When Quentin and I met in our sophomore year of college, I knew that dating him and getting serious (which we did pretty quickly -- he told me before we even started dating that he knew I was the girl he would marry) meant that I would probably never ever live near my hometown again. The golf world is big and wide and busy and the best opportunities are often in fancy places -- big cities, destinations, and basically not the tobacco field back roads I grew up on. But… when you love someone, you take in all the things and figure it out, and so I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I’d be happy because we’d be together.
In 2017, Q was offered a job at the club he’d interned at in northern New Jersey -- which felt a whole lot like a foreign country but was the opportunity of a lifetime. About a month after he accepted the job, he graduated from Campbell, we got engaged (!!!), and then moved officially to Nutley, New Jersey to start his professional career. The following November, after our wedding, we drove my car up the East Coast and settled into our life in the suburbs of New York City.
I was terrified that I wouldn’t be okay in New Jersey… and so were the people who loved me. Surprisingly, I didn’t experience the homesickness that everyone worried about - instead, I somehow found my way and slowly but surely became a city girl. I learned to drive on the Parkway and the Turnpike (which basically is like learning to drive all over again). I learned to talk faster, walk faster, and order “real” bagels instead of the chain restaurant ones. I fell in love with real Italian food and New Jersey pizza and paid for parking and made friends and put down roots here.
Somewhere along the way, I fell a little bit in love with New Jersey. I see the NYC skyline on my way to Target and can get the world’s best pizza just a few blocks from our neighborhood and have the world’s sweetest bonus dog a few doors down. Over the past few years, somehow, I became a little bit of a Jersey girl.
I think what made me truly fall in love was that this is where I really *grew up.* Since I went to college so close to home, I could still turn to my parents when things went sideways or I needed help. In the years I’ve spent in New Jersey, I found myself -- a little bit stronger than I thought I was, a little bit sassy when I need to be, and more independent than I ever imagined.
In August, we got an incredibly unexpected phone call that changed everything. We found out that an opportunity that can only be described as Q’s “dream job” was on the horizon and we have been waiting anxiously and hopefully for the past six months for things to fall into place. It has been a test of patience and faith. Last week, Quentin accepted his dream job, working with aspiring PGA professionals.
Incredibly, that job happens to be in Buies Creek, North Carolina… at the college we met at, in the building we met in, down the hall from the room I clicked “start” on my Etsy shop. I’m still floored.
And so, we are packing boxes and making plans and praying for the right house and a safe drive and before long, will be seeing the “Welcome to New Jersey” sign in the rearview mirror. I can’t even begin to describe the variety of emotions -- joy, excitement, pride for Quentin’s new opportunity, elation at being near my parents and grandmother, a little heartache at saying goodbye to the place that made me, me, all topped with hopefulness as we enter this new season together.
They say things fall into place when you least expect it, and this has been absolutely no different this time around. When the doors started opening, God basically swung them all wide open in 24 hours!! I’m so grateful for the season we’ve spent here, growing and making our own way, together, and excited for what’s to come in the days ahead. I never dreamed I’d be sad to leave this place, but shockingly, I really, truly am. I always knew it wouldn’t be our “forever home,” but a piece of my heart will always be shaped like New Jersey, now. It’s been the most unexpected treasure I never knew I needed, and now it’s another place I get to say I’ve called home.
For now, though… my southern roots are calling and my “y’all” is ready to come out in full force… Carolina, we’re coming for you, and we can’t wait to call Fuquay-Varina home.