Sunday, April 12, 2015

Living in Florida- An Honest Account

Hello friends and soon-to-be friends! As you may know I grew up in the great state of Minnesota which has many great features to boast but also has the disadvantage of a long and harsh winter.  Before moving I couldn't imagine what life must be like living in a warm state like Florida.  What would it be like to get to wear flip-flops all year long? To throw away my winter jacket?  To never have to worry about starting my car before I left home or of my car breaking down in below zero weather?  Well flash-foward and here I am, a resident of Florida. Florida is a nice place to live, but it has its faults as well. There were a lot of things I didn't know, both good and bad, before living here.  So I put together a list of a few misconceptions and a few truths about Florida. The misconceptions and truths are based off of things people have said to me or my own beliefs before moving here. As a disclaimer these are based off of my personal experiences and conversations with other Floridians.  Other people may have had different experiences or opinions that are just as valid.


Misconceptions 

Florida always has the perfect temperature
No, it's doesn't. Sure it's the perfect temperature more often than other states but Florida has its own version of winter where it can get down into the thirties and forties. As much as I hate to, I still have to break out a jacket occasionally. To contrast that not only does it get really hot but it stays really hot for a few months.  The temperature often drastically changes from one day to another as well. 

Floridians must be so laid-back
Not most.  First let me say that Florida mostly consists of people who have moved here from other states. That being said I'm not sure what causes it but in general Floridians have a lot less courtesy for those around them.  It's an "every woman for herself" culture here. Grocery stores are a nightmare. It's nearly impossible to make it through an aisle without having your path blocked. Unfortunately it kind of creates a cycle of discourtesy. When someone's rude to you, you don't feel like being kind to anyone else. Of course I am always kind, it's a cardinal belief of mine. People in Florida have actually been surprised at how nice I am; in Minnesota it was considered normal behavior.

You get to be outside all year long
Not for most people.  It's so hot here in the summer that most people say inside for those three months. Now if you're hardcore you can venture outside in the summer and you will most certainly be covered in sweat in a matter of minutes, but it is possible. I've gotten used to it now so I don't mind putting up with the heat, but I'm an unusual case.  You'll scarcely see anyone doing anything outside in the summer.

Florida must have a very beach-centered culture
Not at all. Most Florida towns are not on the ocean and they look just like any ordinary town that you would find in the rest of the country. Floridians do have more opportunity to go to the beach because we can go all year long, but most Floridians go once every couple of months at most. Granted, this varies based on the town you live in and the type of hobbies you enjoy but in general the beach is not a huge part of a Floridian's life. 

Floridians must be so tan
Oddly no.  In Minnesota being tan is a huge bragging right, but it Florida it makes no difference. For most in Florida, being tan has no bearing whatsoever on your level of appeal and fake tanner is a big no-no.  You never see people outside with the sole purpose of tanning unless you're at the beach and there are tourists.  Especially in the summer, Floridians overall are no tanner than northerners.  It's actually really nice not to worry about achieving a certain skin-tone.  No one cares if I'm pale or not.


Truths

You can wear sandals all year long 
Yeah, you can. It's great. Even professional companies are pretty lax on flip-flops since it's Florida after all. This is especially nice for me since I've always had an unusual hatred of socks.

Floridians must go to theme parks all the time
Yes, most do.  I am lucky enough to have a season pass to Busch Gardens and most of the Floridians I know in the Tampa Bay do as well.  When you live close to a theme park that is open all year long, getting a season pass is a really great value because chances are you will go a lot.  Orlando is about an hour away from me, but I've still made several trips to the theme parks there. These are international vacation destinations. When you live this close you definitely need to take advantage and Floridians do!

There is a lot of sunshine in Florida
Yeah, there is. While there is a lot of rain it doesn't last long and can go from a thunderstorm to a bright sunny day in a matter of minutes.  There are hardly any dreary days which is quite lovely.

Everyone in Floria must have a pool
Well not quite everyone, but most people do.  They are standard in apartment and housing complexes and if you own or rent a single-family home they are more common than not.  Out of the four places I've lived in Florida, only one did not have a pool.

There are a lot of alligators
Yes, there are.  They even removed one from the pond at my work and if you ever venture into a park reserve here chances are you will see many. 


Fun Facts
To wrap it up I've included some fun facts that I didn't know before moving to Florida.
-Lightning here is crazy. Florida is the lightning strike capital of the WORLD.
-They call grocery carts 'buggies'
-There are a lot of car accidents
-Strawberries are a really big deal here during the winter. They have an entire festival devoted to them.

Hopefully you've all enjoyed this honest look into what it's actually like to live in Florida.

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