So if you are wondering why I haven’t been blogging most of May, it has to do with the unspeakable horrors of moving. Moving where you ask? Out of the sunshine state of Florida with its orange groves and palm trees.
On Memorial Day we loaded up a mini-van to the point of bursting and headed North to Atlanta. When we woke up next morning at the hotel we knew we had left the sunny Florida far behind. The morning air was crisp and a tad chilly. I fooled myself into thinking that I wouldn’t miss the broiling heat of a classic Florida summer. After a hearty breakfast my husband headed off to office to sign some papers related to his new job. The kids hung out at the pool for a few hours and then we headed North West.
We lived in Florida for 5 years and after the blistering cold in Boston it was truly paradise. The proximity to the beaches didn’t hurt either and the water was always warm and welcoming. No matter where you are in Florida you can never be too faraway from the beach. The mild winters meant that the kids could go to the playground or the pool (unheated!) in the middle of January. The only kind of weather to watch out for was thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes (June to November). It’s not the kind of place you can go dancing in the rain lest you get struck by lightning. The local weather channel actually counts the number of lightning strikes during a thunderstorm!
Florida is gator land and boasts of quite a few other reptiles too. Gators are so common because of the abundance of lakes, ponds and rivers. We had some gators in the pond in our community. Right after we moved to Florida I spotted one sunning itself on the trail by the pond. It was a baby but I was pretty sure it would grow into a menacing adult one day and gobble up my kids. I rushed to the office and told the lady there that I saw a gator! She nodded nonchalantly and asked if it was a baby. I said yes and she said not to worry about it. But I stood there wide eyed in astonishment. Are you kidding me lady? She assured me that if it grew to a certain size (I believe it is 5 feet) that they would get rid of it. Did I mention gator jerky is a local favorite?
Turtles too are very common in Florida. You sometimes see them crossing the road. The beaches are protected areas since turtle lay their eggs in the dunes. We did a turtle walk once and saw a big turtle come out of the ocean to lay eggs. Snakes again are very common unlike in Boston. So when I spotted my first snake I was back at the office and they assured me that it was a harmless garden snake. I loved watching the water fowl in Florida. Grey herons, egrets, ibises, ducks, swans (very rarely), wood storks and even sandhill cranes were very common.
As you can see we love wildlife, so the zoo that was 5 minutes from our home was our favorite haunt. We got a zoo memebership and were there almost every month. The kids were particularly attached to the talking hyacinth macaws. One said ‘cracker’ and ‘back to work’. They nick named him Cracker. They loved feeding the giraffes which were not shy. They stuck their tongues out hoping for some tasty treats. Many of the animals had babies during our stay in Florida. We saw giraffe babies, warty pig babies, jaguar cub, tapir baby, spider monkey babies. Just before we left they added meercats to the zoo.
Another cool thing about Florida was we could watch rocket launches from our balcony! Kennedy Space Center was less than an hour away and when we first landed in Florida we witnessed every shuttle and rocket launch. When they retired the shuttle program and put Atlantis in the KSC Visitor Center complex we went to look at it up close. It was the end of an era in space. Now Spacex and NASA jointly work on rocket launches.
People from all over the world come to Florida to witness the magic of Disney. We did our fair share of trips to Disney especially Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We also got to meet several friends as they came down to Florida for Disney vacations.
Boating is big in Florida and we went on dolphin trips and saw manatees and dolphins up close. One of the most beautiful places in Florida is the Florida Keys. They are islands at the very tip of the state and have beautiful turquoise blue waters. The water is so clear that you can see the bottom. We went kayaking, snorkeling and on a glass bottom boat ride. We also spent a day at the silver springs in cental florida. Alexander springs boasts of 72 degree pure spring water.
So farewell Florida. Farewell to sunshine, rainbows, warm weather, miles and miles of beaches, turtles, gators, love bugs. Farewell to warm toes and barbeques. Key lime pie, rockets, boats, fishing, golf and so much more. So thank you for being our warm home for 5 years dear Florida.