Homesick

I miss New York.   I know this comes as no surprise to most people.  But I REALLY miss home.

I moved to Rhode Island about 4 years ago, and it has never felt like home to me.  I wanted it to.  When I met Dave I hoped that something would “click” that suddenly I’d love it here and never want to leave, but that didn’t happen. When Avery was born I thought I’d suddenly feel some strong connection to the state because it’s where my daughter was born. But I feel even more “trapped”

I’ve always thought I could live ANYWHERE.  Before moving here I packed up my entire life and moved to Tulsa Oklahoma. I loved it there, and despite the pretty horrible circumstanced surrounding my departure, I STILL have a special place in my heart for the state.  I met so many wonder full people there, especially in an hour of need.  When my car broke down in Miami (pronounced My-am-ma) OK, on my long journey back to the East Coast, I met a tow truck driver who wouldn’t accept payment, his brother who stopped to check on me while I waited for the mechanic, a hotel manager who allowed my cats to stay in her pet free hotel, and an insurance agent who invited me to have meals with his family.  The hospitality was unparalleled, everyone I met treated me like family and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

But when I arrived in Rhode Island, something was different.  People ask me all the time “What is it that you don’t like?” And, I honestly can’t say what it is. I just don’t feel like myself here.  I don’t feel like I CAN be myself here.  I feel like I’m always trying to fit in, and I never do. I’ve found myself thinking “Well, maybe I’ll just buy that Coach bag, and those super high heels.”  I’ve thought about getting a spray tan, I dyed my hair darker. I’ve gone to events that I normally would never have gone to. All because I want to “fit in”  It’s actually kind of sad. (OK, it’s really sad)  I’m a 30 year old woman, who is trying to be something I’m not.  I NEVER did that as a teenager, so why am I doing it now? Acceptance? It’s ridiculous, and it’s making me even more unhappy.

Let me point out that I come from a long line of “Rhode Islanders”  My Grandma grew up here, my father was born here and spent his early childhood living on Federal Hill.  My mother is a Rhode Island College Alum who always wanted to move back to the Ocean State.  And, I am married to a Rhode Islander, born and raised. We vacationed on Block Island, I spent many summer nights at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, and Big Blue Bug sightings were the highlight of the trip to my Aunt & Uncle’s house in CT.  I always liked Rhode Island.  Until I moved here.

It is not a bad state. I really don’t hate the state or the people who live here.  It is just so very different from Upstate New York (And it’s like a whole other planet compared to Oklahoma) Sure, there are some things I really don’t like.  The Taxes, especially Car taxes (Seriously?  I’m paying over $500 in property taxes every year on my car?!) The politics/government (It’s a mess here) The driving (The whole stopping in the middle of a major road to wave people into on coming traffic thing, the lack of understand of “right of way” and 4-way stops, and for the love of god, YIELD!) The fact that you can’t buy beer at grocery or convenience stores (Not that we drink very much — I think we’ve only had beer in our house 3 times in the last 3 years and it was beer brought to us from a Brewery in NY) And “Party Pizza” (I just don’t understand why someone would want cheeseless, week old pizza crust with extra thick sauce.)

 

This just does not look appetizing to me.

But, Rhode Island has some great things too! Newport is beautiful, the Mansions and Cliff Walk are amazing. There are beaches galore (though, I’m not a fan of sun, sand or trespassing on shark territory so I really don’t go to the beach here…plus…I’m a bit of a “White Sand Snob” and prefer the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico) The Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of my favorite places in the world. Providence is a very eclectic and interesting city, with, from what I hear, some amazing restaurants (we don’t get out much) There are some gorgeous towns like Bristol, Barrington and Tiverton. Foster, Gloucester and Chepatchet.  There is a rich History, and impressive cultural diversity for such a tiny state. But it’s just not “home” to me.

