When Florida Won

Of my 27 years on this earth, I've spent 9 of them in Charleston, SC, another 17 back and forth between southeast and southwest Virginia, and 1 - just one - year somewhere in between living in Florida.

When I was 21 I was finishing a 4-year stint of living in the mountains of southwest VA and yearning to go anywhere that wasn't there. I was in my last semester of grad school and Ben was finishing up his B.S., so when he got a job offer in sunny, warm Tampa, Florida for his first job out of college, we were so. there.

It didn't exactly turn out to be the beach party I was anticipating. Most of the time, it was really boring. In case you don't know this already, I have a bachelors and a Masters degree and am licensed to teach Latin. Most conversations I had with people in Florida about the career I was trying to establish went like this:

"Do they even teach Latin anymore?"

"Is Latin like Spanish?"

(I'm not going to insult your intelligence by providing you the answer key to those questions, sweet friends). So instead of starting the career I had spent the previous 4 years of my life working toward, I was a part-time daycare employee and part-time stay-at-home-fiancee. Like I said, not the party or the professional prospect I was hoping for. 

BUT! It wasn't all bad. And this week in particular, having been buried under snow for the last several days, with no end in sight...our time in Florida keeps sounding better and better.

This was our townhouse. There is no denying that you live in Florida when your neighborhood looks like a Skittles commercial.

We had a bayou a few blocks from home. It wasn't uncommon to see manatees swimming in it. (There were signs all around that said, "If you love me, please don't feed or touch me!" - we thought that was so funny and we still say that to each other often; it's one of our favorite jokes).

The beach was a 5-minute drive. (It was like 3 miles - it's hilarious to me now that it seemed definitely necessary to take a car there but now I would definitely walk/run/bike that short distance there). And going to the beach for an hour or two after work IN NOVEMBER was not as crazy as it sounds.

The city we lived in has the highest Greek population in the U.S. and is one of the world's leading sponge producers. We used to walk around the sponge docks and stop in the shops and eat at Greek restaurants. There was one shop in particular that had the BEST handmade olive oil soaps and straight-from-the-docks loofahs and sponges. It was amazing.

We randomly saw a space shuttle shooting through the sky when we were driving home from a friend's one night. A SPACE SHUTTLE! You can't make this stuff up.

We had so many pro sports opportunities! We went to NHL (Lightning) games.

And MLB games. We got to go to Spring Training and we went to Opening Day!

(Please note that I am not a fan of either of these teams and I am SO NOT a fan of Tropicana Field but that's neither here nor there because BASEBALL, people!)

Going to Miami was an easy weekend trip.

And let's not forget the fact that Disney World was a quick 1.5 hour drive.

I have such mixed feelings looking back on our time in Florida. We moved back to Virginia (the southeastern part this time - home) just shy of a year after we got there because it was so painfully obvious that I was never going to be able to establish a career (see example conversations above). Looking back, it's strange to think that it ever happened. It was such deviation from how life was before and how life has been since. It was like living in a bubble for that year - a hot, sticky bubble.  I hated being basically unemployed and having to use the AC in my car because it was 80*+ outside this time of year, but from where I'm sitting right now, looking out the window at a thick layer of snow in all directions, having to choose which tank top to wear in February doesn't seem like the worst problem to have.

Have you ever lived in Florida? Where all have you lived?
Also! Two things before class is dismissed and you get on with your weekend:

February is a short month (no one is sad about about that) which means that this month's Training for Tuesday is live THIS Tuesday, February 24th! Grab a button and let's do this thing.


I'll also be linking up with Jacqueline and Anne next week for their Winter Capsule Link-up Series! I'm surprised and honored to have been chosen as one of their featured bloggers this month and am looking forward to sharing some more of my favorite capsule outfits so far. Feel free to check it out, and to contribute if you have a capsule of your own to share!


  1. My car said it was 2* on my way to work today. I can see the whiteouts the wind + snow are causing from my office window. Florida sounds like literally the best thing in the world right now. Sigh.

  2. Ohhh man. Headed to the beach over work in November sounds like the LIFE!

    How cool that you were able to live there for a while!

    Hopefully it starts warming up for you soon. :)

  3. I don't think I knew your degree was in Latin-- so cool! Soo wishing I was enjoying those beaches and sunshine and warmth right now. That's so cool (and random?) about the sponges! And I can't even imagine getting to see manatees regularly, so cool. (how many times can I say, "so cool" in one comment? Lol. But really, what a great adventure for a year- even if it wasn't what you were expecting.

  4. So cool that you lived there. Man I envy Floridians ... or anyone who gets to drive to Disney whenever they want to :(

  5. Man, training for tuesday really came out of nowhere this month. gah.
    seriously your hair is so blonde!! and i am so jealous of you guys living in florida, even though you don't live there anymore, i want to :( KC couldn't handle the humidity, but I just love love love the heat. i miss the heat. is it ever coming back?! and DISNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so jealous. i would go all the time. Sydney was never that hot year round, winter was winter so there is no going to the beach in july. sigh. jealous.

  6. I lived in Florida! For almost 20 years - we moved there when I was 5 and I moved to Missouri with my fiance when I was 23ish. It's crazy to think about that now, living in Northern MN, but yes - we went to the beach on Christmas Day and "cold" was in the 60's. It's so different now! I am guessing you lived in Tarpon Springs based on your description of the Greek life and the sponge industry. The east coast of FL is so different than the west coast - it's much more laid back!


Thanks for visiting and taking time to share your thoughts! If you don't hear back from me, check your settings to make sure you're not no-reply (check here http://www.venustrappedinmars.com/2013/06/google-ultimate-no-reply-blogger.html if you're unsure)!