3 Things I Love & 3 Things I Less Than Love About Florida

So, as of today, I have officially been living in Florida for 6 months. Southern living is a far cry from my native Pittsburgh culture, but I’m starting to adapt, n’at.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to live after this coming school year ends in the fall (right about June 2015). My contract with my company is up when the school year ends, and I desperately miss the north. I don’t want to completely dismiss the south, because I would love to live in North Carolina/Virginia/Tennessee area, too. I just think Florida is a little too far of a migration for this snow bunny.

My love of mental, handwritten, typed, and really every kind of list hasn’t escaped my assessment of Florida. You even get 2 lists to read!!! because I love my pros and cons that much:

Pro: Floridians are an active bunch of folks.

I’m currently living about 2 minutes (by car) outside of downtown Jacksonville in a historic “Shadyside-esque” part of the city. I love it. My apartment building was built in 1929, and has all wooden flooring and tons of charm. Being female, this is pretty much the sole reason I chose to live here. That, and I wanted a centrally-located apartment… No matter the temperature or precipitation, I never leave the house without seeing at least 5 dog walkers, 10 bicylists, and 3 runners. And don’t even get me started on the walkers. If I want to go to the library? I bike. Grocery store? Bike. Exercise? Run down along the river…or bike. And you know what? I have yet to see any obese Floridians. Boom.

Pro: I can garden year-round.

I started my veggies and herbs outside this year in February. FEBRUARY. Can’t even begin to tell you how happy and green this made my thumb.

Pro: You can get anywhere in Jacksonville in 30 minutes (or less).

First thing I was told when I moved down here, and shockingly true. This may be due to the fact I picked one of the most central areas to live, but I was surprised. Even with traffic! Jacksonville is extremely navigable.

Con: Florida is HOT.

You’re probably thinking, DUH, MEGHAN. But in my defense, when I moved down, the weather was a beautifully temperate 70-80 range. Cold nights dropped to maybe 40. I was honestly in heaven. I could do this kind of weather all the time! Then summer hit me like the Raging Rapids if each and every one of those waterfalls doused you in your sweat. No joke. If I’m out and about, I retreat into air conditioned stores, or I go someplace I know the wind is ever-present. If I’m at home, I try to keep the A/C to a minimum, but see con #2…

Con: Creepy-crawlies.

When I found out that Florida is home to something called the palmetto bug, I panicked. Why would anyone in their right might choose a residence in the same locale as these giants?! Then, I was told not to worry, and that a decent landlord will take care of keeping them at bay. Still slightly paranoid, I was a little more okay with this.

In July, I had been trying to keep energy bills/costs down, due to my unpaid summer months (a negative of working in the schools) and kept the A/C to a bare minimum. If I was literally sitting doing nothing, bathing in my sweat, it was fine. I’m alone sitting around reading/crocheting/movie-watching most days anyways.

One day, while I was putting away my laundry from the drying racks, I noticed a huge, belly-up pest underneath the metal frame and screamed into my empty apartment. Next step? Text everyone I know who lives in the south to identify this thing. And so, let it be known: not only are palmetto bugs inevitable, so are cockroaches. Instant panic. But I’m clean! But I don’t leave food uncovered or laying around! But I live in a nice part of town! These things don’t care. I contacted my landlord who literally laughed at me and said in her southern drawl, Oh, hun, you are definitely not from the south. Those things are harmless! Just ugly. They love the heat. So, you mean to tell me that these beasts are common? A/C has been permanently running ever since. Get me the hell out of here.

Con: Florida is flat.

There are no hills whatsoever in this sunny state. I kid you not, the biggest hill is on a bridge. So it’s not a hill. Gimme somma dat Canton Avenue, yinz guys. Biking gets super boring when you’re cruising through the flatlands.

All in all, I guess Florida isn’t the worst locale, but I don’t love it. I’m glad I got to experience the culture down here, but I’m already planning my northern move. North Carolina? Tennessee? DC? Maryland? Virginia? Delaware? Any recommendations??