If anyone would've tried to tell me that I would be living in another country at any time in my life, I would have laughed at them. I am super grateful and excited to begin this journey. We have decided to spend as much time with friends and family as well as visit places that we might miss. So, here is what we did during our Final Tour of the Queen City, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Growing up Boyz II Men and New Kids On The Block were my favorite boy bands! Well, they were in Charlotte on July 13 and I was able to go with one of my favorite older cousins and we had the time of our lives. We screamed like teenage girls back in the 90's and we sang all of the lyrics. To say I had a great time would be an understatement. Love them still! #AlwaysAFan
On July 14, Krispy Kreme celebrated their 80th Anniversary. I showed my husband a picture of Shaq giving away doughnuts and as soon as he saw this picture he looked up the closest Krispy Kreme and we were on our way. As soon as we pulled up we saw that the hot light was on and we went right in. There was a line but it wasn't too bad. In honor of their anniversary they had a special where you buy one and buy another for $.80. We ordered 2 dozen doughnuts and had to wait for them to be placed in boxes. My husband is from Winston-Salem so he taught me and everyone else in line about the process for making doughnuts. If you didn't know, Krispy Kreme was originated in Winston-Salem, thus his expertise. Before we could make it home my husband had crushed several doughnuts. I won't divulge the exact number.
Friday - July 14
Charlotte has a new entertainment spot called Top Golf.
I'll explain it how it was explained to me. It's like skee ball but for golf. If you don't know what skee ball is, see the picture below.
My brothers invited me to go with them and their significant others so I was excited to spend time with them. My nephew joined us as well. We bought memberships before we arrived because my little brother said if we didn't we'd have to wait BUT we had to stand in line to enter. Stand in another line to get our membership cards printed. Stand in another line to reserve a bay which we found out would be a 2 hour wait, and then wait around to receive a text letting us know our area was ready. If you want to experience Topgolf and are going just to hit balls and not be a part of the nightlife I would suggest going during the day. It's also cheaper during the day. I believe we paid $45 for 1 hour. Once we got a text that our bay was ready we proceeded to our bay and began hitting golf balls. We all hit and it turns out that my big brother is really good at driving balls. I on the other hand, not so much. I did get some balls into the targets but out of all of us I'm pretty sure I had the lowest score! They were the children into sports and I was the lone child that enjoyed musicals and academics. Had we went to a place that combined trivia and any of the following musicals: "Rent", "Hairspray", "High School Musical 1,2, or 3" I'm sure I would've knocked their socks off! 😁
As aforementioned, I am trying to experience things that I may not be able to experience one we leave the Queen City so my friends and I decided to go to a winery. We had decided on going on July 15 back in May not knowing this would be my final weekend in Charlotte. We ended up at Treehouse Vineyards which unbeknownst to me they actually have treehouses for rent on the property. Had I known about that earlier I think we would've rented a treehouse for a Girls Sleepover!
We decided on purchasing the wine tasting package that not only includes sampling several wines but also a souvenir wine glass. We sampled the wine which was definitely enjoyable but my favorite part hands down was spending girl time with my friends of 15 years and friends that I had just began to get close to. Needless to say we talked, we laughed, and began making plans for them to come to Abu Dhabi and continue our beloved girl time. I also told them that we'll have to have our girl time via Skype or Whatsapp until that time!
When I was younger my Dad was in the ARMY so we moved a few times and each time that forced me to find new friends. I was not a social little girl so I stuck with what I know, family. Back home in Charlotte, I had a favorite cousin, Willa. Willa and I were inseparable. If we were in the same city odds are we were together. Life happens and we grow up. I went off to college and Willa stayed in Charlotte for college. We both got married and Willa has a son. Amongst many other things that we have in common, our mothers who happened to be sisters, have passed away. Willa called and said let's hang out and go through old pictures and I was more than happy to oblige. Her older sister came with her and we just reminisced on all the good times and looked at pictures of our mothers in their prime as well as other family members. We talked, we laughed and it felt like old time and it was just great to sit and talk. They asked about my journey and what made me want to do it and they expressed how proud they were of me. Talking about being near tears...Anywho we hugged, they wished me well, and I promised as soon as I got on WiFi I would let them know I had made it safely. Below are some of the pictures that made us smile!
