Author: Luisa Perkins
•5:12 PM
Pezmama's post request for the day was for me to compare living in the West with living in the East. It's an interesting topic, but one I don't feel qualified to address.

For the first 21 years of my life, I lived in the West; I'd never been east of the Rocky Mountains. I lived mostly in California, but we also spent time in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

I moved to New Jersey in February of 1988 and met my BFF Patrick a few months later. We got married in 1990 after my church mission to Montreal, Canada; I've been here in the East ever since. We lived in Manhattan for 11 years and have been in the Hudson Highlands for the past 6 years.

So. All my time in the West was as a young single person; all my time in the East has been as an ever-aging married person. I'm so different from the eager, shy, confused girl who grew up in the West that I almost don't recognize myself. It doesn't seem like a very apples-to-apples situation to me.

What do I miss about the West? One on-ramp for every off-ramp. The smell of manzanita bushes in the hot summer sun. Mother's Circus Animal cookies. Henry Chung's Hunan Restaurant in San Francisco. In-and-Out Burger. The Pacific Ocean (SO much better than the Atlantic). Highway 1. Road trips through Nevada from California to Utah. Joshua trees. The green Livermore foothills in February, windmills and all. A relative lack of humidity. But most of all, proximity to my family of origin.

What do I treasure about the East? The ubiquitous green; miraculously, there are trees everywhere. The changing seasons. The sunsets that always look like a Frederick Church painting. The mysterious, inimitable smell that comes up from the subway grates. Ready access to local, organic everything. The Metropolitan Museum; everything about Manhattan. Being near the roots of our American heritage. The comparative lack of urban sprawl. But most of all, the history that I've built here with my husband and children.

I love to visit the West, but I don't know if I could ever leave the East. How's that for a non-answer?
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12 comments:

On 3/11/07 , Sirdar said...

Good post. I also love Hwy 1. Rode my bike from Port Angeles to San Fransisco. Took 2 weeks. Mind you that was back in 1986 :-)

I have never lived outside the area of the city that I was born. The farthest away would be 100kms. I live now 10 minutes from 2 cities and 1 town. I have always wanted to experience what it would be like to live in another country. I know a few people who have done such an adventure and really liked the experience.

I work with many people who come from other countries. The stories they tell you are so cool that you just want to go see the places for yourself. One of the guys at work goes back to Ghana in Africa for the winter, as that is where he is from. I always joke that I will join him one winter. That would be so cool!

 
On 3/11/07 , Dedee said...

Knowing you, you would be just as happy if you came back as you are now, after adjustment period. I want to come visit!

 
On 3/11/07 , Dedee said...

And I have to agree on the Pacific Coast thing!

 
On 3/11/07 , Jenna said...

You did a great job. It IS a hard question. I have the same scenario in reverse. Young single there, married aging here. And I agree with so many of your favorites of each.

 
On 3/11/07 , Alice said...

I feel the same way!
I always try to explain to my friends why I love 7 lanes of highway and being able to see a 7 11 from miles away. My aunt visited me once here, and said she felt totally claustorphobic (claustrophobic?) and was upset that she couldn't see where gas stations and McDonalds were.
I have many of the same favorites you do, but I think that I've decided that I like the West better.

 
On 3/11/07 , anjmae said...

a perfect mix of east and west--you seem to have a few food memories of the West! haha, just like I love that perfect flat pizza from that place that was just around the corner from your apartment in Manhattan, and you well know my feelings on Zabar's apricot streusel!
thanks for a fun, visual and-now-I-want-to-travel post!

 
On 3/11/07 , Kimberly said...

I feel the need to travel east so I can make a similar comparison. Think Neil will let me buy plane tickets based on that?

 
On 4/11/07 , dawn said...

It is always exciting to move someplace new, but it is nice to go home. If you spend a lot of time someplace, it feels more comfortable and leaving it is sad. We lived in a small town on the other side of the city, and it wasn't where we wanted to be. It sounds like you have found a place you want to be, but if your life changed, and you moved somewhere else, in time, that would be home.

But why mess with a good thing.

 
On 4/11/07 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This was really interesting. I've done the opposite, although I'm not living that far west.

I may have to take this on for one of the November days.

 
On 4/11/07 , meleah rebeccah said...

I have been an East-Coaster for my whole life, but I did go to HS in CA, and then I stayed there an extra year after graduating.

I have to say I love the West..but I love the East more.

 
On 5/11/07 , Christine said...

Double chocolate malted crunch! If you grew up in CA-- You know!

Del Taco hot sauce (my family smuggles it to us)

Jack-in-the-Box tacos(they have nothing to do with what a taco really is, but they have a crave inducing taste all their own)

Fried zucchini at Carl's Jr

Ironically, I am not a 'food focused' person, but after friends and family THESE are the things I must revisit when I am 'out west'!

 
On 6/11/07 , Brillig said...

It's a beautiful non-answer. :-D I'm definitely an east-coast girl at heart. How I ended up stuck in Utah most of my life is a mystery to me. Sigh.