I’ve lived in Florida for almost 2 months now. Before living here I had visited many times so I was familiar with the state and what it had to offer, BUT visiting somewhere (no matter how many times you have visited) and living somewhere are very different. Here are 8 things I learned about Florida after I moved there.
The humidity is no joke
Everyday. All hours of the day. Always. Humid. Humid humid HUMID. 7 am: humid. 10:30pm: humid. Florida is a unique state in that it’s surrounded almost entirely by salt water. This gives south Florida a near tropical climate that would mirror that of islands in the Caribbean. It’s actually a fact that Florida is the most humid state in the entire country. So straightening your hair? No. Going outside and not sweating? No. Just no.
There are little lizards everywhere
This one was weird for me. Lizards are not something we have in Wisconsin at all. These aren’t 2 foot lizards, they’re much smaller. The smallest I’ve seem is probably about 2 inches and the biggest maybe around 5 inches. They’re harmless, but they are everywhere. I was quite weirded out by them when I initially moved here, but I’ve gotten used to them now, and they don’t bother me at all. I think of them in the same context as I think of squirrels. They’re just there, but you don’t really pay them any attention.
A large portion of the population is retired
Big surprise here, Florida is one of the most popular states to retire to in the country. A lot of people who come to Florida to retire will do what I call a “soft retirement”. They’ll retire from their career, then move to Florida and get a job. A lot of people who retire and are still in their early to mid 60’s still want something to do and still can do a lot of things. It’s common to see retirees have jobs in department stores, grocery stores and restaurants among many other places. Last week we had these gorgeous plantation shutters installed into our home. The man and woman who own and run the store are a “retired” couple. they do everything from the home consultations to the installations themselves, and this is retired life for them.
In the summer it rains everyday
Sometimes all day, sometimes for 20 minutes. Sometimes it will literally be perfectly sunny except for one cloud, and that one cloud will pelt you with huge rain drops. Never have I ever seen such weird rain patterns as I have in florida. Supposedly summer is “rainy season” so it does rain more now than it will during the other seasons, but from what I’ve learned this year has been abnormally wet as well. Remember this in late July and early August?
Snow birds are people (usually retired people. see #3) who live in Florida only for the winter months. They are usually from the Midwest or the Northeast and spend their summers there, and then retreat to Florida for the Winter months. The gated community we live in is probably 90% retired people, and of those 90% I would say 50% are snowbirds.
Florida in the winter time is very different from Florida in the summer time
I mean duh. Florida in the winter is packed with snowbirds, or people on vacation trying to escape the cold. This means traffic is worse, the beaches are packed, hotel rates go way up, and you’re definitly going to be waiting to be seated at all of these wonderful restaurants. Florida in the summer is extremely relaxed. Traffic is much lighter, beaches are bare, and restaurants seat you right away. It’s also really really hot and really really humid all the time (see #1).
Be aware of alligators
In Wisconsin a pond, lake or river is a nice place to float, swim, or cool off with friends. In Florida it’s probably the home of an alligator. Our gated community has 3 ponds: one large one, one medium sized one, and one smaller one. Last week I tweeted about meeting my neighbor, Al, in our medium sized pond. I was a little shocked to say the least. In rural Wisconsin where I come from, we’re always conscious of bears and wolves. We don’t change our lives because we know they live amongst us, but we’re always aware and on the look out for them. It’s the same thing in Florida, only with gators.
No one is actually “from” Florida
I have yet to meet someone who was born and raised in Florida. Everyone is from some where else, moved here, and now calls Florida home. This of course is often the case in places like Los Angeles and New York City. While sometimes it makes getting the real “feel” of Florida hard, it also makes conversation with new people easier. Just the other day I took Gatsby to the dog beach (<— greatest invention ever) and I met a handful of people who were from the midwest like me. It makes being in a new place easier when there are other people who have also been in this same new place at one time.