Bernardsville, NJNew Jersey, my home state, has always been an easy target.

“You’re from New JOI-sey?”

“What exit?

“Hey, yous guys!”

You get the idea.

And, for the record, MY New Jersey shore is unrecognizable from that other one.

I went home to New Jersey this weekend for the first time in more than two years, the first time since I was diagnosed with breast cancer last December.

NJ backyard

Anytime I go home, I feel nostalgic. As I ride in the car with friends who live there, I feel like I’m walking through scenes from my childhood and young adulthood.

“There’s the soccer field!”

“Does [insert name] still live there?”

NJ pumpkin patchAfter a rough few months, this visit was especially poignant. October is arguably the best time of year to be in the Garden State. The leaves are changing colors; the skies are bright blue; and the sushine’s making everything look lusher and more vibrant. Yesterday morning there was even frost on the grass. As the sun rose higher, the light danced along the frosty lawns and fields and then, ever so quickly, disappeared into the air: magical.

Jockey HollowIf you still need to make fun of New Jersey, it’s okay – we can handle it. For me, it was just good to be home.