We are in the process of moving from Florida to Arizona. Arizona is home, but Florida has been good to us these past three years.
Things I Will NOT Miss About Florida:
- The schizophrenic weather. This morning it was sunny and breezy with very few clouds in the sky. By lunch time, it was pouring rain. Now it's sunny again. I've had to wipe raindrops off my sunglasses while I'm wearing them. I've seen it rain in my backyard but not my front, and I've seen the forecast say "Sunny All Day!" while it's currently raining. Phoenix might be hot, but at least I know what to expect. March 1- October 15th: No jacket. October 16- February 28th: Jacket in the morning and then again after dark.
- Trying to find my way around. This is a picture of Orlando:
The roads are all named AND numbered. You driving down 423? That's also called John Young. It'll change to Lee Rd before you know it.
Add in the fact that the city planners seem to be allergic to putting addresses on anything and that the numbering system for addressing things appears to be willy-nilly. I'm on a north-south running street (more or less) and my house number is five digits long. Less than two miles north of me, however, on another north-south running street, the building numbers are only three digits long. And they get smaller the closer they get to me. #facepalm.
This is a picture of Phoenix (set on the same zoom level and pulled from the same site):
- The freaking wildlife. From frogs in our house (several, over the last few years) to church grounds so full of lizards it looks like the ground is moving. From lovebugs that move through the air in swarms so thick you feel like you could choke to wasps big enough for you to see their eyes from more than fifteen feet away. From the deer that dig in my trash can to the possums that commit suicide on the freeways. The gators, the snakes, the giant birds, the armadillos and the turtles. IN PEOPLE'S YARDS.
- Swamp crotch. If you've ever experienced 90 degrees and 90% humidity, I don't need to explain this to you. If you've never experienced it, be grateful. Oh, and sorry for the graphic terminology. Not sorry enough... but a little sorry, at least.
- Daylight *&^(@*#)^ Savings Time. Twice a year, our schedules get thrown for a loop. In the spring, they suck away an hour of your life, forcing you to be late or need to skip breakfast for a couple of weeks while you adjust to the new time. In the fall, they trick your kids into waking up at 5 AM instead of 6 AM. This stays in effect for far longer than seems reasonable, in my opinion. This is all so that it's not dark when you leave your office to go to happy hour. Or farmers. Or something.
- Colonial Drive.
- The lack of Mexican restaurants. There's a lot of Latin food here- but it's not Mexican. If you like Puerto Rican food, Dominican food, Cuban food, Guatemalan food, Brazilian food, Ecuadorian food or Chilean food, you're in luck. Mexican food? You better like Abuelo's. (we don't)
- Some of the most crowded and convoluted government systems anywhere. You want a driver's license? Fine. You need to make an appointment. Online. Three days before you can go to the DMV. You'll still wait for a couple hours. You cannot register your car at the same time. That's at a different DMV office. New appointment. More waiting. You'll get your title from a different office, they'll mail it to you. Sell a car? You need to keep the plate and return it to the state yourself.
- Toll Roads. I can sort of understand the need, and I get that it displaces a lot of the local tax burden to tourists (since they will stick to the freeways regardless of cost). But... really?
- Being woken at 2 AM to a sonic boom. This has ceased since Kennedy Space Center stopped sending new shuttles into space, but HOLY COW!!! I can honestly say that I know what it feels like to wake up thinking that Word War III has started in your city. Luckily, I was very wrong... but still.
Things I WILL Miss About Florida:
- My power bill. Cooling a house to 78 when it's only 84 outside is not all that expensive. I can even turn the AC/Heater off completely for a couple of months. Cooling a house to 78 when it's 118 outside? Or heating it to 74 when it's 45 outside? Expensive.
- Say it with me: DISNEY. I think we racked up just over a hundred visits in twenty-seven months of being pass holders. At least we got our money's worth out of them.
- The multi-culturalism. Orlando is a true melting pot, and introducing our children to different races, languages and cultures has been pretty easy.
- Our friends. We've been welcomed into a ward here with open arms. We've forged lifelong friendships. I've watched some of the most amazing people serve in the most selfless and loving ways. Sometimes they've been serving others, and I've been lucky enough to see it. Sometimes I've been lucky enough to serve alongside them. And sometimes I've been a grateful recipient of that service.
My kids have been accepted and loved. In previous places, I've fended off judgmental stares and hurtful gossip. Here, everybody seems to just love my kids for being themselves.
I've cried in front of these people (big surprise, eh?) and I've laughed with them. I've met people from all walks of life, each of whom as has taught me something. And they are what I will miss the most. No question.