Rhode Island is a small state in every way. It seems harder to find your “tribe” here because most people already have established their group. People they have known since childhood.  New York is different because it is such a huge state, and people are always coming and going.  While many of my friends from High School still live in the Albany area, there are so many more who moved away, to other parts of the state, other states and even other countries.  I may be completely wrong, and please, someone correct me if I am, but it seems that Rhode Islander’s stay much closer to home. The go to college here, they buy houses and start families here, they don’t leave. Rhode Islander’s seem to feel a stronger connection to their state.  I also found it difficult to get a job here. After 3 years and hundreds of applications, I was told by an employment counselor (from one of the major universities in RI) that part of my “problem” was that I wasn’t from here, I didn’t go to college here (try getting a graphic design job without RISD on your resume…) and I didn’t have a “Rhode Island Name”   It makes perfect sense to me that companies in a state with such horrible unemployment would want to hire “their own” but it was disheartening to hear.

Of course I have met many AMAZING and welcoming people here. I absolutely love the group of bloggers I have become friends with and all the women in my new moms groups.

I don’t, for a second, regret coming here. Rhode Island gave me my husband and my daughter and some lifelong friendships, but my heart is in Poestenkill.

I yearn for the lakes, the farms, the mountains, the creek, and the support system I developed during my first 27 years on this earth.

I love New York.

I miss New York.

I miss home.

11 comments

  1. MelissaG813 (@MelissaG813) says:

    I only know how you feel because I felt this way when I lived in Texas. Texas sucked for me. The first year was ok, after that it was horrible. I hated everything about Houston. Too big. Too hot. Too much concrete. And the people I met were all jerks. Southern hospitality in Texas is a load of bull. I was treated like crap by most people because I was not a Texan. And I could spot the disgustingly sweet fake niceness a mile away. I wanted to punch most people in the face, and by 2 years and exactly 9 months, I had had enough. Ended my crap relationship, got a job in Boston and 3 months later was out of there and I couldn’t WAIT to get back to RI. And Texas was never, EVER “home.”

    You’re right about Rhode Islanders staying in Rhode Island My parents have never lived anywhere else. Neither have my in-laws or most of our families. My husband has only ever lived in MA aside from RI, but he would give anything to move elsewhere. I’m the one that is all “been there, done that,” Now that we have B, I just want to be close to our families and raise him here. I went to college at URI, but I always knew I wanted to leave the state for a while and I am SO glad I did. It really made me appreciate RI a lot more. It has its flaws for sure, but I love it here.

    I’m sad though that you feel like you need to pretend you are something you aren’t to “fit in.” Screw fake tans and high heels and all that stuff. Sure I like to get all fancy sometimes, but most days you’ll find me with cargo shorts, flips and a tshirt. Listening to 60s music, watching the Sox, shopping at Target. The funny thing is that I’m 34 years old, and I actually just now, for the first time am starting to feel 100% comfortable in my own skin as far as coming into my own as far as style and all that stuff. I’m not a trendy person, at all. so I don’t fit in with all the trendiness either. 😉

    I understand how you feel though. Sometimes home is just…home. xoxo

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks for your amazingly long comment! 😉

      It’s so odd, that OK felt so much more like “home” despite the heartache (….which is a story for another blog post.) I was only there a short time (about a month) But I felt so much more comfortable, and still have friends there who I met in that short stay.

      The whole Not feeling like I fit in thing Is the WORST part. Especially since before moving here I really felt that I was my most comfortable with myself.

      We had considered moving to Houston (We have friends there, and love the fact that we can by double the house for half the price of ours) But that whole heat thing is what stopped us lol And…I’d be moving so much further from my family, which, after having Avery, is NOT something I want to do.

