Friday, November 17, 2006

Culture Shock

Last night my feed-reader had a post from Jspot written by a woman who'd just moved from San Francisco to Ohio. Her comments are very familiar to me, as I moved from NYC to the Panhandle of Florida nearly 14 years ago.

I was born in Brooklyn, and lived in one borough of NYC or another until I was 22. That December my then-fiance (now husband) and I moved to Florida. Wow, what a trip that was. Sure, some things about the move were novel and exciting, like the delightful December weather. But for the most part, it was all culture shock, all the time.

  1. I was the first Jewish person many folks believed they'd met. Not that this was the first piece of info I divulged, but when I did share this, that's what I heard.
  2. The closest synagogue was 90 miles away, in Dothan, AL.
  3. People are mad for FSU. It was, and is, so strange to live somewhere that college sports are bigger than pro sports.
  4. Service workers are freakishly polite and smiley, as if they've been trained at Disney World.

Despite being here 14 years, there are some things I am still learning to adjust to. I've been practicing smiling at folks at the grocery store or the mall. People make eye contact with strangers here, and I'm just not used to that! I've also been working on being a more considerate driver; you know, letting someone in a gas station out into the line of traffic. Whenever I see someone do that in my rearview mirror I realize I should have let the driver in.

We live in a really small town in central Florida now. I actually prefer it to the time we spent in the greater Orlando area. Some things I love about small town living:

  1. No traffic.
  2. My kids' great public school.
  3. Knowing lots of folks from my kids' school. Even though I find it hard to get acquainted with new people, especially if I perceive that they are very different from me, I know a good deal of folks from the school, and enjoy waving or saying hi around town.
  4. Knowing my FedEx and UPS guys so well that they wave when they see my car around town.
I still miss NY like crazy. But when I think about the possibility of moving out of Florida I have a hard time imagining it. I'm not a big fan of our summer weather (or the threat of hurricanes), but right now we're entering the perfect weather time of year.

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