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.