I missed a very important anniversary this month. I missed my three year anniversary of moving to the East Coast. I actually didn’t even realize I had forgotten until I was chatting with a new girl in the office yesterday and she asked me how long I had been living here. That’s when I realized that I had plum forgotten that June 14 was my three year anniversary of moving to New Jersey.
When I tell people I moved here from Oregon, people often react with wide eyes, exclaiming, “Really? It must be really different there.”
New Jersey certainly is different from Oregon, but there’s a lot of similarities too. Both states have restaurants and gas stations. Both states speak the same language (most of the time). Both states have Target. I drove to work and dealt with traffic. I didn’t have to pump my own gas, so in my world, New Jersey and Oregon are practically the same thing.
I think moving to New York City was more of a culture shock, just having so many more different types of people that you have to deal with and adjust to interacting with on a daily basis. Having lived in New Jersey for two years, I came into Manhattan several times a week until I officially became a resident. Manhattan didn’t feel as strange and scary as I think it must be for people who just move here directly. I was used to getting around on the subway, I was used to how atrociously expensive this place is, and I was used to restaurants that cram you in like sardines.
Sometimes people ask me if I miss Oregon, and it’s strange because most of the time, I don’t think about Oregon. I miss my family, that’s for sure. I wish Oregon was closer so I could visit it more. I certainly miss it more when I have just returned from visiting. But I don’t want to live there right now. I love living in New York City. I love living three blocks from Central Park, I love all the restaurants that are in my neighborhood, I love that I can walk a block to the movie theater. I love that people get so excited about New York City and it gets me excited too. When I see a red double-decker tour bus, I think, Wow, I get to live in a place that other people come to visit on their vacation.
Of course, it’s not like living a vacation. I work full-time. I have to go grocery shopping and stay within budget because it’s easy to spend a lot money when you live in such an expensive place. I have chores to do and pay bills on time.
But when I walk down the streets of this city, I think, “I love it. I still love it.”
I don’t know if Erik and I will stay here forever. A lot of people also ask us if we are planning on staying in the city or where we hope to end up. There are a lot of places I would also like to live, and there are certainly “easier” and “nicer” places to live and raise a family. But we are still many years away from planning a family, so leaving the city doesn’t seem necessary unless we were planning on popping out some babies. In this economy, I feel like it’s difficult to choose to move somewhere new without a guaranteed job and there isn’t a place where we feel compelled to risk so much.
Besides, doesn’t it take something like 7 years before you’re considered a true New Yorker? I may have to stay until then at least.