Greetings from sticky Florida! It is very strange here. Examples:
I see, on average, around 40 lizards a day. They’re EVERWHERE. Watching you eat, watching you sleep, blinking their reptilian eyes at you, and then, yesterday, getting into my apartment. I was just heading out the door, and I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye as the little fellow dodged behind my bed. I didn’t have time to do anything about it, but when I came home from work I crafted an intricate plan to evince his capture, which consisted mainly of jerking my bed away from the wall really fast, leaping over it, and clapping a paper cup down over his stunned lizard expression, then sliding a paper plate underneath and depositing the whole kit and caboodle out on my balcony. Yes, I have a balcony.

Another weird thing: umbrellas. Everyone has one. If you see someone out walking in Florida, chances are they are carrying an open umbrella, even though it’s sunny. I had no idea parasols were still in use. THEY ARE. I can understand, though, the sun is hellishly hot. I still find it amusing.

There is a crazy old lady who lives next door to me, but I love her because she waves and shouts “Hello goodbye!” every time she sees me, and I don’t know anybody else. I guess that’s either really sweet or really sad.

Strictly speaking, I know other people. My coworkers are actually pretty cool, for the most part. I’ve gone out to lunch with them a couple of times. The job it self is…good, I think? I really don’t know. The first day was so overwhelming and there was so much to learn, I kind of hated it, but it got better.

Actually the first few days down here in general were pretty awful. We drove down all in one day (after going to Joseph and Karen’s wedding, which was really awesome), so that was about 15 hours of driving in one go. Then the next day we hunted for apartments like fiends, and that was about the most discouraging thing ever. We walked into Townhouse Apartments (one of the most flagrant misnomers I’ve ever seen) and realized, hello, we’re in the slums! And that was my price range, sadly. So we skedaddled out of there, and finally, finally, at 10 minutes to 5:00, right before all these apartment places closed, we checked one last place and finally found a decent place. I love my apartment VERY much. Even if I am paying about $200 more per month than I had expected.

I wasn’t looking forward to my second day at work at all because the first had been so traumatic and I was barely moved in, and I had to say goodbye to my family before I left at 8:00. And then I shocked myself silly by bursting into tears as I said goodbye. I’m not normally a very emotional person (before moving, I had cried only four times in the past ten years. These occasions stick out, so it’s easy to keep track.), and I really didn’t know what to do with myself, it was awful. I wanted to move! I wanted this job! I did all of this perfectly willingly and didn’t lose a moment’s sleep about it or worry about it at all, and suddenly when it came to leaving my parents I was sniffling like a little kid. Things got better very quickly once work was less overwhelming, and now I love living by myself, just how I thought I would, but it was still a very odd experience.

I get the sweetest letters and packages from home and from friends. I LOVE getting the mail now. I also love that I can have the AC as cold as I want, mwahaha. And I listen to music almost constantly, and I can cook whatever I want for supper, and I can just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I don’t feel like cooking. It’s pretty great.

I have yet to explore the area terribly thoroughly, but tomorrow I think I’ll go on a library hunt! And maybe to the beach. And definitely grocery shopping. I’m ready for some Floridian adventures. So far all of my adventures have consisted of: a. getting lost while trying to find the bank or other mundane locations, b. doing horrendous amounts of paperwork while trying to get insurance, transfer my driver’s license, pay bills, etc., and c. nearly dying in horrendous Florida traffic. Seriously. These people cannot drive. I’ve seen at least 5 people run red lights so far, and I very nearly ended up in a wreck the other day. I was actually on my way back from signing insurance papers, actually. My first thought as I slammed on the brakes was, “At least I have insurance now!” But I didn’t die or get hurt or anything so that was good.

There are the oddest ducks everywhere down here. They look like a cross between a duck and a turkey vulture (i.e., really ugly). But they seem pretty friendly, or at least fearless. If I get some extra bread, I may make friends. Speaking of which, because everything is so much more expensive down here (I had a conniption when I realized my car insurance would go from $329 every six months to $1100 every six months – thank you, deranged Florida drivers!), my budget is even tighter than I thought it would be. I have to be VERY careful. I can spend exactly $25 dollars on food tomorrow and no more, except then I got a $5 coupon in the mail so now it can be $30. That little discovery made me absurdly happy. Five whole dollars, ladies and gents!

I’ve been so busy settling in that I really haven’t read much, but I am working on To the Lighthouse right now by Virginia Woolf. Would you believe it, I’ve never read any Virginia Woolf before? I saw a movie version of one of her books a loooong time ago (in my defense, I didn’t know it was based on a book, or I would’ve read it first before seeing it), and it was one of the worst movies I’d ever seen, so then I assumed that I would hate her books too. Well, I certainly believe that her works should NOT be made into movies (everything interesting happens in the characters’ heads, and thus would make for the most boring viewing ever), but her writing is pretty fantastic. I’m sorry I misjudged you, Virginia!

In other bookish news, the Dania library (which is in the town where I work) is so tiny, they don’t even use the Dewey decimal system, but it is really close, so I go there sometimes because they have a bunch of books they’re getting rid of for dirt cheap. I bought 9 books for 3 bucks the other day, and I’m very much looking forward to reading them! Apparently the Fort Lauderdale library is like the holy grail of libraries, and they’re open Sundays, so I’m definitely including them in my exploring tomorrow.

Oh, hey, some links!
http://www.trendhunter.com/link/florakioph-arazolnsky”>Xilitla is going on my to-see list immediately.
I kept seeing the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” in various places around the internet, so I googled its origin, and it’s marvelous.

And some music for you, stolen from various friends:
White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes.
The best Sound of Silence.

And that’s all for now.

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