Jersey Best

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:

  1. “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]
  2. “Dirt Cheap summer races started tonight…I miss my running home.” [Home = Rochester, where I put down my first real roots as a runner]
  3. “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]
  4. “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. 

Descent into Newark.  [Yeah, so it was EARLY in the decent and you can't quite see Newark yet. So what??]

Descent into Newark. [Yeah, so it was EARLY in the decent and you can’t quite see Newark yet. So what??]

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?


23 thoughts on “Jersey Best

  1. Kim

    Yes! Absolutely, 100%, just yes! Glad you’re “home” safely. I also have several definitions of home. NJ home, current apartment home, old apartment home, and wherever else I put my head down. Yay for being *true* (and classy not trashy!) Jersey Girls!
    Also, I don’t know about stiletto travel, but at MIA there was a guy traveling wearing 4 cowboy hats at 1 time boarding the plane.

  2. Jean

    How great that you got to stop there for a few hours! It’s also funny how I flew through Newark last week and couldn’t get out of there fast enough (it immediately reminded me of all the worst parts of living in New York even though I wasn’t even IN the city). That just goes to show how individual these kinds of things are, and how home is home, no matter where that may be. I will say that flying over Jersey was very pretty! It was the heat/crowds/general hysteria that bothered me. Too much time up here in the boonies, I guess.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Waaaaaaaaaah! No way! Being in EWR isn’t that different from being in any major US airport, is it??

      Hm. Negative on the heat/crowds/hysteria, huh? I very seldom make this recommendation to friends, but, well…Don’t come visit me in Singapore, OK? 😉

  3. stridingmom

    Ha ha on stilettos – I am always in running tights and running shoes….mostly because my running tights are dry wick and someone inevitably spills a drink on me at some point in the flight.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      I usually wear my running sneakers (usually because they’re my biggest shoes, and then I don’t have to pack them!), and not quite my tights – but some other sporty, wicking, super-stretchy pant (because I usually end up sweaty at some point) (and freezing at another, but whatever)…

  4. Kim

    Nostalgia airports for me…
    Medan Indonesia
    Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
    And Houston… (Houston is our hub for all international flights)…
    so pretty much any airport that gets me out into the world!!

    As for the stilletos, I can’t figure out why anyone would even want to wear make up. Give me clean, straight hair (mine gets scary crazy in humidity) a Starbucks in my hand and I’m happy!

    1. Holly KN Post author

      And now, for some strange reason, I really want to go to the Moscow airport! 🙂

      I also (informally) want to get to as many of the major US airports as I can one day…Houston is one I haven’t been to yet…

  5. misszippy1

    I love NJ! It gets a bad rap, in my opinion. We live in MD, but our favorite shore location is S. Jersey (Avalon). We happily drive the extra 30-60 minutes to get there over the MD beaches any day!

    Glad you had time at home!

  6. Debbie @ Deb Runs...

    I feel the same way about Virginia for the same reasons… We have four seasons, D.C. and the mountains are both a quick drive away, and the ocean’s not to far either. Glad you’re back to “one of the many places you consider home” safely!

  7. Meg

    I don’t understand stilettos in any case, much less when flying!

    Airport nostalgia: PHL, BOS, SFO (yes, I live here, but it’s where I’ve heard “Welcome home” from immigration most often.) They’re the 3 U.S. cities where I’ve spent the most time 🙂

    As for “home,” I’m at 3 + places at any given time 🙂

    Welcome home to Singapore!

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  9. Kristen L

    Since I grew up in Rochester, I always am excited to fly there — even though it is a little airport, as you know.

    I could never travel in high heels. Boggles my mind too.

    1. Holly KN Post author

      When I lived there, I never thought it was that exciting (except that it was about 10 minutes away from where I lived and worked!), and landing there usually represented leaving KMN behind in LA. But now, when I get the chance to fly back and visit, and get all warm and fuzzy. 🙂

  10. Allee @ Griselda Mood

    Aw. You’re lucky to have/had so many “homes.” You’re like a really cool modern day nomad. And don’t worry, your “running home” is still here! And Lord knows I’ll never leave Rochester (garbage plates keep me around) so I’ll hold it down for you until you can visit again 😉

    1. Holly KN Post author

      Sweeeeeeeeeeet! You can be like the cherry on top of the awesome ice cream sundae of running that Rochester already is to me. [Ummm…is that blog-awkward? If it is, pretend I never said it.]

      And when I’m back to visit, we shall go for a run (I have decreed it), and then for coffee (in whatever kind of mug we desire). Sounds like a plan to me… =)

      [Not so big on garbage plates, but WEGMANS was almost enough to keep ME around! :)]

  11. Logan @ Mountains and Miles

    I am a strictly workout clothes and flip flops/crocs kind of traveler. Seriously. I have a friend who wears like mini dresses and stilettos and I just don’t get it. Flying is uncomfortable enough.

    I get the same feelings flying into Colorado. The airport is actually in the middle of nowhere and you can see the mountains rising up from the plains in the distance…and it’s just home. I know the exact feeling you are talking about. Colorado will always be there for me.

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