So, it's been no secret that I've always had a soft spot for the United States. It's always been on my travel list, just like everyone else's, right? I've also wanted to move there for work since I had the idea of becoming a Graphic Designer.
In the past year, I've been able to head over a few times and was blown away by the areas of New Jersey and New York that I was shown, and the diversity of both places.
Driving through New Jersey and NY provided beautiful scenery that reminded me of home in South Wales, while New York City was the biggest culture shock. To say I was like a kid in a sweet shop is an understatement; spending time in these inspiring places with the most incredible people? It was dreamy! Oh, and the weather was stunning, which makes a huge change from little ol' Britain.
As impressive as the places were, I saw a lot of things that I'd only seen on TV until then (I promise I don't live in a cave) and a lot of things were completely new to me, and I had quite a few giggles in the car, soaking up the surroundings...
So here are a few things that stuck in my brain during the first visit, some of which are pretty daft.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the food is so much more exciting. There are more options and there is no shortage of awesome Italian food and heart attack inducing snacks to get your hands on. Being back home with no Dunkin' Donuts caramel iced coffee or caramel swirl just isn't good. Don't get me started on the lack of Snyder's Salted caramel pretzel pieces and Cinnabon snack chain either!
I now go to great lengths to find these little parcels of happiness in Wales, and for good reason. They are the densest, loveliest bits of epic that I have ever tasted, and the ones I picked up in Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken were TO-DIE-FOR.
And I mean EVERYWHERE! Driving down the road for a few miles means you're going to be passing by more fast food restaurants than Britain has per town/city, most of which, I didn't even know existed! What the hell is Panda Express and Chick-fil-A anyways?
I don't know what is sold in "Bob's Stores" but I know theres one for every 5 miles of turf! Electronic "expo" places, too.
Driving to the shore was a beautiful trip! Insane views of the water, and Seaside Heights has pretty much all the greasy, awesome snacks you could want. There are fake tans and silicone breasts everywhere, but I suppose thats part of the fun! HA!
Like Brits decorate for Christmas, these wonderful loons do it for Halloween too, and it's pretty special. I've never experienced a Halloween quite like this. Awesome parties and events were everywhere, and they even have warehouse size stores to meet the demand of Halloween deco and costumes!! for a gal like me, October time in NJ/NY is absolutely perfect and I'd love to experience this every singe year, for the rest of my days.
The events I attended will forever be amazing memories (maybe because I was scared to death most of the time), but really, I've not experienced a Halloween like a NY/NJ Halloween. The greatest company also helps!
Just ask me if I want a cawfee (coffee) or a hot-dawg (hotdog) and over pronounce those R's and I'm weak at the knees. There's something soothing, but too funny about all these accents, and it makes my little heart very happy.
Before visiting NJ, I expected a lot more hustle and bustle, and not so much peace and beauty, but they call it "The Garden State' for good reason. I was in awe with some of the views and its a huge contrast to it's neighbour directly across the Hudson. Northern New Jersey completely took my breath away. The views reminded me of home, but the blazing hot sun and the gorgeous lakes made this place a favourite of mine. If you ever have the opportunity to just drive NJ, please, do it.
I already mentioned the kickass food, but NJ and NY pizza deserves a sub heading of its own. I have never tasted pizza as good as this stuff. *drool* Also, it usually comes in slices bigger than most peoples dreams, and has completely destroyed my love for pizza in the UK. In fact, I barely eat pizza at home lately, because it just doesn't cut it anymore. I've learned that pizza in the UK is "trash" (for the most part)!
The first time I saw that NYC skyline will forever be one of those moments that will be with me forever. It was a stunning late afternoon in August, I was with someone I love dearly, and it couldn't have been nicer. It really was everything I had imagined and since the first time, We've been back many times, and it still has that magic.
We often hear that our friends across the pond can be rude and obnoxious, but thats far beyond unfair. I'm yet to find more approachable, wonderful people on the planet. No one could be too kind or too helpful, and I came away appreciating people a little bit more.Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity, NJ and NY!
So, yeah! These places provided me with so many "WOW" moments! If you haven't yet visited these beautiful places, you really need to take the time to go. Don't just stick to NY, because New Jersey sits just across the water, and I promise, it's an absolutely wonderful place.