Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jersey Girl, forever and always

I lived in New Jersey for the first 24 years of my life, and I will always consider Jersey my home. I stayed in New Jersey for college and my heart takes flight when I see my alma mater's colors or hear the fight song (RU! rah! rah!). I plan on living in South Carolina for a loooong time - perhaps for the rest of my life - but I'll always be a Jersey girl at heart.
Here are some of the wonderful things I love about my home state:
• Quick access to two of the greatest cities in the nation. Of course, I grew up closer to New York City, and I'm quick to tell people that I think NYC is the greatest city in the world. But Philly has its wonderful attributes, too. Both cities are full of culture and history and there's no pizza like a delicious, thincrust NYC pizza made by real Italians, and definitely no cheesesteak like a greasy Philly cheesesteak that you had to stand in line outside to wait for.
• Did I mention how much I love NYC? The museums, restaurants, THEATER - it's just amazing. I completely took the city for granted when I was growing up. We were always taking field trips to see Broadway plays, or taking our annual Morrison family Christmas trek into Manhattan to look at the display windows and lights. How wonderful!
• My fun and loving extended family still lives in New Jersey, so there's definitely a piece of my heart that's still there. It's not really going home, unless there's family there to greet you, right?
• My friends are there. All of my best girlfriends from college are still in New Jersey. That's actually the reason I'm headed north this weekend - my BFF Trishann is getting married! Yay, Trish! I've been lucky enough to visit about once a year for weddings and other celebrations since I moved to SC. This is the last wedding, but I won't let that stop me from visiting; I'll just have to find another excuse.
• Rutgers! Again, I spent 4 blissful years at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. I loved every second of it. I met the most wonderful people in my life; I worked at The Daily Targum, honing my skills as a blossoming journalist; I lived on my own for the first time. It was the most amazing college experience. It was also great that I was just 45 minutes from home, so I could go home for a weekend if I so chose. And yes, I still cheer for the Scarlet Knights. One of these days, the cheering will pay off!
• NJ - The Garden State. I don't really know where everyone gets their bad impression of New Jersey, but I have a sneaking suspicion it's a sad road commonly called the Turnpike. I-95 is not a nice place ANYWHERE, but in NJ it's kind of... stinky. But remember - New Jersey's nickname is the Garden State for a reason! There are beautiful sprawling parks and gardens all over the state. And even though it's not the nicest area, whenever I land in Newark, I take a deep breath and I LOVE the Jersey air that fills my lungs. Yes, it smells good to me.
• Memories... I have all of these amazing memories of growing up in wonderful New Jersey. My parents lived there and they have stories that I love to listen to. I think about when me and my sister and brother were all kids and we played in the backyard or would swing on the vines down the street. It probably sounds idyllic (as all childhood memories should, right?) but I just loved my childhood, and the setting played a big role in that.

So I'll head up north to New Jersey this weekend, take in a deep breath of that New Jersey air when I step off the plane at Newark, and I'll rush to embrace my friends. Hello, New Jersey!

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