Missing NJ

Dear sisters,

When Kevin and I moved to NJ a little over 4 years ago we never thought we’d come to love it so much! I think NJ gets a bad rap from the rest of the country, itss nickname is the armpit of the USA.

dove-billboard

I still remember the first time we drove to NJ to interview/audition at Rutgers/Westminster Choir College. We stayed at the college hotel on campus in New Brunswick. I had to drive down route 1 by myself in rush hour traffic to get to Princeton for my early morning audition and all we could see was concrete. Luckily Princeton was super beautiful and charming enough to convince me that there were pretty green spaces in NJ. We’ve grown to really love our little corner of NJ. Getting to live in the woods out in the country was a big help. If we had been in an apartment building near the city I would have been ready to leave a long time ago.

Here, in no particular order are things I’ll truly miss about NJ:

–Our little fixer-upper: people always laugh when they see the trailer for the first time because I waaay undersell it, “Oh, we just live in a trailer in the woods.” I often hear, “Jewel, you need to start calling it a house!” We’ve had a lot of space to experiment with decorating, home projects (Kevin put up gutters, changed electrical fixtures, patched walls, changed faucets), and gardening (we went from zero gardens to 5 flower gardens and 1 raised bed). This is where we hosted a few family gatherings and many many bonfires/dinners with friends. Bear with me as I share too many photos of our little home.

The before pic, so sad and overgrown.
The before pic, so sad and overgrown.
Putting in gardens.
Putting in gardens.
Baking up a storm in our big light filled kitchen.
Baking up a storm in our big light filled kitchen.
Living next to a beautiful canal.
Living next to a beautiful canal.

–The diversity of people and food in NJ is amazing and I know we’ll miss it in 99% white Wisconsin. We have favorite Indian, Thai, Ethiopian and sushi restaurants in the area and they’re not the ONLY ethnic restaurants. We have multiple of each type to choose from, which is a luxury we won’t find in Wisconsin.

–Being close to NYC and Philly. Even though we didn’t take advantage of this often enough because we’re homebodies who like the country, being close to cool cities meant we got to see family and friends who were coming to the city for fun or for travel. It’s nice to be near a hotspot. We also weren’t too far away from Alfred and Virginia and old friends who live on the East Coast, so we’ve been lucky enough to visit them a lot. I’ll miss being a few hours away from Alfred!

NYC at Christmastime. Pretty, but there are way too many people!
NYC at Christmastime. Pretty, but there are way too many people!

–Mostly we’ll miss our friends from Rutgers, Westminster and Six Mile Run Reformed Church. We have been fortunate to meet so many amazing people here and connect with people that hopefully we’ll be friends with for a long long time, even though we’re moving far away.

Erika was one of the first people we met at my audition weekend at WCC. We clicked because we're basically the same person. Also, our husbands are buddies and are better at scheduling get togethers than we are, so we make a good team!
Erika was one of the first people we met at my audition weekend at WCC. We clicked because we’re basically the same person. Also, our husbands are buddies and are better at scheduling get togethers than we are, so we make a good team!
The awesome ladies I met through Kevin's friends at Rutgers! So many fun gatherings with good food. I already miss some of these ladies who've moved on.
The awesome ladies I met through Kevin’s friends at Rutgers! So many fun gatherings with good food. I already miss some of these ladies who’ve moved on.
Curtis and Jenny! (sidenote, we need a picture of the four of us!) Curtis and Jenny housed us during a hurricane, housed my family during a wedding, have been amazing neighbors and friends these four years. I love having a friend who lives just 3 minutes away. Luckily they're moving to Colorado which is only 13 hours away from Wisconsin....
Curtis and Jenny! (sidenote, we need a picture of the four of us!) Curtis and Jenny housed us during a hurricane, housed my family during a wedding, have been amazing neighbors and friends these four years. I love having friends who live just 3 minutes away. Luckily they’re moving to Colorado which is only 13 hours away from Wisconsin….
Pastor Osy and SMRRC have been so amazing. Osy nurtured my love of church music and let me sing every week if I wanted to. I couldn't imagine a more encouraging and friendly pastor and we've been so lucky to get to know him and Julie. We'll really miss them and the church family!
Pastor Osy and SMRRC have been so amazing. Osy nurtured my love of church music and let me sing every week if I wanted to. I couldn’t imagine a more encouraging and friendly pastor and we’ve been so lucky to get to know him and Julie. They’ve fed us and gotten to know our family and have been a second family here in NJ. We’ll really miss them!

This is just a small homage to the wonderfulness of our friends here. I could go on and on and on. Today is our last day in NJ and it’s time for me to finish packing. Almost everything is done, just odds and ends and vacuuming left. Oh, and eating pizza on our living room floor with sparkling cider :-). It’s a celebration and a farewell.

Love you NJ and all you people in it!

Jewel

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3 thoughts on “Missing NJ

  1. I am so very nostalgic when I move away from a place! This is a wonderful tribute, you guys had such a great place and community there!! Onwards to new adventures!

  2. Hi Jewel,
    You are gonna love Wisconsin! It will take some time to settle in, but some of the instant things you will recognize are lower prices (!), wide open spaces, and rolling hills. Distinctly Wisconsin. The northern part (like Eagle River) is a favorite vacation spot. I know it’s hard moving but our thoughts are with you. Miss you lots, and next time we’re back at my parent’s farm in ‘sconnie, we’ll have to get together. Melissa

    1. Thanks Melissa! I know we will love it, we’ve visited twice and it’s been wonderful. I would love to see you next time you’re back in the USA and hear about your adventures!!

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