It still boggles my mind that Courtney and I both moved to the state of Pennsylvania within a year of each other. However, she might as well still be living in Michigan, as convenient as it is for us to get together (which hasn’t happened yet. Believe me, you will all hear about it when it does). She also may as well be living on a different planet, as far as likenesses between Pittsburgh and Lancaster go, although, from her descriptions, I get a slight hint of likenesses between Philly and Pittsburgh. Horrors, though. That’s a true foreigner’s opinion and completely marks me as someone who is neither from Philly or Pittsburgh. I do hope that those from the two major cities realize that everyone else in the country says, ‘Oh yeah, Pennsylvania. You’ve got Pittsburgh and Philly, and everything in-between is Alabama -- or Arkansas or Kansas, depending on who’s telling the story and where he or she lives. (I happen to live in the Alabama -- or Arkansas or Kansas. Technically, I prefer Kansas, because of the association with The Wizard of Oz -- part of the state.) In other words, no one else in the world is able to distinguish the HUGE differences that separate the two major cities from each other, although my new friends who have moved to this area from the Pittsburgh area are constantly trying to enlighten me.
Anyway, it’s now been just a little over a year since I moved here. I have my trepidations about my looming second winter season here. However, that’s a post for another day. Courtney has posted her five things she misses about Michigan, and I’ve been inspired by her to post my five things I miss about Connecticut (especially since last week at this time, I was there). So, here you go:
Five Things I Miss About Connecticut
1. (I have to start with exactly the same thing Courtney did and say) My Friends. After living in Fairfield Country for twenty years, I have way, way too many to list here (and I’d feel bad about leaving out any of them), but I will list those I know read this blog on a fairly regular basis. First of all, there is Becky. She came to Connecticut “fresh off the boat” to move in with my friend Michael (to whom she would soon be married) and to work at my former company whose doors are about to close. If I’d known I was moving so far away, I would have had lunch (and mint juleps and glasses of red wine) with her more often. There’s Ms. Knits. Hard to believe I was once her boss. Maybe even harder to believe that we both once had a restaurant owner drive us back to our hotel in his pickup truck in Birmingham, AL (did you know there are basically NO taxi cabs in Birmingham?). We used to have great “walk and talks” together. There are Hobs and Dorr, whom I would never have met if it hadn’t been for the blogosphere, despite the fact they lived in my neighboring town, the one with the great coffee shop where I wish I could still meet them for Saturday morning coffees. Then, there’s Zoe’s Mom, whom I barely got to know before I had to move away, but for whom I would abandon my natural distaste for shopping if she were to say “Meet me at the Danbury Mall.”
2. Snow. I know those of you who hate it won’t understand this at all, but I moved away from the South seeking more snow. Granted, with global warming, Connecticut doesn’t get as much snow as it got when I first moved there, but it does still get it. And it still gets a bit more than the Piedmont, North Carolina (which, basically, doesn’t get it at all anymore) of my childhood got. I’m told last winter was mild for this area. Whenever I complain about the lack of snow, I’m told just to wait and am regaled with stories of huge blizzards. However, when I ask when those occurred, I come to find out that it was 1977 or 1992. Nobody seems to be able to recall any recent snowy winters. Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe there will be some sort of a fluke one day, but basically, this area doesn’t get much snow. It's like being in the Piedmont, NC of my childhood all over again.
3. Ethnic food. Don’t get me wrong. We can get it here. Lancaster City has some great restaurants. And the fresh, best-produce-I’ve-ever-had that’s available throughout the county all spring and summer has made me think I’ve died and gone to heaven. However, for the most part, this is real “meat and potatoes (and corn)” country. If I mix up a batch of Thai peanut noodles for a community picnic, they’ll go uneaten. I don’t tell too many people about my love of sushi (just happy I’ve managed to find a few restaurants where I can feed my addiction, and nobody has to know). And if I want really decent Indian food, I'm afraid I'm going to have to learn to make it myself.
4. Mountains. Oh, I know, I know. Those of you who live in Connecticut are saying “Mountains?” And those of you who live west of me in Pennsylvania, are saying, “Hey, mountains! That’s one thing we DEFINITELY GOT.” It’s true. The “mountains” of Connecticut would look like caution bumps to those of you from Denver. I didn’t notice them much when I lived there, took them for granted (especially since in lower Fairfield County, where I lived for eight years and worked for nineteen, they are nonexistent). And I know I only have to drive less than an hour to reach bigger mountains here. But when I was driving through last week and spotted those huge hills along I-84, I found myself thinking, “God, I miss those mountains.” You see, here, it’s all fields and farmland. We don’t have the mountains, and there’s just something missing out there on the horizon.
5. (Oh, for those of you who know me, this goes without saying, doesn’t it?) New York City. It’s only a 55-minute longer drive from my house in PA than it was from my house in CT to NY. That’s a 55-fucking-minute-oh-so-much-longer-that-is-it-worth-the-hassle-
this-weekend?-no drive. I’m sure you can understand. And yes, I love Philadelphia (which is closer than NY was to my house in CT). It’s a great city. I’ve got so much more to explore there. But it’s not New York.
So, there you have it. I actually could probably go on and make it to ten, but maybe I'll save that for "Five More Things I Miss" one day. Meanwhile, at some point, I need to do the "Five Things I Love About Pennsylvania" (believe it or not, despite what probably seems like mostly complaining I've done over the past year, I do have them. As a very wise friend once said to me, "There are good things and bad things about everywhere you might choose to live." He was so wise that he even chose to focus on the good). Don't hold your breath, though. I constantly seem to be mentioning blog posts I plan to write that never get written (they're becoming like my ghost stories and novels).