Lost in New Jersey

Entertaining observations about the most infamous state

It’s been a while but…

I’m back! I know there were many of you desperately seeking a new post (sarcasm) so I’ve come back. It was just a busy, ridiculous summer.

Me and some co-workers in the luxury suite at a Lakewood BlueClaws game (Phillies farm team)

A lot of new changes in my life. Got a new place with a new roommate who is about as crazy as I am so you can imagine how insane my summer has been. The last time I posted I just got back from Texas and it was still cool outside. Well, it’s unfortunately starting to get cool again, but it was a hot-as-hell summer in New Jersey. I moved into a beach town in the middle of the summer, so it’s been really awesome. My next post will be about the differences in the Shore compared to other beaches I’ve experienced (I am originally from Hawai’i, but I will go easy on Jersey as it has begun to grow on me).
Anyway, I still can’t get over the extreme weather here. I obviously have little experience as far as seasons go, but MAN! You’ve got to be kidding me with the hundred-degree summers that feel like 155 degrees with the humidity level. And my hair looks like a chia pet half the time!

I came from a land where there was a temperature variation of about 15 to 20 degrees. Highest being around 86 degrees, lowest about 68.

But here, whoa. Winters see 11 degree weeks with 2 feet of snow and summers are so ridiculous it’s a wonder how anyone can pay their air conditioning bill! Anyway, I’ll be posting regularly again soon, I just had a crazy, awesome summer to live. Jersey stories to come…


September 25, 2010 Posted by | Present day occurences | Leave a comment

Convinced that Jerseyans are assholes

I went on furcation recently (my word for a vacation during furlough) and visited Washington D.C. with some comrades and then Texas on my own to check out an old friend residing there now. DC was awesome, diverse people, but kinda the same attitudes as Jersey, just without a get-outta-heer accent.

But Texas… OMG (yes I just used that) the people there are so friendly! Talk about your southern hospitality, even the girls were nice to me! That’s a first. Everywhere I went it was, “How y’all doing today?” I responded with… “What?” Suspiciously and then through squinted eyes I said, “You don’t even work here…” But no, people are just nice. Having come from Hawaii I know there are whole populations of nice people but because of my jump from Hawaii to New Jersey I assumed it was the entire mainland.

Me in San Antonio at the River Walk

Anyway, I was immediately suspicious and that got me thinking. Had I been on vacation to see my friend and still living in Hawaii, would I have viewed their hospitality as some sort of ruse? The more I think about it the more I am convinced that Jersey has turned me into a cynical, skeptical, asshole.

When I came back and relayed my stories to some office co-workers, heads immediately popped out of their cubicles only to underline my theory.

One co-worker said, “Yeah, I don’t trust people like that…”

What do you mean? You don’t trust an entire people that are nice? Could they be attempting to gain your trust, make you comfortable and then snatch your brain? According to Jerseyans that is quite possible.

Another co-worker said, “That has got to get old fast, though.”

Yeah, really nice people get old fast, you want them to get mean so you can actually tolerate them for a longer amount of time.

So I have come to terms with the fact that I just really wanted a challenge and that’s why I came to the land of cold stares and awkward first impressions.

Side note: Austin is amazing. It definitely made me feel bad for stereotyping Texas.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Present day occurences | 1 Comment

St. Patty’s Day in New Jersey

Whoa. St. Patrick’s Day has always been a fun holiday, dress in green, pinch thy neighbor, drink to please your inner Irishman (even if you aren’t Irish). Back in Hawaii it’s a fun holiday, consisting of a few beer specials and green clad patrons at the bars. But overall, not a huge celebration. I think in most states it is celebrated as a great reason to get drunk — so naturally it’s popular.

But whoa Nelly, New Jersey. Saint Patrick might as well be Jesus. There are more parades and celebrations than any other holiday (with Memorial Day and Labor Day coming in close second and third). Besides the fact that there are a ton of Irish people from New Jersey (and Ireland, of course) people here have taken it to a whole new level.

The length New Jerseyans will go for their Irish kinsmen

I just finished celebrating in Hoboken, which basically kicks off the half-month long celebrations and it was a crazy weekend. I went last year too but this year the bars opened two hours earlier at … (here’s to you drunken New Jersey) 9 a.m. Yes they were opening doors at 9 in the morning serving those well-deserved Guinness’… the breakfast of champions. The bars charge anywhere from $15 to $40 and people just don’t care. The best part? The lines are around the corners to get into the bars before they even open! Cheers to you New Jerseyans. Getting drunk is priceless.

Last year I was one of the many bar warriors outside with my Irish coffee in a coffee cup, because there are serious fines for open containers on Hoboken St. Patty’s. But this year I was at a friend’s for a keg party, which turned into party hopping and eventually hitting the bars.

I have to admit that New Jersey definitely knows how to party for St. Patrick’s Day. I think anyone who hates New Jersey will love it in March.

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Present day occurences | 1 Comment

First impressions

For a month after I moved to New Jersey I cried myself to sleep, literally. I thought I had made the biggest most rash decision of my life and now I was paying for it by residing in the hick barely-worthy-of-insulting town of Glassboro, NJ.

