Born and raised in the state of New Jersey, like every person on earth, they want to leave where they have always been to experience life outside the bubble we had been trapped in for entirely too long. Since I got married, I pestered my husband to leave and start fresh for various reasons, and because of the same reasons, we didn’t leave. Thirteen years later, we rented a Budget truck, crammed all our lives into a 3-4 room truck leaving behind, several mattresses, awkward shaped furniture, thirteen years of memories, the good, the bad, and the ugly behind. We left hoagies, the Atlantic City boardwalk, the diversity in food and the closeness of all Targets, ShopRites and everything behind. We were leaving behind the reasons for which we had not left before, our friends, our families, our history, our heartbreaks, our childhood. My husband and I didn’t realize we were also trying to rewrite our story, a story that was beautifully imperfect. Yet, we left, we left it all behind or so we thought. We drove down to (3 nights later traveling in two different trucks (he is a truck driver himself and had to drive his own truck down while I drove the overweight and overloaded Budget truck) the townhome with all the hopes that life will return to us in all senses of the word. We were tired of the routine and how dirty it was up here.
With our two kids and a dog, two trucks, hopes and dreams to rejuvenate the family, we drove past 8 states into the sunshine state. We were happy to begin a new journey that didn’t include the drama we were escaping from. Thus began, the new everything. New home, new routine, new neighbors, new coworkers, new highways, new mall, new weekends, new family relationships. We forgot, new issues, same drama, new location, same deep-rooted problems. The one problem that we did not anticipate being a new one was financial distress. I had already found a job before moving down, teaching (a joke to say the least down south- starting with the pay). We own a trucking business, problem solved, we thought. We thought we could live within our means and live in “paradise”.
Where did we go?
Trying to give our kids a better education there that sort of kinda synonymous with the one in Jersey, we moved to Oviedo. Close enough to Disney, far enough from Disney (which by the way we never stepped foot into because) as I quickly began to realize, paradise was more of a nightmare than a fresh start.
My son had gotten injured in Cooperstown that summer playing baseball. When we moved down, we had no health insurance. As we tried desperately to get him the treatment needed for his recuperation, we became inundated with bills. When I added my children to my health policy, they began to take out over $900 monthly out of what was a small, a very small check as a teacher. The kick was that when I took him to several specialist appointments, I began to get billed saying my insurance had not reached its deductible. Let me break this down, for a family to be eligible to use their insurance, our family had to reach a $5500 deductible out of pocket per calendar year (Jan-Dec) not fiscal year (which in the educational world means - August - July , In Jersey- July 1st- June 30th). So I called early December and finally got this cleared up, not only was health insurance cleared up for me but the fact that I was teaching as a hobby and not because it was worthy to be paid to do what I love. I was getting 40% of my earnings and paying 50% more in health insurance.
Money Money Money Money Money MONEY...
Furthermore, our business was not booming. One of our trucks was involved in a serious accident and we began to tap into our savings.
For weeks, I tried convincing my husband the same way I had before to move down south to move back up north.
I had desperately tried to assimilate, but Florida kept showing me over and over that 1. It wasn’t my time and/or 2. It will never be for me.
I didn’t realize that I was so homesick either until I found myself more excited to move back than I was moving back.
I missed Tastee Subs, my home gym, Saladworks, Shop Rite, health insurance, my friends, my neighborhood, my family and most of all- HOME.
High Taxes? So worth it!
I do not care about the taxes, the dirty streets (in some areas, Jersey is beautiful- go down the shore, go to the park, the schools).
I came back to my suburb, close to the train station, route 1, 287 and the parkway!!!
I am home and little did I know that I had to leave NJ to Love it.
Lillian likes to share her thoughts. Sometimes her experiences are shared here and on her podcast; True Lessons
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