Microadventure #100: Chapel Hill, North Carolina with Matt & Stella

Walking in Matt & Stella’s neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC

This is not a typical Microadventure, but more of an ongoing major adventure. I just finished Week 1 of an 8-week stay with Matt & Stella, my son and daughter-in-law.

I get what you’re probably thinking: “8 weeks? That’s probably 7 weeks too long for a Mom to be living with her son and his wife!”

Yeah, that may be true for most people, but I have some pretty incredible kids.

Stella has insisted that they are very flexible and that I’m welcome for as long as I want to stay. And though it has only been 1 week and they may very well get tired of my extended visit, I can say with certainty that I’m loving every minute.

Halloween

I arrived on the night of October 29th, and the first thing we did was go to the Halloween Party of my friend, Ranya, who also lives in Chapel Hill. I’d met Ranya in January, 2020, in Costa Rica while I was in the Conversa Spanish Immersion class.

Sushi, Soy Sauce, and Wasabi win Most Creative Group Costume!

It was so thoughtful of Ranya to invite us all to her very cool Halloween Party. There were so many creative costumes and decorations. We very unexpectedly won a bottle of wine for “best creative group costume!” (This has been a season for me winning stuff with very little effort on my part.)

The Halloween fun continued on the 31rst at Matt and Stella’s house where they’d set up a projector to create special effects out their front window for the trick-or-treaters. They had a cool backdrop that made their house look like a haunted house from the front door and Matt and Stella were both dressed as unicorns.

Projected Halloween spooks created a cool effect for outdoor trick-or-treaters
Matt’s peeking out the front door with his unicorn costume
Magical creatures live in this magical neighborhood!

Stella loaned me a dragon costume so I could join in the fun.

There were a few sets of trick-or-treaters, but unfortunately it was a rainy night. I was disappointed that more of the neighbors didn’t get to see how creative and cool their house was, but at least I was there to experience it!

Fall Colors and the Magical Neighborhood

Matt and Stella live in a forested area that is filled with magnificent tall trees, full of colorful Fall beauty.

Every day I’ve been snapping so many pictures, in total awe of the gorgeous scenery. It’s as though we’re walking through a Thomas Kincaid art gallery.

Taking the dogs on a walk through the neighborhood

The neighborhood is full of incredible, well-kept houses, decorated for Halloween. Matt and Stella have raved about how friendly everyone is, complete with support, community, and frequent block parties.

Their neighbohood backs right up to the Carolina North Forest where I found a Nature Observation Trail on my first morning of exploration.

Nature Observation Trail in Carolina North Forest

Round-trip from Matt and Stella’s front door through the Nature Observation Trail turned out to be almost exactly 10,000 steps! What an excellent way to get in my morning exercise!

Hanging out in the Sun Room

When I’m not out walking or exploring, my favorite place to be hanging out in Matt and Stella’s house is their spacious sun room. This is where I’m sitting now, as I write this post. It’s interesting to see for myself how much nature and beautiful surroundings impacts my mood and happiness!

The Meals

Stella is an excellent cook and every evening she’s made us delicious, healthy, colorful meals.

Butternut squash and goat cheese salad
Pasta with veggies and shrimp
Catfish with broccoli and cauliflower

Matt, too, often helps with the meal prep and has made crepes and pumpkin-spiced coffee for breakfast. Tonight was catfish with broccoli and cauliflower with a glass of Vinoh Verde wine. I feel like I’m staying at a 5-star resort!

Daily Life with Matt and Stella

Though they don’t plan to have children, Matt and Stella are the loving “parents” to two adorable little dogs, Choco and Mochi.

Choco after her bath
Mochi, always with an adorable expression

The two little dogs are super-cute and cuddly. Matt and Stella take them on frequent walks and when I’m around, I love joining, too. It’s not unusual to spot deer in the neighborhood, but even if we don’t, the little dogs keep us entertained by playing with the acorns or jumping through the leaves.

Playing Wingspan

We also are a family of gamers, so one night they introduced me to the game Wingspan. We also play Heardle every morning (a musical spin-off of Wordle) and the other night, Matt patiently helped step me through a Magic, the Gathering tutorial.

Whether it’s going to the grocery store or a coffee shop, I always enjoy the spirited conversation with these two. They’re both PhDs and brilliant critical thinkers, always learning and ready to debate and discuss everything and anything!

How fun that my 100th Microadventure of the year is not an ordinary microadventure, but the opportunity to spend this 2-month chapter of my life with Matt and Stella in their’s.

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