I'm back in New Jersey again. I was here two weeks ago for a few days, then went up to Newburyport, Massachusetts for a HUGE Irish family wedding, then headed straight back to the city where I remained until this afternoon when I returned to New Jersey again, going straight to a dinner with the mother of my best friend from grade/high school who is getting married on the 4th of October. I'm in the wedding party and we needed to discuss "business," as it were. And if the date, October 4th, seems familiar for any reason, it's probably because I may have mentioned that's the EXACT DAY I AM FLYING OVER TO ENGLAND. I go to the wedding, stand for pictures, do one hour of cocktails, then dash to the airport to make my boarding time. A friend of mine said, "Sounds like the beginning of a romantic comedy to me." I sure hope so, but Clive Owen is already taken, and anything else will just be a disappointment. Be that as it may, the agenda for that day, rushed as it is, pretty much seems to echo what's going to be happening for the next month and change--one thing after another, right up until I fly away. It's kind of overwhelming, but part of that I think has to do with the fact I haven't had a chance to really sit down and look at my schedule totally fleshed out. I'm coming in blind, and that's always stressful. And stress is not something I should be readily subjecting myself to, especially given my surroundings.
My parents recently moved to a small condo from the house I spent most of my formative years in, biding time and saving money on property taxes till they move into Another house that they'll stay in for a few years until they retire in Georgia. It's a cute, temporary home, and everything seems to fit pretty well, although I still have several boxes stacked in my two closets. (That's right, New York apartment dwellers: TWO closets. In my bedroom. Built in. Go ahead: Weep.) There's a teeny yard out back, and I look forward to sitting out with my beloved cat, Pirate--who is so much better than bully Luke Skywalker back in the NYC apartment--taking jogs out to the nearby reservoir, visiting local farmers' markets, driving again (despite the price of gas), and visiting the mall for goodness sakes.
And yet, with all of these pieces of goodness, there is lack of contentment. It's the human condition--what can you do? I'd be lying if I didn't admit that after fourteen hours of being here on my first day back that I was utterly, completely, and seemingly hopelessly B-O-R-E-D. Coming back from the city every year during undergrad became a sort of experiment in tolerance to change in environment, a large factor being what time things close around here:
"What do you mean I can't get an everything bagel, toasted, with veggie cream cheese and lox delivered to me? It's only 1AM! No, no--What is your problem, guy?!"
The hazard of the suburbs is of course the "family factor"--everyone has one, or they're looking to, and so to support this they keep hours that would be acceptable for living such a life. And so every store closes at 6PM (occasionally 9 on the weekends), lights go out along the highway at restaurants and bars, and most parties break up around 11PM. This is terribly contrary to Big City Living.
The town I'm in is also basically comprised of one strip of road off a major highway (not the Turnpike, you jerks) that contains the following: a church, complete with graveyard; a door store--barns, domestic, etc; the Dollhouse Factory<--this may be the most fascinating part of this town, and I will try to explore tomorrow; a motorcycle shop; a mom and pop establishment that may be a staple for breakfasts over a copy of the Courier News or Star Ledger (I have yet to find the Times in any "local" establishment); a pricey yet atmospheric resturant called the Lebanon Hotel, that has its own tavern, the Fox and the Hound; a Stewart's; a lot of houses.
That's pretty much it.
But moving away from these suburban dulldroms, I do have some progress to report in terms of moving to John Bull's Island.
- At a recent dentist's appointment I found out that despite having not had a cleaning or formal dentist appointment in over two years, I had no cavities! Hooray! This is especially exciting, as it proves that I can take care of my teeth reasonably well, which will be very important given where I'll be living next year. "Land-of-Notoriously-Bad-Dental-Care" here I come!
- I FINALLY FINISHED MY ON-LINE VISA APPLICATION. And I paid for it. I'm $220 less rich than I was before, and I have an appointment at the visa office in NYC next Thursday (when I'll be back in town--"Transitory" is my middle name!). More on gathering the appropriate paperwork for said appointment in the coming days--I promise!
- Housing has been confirmed and the deposit has been paid-->15 GPS non-refundable processing fee, and a 250GPS deposit for my space. If you want to see my digs, take the virtual tour here. It comes with its own electric kettle!
- The exchange rate has gone down! Not by much, mind, but every little counts. Back in April it had gone up around $2.11 to the pound, and now it's down at $1.86. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up--trust me. And it made my day.
I'd stay longer and continue to wax philosophical, but it's late here in the near-wilderness, and not even Turner Classic Movies can entice me to stay up. More about feelings another time, if at all. We all know I hate that. Well, you six do, anyway.
You six. You know.