Monday, September 28, 1993 12:30 AM
"Well, I hate it here! I'm already failing big time and so far have only made a few new friends. This place sux. The end"
The above diary entry was made about a month after I moved into my college dorm at SUNY Stony Brook. I was living in a section of the dorms called Kelly Quad. About a day after I got myself situated, I realized the "suite life" was also known as "The Frat Dorms" and I totally didn't fit in. I didn't wear tie-dye and hated the mere thought of pledges, hazing and everything that revolved around sorority life.
Today is March 22, 2010 and I want to go home again. It's painful how much I want to return home to New York. The worst part is I'm not quite sure how to get there. I don't have a plan and my husband doesn't want to move. He's still actually employed and we all know how hard that is to come by these days. Homes here are as pricey as they are in New York, so we'll be renting no matter where we live.
Forgive me if you've heard this story before, but my first apartment was in Manhattan. I survived for almost three years, however, the whole Dot-Bomb crisis combined with 9/11 really killed my spirit and chances of furthering my career. My friends and I couldn't even secure temp and freelance work after suffering an AOL layoff in 2003.
My New Jersey boyfriend (now husband) rescued me and I am forever grateful to him. My uncle helped find someone to take over my NYC lease and my mother-in-law graciously lent me her vehicle for six months until I found a new job and get my own car. She wouldn't even let me pay the insurance.
Within about six months, I found a job, got a car, shared Andrew's apartment and managed to make a bunch of new friends here in NJ. My life here hasn't been all that bad, however I'm missing my family and it's just killing me as time goes by.
My family and old friends are still back home in New York. I know we're only 90 minutes apart, but it's not about the distance, it's the actual trip. It's this harrowing drive once Route 80 ends and 95/295 begins. The mere thought of the George Washington Bridge makes me wanna hurl. The Cross Bronx Expressway sickens me with every pothole, twist and turn... The Throgs Neck Bridge/295 means I'm almost there, inching along to the Cross Island Parkway... More traffic awaits as I finally make it to the homestretch on the Southern State. Gas and tolls equal about $30+ each round trip visit. Even that's not the issue.
The issue is I miss home. I miss the Italian delis, produce markets, being a mere 20 minutes from a beach regardless of where you live, the best bagels in the world, the best pizza -- I know New Jersey people will argue that they've got all of that as well, and I'm not here to argue that. I'm here to argue that it's not my home and I feel like it never truly will be.
I just want to live closer to my family and friends and reclaim that feeling of familiar. That feeling you get when you drive down a road you and your folks have driven down 4000 times before. That feeling when you pass something as silly as Burger King and remember a kiddie party you once attended there. Playing with your nephew in the school yard or park you enjoyed playing in as a kid yourself thirty years ago.
I sometimes envy high school sweethearts who are now married with kids.
I sometimes envy their shared memories.
I sometimes envy their "same friends" and how they grew up around each other.
I sometimes envy how they always knew of their in-laws, friends and families as people from the neighborhood.
I sometimes envy the way they all attended the same grammar schools and churches, went to the same doctors and dentists and trusted the same accountant to do their taxes.
I don't have Jersey pride. I don't like Jovi and Springsteen. I have no desire to order Taylor Ham aka Pork Roll on my egg sandwich. I prefer my beaches not to have rides, Curly's Fries and $20 parking lots. I'm not now, nor will I ever be a "Jersey Girl" and I swear this isn't a diss. When I lived on Long Island I wasn't all about Billy Joel and Lobster Rolls. I'm just me. Where I reside, doesn't define me.
Ironically I spent most of my youth trying to figure out how to get off Long Island only to wish to return as an adult. Funny how things turn out...
Boardwalk at Long Beach, LI