Friday, January 29, 2010

Not Anytime Soon

If you are a Floridian, please understand that I don't think less of you as a person.

But...I don't want to be you.

It's nothing personal. It's me, not you.

It was awkward visiting Florida last week, being beseeched by family and friends to come back for two weeks, or a month, or a season, or forever, and smiling politely while thinking, "Not only no, but hell to the no."

As far as Orlando or Kissimmee, there's no question: Short of being kidnapped and held in chains (perhaps in the Medieval Times dinner theater), nothing could compel us to live there; not even our sons. Visit, yes; not live, not even for a month.

Fellow Traveler reconnected with one of her very best high school friends, who now lives with her husband in a retirement mobile home community in the cow-country interior. As much as we enjoyed that visit -- this lady and her husband are delightful, and real pistols -- we couldn't help but think, why? Why, of al the places on earth to live year-round, would they choose this place?  Now, I'm sure many of our friends would ask the same thing of us. But it seemed that this particular community, ironically, was quite a bit like ours, only without any of the good things, plus venomous snakes and breath-sucking humidity.

Our big road trip of the week was an excursion to St. Augustine. I enjoyed St. Augustine a lot -- its historicity and artsy-ness with a dash of college-town, and its proximity to the water. It looked and felt like the Leelanau in the summertime, only with more pirates. But, as Fellow Traveler told our filial chaparones, "This is the only place in Florida I'd ever consider living, and only if the weather were like this [breezy and barely breaking 70 degrees] year-round." -- an observation met with nervous, defeat-conceding heh-hehs.

Of course, our kids think we're insane for enduring the single-digit weather we came home to. But we don't mind. It actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, felt good to feel the cold wind hit my face as we walked out of the airport to the parking lot. The Upper Midwest is a pretty good place to live.


zorra said...

Is it that when you've lived in a cold climate all your life, you are so used to it that it doesn't bother you? I've lived all over the Sun Belt, but never north of it. I can't imagine having to cope with the snow and ice that you take for granted. An inch of snow--much less a real ice storm--does me in.

Muthah+ said...

Having spent the last 4 years with the ELCA of UpstateNY, I have to laugh at your response to FL folks. I grew up in TX where women could not be ordained in TEC. I have spent my entire career out of TX. Now that I am about to retire, I am considering going back. It is positively scary to think about it, but I do think of myself as a missionary. Grin. My suggestion is DON'T BURN BRIDGES! You never know where God is going to call you next.

I have a hard time of even thinking that Lutherans can be southerners! The hardy Lutheran countenance I just can't see in +90 degree weather. Lutherans HAVE to wear wool or fleece!

Comment moderation word: colde----see! Even blogspot thinks that Lutherans wear fleeceolde!

Beth said...

As a Floridian who serves an ELCA congregation in lake-effect snow country, I have to say, "I want to go home!" I miss the sunshine, especially now, in the midst of dark, gray, snowy winter.

LutheranChik said...

I think we're all imprinted to one extent or another with our childhood experience of "home." It makes me wonder about the presumably happy wanderers who spend their lives they ever get a longing for the landscapes and weather of their home base?

LutheranChik said...

And again -- I can think of worse places on the planet to be exiled than St. Augustine. Just keep me well nourished with the local seafood and pepper sauce and let me have a garden, and I'm sure I could cope, even if I did keep dreaming about God's country up north.

Terri said...

I understand 100% - having moved from the Midwest to the desert of SE Arizona - we miss the cold and the snow, mostly the snow. And the culture too. So, we're moving back, soon.

Gilly said...

The US is so darn big, its liike moving from one side of Europe to another, for us. And we wouldn't do that except on holiday. Well, some do, but they often come back when real old age sets in.

No place like home! (Maybe the ever-wandering type are looking for a place to call home?!)

Tom in Ontario said...

I'm a Canadian, born and bred, probably at a similar latitude to you in Michigan (I grew up at the west end of Lake Ontario and now I'm on the north shore or Lake Erie).

I could handle Florida for the months of November, January, and February. I've been there in the summer and the spring and even some hot September/Octobers. It's too hot for me. The three or four weeks every summer of oppressive heat and humidity we get up here is plenty for me. I can handle our winters just fine but I'd be happy to give them up (except at Christmas time).

I've got 22 years to go before I reach retirement age and I'm looking forward to being a snowbird.

toujoursdan said...

I have friends in California, Arizona and Florida who are constantly amazed that I would pick the U.S. Northeast or central Canada over those places. Part of it (particularly in the case of FLA and AZ) is the culture. I am not a red-state or deep South kind of guy. But a lot of it is the lifestyle.

In almost all my conversations with my Fort Lauderdale friends when I ask what they have been up to, the answer is a combo of beach, gym and work. That's it! For me, that would get old really fast.

Perhaps it is part of living in a less-hospitable climate that forces people to seek out cultural, theatre, museum and concert-type activities. And I just find that more interesting. I love the beach and love the outdoors, but I need more intellectually challenging activities and I need to live in a place that supports a vigourous art and culture scene.