Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Pros of Living in Florida

As promised, here is a much more upbeat post. I miss home (A LOT), and as you can see, the Jerz will always be home to me. But I am very happy in Florida. I have felt very off this weekend, and I still do, but I think writing this will help me feel better.

So, I am proclaiming all of the things I love about living in the Sunshine State!

1. It's the SUNSHINE STATE. Sun. Sun. SUN. Most of the time. The rainy season is just around the corner, and it will rain every day around 5pm for about an hour, but then it will clear up, and beautiful rainbows will fill the sky! And then there are hurricanes. But that's just an excuse to party, much like northern blizzards (and much NOT like Hurricane Sandy. Florida is a bit more prepared for gale-force winds than the Jerz was :( )

2. It is summer every day! There are a few cold spells, and by cold, I mean I've seen the night time low get into the 30s only twice this winter. 39 degrees. It is, on average, mild year-round. I never feel cold to the bone, so cold that I can't warm up or get out of bed.

3. No one cares what you look like in a bikini. It's bikini season year-round here. Everyone is busy boating and beaching and drinking in all of their spare moments. Ya can't be perfect EVER, let alone every single day of the year, right? People are more concerned about having a good time, not about what they look like in bathing suits, because, guess what? EVERYONE has to wear a bathing suit here, year round, no matter what age or shape you are. Unless you want to be lame and sit inside all year, in which case, you should not be in Florida.

4. What I just said about boating and beaching and drinking in all spare moments. That.

5. Beautiful scenery. Palm trees, mangroves, and hibiscus flowers will never get old to me.

6. Beautiful wildlife. This morning I saw a HUGE black bird at the lake in my complex, with its wings spread completely open. And a white one, too, and a gray one flying. And my pelican friends who I see at the beach and while boating are so cute. They travel around in a group of about 10. Sea turtles, manatees, alligators, snakes, cute little lizards, BIG lizards... all just chillin in the wild. It's all very interesting to me.

7. Clear, blue ocean water.

8. Being able to spend time with one of my best friends who I only saw like 4 weeks over the course of the past 10 years, because she was kidnapped away from me and brought to Florida. But now I kidnapped myself and brought me to Florida, too, so that worked out well in the end.

9. Making new friends. I like meeting people, hearing their stories, and being introduced to new places and ideas because of them. It helps me be more open-minded, and everyone has been very nice and accepting of me here. It never hurts to make more friends. And now I have friends literally all over the country. I feel very loved :)

10. Publix. That's our supermarket here, and it's awesome. I don't know why I think it is so awesome, but it is. There are about 500 within the 10 miles surrounding my house. They have great deals, beer and wine, a good produce selection,  and their baked goods are surprisingly bangin. In fact, it is the only place I have found with delicious baked goods, as there are no Italian bakeries here. So, yeah. Publix is the shiz.

11. Dogs are allowed at the beach. It makes beach time relaxing AND cute as hell.

12. The most incredible seafood I've ever had. I used to not even like seafood before I moved here. Now, I'll eat fish over chicken any day. Nom.

13. West Palm Beach. It's not a huge city, so I feel okay driving in it, and it is beautiful. There is a lot of culture there, delicious food and drinks, and all the shopping I need. It may not have the history and character (and certainly not the attitude) of Philly, but I love what it has to offer.

14. I could take a ferry to the Bahamas if I wanted. Don't know if I'll ever get a chance to do it, but that's pretty cool.

15. Disney is within driving distance. Boom.

As I was writing this, I realized there are actually way too many things I like about living here to continue the list. It would take forever. This was really a good idea for me to do, because even though I miss the people and scenery at home, there are a ton of pros about living here. So many pros that maybe, just maybe, I can convince all of you that I miss to come live here with me! At least for the winter months, maybe?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Homesick.

I woke up early this morning (as usual) in a panic, then realized it's the weekend, and I need to chill. So I tried to look forward to going to the beach today, but I am just not feeling it. I mean, I want to go to the beach, and I love it, and I love that I live 5 seconds away from it... but I am just not looking forward to it like I usually am.