      Can we please get together in cargos and flips, and listen to 60’s music, watch the sox and shop at Target? 😉

  2. Liza Glick says:

    I totally get you! I grew up in NY too (Queens, not upstate) and moved to RI for college when I was 19, almost 20 years ago now. It took a VERY long time for me to really love living here. And when I say long, I mean it. Like 15 years long, if not more. I completely agree with you about finding it hard to fit in here. My husband and I always say “if you didn’t got to Kindergarten here, you will never truly be accepted” and unfortunately I still believe that to be true in a lot of ways. However, that being said, there are a lot of wonderful people here and the state does have a lot to offer. Although interestingly enough, I will say that my closest friends here are also people that aren’t native Rhode Islanders….For me everything changed when my girls were old enough to go to school. Once that happened I started meeting other parents of kids their ages and fell into some really great friendships. It’s definitely quality over quantity here for me though. But today I am ok with that.

    Email me if u ever want to chat more about this, I really truly know how hard it can be.

    Hugs!

    Liza

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you Liza! I’d say that a good 3/4 of my friends here are also transplants. Many also feel very isolated and have much smaller circles of friends than they did in their home states.
      I greatly appreciate your offer to “chat” 😉

  3. Megan says:

    I’m sad to hear that you feel that way about RI, but I know it’s not “the place” for everyone. I was born and raised in the same town that I went to college in. (We’re still here.) I was born at the same hospital that my parents were (both kids born there too.) I went to the same HS as my parents & grandparents. I love living in a small town where everybody knows me (or my parents.) I love that we all know each others’ business, and that we refer to places by the things that used to be there. (Oh that? That’s where the old A&P used to be!) I’m a townie at heart I guess. I love southern RI. The beaches, the farms, the prettiness of it.

    That being said, I feel like the mid-part of the state (warwick, cranston, providence) is a totally different world! I feel like a country mouse in the big city when i’m there and can’t wait to scurry back home where i’m comfortable.

    I know so many people that love RI and an equal number that don’t. I think it’s just that kind of a place. I hope you are able to find peace here eventually or can move somewhere you love! You deserve to be happy wherever you choose to make your home. (Also, I hate RI drivers. I’m sure someone was letting someone into traffic last week when I got into my accident on Bald Hill. I rear-ended someone who stopped short in front of me. And I so wish I could get my wine when i”m in the grocery store. It would save me an extra errand…)

    • Sarah says:

      Megan–I am a small town girl as well, and where I grew up it was the same way. People (my poppa especially) gave directions like this “You go past Bill Brod’s place and then turn when you get to the old bottling plant….” And I’d be all like “Sorry Poppa, I didn’t live here in 1930, so i’m not quite sure where Edna Cooper lived when she was 6” I also went to the same HS as my mom (and even had some of the same teachers!) My nana was Town Supervisor, and I loved that everyone knew me as “Skip & Lois’s granddaughter” I think that’s one of the things I miss the most—knowing EVERYONE.

      LOL You’re right about the difference between South County and Central RI. My parents live in Wakefield and it’s a completely different place (That’s where I lived when I first moved here, and I didn’t hate it. But now we’re in Warwick, and it is not a place I can imagine myself living for much longer.

      Ugh! Hope you guys are OK! Ive seen so many accidents because of that “Oh hey, go ahead! Ignore the fact that nobody in this other lane has any clue that I’m letting you pull out!”

  4. Beth @ TheAngelForever says:

    I think when we have a child it heightens our senses. We often know how we feel before, but the reality of life hits home more. Sending lots of hugs because I know how hard it can be not to have a support system right there. Next time you visit back here, I hope to see you to give you a big hug.

  5. Renee Beauregard Lute says:

    :( I’m sorry you’re having a hard time, Sarah. I do know the feeling – when I lived in Minnesota for a few years, even though I met some wonderful friends (and my husband!), it wasn’t really home for me. RI is maybe tough in that way, too – I don’t know many people here, and what the heck is that gross looking pizza? – but living close to MA and NH is what makes it easier on me, I think, because my family lives in those places. In any case, I’m glad that we’re friends. Also, this is totally not the point of your post at all, but my mom went to RIC!! That would have been at the end of the 70s/beginning of the 80s. Could our moms have known each other?

    • Sarah says:

      I am so grateful for the great friends that Dave and I have…like you and Zach!

      My mom was there early to mid 70s. So a bit before your mom, but what a small world!

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