When I was first told that I would be moving to Tampa, Fla., I had NO idea what that would entail. To me, Florida had been a family vacation spot and now it would be my home for the next nine months as a residential leadership consultant working with the Lambda Theta Chapter at the University of Tampa. Tampa is exactly 1,577 miles, or a 23-hour drive from my home in Minnesota. This move would take me across the entire country, when the furthest I had lived from home up until August was Iowa. Here are the top four things I have learned as a midwestern gal living in Florida:
- All Things Hurricane
The first thing that crossed my mind when hearing the word, Florida, was hurricanes. I am used to snow storms and tornadoes, but hurricanes are a whole different ballgame. I feel like I am a pro when it comes to defrosting my car and driving in a blizzard, but I was not too sure about a hurricane. I soon found out that peak hurricane season was right when I was moving down to Tampa. I found my new best friend to be Spectrum Bay News channel 9. Through this, I was able to learn that many tropical storms form, but that only sometimes they strengthen to a hurricane.
- Geckos are Everywhere
Still am not sure if this is their official name, but it’s what I have been calling them. These things are literally everywhere. When I come home at night, they are covering the walls and door to my apartment. I have learned to make friends with them so that I can convince myself I am not terrified when they run across my feet. I now always check my trash bin that I leave outside before bringing it into the house, because one did happen to make it into my apartment. That was an experience.
- 80 Degrees = Fall Weather
Growing up in Minnesota, fall has always been when the leaves start to change, and the 50-degree weather allows me to wear fun sweaters, vests and scarves. I have learned that Florida does not exactly have these distinct seasons. Florida has constant humidity which sadly makes all of my Starbucks drinks sweat immensely. Summer is extremely hot, fall is still hot, winter is perfect (which is very different from the negative-degree weather I am used to) and then the cycle starts back over in the spring. So far, it has felt like summer year-round which is fabulous.
- I Have an Accent?
Big surprise, but apparently my Minnesota accent is extremely noticeable down here in Florida. Sometimes I catch myself saying something and I can totally hear the Minnesotan in me. A crowd favorite is when I talk about eating a bagel or going out on the boat.
Although my time in Florida has been a big change for me, it still feels like a place that I can call home. The women I work with as a leadership consultant at the Lambda Theta Chapter have already left a lasting impact on me. Plus, I think that I could get used to never having to shovel snow and being able to wear sundresses year-round. Florida, you are too good to me.