn’t want a Ryan Gosling notebook, good for writing out all your hopes and dreams? Best of all, a triple-double pack of Oreos. Ryan was mad I didn’t buy them. So am I. Someone go out and buy them and tell me about them.
My parents and I also walked around by UNC’s campus. We went to the Ackland Art Museum, which was really nice with such an array of stuff. We saw Andy Warhol photos, Greek vases, and Abstract Modernism paintings. I also did a little shopping around the neighborhood. I bought a kitchen towel, which I’m sure will someday be shown here on the blog. And I got an infinity scarf that’s faux-fur on one side and black cable knit on the other. Here’s a selfie of me and the scarf when I was at the JFK airport.
The best thing I did with my parents, was eat some Carolina barbecue. It’s a meal I know won’t be easily replicated here in London. We found the Backyard BBQ Pit. This place is surrounded by large mainstream shopping malls, but it sits there with its unassuming exterior luring eaters in with the amazing smelling smoke billowing out the back. The smoke smells sweet and smokey, and meaty and woody. It was mouth watering. Inside the restaurant is plainly decorated, but the windows are framed with puffy pink curtains and the walls are covered with peoples’ names written in marker. I got the beef brisket, my dad got pulled pork (not pictured), and my mom got the ribs. We all shared and the ribs were the winner, so much so, we went back to buy another round. The meat was so tender and the sauce was rich with a nice tingly spice. It was delightful, and as you can see I spent my time in America eating meat.
Saturday was the wedding! It was so nice to see our friends, Josh, Amanda, Charles, Brad, Haley, Shane, and Molly at Sarah and David’s wedding. You can see them in the photo below (and I know the picture of me and Ryan is goofy, but I sort of like it). But before we go on, let me digress for a second to right a few wrongs. Josh (with the beard) and Shane (top right) were giving me grief about calling them “friends” in past blog posts. Josh used to live across the street from Ryan and me, and he often came over for dinner, so I bet I have called him “friend” in the past. However, I totally gave him credit that time he drove me to the airport when I moved to London. Shane, is more specific and wanted me to say he was there when I made mozzarella sticks. I’ve fixed that blog post, but I’d like the record to show that Shane is also mentioned when I made taco salad and cauliflower gratin. I know I’m being a bit cheeky about this, but I really appreciate that they read the blog and want to be mentioned. Thank you guys!
The wedding itself was really lovely! It was short and really romantic and personal. The officiant read secret letters the bride and groom had written about why they loved each other. It was very sweet and tender. It was clear they also thought about every detail to make it a beautiful day. From the favors, to the paper products, to the decor – it was all beautiful. My favorite elements were the sequined table cloths and the amazing flower displays. This might not make any sense, but the flowers were like sculptures and flowed like waterfalls. It was beautiful!
I had such a blast catching up with our friends, eating lots of cake, and dancing. When the wedding came to an end we didn’t want the party to stop. We headed over to Goodfellows and promptly realized we’re no longer college kids. It was loud, we sat in a corner booth, and the strobe light was shining in my eyes – but it was still fun. It was comfortable and I felt warm and fuzzy about them all. I was so happy to hang out with people we loved. Hopefully next time we can get them all to London.