God blessed me with a trip to New Jersey to visit where I grew up the first 17 years of my life. I left the day after Christmas on an overnight flight and got there the morning of the 27th and was there until this past Monday, January 5th. It was an amazing 9 days there!
I went shopping at one of the malls I practically lived at growing up (Woodbridge mall) 3 times and bought stuff the first 2 times, and also the second time was with my bestie. The first time was the very morning I got to New Jersey, when somehow, the cab driver ended up turning around at Woodbridge mall from a bank across the street that has opened up sometime in the last 4 years, and I was planning to go later after sleep since I only got like 15 minutes of sleep on the plane. But I bought my bestie’s presents (saved room in my luggage for stuff I knew I would acquire in NJ), one for my sister since I couldn’t find my original gift for her, and treated myself to a belatee Christmas present too.
I also got to attend the church I attended with my parents and sister growing up (and the Priestess recognized me because she could see my mother in my face and she remembered us both), go to the other mall I used to hang out at a lot – though quite frankly it didn’t hold as much magic because now everything there is too expensive and a lot has changed with old stores there gone and new ones in their place, and other stuff. I got to see my bestie and spend the whole day with her, first at the Cheesecake Factory at the mall I wasn’t thrilled with anymore (Cheesecake Factory was an exception since I love eating there and it had just opened up a few months before my mom and I moved to northern California in summer of 2000), and then went for day 2 of shopping at Woodbridge mall and got some lovely work/special occasion clothes. I also saw my cousin on my father’s side of the family and his wife and youngest daughter, who came to NJ to see me and we ate at Olive Garden and then they insisted on bringing me home with them to Long Island and so I spent New Years day and part of my mom’s birthday (January 2nd) there and stressed about not being in New Jersey on her birthday, but mainly had fun too. My cousin made custom-made hats for my nephews with their name on one each, then he generously also made one for me and for one of my sisters in Christ at the church I attend here in San Jose, which is why it was Friday evening before we headed back to NJ (and we took a couple of family pictures of us too, including with their ildest daughter who took a break from studying for it), stopping first by a florist to get Poincettas and roses for my mom to lay on her grave. My cousin, his wife and youngest drove me back to New Jersey and took me to my mother’s grave to lay down the roses and then took me back to their hotel room.
The next day, I went back to the church by cab (free hotel shuttle only runs on weekdays which is the only problem with that hotel) and brought the Poincetta inside the church so it didn’t die in the freezing cold weather outside and stayed for evening church service they have on Saturday nights at my old church.
The hotel service was also need amazing. The day I arrived, when I didn’t show up to check in when I was expected to, the nice lady at the front desk that morning called me to make sure I was safe!!!!! Nobody outside family and close friends has ever done that, let alone a complete stranger! And everyone I encountered working there whether front desk clerks or managers or maids were all super nice to me and treated me like I was family!
My last full day there, I had a heavenly mix of New Jersey style and New York style pizza and will definitely be going back to the place I ate it at next chance I get when I am in NJ long enough to do so. I was so busy with either planning, working out at the hotrl gym, or carrying out plans made that I didn’t get anywhere near the amount of sleep or rest I had planned to get while there. That’s okay though because the only thing I didn’t like was leaving New Jersey and coming back to California. I feel like I left a part of me behind.
I am hoping that someday, God will bless me to be able to afford not just my own place here in San Jose to live (close to my nephews), but also a place to live in New Jersey for part of the year each year. I also hope it happens while I am still young enough to be able to travel back and forth without it killing me and to where I can enjoy my time in NJ.
Thanks for reading! I felt the need to let out how I feel since the only times I haven’t thought about New Jersey since returning Monday night have been when I am spending time with my nephews. God is good and knows our hearts true desires and I trust that my day will come when I will be able to move back to New Jersey, for at least parts of the year, and spend May (for my nephews’ birthday), Hanukkah and Christmas, and some other part of the year in California with my nephews. And hopefully I will have my true love by my side too.
God bless to you all and peace be with you.
And one final time: God is good and all of the time! I am thankful for God’s love and for His blessings! May 2015 be your year and I believe it will be better than 2014 was for me and 2014 was pretty good.