THE APPLE CORE JOURNAL – VOLUME I (My Second Year)
As we get further into the new spring season, not only does this encourage our senses to do some spring cleaning and home restoration projects, but also this month marks my second year living in upstate New York. There have been small trials and tribulations since making this area my home, but when you move 400 plus miles away from your home state Maryland, you are bound to have some hurdles to jump over and mountains to climb. Many people have asked me numerous times, “What brings you up here?” or “What made you decide to come here?” with both questions being asked in a concern or confused tone of voice. Usually my answer is the same towards everyone, which is that my wife got a job with a private company that allows her to work from home, but requires her to be within driving distance of her assigned territory of Long Island (New York). Then usually the next questions that follow after that explanation are about what she does for a living and, sometimes, what my previous employment was. To give a quick summary of what my wife does and to better help people understand what she does, she basically does a lot of medical fraud investigations, on the basic level, and transfer information to those that can do better with that information. That is, of course, not her entire job description, but instead of going too far into it and confusing the person this is the easiest explanation of her job.
This past March also marks two years that I left my previous employer, University of Maryland Police Department, College Park. The 11 years that I spent there being a police officer was both entertaining and very stressful; with the stress levels coming from the command staff, or anyone that was closely associated with them. Hell, the job itself was exciting and it puts a smile on my face knowing the things I experienced and who I shared the experiences with, but the added politics and the inconsistent actions from our leaders made working there very dreadful and caused me to think of just quitting many times. However, I thought better of it, didn’t want to make any rash decisions and I didn’t want to harm my chances in going to another agency, whether it was still in Maryland or out of state. While growing up in the D.C. area, I had no intentions and no plans to ever move this far away from my family, especially from my mother. As we all know when you start to experience life, you experience things that still shape your mind and your way of thinking and develop friendships in other parts of the world, or even from different cultures, you tend to have different views, wants and desires. Out of all that I experienced being in the military and through my early years in law enforcement, I still had no idea or desire to move out of state, especially north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Now, I am very happy that I made the decision to come north, and leave the pains and stresses of living in the D.C. Metro Area. It became obvious to me that I had out grown the area and felt like I couldn’t stretch my arms, get air and just breathe. I even attempted to leave UMPD and go to other agencies within the same state, but that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped at that time. It was discouraging for a while seeing others that I developed friendships and great working relationships with, leave and go elsewhere to better their career. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy that they left a place that was suffering from low morale and favoritism galore, but at the same time I was screaming in mind, ‘DON’T LEAVE ME BEHIND’. I’m still friends with some of them and still connect with them on Facebook from time to time, and even send a random text to them to let them know I’m still alive. This also brings me to the point of my health and mental awareness since leaving UMPD and the entire state all together. It is amazing how much your health improves when you leave behind a scene or situation that was not good for you to begin with. Although it was bitter sweet leaving behind my friends and wonderful co-workers, I knew deep in my heart that it was the right time and situation to pursue a different path. However, I do send a special thanks to my wife, labellanoire, for accepting her current position, which gave us the ticket to get out of the hustle and bustle.
Since becoming a resident of New York, I have enjoyed each and every step that comes with newcomers to the region. Although I still have many things to experience to encase myself as a New Yorker, what I have learned in my first two years has been exciting. I was already excited in going apple picking before I permanently moved here, but since moving here this is definitely an annual thing we MUST do every late summer – early fall (September – October). Delis here are, to me, the best in the world! The meat and cheeses that are part of your enormous sandwich that is wrapped in deli paper, with the fresh made smells getting your taste buds popping, are just DELICIOUS! Not something you can do every day here, which can become very expensive, but when I sink my teeth into these deli sandwiches I am a happy guy, and do my best to save the other half, but sometimes that becomes a FAIL! The only pizza place that even comes close to how the pizza pies are here in NY, is a pizza joint that we used to order from in Howard County, Maryland, near the Route 108/29 corridor. They, to me, had the best pizza in Maryland, but could easily give a run to some of the parlors up here. Since I don’t have them near me, I have fallen in love how pizza pies are made and taste here in the upstate region. Don’t worry, for those that are probably saying I need to eat pizza that is made in the city, I can honestly say I have had pizza there and it is AWESOME! You can’t beat it!
To many people that live south of the Mason Dixon Line, I did often get the question about the cost of living up here. From talking to alot of them I believe they were confused and thinking of the cost of living in New York City, which is a good two hours south of us. Oh, while I am speaking about New York City and the geography of New York State, Albany is two hours north of NYC, six hours east from Buffalo, six to eight hours south of the Canadian border and just 45 minutes west of Vermont and Massachusetts. Many people became concerned about my employment in Vermont when I told them I was going to change my law enforcement career venue. For some reason many people thought that Albany is closer to New York City, like near Westchester County, and made it sound like I would be driving for hours on a daily basis. Some even thought that I would stay in a separate apartment during my work week, which is just asinine. So hopefully with the small explanation of where I moved to in relation to NYC, Buffalo and Boston, you will have a better understanding where I am now. I do miss some parts of Maryland, most definitely the people, but the hustle and bustle of the area I do not miss. Often times I wondered how come I didn’t move up here sooner, but I know it wasn’t God’s time for to do so, but very happy that I did!