In the past 18 months, I have lived in no fewer than eight different zip codes (sometimes two at once, and there was a stretch of five months during which I really had no house/apartment/zip code). So it should come as no surprise that I have pretty liberal definition of the word “home”. While this is actually a topic for a post of its own, in short, I have no problem with the idea of having multiple “homes”. For example, during my recent visit to Florida, I may have used the word “home” in the following ways, all in one day, without hesitation:
- “I’m at the grocery store now, but I’ll be home in ten minutes.” [Home = Residence of a family member, where I was staying in Florida]
- “Dirt Cheap summer races started tonight…I miss my running home.” [Home = Rochester, where I put down my first real roots as a runner]
- “Yeah, but it’s no quieter here than it is at home.” [Home = Where I grew up in NJ, and where my parents still live]
- “At home, we don’t even have a vacuum. We just use a broom and mop.” [Home = our apartment in Singapore]
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have lots of “homes”, all of which are places close to my heart, that have played a role in shaping who I am today.
But let me tell you, when my plane was landing at Newark International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, I almost cried. As we descended, I saw the budding trees, the roads through woodsy areas, the little developments, the winding rivers and lakes – and did I mention the budding trees? Guys, I haven’t seen a naked (or semi-naked) tree in six months. And yes, as we made our final approach, I saw the New York skyline, and the commercial/industrial areas of Newark, and the Turnpike. I saw all of it, and then suddenly…my eyes were moist. I couldn’t help but think: This is my home.I may never live here again. And that’s OK. My friends and family may leave. And that’s OK too. But I did a lot of living and growing here. And a part of my heart that will always, always, be in New Jersey.
So go ahead and make your “armpit of the US” jokes. Make your Parkway/Turnpike/Camden jokes. Make your “New York” Giants jokes. I don’t care. I will always love four seasons, and living less than two hours from the forest, the ocean, and New York City. I will always love Bon Jovi and Springsteen. I will always go “down the shore”. I will always call “real” pizza something that has a thin bottom crust, substantial edge crust, and delicious, not-sweet sauce. I will always love diners and disco fries and milkshakes, and all of these things will make me nostalgic for the celebration of every musical/play/concert/Mock Trial competition of my high school years. In short, I will always be a Jersey Girl*. [I will also tell you what I think, and probably louder than you need to hear it.]
*The kind that pre-dates Jersey Shore, thankyouverymuch.
I am so thankful that a quirk of flight routing/timing brought me back here, if only for two hours (Edit: Which actually ended up being 4 hours). But now, it’s time to pack up my things, give up my coveted airport outlet, and go sit on a plane for 15 hours. [Although, by the time I post this, I’ll already be off that plane.] But at the end of a tough two weeks, I’m thankful that I got a quick “fix” of one of my favorite homes of all time. Thanks, New Jersey, you were just what I needed.
Does YOUR state have such an awesome song about itself? I thought not….
Anyone else feel nostalgic during descent into certain airports?
Speaking of airports…can any of you explain why some women feel compelled to travel wearing stilettos?