Many people hear "New York" and picture a big city. Tall skyscrapers, traffic, pollution and stressed- out residents. Many people picture all of New Jersey the same way. But not me.

For me, NJ and NY are places of beauty and nature. People may be rushed and abrupt, curt, bordering on rude, but they are REAL. No bullshit, what you see is what you get, genuine, and I did not realize how much I missed that.

I've spent the last few weeks upstate NY, visiting places that hold dear memories and exploring some new ones. The roads are narrow and winding and full of potholes. Signage is often buried in overgrowth. I lose cell service constantly. And yet, I have a deep and satisfying feeling of coming home, of belonging.

It's different than I felt in NJ. I've always considered myself a Jersey girl, and from age 8 or so (I think) Jersey is where I grew up. Now don't get me wrong. I had a wonderful time visiting. There is nothing like the Jersey Shore and my memories go on forever. Jersey has a special place in my heart and always will.

I was surprised, very surprised, by how I felt, and feel at this moment, about NY. I lived here prior to living in NJ, but frankly, I remember almost nothing of that time.

Perhaps it is my heart that remembers. I don't really know. But I do know that it feels right to be here and I am in no hurry to leave.

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