04 May 2013


Three things come to mind when I think of New Jersey: great food, pretty scenery (for the most part) and awful, awful drivers. I don’t think I’ve been to Jersey since I moved from there in 2009. This week I returned to my home state (I have many home states, by the way) to visit my long-lost husband with whom I had not spent any time since we moved out of our Singapore condo April 5.

Paul has been in aircraft training, learning to fly a Falcon business jet, which is a larger, longer-range aircraft than the one he flew in Singapore. Each time a pilot is hired on a new aircraft, the pilot must go through training to be certified on that aircraft and return for recurrent training at least once a year. He left the morning after I arrived in America and, while we were awake, he was busy doing laundry, packing and kicking me out of the room so that he could concentrate. When he was ready for bed, I was doing my best to make myself tired amongst the excitement of seeing his family again. That was April 8.

Three weeks…21 days later…I was reunited with my husband after a 6.5-hour drive across boring Pennsylvania and into the Garden State. Paul had two days off so we spent most of the day sleeping in, grabbing our free Marriott breakfast 15 minutes before it closed, driving around, going back to the hotel for a nap and then venturing out for dinner.

We have had dinner at the Tewksbury Inn, lunch at our favorite New York-area pizza place, Grimaldi’s, we took a walk around Hoboken’s Washington Street where we were able to catch a glimpse of the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, as he scouted a location with two policemen and five camera guys. We bought some cookies and a cupcake at the famous Carlo’s Bakery and then took a drive to Liberty State Park where we had a look at Manhattan’s south shore, the newly-constructed Freedom Tower stealing the spotlight, the historic buildings upon Ellis Island and the back of the Lady herself.

Yesterday, while Paul was back in the simulator, I took a drive to one of my favorite Jersey cities, Princeton. Home to the University, the city is lined with blooming trees, green grass and some of the smartest people on the planet. The city is also home to great restaurants, small-city coffee shops with their own lingo like, “hazy cap” for my hazelnut cappuccino and “shot go” for a guy who apparently needs espresso in his veins, and retail stores from Brooks Brothers to consignment boutiques.

This is the Jersey that I like. I like the confident towns that boast small businesses with local personality. I like the well-kept streets, the houses with yards, the quiet roads. What I hate about Jersey begins as drivers approach New York City. The grass disappears, the trees turn into sidewalks, the drivers are aggressive on 10-lane highways and never EVER follow street signs.

In town, people drive their cars and park their cars anywhere they want because they just assume that they can. And they can because no one does anything to ensure that people do not drive over a highway medium, make an epic fail of a U-turn on a four-lane downtown street nearly causing a major accident or park a car in the right lane adjacent to the actual parallel parking spaces and block in the people who have actually used a parking space and have come to the point when they need to leave but they can’t because your SUV is in our way. This is the New Jersey that I don’t miss.

No comments: