Florida, places

I live in Florida now.

florida lizard

My apartment complex is a gated community, which is weird to me. There is one way in and one way out, and they both have gates. In Illinois, gated communities indicate wealth. Here, that is not always the case; I picked this complex because of the cheap rent.

On my first night here, the lizard shadow pictured above greeted me when I turned out the light to go to bed. After a careful inspection, I confirmed the lizard was on the outside of the glass.

The other day I saw a lizard inside, but it was cuter. Younger, I think. Also a bright/light green color. If my online research is correct, it was a Green Anole and the dozens that I see scatter across the sidewalk when I walk my dog are Brown Anoles. The lizards are fun. They make walking around feel like a dream or movie or video game, or one of those interactive art installations at a museum that responds to your movement.

There’s so much I could say about Florida. I’m not sure where to start. Okay, I LOVE IT.

jessica

The humidity doesn’t bother me. I worried it might after reading that many Migraineurs have trouble with the humidity and constant AC-to-non-AC switching. When I first moved to Denver last year, the altitude got to me. It made it difficult to breathe and triggered headaches. That subsided, but it took a bit of time to acclimate. Not in Florida. Acclimating here was as quick and painless as sliding into a pool of warm water. My body definitely prefers high humidity over high altitude.

My skin is dewy and when I put on lotion it’s mostly for fun. It’d be only a slight exaggeration to say drinking water is unnecessary and simply done out of habit. It rains every day here right now. Sometimes two or three times. Not just a tiny bit, either–a downpour.

In other states, rain felt like a distinctly Other type of thing. Rain was something unwanted that came from a place far up in the sky, separate from humanity. Here, it doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s friendly rain. You can trust it. It’s body temperature so while getting doused could be inconvenient, it’s not terribly unpleasant. Since the rain doesn’t really cool down the temperature, you don’t stay wet for long.  It feels pretty obvious that the rain was accumulating in the air the whole time and then the air reached a breaking point and needed to hit the reset button by wringing itself out for ten or twenty minutes so we could continue walking around in gas instead of liquid. It feels like a quick little favor from nature.

Before moving here, I puzzled over why so many people’s reactions to the news that I was moving to Florida were, “I hate Florida.” Now that I’m here, I don’t care. Hate it, dummies. Hate it and stay away with your negative talk. I can get home at 7 pm, tuck a Hibiscus flower behind my ear, and read a book in the sun after taking a dip in the pool. Oh, the arrogance you have if you think I care about you hating anything remotely related to that!

I very well might not stay in Florida forever, but being here for two weeks is enough to convince me that, moving forward, any semi-permanent home of mine must be relatively near water: a gulf or sea, an ocean, a lake, at the very least a river. I hope to check out dozens of Florida beaches over the next three years. I’ve only gone to Clearwater beach so far. Here are two photos:

clearwater beach

clearwater beach fl

I had more to say. I have more. More observations. Some funny stories about things that’ve gone wrong. But I’m tired and I fear this is getting long. I began work this week and there are approximately one million thoughts and anxieties swirling around in my mind. Let’s consider this post to be continued…

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