It has been one year since Carl, Zack and I flew out of Minnesota for good for the sunny skies of Florida. And I can honestly say that I am happier than I ever imagined that I would be living in Florida, especially since we had our hearts set on moving out west to Tucson. These are some of my observations and surprises about our relocation.
- I’m surprised by how much I love it here. In fact, I tell people all the time, “I am NEVER moving!” We had seen Jacksonville as a temporary stop for about 5 years before heading out west. For now at least, I can see no reason to leave unless God leads us elsewhere. Although don’t give up hope yet Aunt Sandy….Anthony’s love for the western USA might tempt us to move out that way eventually :).
- I love the weather! I thought it would be hot and humid all year round. I was surprised to find that Jacksonville actually has seasons. Yes, it IS hot and humid all summer (May/June until September). But most of the rest of the year (October, November, February, March and April) is beautiful with sunny skies, temperatures in the 70s and low humidity. We had our windows open and the fresh air flowing for most of those months. Our winter, which lasts two months (December and January) may dip down into the 50s and 60s (although there are 70 degree days as well), with a handful of 30/40 degrees thrown in just for fun.
- We don’t use our pool nearly as much as I thought we would. Starting in September (and really mid-August this year due to the excessive amounts of rain), the pool water starts to move below 80 degrees, reaching lows in the 60s by mid-winter. In my opinion, anything below 80 is too cold to enjoy. We don’t have a pool heater and I’ve heard it costs about $15/hour to run one so we won’t be adding one at any time. So the pool is unused for more than half the year.
- Even during prime pool season, we don’t go in it as much as I thought. I have much more opportunity than Carl but frankly, I feel strange and bored floating around the pool by myself while my husband is at work. And when he’s home, he’s got projects going on around the house. I found the best way to get the pool used was to invite friends over. We hosted a half-dozen Sunday Fundays, where we invited a different family from church to come over after the service for lunch and swimming. I also hosted several mom/kids swim days during the week. Those times with friends and lots of kids splashing in the pool made it worth it. I love having a pool most for the ability to share it with others.
- The transition for Zack was harder than we ALL expected it to be. Before the move, Carl and I felt that Zack was our most laid-back and social child who would have no problem making new friends and adjusting. Zack was excited for the change and looked forward to a new adventure. However, the reality was that Zack was lost and isolated coming in as a sophomore and a “Yankee” to a high school of 3500 students. He did not make friends at school and fixated on his friends back in Minnesota, only made worse by his constant contact with them through XBox Live and his cell phone. It’s better now at his new school but Zack fantasizes about returning to Minnesota after his high school graduation.
All-in-all it’s been a great move. We feel settled and comfortable here in Florida. We love our house. We love our neighbors. We have a wonderful church family. Carl enjoys his job with the Jaguar Foundation. I love my part-time jobs, especially my new job outside of my home on Mondays. Zack is doing well in his new school. Harry loves his retirement and one-level living which makes it easy on his old knees. God has been very gracious in leading us here and we are thankful everyday!