What I Love What I Don’t about My New Life in Florida

Teaching at Burns Middle School, Valrico, FL

It’s been a culture shock – sort of. Not as much as moving to a whole new country, but just a little. Florida could almost be its own country, kind of like Texas, when it comes to the way of life here. It’s a very diverse state, and I love that diversity! About half of my students speak another language besides English at home. And a lot of my colleagues speak Spanish, and now I’m learning to speak it, too!

So here are some of my pros and cons of living in Florida:

Pros Cons
Warm weather year ’round Sweltering in summer! Oppressive humidity. But I don’t think it’s worse humidity than Indiana. So that wasn’t a big adjustment for me.
Anything you can imagine to do or buy close by Long lines, bumper to bumper traffic
Beautiful place to live Rent is sky-high. It’s less expensive to own but the housing market is also sky-high. An average home where I live runs in the 300K range. Very different from my Indiana neighborhood!
Beaches Bumper to bumper traffic. It can take several hours longer to get anywhere if you’re coming from out of town to somewhere.
New friends Missing my tried and true “old” friends. A lot.
Plenty of teaching jobs Poor pay, bad hours, all-consuming
Wonderful people to work with Had those in Indiana, too!
The food and culture I honestly can’t think of a con here. Other than putting on weight but I’ve managed not to do that!
Plenty of exercise – have to walk a long way to get to places from your car usually due to crowded parking My RLS and firbro have gotten much worse and I suffer a great deal at the end of the day
Plenty of good healthcare services Insurance is expensive – not a Florida thing, really
No snow! Mosquitoes. Seriosuly, getting bit on Thanksgiving was just weird. And annoying. I’m told that the fall and spring are the worst. Ugh.  Besides, I never minded snow!
No state income tax! Trust me, they make up for it in other ways…
Exotic wildlife in your backyard! Alligators.
Oranges and avacodos in your backyard! Yum. No con here!
Nature trails, lakes, rivers, streams Alligators.
Swimming year ’round Alligators. Sharks. Unless you have your own pool, and then it’s just alligators. Yo.
Hurricanes have more warning than tornados But still, y’all — hurricanes!
Lots of mom and pop restaurants Crowded. Very hard to get a seat!
Groceries and anything else you can imagine delivered to your door Expensive. Delivered or not. Food is at least a dollar more expensive per item here. 
You are constantly exposed to the outdoors even at work because hallways are outside in the open air. Mosquitoes. 
Lizards are everywhere!  Okay, I love the little lizards and gekkos and chamelions in the school courtyard and outdoor halls, but c’mon, those giant Iguanas and Nile Lizards and Monitor Lizards have got to go! Terrifying! They’re eating people’s cats for pity’s sake!

Basically, if you don’t like to wait, then don’t come to Florida, because it’s all about waiting. In traffic especially. At least where we live in the Tampa area. I find my time is worth the money I spend to have groceries either delivered or scheduled for pick up. Also, if you are going to Orlando or anywhere with a huge tourist draw, just plan on waiting and waiting and never getting anywhere on time. Don’t even bother driving yourself. Uber it. It’s the only way you’ll get anywhere and find anything. Trust me. 

So, you may be wondering, do I like it? 

Yes. Yes, I do. I feel at home here already. I like the culture. It’s so different and I see and learn something new every single day from my students or their parents. There’s always something new going on or a new something opening or something to see. There’s no way I’ll see it all in my lifetime. 

Not that I want to. I have no desire to visit themeparks. But I do long to see all the beauty of Florida. The beaches are beautiful, of course, but so are the birds. I have several long-legged waterbird friends as neighbors. I love watching them. 

Another fun thing about Florida are the Christmas lights on palm trees. I don’t think I can ever get tired of that! Our neighbors have amazing displays. 

All in all, I do love my new life here. I do wish some things were different about my job, but that’s just how it is when you’re working a job and not what you really want to do (stay home and write!). I’ll write about how Mr. Himself and I are making tents for awhile so that we can build a ministry in the Philippines and here at home online. 

Stay tuned! 2020 is going to be awesome! I know this because God is always up to something good!

Let me know in the comments: would you like to live in Florida? Why or why not?

Comments 4

  1. Nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. As compared to Indiana–nice place to live, but why visit? I’m content in my Midwest culture. I only wish it had an ocean beach (but then it wouldn’t have my Midwest culture, would it?). And you forgot to mention sinkholes. I’m terrified of them!

    1. Post

      I agree that Midwest culture is nice, too, Linda! But, since God moved me here, I’m really happy I like it. A lot! Sinkholes? None around here that I know of. But ya know, anything can happen. I’m more terrified of a shark or alligator or Monitor Lizard than a sinkhole! 🙂 Miss you!

  2. We’ve lived in Florida for around 30 years, and love it. The traffic is mostly during winter, our tourist and snowbird season, but then we’re somewhere north of West Palm Beach and south of Jacksonsville. Our traffic is minimal compared to farther south. We have two seasons. Snowbird and summer. Easy to plan for. No bulky winter clothes to worry about. Up north, near Tampa, you have many amazing Springs to visit, which are some of God’s jewels on earth. In Tampa, you have the most haunted building in Florida, and I stayed there for an author’s conference (Le Meridien). Alligator alley has gobs of alligators one day a year; otherwise zero alligators. We hit that day just once, and it was awesome. People complain about no gators in the alley, but they’ve missed THE DAY. Gators keep to themselves, mostly. I enjoyed your pros and cons list. It may change as you become accustomed to our beautiful state.

    1. Post

      I think between Orlando and Tampa the traffic is just awful. Especially on I-4. Coming home on I-75 between Chattanooga to our home took us two hours longer than it should have due to slow-moving bumper to bumper traffic and there wasn’t an accident. There are just too many people! The infrastructure over here on the Suncoast struggles to hold us all. Alligator alley? I’ll have to check that out. And I didn’t know about the springs. I’m going to look into those, too! I’m also looking forward to visiting some of the remote islands and keys. So much to do, so little time! Thanks for popping in and reading and commenting, Patty!

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