I was raking leaves yesterday and realized it was an entirely different experience here than it is in Portland. It got me thinking about all the little funny things that I’ve learned by living here over the last 11 months. So here are some ‘just for fun’ things I’ve learned from the perspective of being a Californian turned Oregonian goes to New Jersey girl:
- The Soprano’s were filmed in the city I live in. The house is just a few blocks away. I will never admit to anyone here that I don’t care or that I didn’t watch the show, because for all I know the mafia still really does exist out here and that is surely a great offense!
- One of my husband’s coworkers is friends with a New Jersey housewife. Their kids hang out together, and yes, everyone is wondering if they will go to jail. I guess you know which housewife now. So weird.
- The Italian food out here is ridiculous in the AMAZING kind of way. And the Italian ingredients at the grocery stores are much more available than anywhere else I’ve ever seen. But I miss the berries of the pacific northwest and the large, open farms you can visit to pick them.
- NY/NJ/CT pizza is all thin crust with a slightly different twist. Everyone has their favorite and dare you not have a different favorite! Grimaldi’s pizza really is just as good as Food Network claims but it’s a totally different NY style pizza than the pizza joints on the street. Even though they’re both are NY style pizza and both are good, they’re just completely different and it all comes down to what you prefer.
- California drivers are fast. Oregon drivers drive the speed limit, maybe five under or over. New Jersey drivers drive in the median or the shoulder, because shouldn’t it be another lane when traffic is this bad?
- I don’t know if dandelions grow in New Jersey. My neighbor in Portland once came up to me and asked if she could pick the dandelions in my yard so she could use them for some soup or something. I realized that 1) my yard was a MESS 2) YES she could pick them whenever she wanted and 3) only in Oregon will you have someone taking the farm to table concept this literally. I don’t even know if dandelions grow here because not one has sprung up in our yard over the last year!
- Californians (at least in southern California) don’t rake leaves in the fall. There’s not much yard anyway and deciduous trees aren’t everywhere. Portlandians rake wet messes of leaves in the rain or wait for a random dry day and then do it all at once. In New Jersey, we get these beautiful piles of brown, orange, yellow and red leaves that are DRY. It’s just like in the movies where you can jump in a pile and not get disgusting! Raking leaves is actually kind of fun here. Maya loooooves it.
- Rentals go FAST in New Jersey so if you’re renting, get a real estate agent and be prepared to make a quick decision. Almost everyone I know has had a rental taken up from them even after papers are signed on one end. It’s kind of like TJ max or Marshalls– if you find a something you like, act fast!
- Trash day is twice a week in New Jersey! You can throw away half your house and put it out in bags and the trash people will come and take all of it no questions asked. In Portland, I was scolded for putting my recycling bin too close to my trash bin– and if the trash lid couldn’t close they might not take my trash. Quite a difference from here where you just throw out everything and it all gets taken!
- Garbage disposals pretty much don’t exist out here. No one I know has one. Something about permits? I miss my garbage disposal but I’m used to not having one now.
- Going into the city is awesome. Fun. Busy. Crowded. Energetic and exciting. It’s amazing to be able to go in for just the day. It’s also amazing to come back to the suburbs, which sometimes I feel is just as busy!
- If you go to the playground in the evening, you will catch a glimpse of the parents. If you go during the day, you will see the nannies.
When I moved to Portland, I thought I would never feel at home but then when we left I was actually really sad. I had come to love that place. I feel like the same is happening with New Jersey, just a little bit slower. But it’s growing on me, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to be here! So cheers to almost making it a year and for what’s ahead!