I have a strong urge to be back in the south Jerz today. Here are all the things I am missing at this exact moment:
- Waking up and seeing the tree in Mean Lady's back yard out my bedroom window, and looking to see if there are green buds on it, which means winter is OVER.
- My cats being assholes in the morning.
- Going for a run around my neighborhood when no one else is awake and the whole place is quiet. Seeing deer in the Spring Mill retention pond because it's THAT early.
- Going shopping with my mom. I need new bathing suits. I need to find a dress for Nicole's wedding. I need to go alone. I hate shopping alone.
- Going to Barnes & Noble with Linny, and her making me drink Starbucks while we make fun of books and people.
- Walking around Pitman.
- Running around Rowan.
- Driving the Black Horse Pike to Longport to chill for the day. The shore may have been further away, but jamming to Sublime alone in my car for an hour and then reading on the beach or the porch was the most relaxing thing ever.
- The OC boardwalk.
- Everything about the shore. Even guidos. I feel like the lone Italian representative down here.
- Seeing the whole fam at Eric's grandparents' house.
- Aunt Sean's chocolate chip cookies.
- Sitting on the deck and talking to my dad while he grills our dinner on a nice night.
- The smell of the air. Pine trees. Soft grass.
- Walking the trails at Washington Lake Park.
- Gearing up for a day of watching Philly sports games with my friends at Landmark, where I can get Old Bay fries and cheap jager shots if we do well.

I need to stop. I'm starting to cry. I hate being so emotional sometimes. It makes it impossible to enjoy where I'm at in the moment, because all I can do is think about what I'm missing. The grass is always greener on the other side, I know. 

I swear I am extremely happy with where I am right now. It's just one of those days. Maybe tomorrow I'll write a post about all the awesome things about living in Florida.

Edit: I just found out it's National Pretzel Day. Philly Pretzel Factory is giving out free pretzels. Now I'm REALLY fucking homesick. I'm not even sorry for using foul language in a public forum, because if you understand the magic of Philly pretzels straight out of the oven, and that magic got ripped away from you, you would be dropping the f-bomb, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Craziness

Whew, this has been a BUSY few weeks. Work has been crazy, as usual, and the weekends have been the best. Here's a bit of what we've been up to:

The weekend of April 4th, Krystle visited! The weather was the most perfect beach weather I've experienced since I've been here. Florida was obviously trying to convince her to stay here forever. We did nothing but relax, eat, and drink. We celebrated Eric's birthday on that Friday night at Guanabanas, where Cas Haley and El Dub were playing, and holy CRAP it was awesome.

Eric with Cas Haley and El Dub
I love visitors, especially this one!
Tell me this isn't a perfect view.
Last weekend was my birthday weekend. We all know how much I hate my birthday. I didn't tell anyone at the school about it. People convinced me to go out to dinner, which I did, and it ended up being one of the best birthdays ever. Eric and I ate at Hog Snappers with Kristin, Ben, Katie, and Paul, then headed over to Tequesta Brewing Company for some beer, followed by some late-night swimming at the beach.... living here has made me feel so much more at peace with myself, including aging. It's all about celebrating life. And I got to spend my birthday with new friends, and with Kristin for the first time in 10 years. I'm looking forward to lots more happy birthdays in Florida. I missed all of my friends and family back home, but I got so many birthday wishes, cards, and gifts that I felt like I was still with all of you! THANK YOU!

Easter decorations from my mom
My mom knows me well <3
Perfect, meaningful bracelet from Lauren Ann <3
The next day was Heather's going away party. Heather has been one of Kristin's best friends since she moved down here, and I have felt like I've known her since then, even though I only actually met her once before moving here. She is moving to the Caribbean for vet school, which is SO COOL for her, but it really sucks that one of the few friends I have here is moving so far away. So we had a great time hanging out and playing games at her house with all her friends and family. We even played Catchphrase, which brought back some good Game Night memories with the crew back in Jerz ;)

This week has been ridiculous with work. The pressure is really on, with the end of the school year coming and all. But I am dealing with it okay. I am starting to be able to sleep in a little later in the morning. I don't wake up til 6:30 now... baby steps, okay? Baby steps. I am getting there. I can say with certainty now that winter is over that I am much better able to cope with any anxiety and depression here in Florida. Plus, I get awesome notes from the kids at the school that really make me feel like I am there for a reason. No matter how shitty I feel, I know that kids are really getting something out of me being there.

From an 8th grader who sells weed to the other kids and cuts school to smoke. Powerful.
In wedding news, Eric and I have updated our wedding website (mazzdeeg.com), AND I finally got my wedding shoes! So, we have been going going going nonstop for the past several weeks. 

Luckily, I have a three-day weekend coming up. I'm starting it off by watching the first Flyers vs. Rangers playoff game! Easter weekend will be strange without family, but Eric and I are planning to make it a good one :)