As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I moved to New Jersey this summer to be a part of the Parables and Books team. Part of my learning experience in New Jersey is how I’ve had to adapt to my new surroundings. One of the biggest things that differ from my hometown and here is how people drive. I’ve seen some crazy drivers in my time, but here it’s insane! In a way, I feel like I was able to adapt quickly to it, because I was expecting it and am somewhat of an aggressive driver myself. On the other hand, I still find myself in awe with the maneuvers people make. Just the other day, I swore someone was going to drive me off the road and I can’t tell you how many times people have tailgated me. I’ve also learned quickly that you should NOT use hand gestures when angry. This is a big problem for me, because I tend to throw up my hand whenever I can; I get it from my Grandma Ballash. But here, I was heavily warned not to do so, due to what might happen as a result of offending someone. I’ve learned to play the defensive driver; I just watch out for other drivers and stay in a lane at my own comfortable speed.
Another thing is how others here, including my own family, sometimes challenge my dialect. In Ohio, we say “pop” instead of “soda” and “tennis shoes” instead of “sneakers.” I’m not saying that I don’t know most people are joking around with me when they mention something or laugh afterwards, it just makes me think twice before I say something now. Like I also mentioned earlier, I was severely bullied at a young age and one of my ongoing life challenges is that I have a hard time “taking a joke.” I’ve gotten a lot better over time, but still catch myself getting angry or upset when words are directed toward me. It’s one of those things that I will be working on for the rest of my life. It’s really hard for me to take everything that’s said into perspective before reacting defensively. It’s just what I do to protect myself.
Along with the adaptations that come along with moving to a new state, there are adaptations that need to be made from living at home with your family or on your own, to living with family that you only used to see for a week once a year. I am overjoyed that I get to spend so much time with my family here in New Jersey this summer. I get to broaden my movie horizons with my Auntie Ely, relate to my cousins Jen, Em and Diane and have fun with my other cousins Don and Denise and their kids. It’s been great! But there is always an adjustment period that you go through. My family and I are all very close. I love them with all my heart and miss them everyday, but this is a big part of growing up, learning to be away from them and thriving on my own. The hope and excitement of seeing them soon helps drive me.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” ― Gilda Radner