My husbando and I love Soul Food. We have tried many places in Charlotte but the one place we haven't had the chance to try very often is Lawan's Soul Food. Lawan's won Steve Harvey's Hoodie Award for best soul food a few years ago. Lawan's is located on the Southwest side of Charlotte but we could usually be found closer to Huntersville. We went to Lawan's, decided on what we would miss the most, and we ordered. Compared to the other soul food places that we've tried Lawan's had the fastest and best customer service. The food was pretty tasty so we'll probably visit one more time just to get chicken wings. I had the smothered pork chops. They were good but not my all time favorite. My husband said the chicken wings were really good so I do plan on getting those in the next 2 days.
Family is very important to us so on our final Sunday we decided to spend it in Winston-Salem with my husband's family. We attended church with his Mom. Church was great. Everyone hugged us and wished us well.
After church we went to his younger brother's house to spend more time. We talked and they asked us some questions about our trip. We had decided to give his Mom copies of all our important documents for safe keeping.
Once we left his brother's house we went to a hospice facility to visit my husband's Great Aunt who he calls Grandma because he feels like that's the place she holds in his heart and because she had a hand in raising him. I sat out in the family waiting room and let him have some time with her as I knew he was going to miss her and if in fact she passed away while we were gone it wouldn't be likely that he'll be back for her home going service. He asked me to come in and take a picture of them. Hearing how sweet he talked to her and the love he had for her in his eyes made me fall in love with him all over again. It definitely made me happy to know that I was truly going to be traveling and embarking on a new journey with my best friend because I know it had to be hard for him to be so vulnerable at such a hectic time in our lives. He left hospice feeling closure and happy about his visit. As we were driving he saw a sign that noted his fraternity had adopted the street so we had to stop and get a few photos.
We got to Mountain Fried Chicken and we looked at the menu but decided to get fried chicken since that's in the name. We both got fried chicken wings and potato wedges. We decided to drive to my cousin's house who lives close and eat. I'm so glad we did because I was able to spend some time with one of my favorite 2nd cousins! He and I did a little origami. He gave me a tour of his room. We talked about his upcoming camp experience and we exchanged email addresses so we can stay in touch. I absolutely love that kid! SN: We took a picture together in the origami hat he made me but I can't seem to locate it so it's been replaced with a picture I hijacked off of facebook.
Monday, July 17 - Today would be a day that I would spend with my favorite girls. My oldest neice came over and she and I ran some of my last minute errands together. She also joined me at my workout class but she did not participate. This was a bittersweet moment because it would be the last time I'd hang out with my really close friends but I was enjoying having my niece be my sidekick again like back when she was little. After workout class we went to dinner at Outback. Other than talking we laughed and she updated me on her college and work life.
Tuesday, July 18 - The day before we leave and an intense day. We had so much to do the day before we left. We started early and started checking things off of our to do list. I had to stop by our house and oversee a few last minute repairs that were completed in no time.
One of Mike's line brothers invited us to have lunch in Salisbury. We met them and it was great. Once we got back to Charlotte we had 1 last task to compete: get passport photos. What I realized after reading the many facebook groups I'm in I realized I really didn't need them. We used a Passport Photo App and decided to print them right from our printer. Last check mark was complete. My little brother and his girlfriend stopped by to wish us well and even though we're not the most sentimental group it was nice. We repacked our 4 bags one more time and during this process one of Mike's cousin's stopped by to wish us well. All of the outpouring of love felt sooooo great! After we repacked our bags they all ended up at 50lbs, 49.6lbs, 48lbs, and 49.9lbs. The weight limit was 50lbs. We went into the night feeling good.
I decided to try to stay up since our flight was so early so I could sleep on the plane since we'll land at 11:45am. I retwisted my hair and my effort to stay up was a success.
Wednesday - July 19
The day we've been looking forward to since I got our offer letter on February 20. We checked into our flight and all of our bags were under 50 pounds. Mike decided to bring his golf clubs so they charged us for an extra bag. In the grand scheme of things I told Mike that was not a big deal for us. We got through security and boarded our flight to Chicago.
Once we got to Chicago we sat down and rested and then we were on our way to find our next boarding location. At the Chicago airport we had to go outside of the airport, take a tram/train to Terminal 5 and then get to gate M which is the International Gate. What we didn't realize is that we'd have to go through security...again but we got through it with flying colors. We stopped for a brief lunch before checking in at Etihad Airways which would supply the final leg of our journey. As we approached our final gate it was so great seeing all of the other teachers who were probably experiencing the same emotions as me. We boarded the plane, sat down, got comfortable and began watching movies! See you when we land.
And there it is our Final Tour! We are now on our way on a new and exciting journey and we can't wait to see what's in store.
Be Kind to One Another and Be Uniquely You!
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Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!