Saturday, January 8, 2011

Remnants of Florida and my first balmy winter

I've never spent a winter someplace warm before.

Until this year, anyway. Having just spent the last 5 days in Tampa, I'm forced to ask myself "Why do I live in the Arctic tundra of Connecticut every winter, when Florida is so beautiful?" I arrived home less than twenty-four hours ago, and I'm already compiling a list of things that I miss about the sunshine state. Here it is:

1. Sunshine: Because it pretty much leaves the northeast for all of winter. Connecticut winters tend to be overwhelmingly gray in the skies, and I was shocked to see so much blue down south.

And they mean it.

2. Palm trees: The only green trees left around here in the winter have needles, not leaves. And who wouldn't want to live in a tropical paradise? It was like visiting the Bahamas (or another tropical island of your choosing), but without a passport. I'm enraptured by the palm trees. They line the roads of Florida. Like purple loosestrife. But not invasive.

But what are the bulbous things at the tops?
3. A hospitable climate: I ran around outside in a tank top in Florida. In the middle of January. I should be wearing parkas and scarves and mittens and hats. I rode in a car with the windows down. Without freezing. I didn't see my breath even once.

This is a chart for Tampa. This is not fair.

4. Bike riding in January: My bike becomes a lump of cold and sad aluminum in the winter time. Actually, I miss playing outside just in general in the wintertime. Snowball fights are okay, but I also like fresh air that doesn't make my lungs burn.

I'm so hardcore. Just kidding. My bike has a bell on it.
5. Birds: Or to be more specific, the birds that migrate away from the northeast for the winter. I'm not supposed to see ducks for a few more months. There's something exciting about seeing mallards splashing in a pond in the middle of my winter. Don't judge me. I like birds.

All the cool kids migrate.

***On a related note, I also saw my first real-live pelicans. Which I thought was really comical, at the time.

Its beak is just so silly looking.

6. Beautiful people: I've heard that the south is prettier than the north, but didn't really believe it. Jogging through midtown in shorts and a T-shirt really does look more attractive than shuffling across a slushy road in a parka and boots, though. Just wait for the summer though, when one can actually see some northern bodies.  We're hot too. I swear.

But they're comfortable!
7. Fresh seafood: SO GOOD. And so local. I wish that good fish was more readily available here. I like protein.

Okay, so it doesn't look so good when it's raw.

8. Happy people: Directly correlative with the sunshine and hospitable climate factors. People are just bound to be friendlier on the sidewalks when they don't have to worry about wind and snow and ice.

Of course, ol' chap! Have a pleasant day.

9. A sweet downtown: Because my town sure doesn't have one. And I've pretty much fallen in love with the convenience, amenities, and interesting architecture of downtown Tampa.

Not even close to my hometown....

10. Shimmering, sparkling waters: How pretty is the Florida coast? The water is clear, the waves ripple ever-so-slightly, and the boats in the channels are sweet. Too bad boats in the northeast have to spend their winters inside of garages. Oh wait, it's because lakes freeze and the ocean becomes miserably cold. The only fishing we have is through holes in the ice and I promise that no manatee will ever make its way into the Connecticut river. 

And nary a tropical fish.
I left a 72 degree Tampa and arrived in a 28 degree Hartford. Something about that just seems so unfair. I want the tropical back. I want the beautiful weather back. I want to know why on earth I don't live in a sunny paradise. 

On a positive note, I'll be spending all of tomorrow skiing at Mt. Snow, in Vermont. Oh yeah; that's why I'll always live someplace where it snows. Because I couldn't actually go an entire winter season without my skis. Let's be real now.

I do love me a tall mountain.

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