We’re moving soon and we had the opportunity to visit our new area on vacation last week. We’ve moved quite a bit as a military family but this one really has me thinking about all the tradeoffs we make when we move. We’re leaving Arkansas for Florida, the Miami area, but think more suburbs than beach.
We’re trading lakes and rivers for ocean and canals. We won’t be living on the beach, but there will be access occasionally. Almost every subdivision we looked at had waterways in it, either natural or man-made. We live near a lake currently and I walk the dogs near it at least a few days every week. It has cypress trees in it with fog some mornings and it gets a little ice in the winter. The water in Florida is completely different. The ocean is insanely blue or green, where we mostly see brown here. We stayed right on the water on a little island and we saw dolphins from our friend’s porch. DOLPHINS! That beats stepping in goose poop any day!
We’re trading all the seasons for perpetual summer. Sometimes the seasons aren’t that long here, but we do usually get a few weeks of each. Mother Nature can be difficult in Arkansas and we had weeks of 30 degree days sandwiched between 80’s this winter. I don’t mind the little snow we had and Fall is one of my favorites because I love all the changing leaves. The lows in Florida were in the 60’s last week and everything is still green in February. I know there will be days that I’m cussing the high heat in July and August, but let’s be honest, we get those here too! I’m going to have to upgrade my flip flop collection for sure and I’ll have to increase my purchases of sunscreen since my natural color is glow-in-the-dark.
We’re trading oak and pine for palm trees and coconuts. The smell of wind through pine trees is one of my absolute favorites ever. I grew up with mesquite trees (which I don’t really consider a tree) and I’ve adored the areas with actual forests that we’ve lived in. The leaves changing colors get me every time and we’ve been fairly lucky in only having one location in New Jersey where we had to rake a lot. The houses we saw last week had multiple palm trees in the back yard. Those bark things that they shed look way worse than leaves and I can only imagine what the dogs will do with falling coconuts! It would be really nice to have a mango tree in my yard though.
We’re trading the slow familiarity of the south for fast and disinterested. Almost everyone smiles here and service is usually always good with a few exceptions. We chat with waiters and waitresses on a regular basis and even if you don’t actually know someone, you kinda feel like you do. We didn’t get that vibe in Florida – AT ALL. There were a few that were good, but for the most part, there weren’t a lot of smiles and “how are you?”‘s to be had. There wasn’t a lot of courtesy in general interactions either. It might be different after we’ve been there for a bit. Hopefully it is. I’m going to have to learn to stand my ground in the grocery line or get pushed around by grandmas that don’t care if I was there first!
We’re trading a relatively narrow world view for a cultural melting pot. With the exception of our military friends, most of the people in our area have been here their whole lives. They were born here, grew up here, got married here and have stayed right here or very close. They might have travelled for vacation occasionally, but most haven’t lived anywhere else for an extended period of time. Miami is a HUGE mishmash of culture. It’s heavily influenced by Central and South America but we heard almost every language while we were there. Granted a lot were tourists, but that tends to have an effect on the thoughts and actions of those that live there too. I’m looking forward to a lot of cultural influences and thrilled with all the color and art! But, I think I need to brush up on my Spanish for self preservation!
We’re trading the known for the unknown. We’ve been here for 5 years y’all. That’s the longest we’ve been anywhere since we got married! It feels like home for our daughter. We know what’s going to happen on any given day and we know exactly where to go to get what we’re looking for. Florida is the great unknown. We have friends there, but not in the area we’ll likely end up. So we’ll be on our own exploring and finding our new normal. Military families do it all the time, but we’ve been out of the game for a bit and it feels weird thinking about all the new things we’ll have to find without a built-in base community. I’ve gotta find a new hair stylist!!! ARGH!!
In the end, we’ll make it work like we always do. We’ll make new friends and continue to talk to the old. We’ll find new favorite places and reminisce about our frequent Little Rock haunts. We’ll gripe about the new increase in traffic and forget there were times it was just as bad for different reasons here. We’ll learn to eat Cuban food and bemoan the lack of good BBQ.
We’re all excited about the move, but dreading the actual process that it’s going to take to get there! We’ve got 5 years of closets and cabinets to clean out… Ugh. When was the last time you moved? Any advice for us?