I was last home (or home-home, as I like to say) in New Jersey in June 2013 and thanks to a summer of destination weddings and work travel, it’s taken far too long to return. At least that’s what my mom says. (To be fair, my parents came to San Diego in that interim.)
On my last visit, I was in town for my cousin’s wedding, so with all the hubbub, I didn’t have much time to stop and appreciate the fine art of sitting in one’s pajamas all day and melting into the couch with snack crumbs scattered on one’s sweatshirt. No, this visit home was much more low-key and also an interesting eye opener because it’s dawned on me just how far away I live (and feel) from where I grew up. When I’d visit home-home from college in Chicago or working in New York, it was pretty much the same pace, look, feel and weather. But now that I live in the land of palm trees and perpetual sunshine and in a very different culture, I feel worlds away from where and how I grew up, and it’s given me a strange, disconnected feeling. I think it’s the first time I’ve realized, wow, I live all the way in California in an urban beach town, and that’s not ever where I thought I’d end up. Funny the turns your life can take.
That said, there’s nothing to get me back in the East Coast spirit quite like seeing my family, eating my mom’s home-cooked food, seeing the changing color of the leaves—my neighborhood is bursting with Technicolor happiness—and doing fun, frivolous things like shopping and getting manicures with my mom. I also managed to see my cousins and a close friend, who brings that home feeling back for me as much as family can.
Today I’m off to New York City for work and play, but here are a few snaps of suburban glory:
New Jersey diners—there’s nothing like ’em.
I usually draw a blank when I try to look for San Diego-centric gifts for friends and family back home, but I recently spotted this cool geometric candle holder at North Park’s Pigment and wanted to turn it into a vessel for the so-SoCal succulent. My mom loves plants, so it was the perfect gift for her. (For the plane ride, I actually took the candle holder and plant separately and packed a Tupperware with cactus soil.)