Sunday, August 28, 2005

For The Curious

Edit: How could I forget the nasty weather? We thankfully survived another hurricane with minimal inconvenience to ourselves, but a lot others were not so fortunate. Not to mention the rainy season in general where every day it pours at least once, sometimes twice for the day, for weeks at a time. The sun still shines brightly which can be disconcerting but I've gotten used to it. So, the rain (and the fact that we're surrounded by water) causes constant humidity. Oh boy, let me stop. I could go on, and on, and on....

I'm a Canadian. I would say "through and through" but that's not entirely true anymore. I became a naturalized US Citizen about five years ago. I moved to Florida way back in 1991. It feels like a lifetime ago. Well, being 14 years ago, I guess that is a lifetime. I didn't want to leave my hometown of Toronto. My mother left a year ahead of me allowing me to finish my last year in high school. That was a good year. I lived with my grandparents right in the city on one of the main roads. But eventually the year ended. I vowed to keep in touch with all of my friends, and I did for a while. I used to write draft letters and then write the "good copy" like we used to do for papers in school. (That's one reason I love email - because I can type and delete and reword phrases effortlessly.)

I moved down just in time to start university. I literally arrived the week before school started. What can I say about this place. Florida is nice place to visit, but I didn't want to live here. I came with an open mind, but that closed pretty quickly. I never experienced racism until I moved here. I barely knew what racism was. I'm sure that racism existed in Toronto also, but it must be have been more covert because I was totally unaware of it. With respect to the culture, I liken Toronto to a garden salad, not a melting pot. That was one of my biggest issues with Florida. I couldn't understand it. I couldn't understand the ever-present emphasis on "the man" or the idea of being held down. I couldn't understand the negative attitudes towards a whole race of people. I found it all to be extremely frustrating. I wish everyone understood the importance of travelling, or at least learning about other cultures.

Geographically, Florida leaves much to be desired. The seasons don't change. I miss the colors of Autumn, the icicles and snow of winter, the new life of spring, and the dry heat of summer. My first Christmas was strange, to say the least.
And don't even talk about the topography, everything is flat. Plus, you can't get around without a vehicle since everything is so spread out. Of course there is no subway. And I know there's really no need for brick homes down here, but I miss those two.

So why am I still here, 14 years later, you ask? I decided to grin and bear it the first few years because I had to. But with time came roots. My husband found me and now we have a family, not to mention a lot of extended family that live nearby. Yes, we could still leave, but there are other factors to take into consideration. From time to time I bring up the idea of moving but we don't get very far in our discussions. We both fell in love with Germany when we visited but I know moving there is just a pipedream.


WIP said...

Why limit Germany to pipedream? Go for it. Great post. Now I can finally put two and two together as it relates to you and NYGAB. Thanx for sharing 'cause sharing IS caring. Besides as long as we got the 'n-a-net, we, like Cher, got you babe!

Brotha Buck said...

Wow, I didn't know you were a Canadian. Very interesting post. I know at least 5 couples who moved to Florida in the past 6-7 years, and they all HATED it. One couple hates it so much, they are moving back to Des Moines. A coworker of mine lived there exactly three weeks and headed back to Austin. I've visited there at least 4 times and always loved it.

Aziza said...

ShellyP, I was glad to see your blog entry, since the hurricane initally came through your area. I hope that everyone is okay there.

I think Florida is very beautiful, but only for visits. I just can't deal with that kind of heat, the thunderstorms, and the hurricanes down there. I can barely deal with the snow in the winter here in Maryland. But, oh well, I guess nowhere is completely safe.

NeenaLove said...

i'm glad to hear that you are well. hurricane katrina did its thing.

i THOROUGHLY miss seeing the seasons change as well. i go plum-crazy when i see the new life of spring... the prosperity of summer... the colors of fall... then the winterwonderland. i ABSOLUTELY love it!

ideally... i think husband is wanting to move to the south pacific... samoa. i like australia even though i've never been.

Anonymous said...

I was glad to hear the Florida wasn't supposed to get hit and thank goodness that it did lose strength when it finally hit land!

ya - cause shel left for the states, she got to start university a year earlier than us up here ;0) but she's so bright - she handled it well!

i agree with Tiff. Don't count Germany out (or coming back to Canada, for that matter ;-) if you really want it, you can do it.

SP said...

I agree with Tiff and NYAGB. Go to Germany!! That way I have somewhere to visit. ;o) Don't we have a division over there?

About the Racism thing, that's not a Florida thing. It's a US thing. In this county so many people have hang ups based on Race and some people would like to blame others, rather than taking responsibility for themselves(ie "Da Man"). Being mixed, I always hear the "What are you" questions along with racist comments from black people such as "You aren't really black." Now I don't care so much, but when you are a little kid, it can hurt. Especially, when until then, you didn't realize that your Mommy and Daddy were different. I've never been to Toronto, but I'm glad to hear it's different there!

Black Ambition said...

I am so happy the hurricane passed you without much harm. Praise God. Lets keep the others in our prayers.

I have heard from so many people of color that Toronto is a wonderful place to live. I've never been but you make me want to go!