Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NJ/OR (#1)

Today I got re-adjusted to Jersey Driving (I'm ashamed I had to write that sentence--that on Sunday I found myself actually paying attention to Yield signs, wondering what all that honking was about, obeying the speed limit, etc etc etc. Oh, and I keep wanting to answer my phone when I'm driving. Thanks, Oregon!). I took my mom's car for a repair, went food shopping, and did some pre-cooking for Thanksgiving dinner. All of these things reminded me of stuff I love about NJ which are different from Oregon. I'll be posting about such differences again, I'm sure. Here's what I can think of at the moment:

1. I love driving in NJ and not feeling lost all the time, as I do 80% of the time in Portland, where one wrong turn puts me in the maze of dead-end avenues and lanes that mysteriously deposit me onto I-5. Also, something about Portland--the fact that navigating in Portland relies heavily on cardinal directions, thus giving Portland drivers an innate sense of North, South, East, West--has made me feel less lost in NJ, even when I find myself on an unfamiliar road. I can just sort of tell if I'm heading east or not.
(Of course, I drove in a circle today, on two separate occasions, just trying to find Route 46. One of these occasions was in a parking lot.)

2. I love the landscape here. LOVE IT. Even in the most built-up, North Jersey, ugly strip mall highway area, a wrong turn will take you into a beautiful neighborhood with old houses whose yards are currently covered with brown leaves, glittering bronze and copper in the sunlight, and tall black trees reaching toward the sky, their bare branches arched dramatically. I like the conifers of the Northwest a lot. (Ok, I love them too!) But I do not love them more than the trees of NJ. I know that our winters are brown, not green. That's okay.

3. I like the way our sticks of butter are shaped better than Western sticks of butter. No one knows what I'm talking about when I mention this, so I'll have to take pictures of sticks of butter!

4. Yuengling. I missed Yuengling.

5. People here don't think I talk funny.

(There have also been moments this week where I've missed Portland. Already.)

I am happy that I get to have both places--my old home and my new home--for now at least. In fact, I think I'm happy with all aspects of my life right now.

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