The Return of the Non Native

I discovered while I was in MN that many folks assume I’m a native NJ girl. It can’t be the accent (do I have one?), perhaps it’s the attitude? It’s time to work on wrapping my knee-jerk frankness in a blanket of niceness so I’m not such an easy tell in MN.

I’m home in NJ again – a long wait for a short flight and it’s so bittersweet to come back home. I have two more trips away before the move – to Chicago and to Rochester, NY – then we will be a NJ family no longer. I do love New Jersey.

I moved here when I was in grad school at Rutgers in New Brunswick. Before I lived here I had many of the same odd, unflattering and erroneous attitudes about Jersey that the rest of the country seems to have. I hadn’t realized how wonderful this state is – how beautiful, historic, full of natural FUN (mountains, beaches, hiking and canoeing, camping, etc.) and full of shopping (of course!) NJ is. It’s an amazing place.

It’s a wonderful kind of dilemma to love several places so much! I know we all tend to see the good in the places where we live, for pride if for no other reason, but I’ve been very lucky that just about everywhere I’ve lived has been a fascinating and entertaining place. And now we’re off to Minnesota.

As I was walking around our new house today, strolling through the neighborhood and feeling a tiny bit at home, waiting for Joe to come by with the key so I could take more pictures, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve been to a chamber music concert, and how much I used to love that when I lived in the city. And now I’ll start going again.

I visited 3 schools today to see how they might appeal to Max & Hannah.

St Paul has a few magnet schools, and many neighborhood schools, three of which we would be districted for. I may not be understanding this 100% correctly, I’m still feeling my way…

The nearest school to us is the Linwood School. It’s an Arts / Academic magnet school which teaches on the theory of Multiple Intelligences (like H&M’s current school, Seth Boyden) and they have an opening for Hannah. Max would be third on a waiting list for the third grade, so it seems prudent to investigate other options for him. I hate to separate the kids, but I feel that Hannah will really fit best at Linwood – and once she’s there, Max will be sibling-ed in for next year. The school goes to 6th grade, so Hannah will have at least one full year there before Junior High.

I took a tour at Groveland Park Elementary this morning. It seems lovely, but it just may not be the best fit for Maxie. It’s funny how you get feelings – not bad or good – just feelings that something may be a good fit for your kids. I think this school has so much going for it, but my gut reaction was that it might be a little structured for Max.

I went on to Randolph Heights Elementary this afternoon to meet the principal, and had the immediate feeling that Max would do very well here. Not only do they use the same math books (a bigger deal than you’d think!) but when I met the teacher who would most likely have him in her class, I felt an immediate connection. I’m going to scan some pages of his night writing and email them to her so she can get an idea about Max, his likes and dislikes, his writing style and his strengths & weaknesses.

The principal mentioned that all of the kids are great, but there’s just something about the third grade this year – they’re a very loving and friendly bunch – which would be a perfect fit for loving and friendly Max. I think he’ll have many friends in a short period of time.

Hannah’s school will be just a few blocks from the house, Max will have to take a bus. The timing is very good as Hannah has to be at school at 8:15, and Max’s bus will pick him up right by Hannah’s school at 8:35. Already we’re working out our routine!

I stopped by Wuollet’s bakery, just around the corner from our new home, and had an excellent cup of coffee and apple turnover. This may just become a stop on the morning routine, too!

… and now to the work that I’ve missed in the past week! Knitty Gritty aired one of my episodes over the weekend, so I have a LOT of book orders to fill tomorrow!

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