“You’re moving where?”
A year and a half ago, everyone learning of my news to move from Seattle to New Jersey reacted with similar incredulity. Here’s what I’d be leaving behind:
- Waking up to views of white-tipped Olympic Mountains perched atop the Puget Sound with a ferry in the foreground
- Roller-coaster hills keeping my tush taught with every pre-dawn run
- Quirky coffee joints with smiling, tattooed, baristas on every block
- “No you go, no YOU go, no, really YOU GO!!!” politeness at every four-way stop from fellow granny-minded drivers
- A good granola vibe and fashion so free-willed that leggings, UGGs and an eighties concert t-shirt wouldn’t receive a second glance at a Seattle Symphony performance
- The best damn wild caught fresh Alaskan salmon available at every market, probably even the nearest 7-11
- Rare snow (there’s only one plow for the whole city, and a freakish phobia of salting the roads) and zero humidity (just a collective temper tantrum when the temps hit above 85)
The road to Princeton, and most recently Bucks County, has been jagged. But the ride is definitely getting smoother. And who in Jersey doesn’t love the dude that insists on pumping your gas? (OK, it’s the law, but I’ll take it!) A few other Jersey/PA quirks I’m growing to love:
- Bring your own booze. Go ahead, order the Chateaubriand for two! You’ll save wads of cash on the bar bill thanks to the old Quaker laws
- A Guv who shoots from the hip. And he’s got quite plenty of hip to shoot from. Love him or hate him, Governor Christie calls it as he sees it, doesn’t care what criticism is coming his way, and, here’s what we all can love: stretched his massive arms out wide to Hurricane Sandy sufferers
- Trains! Plenty of ’em to resort to for this Seattle granny driver who gets her share of the bird driving the posted speed limit down Route 1 in her MPH-challenged little Beetle
- Downwahd Dawg people! Plenty of awesome yoga in these parts – with a charming east coast twist on Sanskrit
- Who needs crappy farmed Atlantic salmon when you can sink your chops into the tastiest, chewiest, cheesiest, tomatoyist pizza on the planet? Even better, the extra dough on tomorrow morning’s belly will have no hills to conquer on that pre-dawn run. These parts are flat.
- Serious duds. Pop in the ear buds and plunk down on a train seat and 60 minutes later you’re in NYC or Philly, fashion central zones where fleece is all but banned. (Though I’m still sporting leggings and UGGs, but at least I’ve got a current Daughtry concert t-shirt to go with.)
- The shore. Big, vast stretches of beach, and water one can wade in without first donning a NW parka and fleece pants
- Did I mention that in Jersey you never have to pump gas?
I still love Seattle. Miss Seattle. Want to return to Seattle, someday. But today, I’m enjoying all that Jersey and PA have to offer a west coast girl like me.