Lately, I've been trying to come to grips with the fact that I will, in the not-too-distant future, have to bid my home state farewell. I really do take this place for granted. Not only does my immediate family live here and most of my friends, and all my university experience, and all that jazz. Florida is a pretty fly place to live! I could pitch it for a living, which is funny considering how I used to be so sure that I couldn't stand the heat anymore and wanted out ASAP back in high school. (I will miss it now! Darn it, Lara!) I especially have a little chunk of my heart in Orlando, the most mischaracterized city in the U.S., at least, probably besides Detroit haha. It's a good thing Darin and I met, we understand each other!
There are a bunch of things that Floridians, specifically Orlandoans, do not get that excited about that blows the rest of the world's collective mind. We are really acclimated to living in a place that is a magical paradise to the other 7 billion people on earth. For example, not that many people (my age, at least) get super jazzed about space shuttle/rocket launches. While people drive to Florida from across the country to see the Kennedy Space Center, that was the worst tourist trap waste of my life and when they shoot things off into space, my mom has to drag me outside to look at it go up. I am so used to those crazy things going up in the sky! Whoop-de-doo! You see a little fireball going slowly into the clouds and then it's over. See how jaded I am!? The amazingness of space flight is lost on me.
The wildlife is another category that we really don't find as fascinating as other people from out of town. A lot of people at my church in Tampa are from a bit farther north, and they are mystified at all the snakes and lizards everywhere. Even Darin is pretty surprised to see those little lizards running all over creation at my parents' house. And he is bummed he hasn't seen a gator yet... I will find one for him in July if it's the last thing I do! I have seen them loads of times at lakes and canoeing on the river. And the goofy herons and cranes everywhere are still pretty cool-looking to me, except when they stand on my car, haha. Florida's animals are pretty crazy and we think nothing of it! (Except when I saw a water moccasin curled up in a forest in September... ugh. Then I ran the heck out of Dodge.)
And the poor theme parks, most of them are not that much fun to a resident of the 407. Now, I completely disagree with people who are burned out from Disney, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld. I love the crap out of theme parks. I would go every day if I could... at least, maybe for a week and a half, haha. But I would go again a month later! They are so much fun. I am a little sad when other people dread going to Disney because their relatives are in town. It's like people in Paris dreading going to the Louvre. It's a local treasure! I get hating the traffic on I-4 due to these attractions, and maybe the loads of people who descend upon the Mall at Millenia in their non-Disney, non-sunburning time. But I am overdue for a Disney day! I will miss hitting that up when I have friends who work there and can slip me a pass.
I will kick myself if I complain about the weather between now and my departure. Yes, it is very hot. This was the warmest winter I can remember. It is getting to the 90's this weekend. The humidity is torture, especially walking around Disney, for that matter. It makes my hair so poofy that I just don't bother to do anything at all, haha. My wardrobe is mostly tank tops and shorts, which spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e for me in another 7 months, hahaha. It's just the price you pay not to freeze your kituckus off once all year. I know it's nasty out sometimes, but the heat really makes the jasmine smell better in the springtime. :)
In short, I need to create my Orlando Bucket List. I want to enjoy all the zestiness it has to offer before I set up my permanent address a thousand miles upward. I'll be coming back to a blog near you to make that list and check it off this summmer! But in the mean time, I will stand outside in this 90 degree heat and sweat with joy. Raised in the swamps of the Sunshine State, baby!