I love Jersey. Best thing I ever did was getting married and move to the big, bad, evil North with my Marine husband to the big Joint Base in Jersey. No one could believe it when I told them my plans. But...
It really is about location, location, location. I love the weather. FOUR whole seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter! Living in Tennessee and Missisippi until now, there were only three seasons: Summer, Winter, and Tornado. The schools are fantastic where we live. Kids are ALL reading before leaving Kindergarten. I taught a 5th grade class that was doing the work of my 7th graders in Mississippi. And every child gets music, art, p.e., and library every week. There is also an enrichment program that offers computers and a health program. And they've been on 3 field trips, with one more to go. A library trip where they all get their own card! We don't even pay for school supplies. Nope. In preschool in Mississippi, I paid at least 100 each for supplies and fees. Day trips are unreal. Philadelphia. New York. D.C. Poconos. My big sis. And THE BEACH! (aka, the Shore) Oh y'all, the beach is 45 minutes!
But I constantly have to explain to people "It Ain't Newark". And yet, I am always surprised by my daily life. So I decided to have a little fun. We've learned a lot in 9 months. Just a few of the funnies that I have laughed at and learned. Come visit, and I'll show you.
YOU MIGHT LIVE IN JERSEY IF....
1. Any and all GPS systems will put you on the turnpike no matter where you are headed. Cha-Ching! That sucker costs $$$ Stick with 295 and HOLD ON! But you have also learned every shortcut on the "backroads" (aka, two lane roads through the small towns)
2. Someone honks at you at least once a day. And it's usually old granpas and grandmas! I think they are just afraid they'll die before they make it to their destination. There are at least 2 developments in my township where you must be 55 to live in. The next one over has 5! And we are SMALL towns up here. Can you imagine?
3. You know what it is and how to use a "Jug Handle". If you want to turn left or missed your turn, heaven help you if you've never used a Jug Handle. Newcomers...stick in the middle lane and hope for the best. I firmly believe that Jersey's reputation for bad drivers stems from not knowing where the hell the next will be....a normal turn lane or a jug handle. And forgot Google Maps. That shit does not help. Trying to learn your way around with small kids is like teaching them every 4-letter word that exists. But after 9 months, I think these would solve traffic problems on Fridays in most big cities.
4. You are serious about your Hair. Y'all Jerseylicious is a show for a reason. It's all about the hair in several areas near me. It's big. It's poofy. It's dark. (Which takes me to number 5)
5. You can EASILY pick your blond-headed child out of a group of kids. Only people walking around with blond are mamas paying the big bucks to make that color. And most should save their money. Those are colors even Crayola didn't attempt.
6. You go to Wawa at least twice a week and can name the location of at least 10. I find it hard to explain Wawa to anyone. My mom still thinks I'm crazy. But it's like a convenience store, sometimes gas station, deli, coffee shop, and krispy creme stop all in one. Sure, I grew up with the Dodge Store, Shell stations, etc. But you won't leave a Wawa smelling like Fried Chicken or a giant biscuit (even if you buy one).
7. People ask "How you doin'?" (less Joey, more Wendy Williams)
8. You think the Oompa Loompas are alive in well at the mall on the weekends. Spray tans, that's all I'm saying. Honestly, I'm asked some people where they got their tan, so I NEVER go there.
9. Pizza is a food group, and you can tell the difference in Pizza not from Jersey. I grew up on Pizza Hut. Wow. I look back on my childhood with sadness to this. My kids love to watch the pizza being made up here. All fresh. Hand-tossed. And the cheese.....(crap, now I'm hungry).
10. You spend twice as much on groceries. I don't know if this is just the prices or the selection of items that make you drool. There is one store called Wegman's that requires a chaperone. There is a bread section! Oh. My. Gawd. They even have a cafe to eat before you shop. Take my advice. Eat beforehand or say goodbye to $200.
11. If car advertisement tries to sell you a subcompact car by SHOWING you how you can fit a 6 ft 4 in, 240lb man in the trunk. Seriously, this was a Dr. Pepper in the nose moment yesterday. And all I could think was Stephanie Plum, which takes me to 12.
12. If you read a Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum book thinking to yourself "I know where that is" or "Yep, she is right about that!" Though I'm sad to report, there is no Cluck-N-A-Bucket. I looked. But the Jersey humidity is real and it's fierce.
13. You kill at least a handful of Stink Bugs every day the temps get above 60. You even discuss with your neighbors the different types of traps you could make to catch those sneaky little f*ckers!
14. The sound of snowplow can wake you from a dead sleep. (This is only for Southern transplants like me). And it can invoke fear and worry into a mama who has to drive her kids to school the next morning. 1. My SUV is not AWD. 2. Schools don't close. 3. My neighbor is a giant slip-n-slide.
15. No one dresses their kids in smocked, ruffle, bow, anything. Ever.
16. You know how to properly negotiate a circle. Another sign is knowing #16 is about driving. Even better is doing it without blinkers. The signs at the one by my house are so cool. Philadelphia, New York, LBI, Atlantic City.
17. You don't use "New" to tell where you live. It's just Jersey, peeps.
18. New York City is a day trip...and it's just called "the City" (Philly can be seen from any big hill)
19. Acme is a grocery store, not just somewhere Wyle E. Coyote would shop for supplies.
20. You live within 20 minutes to at least 3 Targets and 3 malls.
21. You never pump your own gas. When I was in Tennessee at Spring Break, I sat in the car for a long time before I remembered that no one was coming to do it for me. (Head Slap!)
22. You keep at least $5 in cash in your car for tolls.
23. The schools celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, Christmas and Hannukah. And it's fun, innocent, and so educational and no one feels violated.
24. You know several people with a "Shore House"
25. Even your kids can hum the Action News song and sing the "Pennsylvania Lottery" jingle.
26. You know the Olive Garden is not Italian, but you can name at least 5 really great places that are. And you also know that you need to carry some mints with you. Garlic and oregano are serious up here.
27. People asked you if you'd like a glass of "wood-er" (Water.)
28. You know where to find custard, water ice, and ice cream....and know the difference.
29. You drive by at least 3 farms to get to the store. (This is a south jersey thing.)
30. You think Northern New Jersey is a different state (and you can pick out the people from that part of the state).
31.....What's your "You might live in Jersey if???" Or what do you think it might be? I had all the stereotypes in my mind before moving, and let's face it, they do exist. Sunday was proof of that.