Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stuck in the middle between two places

Every time I go to the Jersey shore I become so inspired to have a successful career so that I can afford my own beach house someday. The extent of my travels have mostly been to the Jersey shore, except small trips to New England and a recent trip to West Virginia for SBO. The excitement I feel about the shore has been a feeling I've had since I was little. Every summer since I was 8 or 9 my family would head down to Lavallette, NJ for a week or two or vacation. Once I graduated from high school our family stopped going to the shore every summer because it was too expensive and we've been doing the same thing for almost 10 years. We would rent a house on the ocean front (that was part of the reason why rent was so high) and my three aunts, two uncles, two cousins, and my mom, sister, and I would all stay in the house together. It was such a blast for us cousins to go play in the ocean that we have very fond memories to this day when we were very young. The feeling of excitement would begin in the car ride to the shore. Once we crossed over to New Jersey from Pennsylvania excitement grew because we were getting closer. later on when we crossed another bridge across the bay to the island we would open the windows and I remember closing my eyes and breathing in the ocean air. Even at a young age I had such a great appreciation for the ocean and I loved how it relaxed me. During the last couple years that we were down the shore I would often go lay out on the sand at night and look up into the sky at the stars because they are so clear and bright. I also loved how I could see the lights of Seaside Heights all the way from Lavallette. I was so crushed when Hurricane Sandy hurt Seaside and that terrible feeling came back when I found out about the boardwalk being on fire. I was just at Seaside over the summer for the first time in a couple years and it made me so happy to see it lively once again and I was reliving so many memories. I was with my Dad and I was telling him, "Em, Cate, Molly, and I would go on that ride every year" or "that's where we got our pizza," and "that's the arcade where we would play skeeball." Whenever I am down the shore I try to fit in and act like I'm a local and not just a visitor. There's a saying that the locals are Benny's, a nickname for the New Jersey county natives that head down to this part of the shore- Bergen, Essex,and Newark.(I think it can also stand for Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York) My family is originally from Bergen county, NJ, but I was born in PA. Because I am from PA I feel like I don't belong in the shore culture but whenever I go down the shore I desperately want to blend in and be one of the "locals." I also think some people think that when I talk about how much I love NJ that it's not really authentic because I'm not really from NJ. I have a sticker on my car, Jersey Strong, but I have a PA license plate. I think some people may look at that and think, "she's not even from New Jersey, why the heck does she have that on her car." I don't care what people think because all I know is that I love the shore community and the feeling I get everytime I visit. I am motivated to buy my own beach bungalow someday so that I can go on runs in the morning to Colonial Bakery and buy delicious crumb cake. It's sad that my whole family doesn't gather anymore for our annual beach trip. It means that we are all growing up and doing our own things during the summer. We all have jobs and other obligations. Maybe someday us four cousins can pick up the tradition. What I have felt about wanting to fit in at the shore is very relatable to travel because wherever we go we usually want to blend in so that we can experience the place like someone who's been living their whole life (well maybe not that much). In Tales of the Tikongs talk of development and change is very present. Sometimes change is so scary in a place you have known to be the same for so long. Consistency keeps us calm. Spontaneous things keeps up alive and awake, but too much of it, I think, can cause stress and a distraction from life. Development in someone's town can also be unnerving because it is unpredictable where exactly the development will go. Usually development is a good word, but sometimes people are happy with the way things are and don't want things to go awry. On page 19, Manu says, "Why are you destroying my country?" a very strong statement against change in his community. I am from Lancaster County, PA and it is also known as Amish Country. There are many Amish farms that have turned into developments over the years and there is even a Farmland trust fund to make sure that there are still enough farms in "Amish Country." It is interesting that we call neighborhood "developments" because they are developing community in many ways. Many people in Lancaster could get very angry if more and more developments continue to be built because then the beautification of the land will slowly disappear and no one will come to Lancaster anymore to see the Amish and buy fresh fruits and produce. I titled my post, "stuck in the middle between two places," because I love NJ and PA so much that I think of both as my home in a way. I know I belong in PA but I yearn to be a "Jersey Girl."

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