I have a confession.
I like cold weather. I grew up under the near constant cloud cover of Northeast Ohio skies. My dad taught me how to control a car in vast amounts of snow. Every year. Well after I learnt to drive, I was still getting snow driving lessons from him. He still reminds me about putting heavy things in the boot of my car, keeping candles, matches on board and a flashlight “just in case” in the winter.
Then I moved to England. And stayed for a long long time. Other people would get S.A.D. but not me. This was like home, only greener, and nicer temperatures in the winter. I could handle a bit of dreary drizzle. Actually it wasn’t at all like home. But Northeast Ohio did prepare me for the clouds.
I stayed a long time. I like belonging to places. And people. I belong to a city in the north of England. And those people belong to me. It feels like home. I like putting down roots and owning a place. A funny characteristic for a wandering cross cultural worker like myself.
Which is why ending up in Florida this year was the last place on earth I wanted to live. I have a top ten list on the reasons I hate Florida. Wanna hear?
1. It’s freaking hot.
2. The humidity makes me wanna cry.
3. Nobody belongs to this transient city I live in, local life is hard to find.
4. It’s a whole state full of tourists.
5. Let’s add horrendous driving norms because of the tourists.
6. It’s a whole state of creatures that can kill you. Poisonous snakes, gators (in every. body. of. water.), bear attacks, cockroaches. Cockroaches can’t kill you. But why oh why can’t we kill them? I swear they could survive the apocalypse. They make me wanna die.
7. Old people in my country abandon their families and roots to come collect shells on the beach for six months a year. The snowbirds are some of why it’s transient.
8. Billboards. Wreck. The. Landscape. Smarmy lawyers smack giant billboards all over the roads, the forests, the cities, the countryside. One. After. Another. It looks awful.
9. It’s flat. It has some decent beaches, but overall the state is a swamp that is not very pretty. And because it is a swamp, it has alligators everywhere. They can eat you.
10. Did I mention how hot it was? I despise sweating unless I am doing exercise or a sport.
Yet, here I am, living in the middle of Mickey-ville Florida. I started sweating a month ago when I walked outside.
Yet, there has been the oddest thing about this place. It’s not where I wanted to live. But I have found people and places I love here. All of my top 10 list is true, but somehow Florida has had a little bit of grace that came very unexpected.
You should still click Patty’s song below. It is pretty awesome.