As Jackie mentioned, it’s been a while since we updated the blog and so much has happened, but restarting this blog is timely for both of us. In the time we have been away from the blog, I have been physically away from home; I have been away for seven years. I have lived in Media and Chester Heights, PA. Salem, Lowell, and North Andover,
Massachusetts, spent two glorious summers in Ripton, VT and had a brief stay in Avon, CT. Now I’m back in New Jersey where I belong.
I spent so much time trying to get away from here that I never bothered to examine the things about home that I actually liked, and that old cliche reared its ugly head once I was gone: the grass is not greener on the other side and I learned exactly what I had once it was gone. New England is not for the faint of heart. It’s is literally and metaphorically the coldest place I have ever lived. I never knew being me in this body would be so poorly received by an entire region, and that is only a tad hyperbolic. For as liberal as New England makes themselves out to be, the place is hostile for anyone who can be considered the Other. I understand the difference between he haves and have nots, but in New England it’s mean-spirited. City of the Damned? Really, Boston Magazine?
Equally as hateful is the weather. The sun disappears from October to June. Snow falls in buckets and sticks around until July. It is always sunny in Jersey, so much so that when the sun isn’t our the meteorologists get legit concerned. Lack of sunshine makes the news, y’all. It is always sunny in Philadelphia – the title of that show is not a joke! Also, do you know what it means to “shelter in place?” Marshall Law has never been declared in New Jersey, at least not in my lifetime. I don’t need to see the new movie with Marky Mark; this happened the year I moved up there. Seriously.
Two years ago, I took a poetry writing class at the Bread Loaf School of English. It was a graduate level poetry writing course and it was hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can read books and analyze them and pump out papers with ease, but this class required us to gouge out our insides and lay them out for all to see and then, in private, figure out a way to put it all back in the right place with duct tape. It was both the best and the worst class I’ve ever taken. I ended up with a poetry collection that I called “Finding My Way Back Home,” and my wish came to fruition.
New England wasn’t all bad. While I was away, I met some of the most incredible people like Carrie and Sean. Bethany and Carlos. Marla, Paris, and Toni. Darcy and Reggie. Adam and Mandi. Ruby and Uncle Mike. Jessica and Corey. Jeremy and Alex. Miran and Lucas. Dante and Darien. Foxy and RJ. These names don’t mean anything to you, but these folks have impacted my life in ways I am still trying to comprehend. I’m grateful for their presence in my life and though distance is an obstacle, I’m willing to do the work to keep these bonds strong.
Coming home means a lot of change, among them is my decision to change careers and leave teaching behind. I love teaching and I’m really good at it, but teaching no longer brings me joy. If I were meant to be a teacher, it wouldn’t feel like every day is a battle to survive. That is what the last four years have felt like. Maybe it was the location or maybe it was me or perhaps I’m just a typical teacher. Either way, I’ll figure out what comes next. I always do.
Most importantly, coming home means I get to spend time with old friends whom I have not seen in years, like Jackie. Here is where we will go back to where we started with this blog, but seven years wiser and with more refined palates. I am excited to see where go with the blog this time around.
That’s as deep as this blog is going to get. It’s all food and fun from now on, I promise.