At least four times a week, I have an internal debate about where I want to live and at least once a week that debate is shared with someone else. We talk about the same pros and cons about staying in DC, moving back to NJ, or even moving somewhere completely different! Madrid for a year or so is still on my mind, don’t think that thought went anywhere but a little bit further back in my brain. Anyway, right before my trip to Spain I spent a few days in New Jersey which always makes this debate much more difficult. New Jersey has things that the rest of the world doesn’t, plain and simple.
My Family – This is pretty self-explanatory but to put things in perspective for you, even my oldest brother who has lived in California since the day I started kindergarten is moving back to the east coast. My entire immediate family will be in New Jersey or New York except for me. Sad face.
Lauren Ann Masini – Wherever I choose to live, I will never be able to replace her. I live my life with a sense of, “I don’t have a Lauren here and I never will. I don’t need a Lauren here because I have the real thing in NJ.” Even if I wanted to, I could not have another Lauren in any other city, state, or country because to have a Lauren requires years of history, years of shared ups and downs, years of memories, and finding a person who just freakin’ gets you in a way that no one else does.
Attitude – Anyone who lives in New Jersey has an attitude and a personality bigger than life. I like that we have some swag and that it is often obvious where I am from before I even have to tell someone. We flip tables, we snap our fingers, we talk with our hands, and we like it.
Radio – We have z100 and Hot 97.1. No radio stations in the country even compare to our stations…they are New York City stations, I mean come on.
Diners – New Jersey diners…always open, always serving breakfast, and are always of high quality. Diners in NJ are establishments of pride, not only of convenience and we know just how lucky we are to have them. Only in NJ can you order a taylor ham, egg, and cheese at 4:40am on a Tuesday.
New York City – Residents of NY are usually insulted, frustrated, and irritated by the fact that people from NJ closely associate ourselves with NY but get over it. I love knowing that I can hop in the car or get on the train and quickly have access to the restaurants, shopping, job opportunities, and environment that NYC has to offer. Let’s take a limo into the city and club hop around. Why? Because we can and because we know we can stop at a diner on the way home.
Luxury – Fine, I’ll say it…I really like nice things. In the part of NJ that I grew up in we are partial to nice things. Nice cars, nice shoes, nice hand bags, and nice homes. We get good hair cuts, stellar spray tans, acrylic nails, and the latest gadgets. We are spoiled by great restaurants and are snobby about our food and drink. There is no greater feeling than the one I get in my car with the top down driving to the Short Hills Mall (someone smack me, I know). But the thing of it is that because it is so normal to us and because every where you look the person next you has the same level of luxury on her finger or on her feet, it is acceptable. We like a life of luxury and have found a way to be, in my opinion, somewhat
humble normal about it.
Guidos – On the other end of the spectrum, I can’t help but love me some guidos. White tank tops, big muscles, fresh to death kicks, and chains. I like the way they talk and they way they walk. I always had a thing for them all the while knowing this is not the type of boy you really end up with but they’re fun to look at.
The Shore – No matter what you think, there is no greater place to spend a summer than at the Jersey Shore. The Jersey Shore is a way of life that everyone in NJ understands. Beach all day, Parker House happy hour, Leggetts, Osprey, and Bar A at night, and late night bowls of pasta in the kitchen. Going for a run and showering after a long day at the beach, coming downstairs to find everyone on the back patio playing cards and drinking beers is the Jersey Shore. Tiki Bar all day Monday and ending up back there that night after a mid-day nap and slice of pizza is the Jersey Shore. No place else compares.
I’m sure other towns and states have characteristics to them that make their residents feel unique but what always stands out to me is the level of pride I have in New Jersey. People in New Jersey have an extraordinary amount of pride in their state, their family, their friends, their attitude, their radio stations, their city, their luxurious lifestyle, their accents, and their beach. We will defend our state and our lifestyle to the death. We know we are a little crazy but we kinda like that too. We don’t care if you think guidos are stupid or that having seven Louis Vuittons is a waste because our pride exceeds our need to impress outsiders.
Sassarella Says…my dilemma still exists. All of the previously stated points are ones that center around how I saw the rest of my life progressing. I saw myself leaving my big office in New York City to pick up the little ones from practice at their fancy private school in my Range Rover. I saw myself meeting Lauren for lunch at Joe’s in the mall, buying a cute new outfit before going to get our nails done and having a spray tan. I saw us going out to a nice dinner with Tanya Bo Banya and our hubbies in Hoboken that night. I saw myself having my brothers, my sister, their families, my parents, and the Wilkes’ over to the house for Sunday dinner, which I will have of course ordered in from Nonna’s. I saw us sharing bottles of wine and knowing that we’ll get to do it again next weekend. I saw myself waking up on Monday and starting it all over again. To live in New Jersey is a way of life that I love and don’t think I’ve quite given up on having yet.