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Putting the New in New Jersey

A month ago we said goodbye to Dallas, Texas. We waved a hearty farewell to some of the best friends we’ve ever had. The homes where we brought our babies home from the hospital are now being enjoyed by others and the church that was full of faces of friends we loved and a pre-school program where our daughter laughed gleefully as she ran out of class each day with her friends, we said “bye, bye.”

To begin our journey north, the Honda Odyssey was full of far more than what we brought to Dallas including three extra heartbeats nestled in car seats. We smiled at one another and gripped the steering wheel tight as we tipped our hats to the place that brought us together. Dallas was so very good to us. It was hard to imagine New Jersey was going to offer us the same.

Since we are a month in, I simply want to document what it’s like to be the ones putting the new in new jersey. Standing in the kitchen making yet another cup of hot chai tea to sip alone instead of with a familiar face, I’m forced to acknowledge the truth. Starting over has its ups and downs. For me, the ups have outweighed the downs. The home we moved into is practically perfect to me. The town we are in has everything I want in a place. We can walk to Starbucks, to the park, to O’s new school, even our pediatrician is at the end of our street! The snow is lovely, and though I have no particular interest in playing in it, I’m happy for my kids to see the cold in water-turning-to-ice form.

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I love that Chris’s family is so close. Having Gigi and aunts and uncles and cousins in close proximity is something we have never had. It’s a great thing. Even my sister and niece could drive here from DC last Saturday. So fun. Chris and I got to go on a date last week where the owner chatted with us and laughed about the Dallas Cowboys (and his affinity for the cheerleaders, of course). Chris’s job is starting strong. And we have huge windows all over our house. And natural light is my love language.

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We had a few friends in Dallas who moved out of Texas before us. Sending back messages of change being difficult, finding new friends and a church was hard. And just plain old not having any friends was odd. I heard their hearts and wondered if we would have the same experience.

Well, they were right. I don’t have any friends. Or let’s put it this way, I have not made a new friend in New Jersey yet. We recently put our Christmas tree out by the sidewalk and I felt like we were letting our first friend go. The one who showed up pretty soon after we got here and made us feel happy each day. As I went to remove the BFF necklace from his neck, Mr. Christmas Tree exposed my need for human friends since he couldn’t stay forever. Also because it’d be weird if I took him out for coffee. “Table for two, please. For me and my Christmas tree.” Nah.

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I’m the new mom at O’s school. And you know what? She’s the new kid. So weird for both of us! Once we figured out that the only way into the school was up a deserted ramp and onto an isolated elevator, I wondered if we’d ever make any friends. Certainly not on our “stroller-necessary” route. My little girl who used to buzz out of class running the halls with friends, quietly exits her class now, looking for her brothers to taunt. We haven’t made pals yet, and I know we will. But it hasn’t happened yet.

The cold is new. As in, the cold every single day is new. I’m not woman enough yet to bundle the kids up every day to take them to do something. Nope. Too cold. And it takes thirty minutes to get everyone ready and you know, besides upping my Fitbit steps, getting out really isn’t worth it.

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For the most part, the change has been really good. It’s beautiful here and it’s a good bonding experience for this little family who gets to start all over again together. There is definitely merit in that.

We have to cling to the one who sent us here. It is cool knowing that the Lord is the reason we are here and He has not deserted us. In fact, I feel pretty darn close to him now. Thanking him for this new opportunity of growth. One that may not have come had we stayed put.

All that to say, COME VISIT US. Please. No seriously. There’s a really great pizza place around the corner. And we can take the train to Philly so you can see where Fresh Prince was born and raised.

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I guess there’s really only one thing left to do to acknowledge our departure from Dallas, Texas: Just turn up the tunes and dance. We’re one successful month down of putting the new in New Jersey!

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11 thoughts on “Putting the New in New Jersey

  1. I can understand all your feelings. I experienced them myself after graduating from high school in our little town in upstate PA and had to come to Phila. to find work. I went home every week-end as the city scared me but eventually di get somewhat use to it. My first job was in the business at the Univ. City of Pa. Hospital an met many nice friends there. I had two older sisters that lived close by in Bucks County and we visited them often. But I must say we are happy you have settled close by us and you seem to have adjusted nicely considering the difference in climate as well as the children. Hope to see you soon. Love to all, Nonna.

  2. I thought you had stopped blogging – I am so happy to find out you still are. You write beautifully! Thank you for your honesty and heart. My prayers are with you and your family as you begin new friendships and a become part of a new church family.

  3. Karen! This is so so sweet and real. We are planning a trip to NJ in the near future (not sure when), and I would love to be your friend and visit you when we are there…but then again, by that point you will surely have SO many of your own. 🙂 What’s not to love about ya? Hang in there. xoxoxo

    PS- My experience with NJerseyans is that they are all pretty real, and that they shorten your full name to a nickname in no time. When they start calling you “Kar”, you’re in. Hee.

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