I loved the adventure that was Tennessee and it's the only place for which I've ever been homesick. I moved to Nebraska for a job and stayed longer than I should have. These days, when I'm feeling charitable I consider my years in the rural midwest a bit of a lark. When I'm feeling less kind, I think of rural Nebraska as the place where I wasted my late 20s. Still, the years there landed me my boy, some good friends, and a truckload of jokes about the midwest, so it wasn't all bad. I've been back to Nebraska exactly once since I left and though I wouldn't mind seeing the big sky and the amazing sunsets that sweep the prairie, I'm quite glad that I'm not living in rural Nebraska any more.
I find New Jersey two parts charming and one part difficult. I love the amazing scenery and the sense of history in my corner of state. In weather terms, it's the most temperate and balanced place I have ever lived. The seasonal changes are always lovely and come just in time. I love the layers of comfortable multiculturalism present in the state. I do not love the grating accents, the traffic, or the high cost of living.
I've met some terrific people here and it's home for JT, who was two when he left Nebraska. It's also a place that has offered him the opportunity for a first-rate education and exposure to a diverse world that would not have been an option in rural Nebraska. I am forever grateful for that. New Jersey has gotten the blame for a lot of heartache in my life, but it's also the place where I found T, so that's at least a few points in its favor.
Even so, August always finds me thinking about moving on. I've lived in the west, the south, the midwest and the east. Having tasted all four, I'm not sure what will be next. I do know that New Jersey is home for now and over the years I've grown incredibly happy here; happier than I've been in the other places I've lived. That counts for a lot, Garden State. Here's to a few more happy years together.