My friends back home were encouraging me to come home — they didn’t want me leaving in the first place. A few were telling me to stick it out, that it would get better.

But I stuck it out and stayed at Rowan University until my graduation two years later.

In New Jersey’s defense, South Jersey is not a great first impression of the state and my only life experience was on the island of O’ahu which — I doubt I have to tell you — is amazing.

Here is a list of things I discovered about New Jersey while at college:

Accents: New Jersey has three major accents with a few minor spin-offs of the primary three. The first one I heard was a North Jersey accent. This is the common one associated with the Soprano State. The cauwwfee, mawl, bawl (coffee, mall, ball) accent. The second was a South Jersey accent. This one tends to accentuate the “o” in phone and home. There isn’t really a way to describe the sound, so I’m not going to try. Oh, and they also say water weird. Almost too fast. Then there were the select group who didn’t really have accents but said some words a little differently. Or some version of the North or South accent would come out when they were angry or inebriated.

Snow: I will not dwell on this topic as most people have experienced this colossal weather change before. Let me just tell you… it was awesome.

Wawa: This is a chain of convenience stores that resemble 7-11 but is “better” as any true New Jerseyan will tell you, loudly, obnoxiously and repeatedly. You can buy tasty made-to-order sandwiches here and I will admit, these stores are pretty awesome (plus their gas stations are cheap).

Outsiders are rare, especially a Hawaiian one. Apparently people don’t move to New Jersey, they were born there.

New Jerseyans are the first people to acknowledge what a shit state it can be, but whoa hey, if you aren’t from Jersey but have something negative to say: Get the fuck outta heer!

Walking around is not an option. This is where I was at a disadvantage because in Hawaii, you can bike, skateboard or walk anywhere, especially in my hometown. But if you want to go anywhere in New Jersey you’d better buy yourself some vehicular wheels buddy. Oh and welcome to the beautiful Turnpike.

Watertowers: Okay, so I know that this is another one similar to the snow thing, but work with me here. We don’t have those in Hawaii. And they are very cool.

Me in the snow showing off the watertower outside my campus apartment window

Atlantic City: Having been to Las Vegas for a friend’s 21st (when I was only 18 with a fake ID) I had a little bit of a bias going on when I came upon Vegas’ dirty little inbred cousin. But nonetheless, I had some great times out there in college. I wouldn’t take them back for the world.

I’m sure I am overlooking a few of my other discoveries but nothing significant enough to worry about now. If I remember, I’ll be sure to add it here. For now, I just want to get up to my present experiences in this wonder state.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | The beginning... | 2 Comments

New Jersey is so… weird

Alright so, I had an idea of what New Jersey might be like but it definitely wasn’t correct. My theories were stereotypical — Sopranos, Italians, New York wannabes. But I also wanted to give it a shot. I wanted to like New Jersey. I wanted to find the reason behind why so many people lived there and why so many movies and stories revolved around this state with a bad reputation.

I have lived in New Jersey for three years now and I feel like I have a good grasp of the third state of this great nation.

My introduction to Jersey (I will refer to the state as Jersey from here on) wasn’t in the best area to represent what it’s all about: Southern New Jersey. I left Hawaii in pursuit of something completely different and it should go without saying, but I succeeded. I was on the verge of turning 19 and got into Rutgers and Rowan University. The differences between these two schools and their locations are so huge that there isn’t enough blog space for me to cover it properly. Just trust me, they’re worlds apart.

That's me in front of Rowan University apartments, experiencing my first snowfall

I unknowingly chose the worst of the two evils and went to Rowan University. This is by far one of the worst schools to transplant yourself. It’s not large, about 10,000 students undergrad and is located in Glassboro — a horrible, hick, country, ghetto little town where the local population has a combined IQ of 37 — maybe. The town hates the university because of eminent domain and other factors (college kids are never well-received) and they should actually be grateful that people decided to keep investing in the worst area known to man (okay that might be a little much, but I haven’t been to Baxter, Minn.)

Rowan University is predominantly a commuter school, so unfortunately you can’t get a total “college” experience here — most of the student body goes home after class. I really wanted a “college” experience so my first month there was spent drinking myself into a stupor and trying not to cry myself to sleep. My roommates seriously thought I had a drinking problem and would often give me pitiful looks while I stared back through glassy, unfocused eyes. In my defense the girls were horrible college kids. They didn’t like to drink, party or do anything worth remembering in your college years. Whatever, their loss, moving on.

After I brought myself to terms with my reality (I stayed to spite people who had actually placed bets on when I’d breakdown and return to the tropical land that is my home), I made a few friends that I could relate to the best friends in the world I had separated 5,000 miles of land and sea from.

Little did I know, that not only would I be returning to finish college and retrieve my Bachelor’s, but I wouldn’t be leaving right after graduating! Ha! Imagine that.

This blog will explain the discoveries I have made about the very weird state of New Jersey while living here. This will be one of the most honest views of New Jersey because I have no reason to lie and I am a very observant person. I lived my whole life in Hawaii… the furthest you can get while still residing in the United States, so I didn’t grow up knowing anything about the east coast let alone New Jersey. I can promise you that this will be very entertaining.

February 14, 2010 Posted by | The beginning... | 4 Comments