The move/transition from New Orleans to Florida has not been easy for me. I feel I am here for the right reasons and am very glad to be here for those reasons, and in some ways I feel more settled than ever (we have a house and yard!!), but there are so many things – from big stuff like food, culture, architecture, and lifestyle, to little nuances and daily glimpses and experiences, and a feeling of community, something larger than any one of us – that I miss so much my heart aches. When I lived in New Orleans and walked the streets, I felt so strongly that I BELONGED there – that my soul was part of the fabric of the place, and that I perhaps had even lived there in a prior life or something. I felt HOME, like this was what I was looking for all my life. I felt lucky, each and every minute of each and every day living there. And I never wanted to leave or move.
Caribbean meets Europe
One intangible that I really loved about New Orleans (that nobody explained to me prior to my visits), was the Caribbean-meets-Europe influence. Specifically, the Caribbean part. When walking around the Quarter, stumbling upon those old Creole cottages, I was like, “What? Nobody told me about this!!” Lord knows I was forever clipping photos and articles (pre-Pinterest) of quaint bungalows with tropical artsy abodes that I could SOME DAY attain, but I had no idea I’d find them in the US. Had been to several islands and loved them. Had lived in the Caribbean and loved it. Had traveled through and lived in Europe and loved it. I was looking for more of that in my life; looking for my spot, my niche. And then, on an introductory jazz fest trip to Nola, staying in the Quarter with gangs of friends, I was overwhelmed with my new-found love for New Orleans. I did NOT want to go to the hot, crowded fairgrounds for the fest, I wanted to stay in the city and soak it in and just be there, live there. I found it, I found home. I wanted to stay there forever and settle in. And so, we uprooted our lives and did just that for 10 glorious years.
More Caribbean, please
The only thing New Orleans did not offer for me was an easy escape to a beach. As much as I loved the city and living there and being a part of everything, I also needed space and to get away and to see aqua blue waters. Like, often. And although beach visits were attainable from Nola, it wasn’t THAT easy and required some planning and effort and, quite frankly, money. So, in a perfect world, I thought I’d keep my Nola city life, and somehow acquire a beach bungalow on the emerald waters of the panhandle some day TOO. We LOVED Grand Isle, Louisiana for its natural appeals and isolation (we only visited off-season), but even that did not have the Caribbean crystal turquoise waters my heart and mind seeks.
Beach living now
And so it isn’t the end of the world that I am in Florida now, and that I have quick and easy access to that escape my mind and soul needs. Our home is 6.6 miles away from the closest beach option (where I can put my feet in) and just KNOWING it is there gives me such great relief! And I visit often.
So after a whole year here in Florida (yikes, one year already!), it is still an adjustment, but I have found a few things that I really like. I’m going to try to switch my blogging topics to my new life and experiences in Florida. It’s ain’t all bad, and there are a few really cool things too. So, here goes…. My life in Florida. Stay tuned!