One month ago on Thursday, February 1, I hopped on a jet plane with a one-way ticket to Florida. After driving 3,203 miles across the country from California to Florida at the end of December, I opted for a few hours of air travel – and to ship my car – instead of doing the drive all over again.
After leaving my job of almost six years at the beginning of January, I felt pulled to accept a huge adventure and join my boyfriend in Florida, the location of his new permanent change of station (he is in the Air Force). I absolutely love Chico, my home since the fall of 2009, but now I had no strings tying me there — aside from the town’s comfort, charm, and wonderful community of people who supported me.
Decision made. I was going to shock all my family and friends and move out of California, the place I’ve called home for the first 28 years of my life.
With the help of my sweet mom, I packed up my apartment of the past five years, and said farewell to Chico (for now!) — the place I spent the majority of my twenties (from 20 to 28). Cue all the feelings.
And just like that, two quick flights later, I landed in Tampa, Florida (inappropriately dressed in winter attire) with trust in my heart… trust that this cross-country move, this adventure, was exactly what I was supposed to be experiencing.
The first month in Florida (I live in the Tampa Bay area, east of the city) can be summed up simply: settling in. Unpacking endless boxes from two separate apartments into one three-bedroom house, putting together new furniture, selling old furniture, attending to maintenance issues, calling the locksmith when you lock yourself out of the house, finding the best Target and grocery stores (well, of course!), cautiously driving on the congested roads, and using Google Maps to get everywhere.
Florida Life // Month 1
Feeling // While I have experienced moments of homesickness, I have, overall, felt proud of my adaptability this first month. A lot of time has been spent alone (while N is at work) in a new town, and in a new home. Rewind to 2016 and I surely wouldn’t have handled such solitude in a foreign place with this much ease. Koba has been an immense comfort to me, and I feel that the risks I took in 2017 have given me the strength, and trust in myself, to be okay 3,000 miles away from all I’ve ever known.
Missing // I am missing winter weather, winter clothing (my puffies and scarves), the Saturday morning farmer’s market, the convenience of running or hiking in beautiful Bidwell Park, and locally-owned stores (family & friends goes unsaid).
Doing // Simply put, most days include time spent fixing up the house, cooking in my new kitchen, and rekindling my love for this online space.
Enjoying // I am enjoying living in a house versus an apartment. It’s an older home with its functional flaws, but I am grateful to have a large backyard for the pup (with palm trees no less). I am also enjoying putting the house together, decorating new spaces, making a (temporary rental) house feel like a home. Living with a dog. This brings me so much enjoyment and comfort in a new space. I enjoy taking Koba for walks, spoiling her with peanut butter-stuffed bones, and attempting to teach her how to fetch in the backyard. One more thing… having a coffee pot! I’ve made drip coffee for years, but I’ve enjoyed the ritual of making a full pot of coffee to share every morning.
Exercise // Workouts consist of short runs (approximately 3 miles) around the neighborhood, gym workouts on base (2-3x per week), and the occasional 15-20 minute weights session in the living room.
Eats // We’ve eaten most of our meals at home. Lots of banana coconut muffins and waffles for breakfast, avocado toast combos for lunch, and dinners have included roasted chicken and taters, fish tacos with mango avocado salsa, Mediterranean quinoa bowls… oh, and I can’t forget about these cookies — they’re dangerously good!
Restaurants // We’ve hardly eaten out this past month, but we did go to Boca for dinner (the Brandon location) and Platt Street Borough Bar & Eatery (Hyde Park) for brunch. We agreed that we prefer the Boca Tampa location best, and we’ll be back to Platt Street for happy hour.
Alligators // Zero.
Have you ever moved far away?
If so, what are your tips for learning a new place and settling in?