After just over a year in Orlando, I’ve learned a bit about my new surroundings:
1. There are not many palm trees. I thought I was moving to a tropical location, but it’s populated by pine trees (especially our area, aptly named Isle of Pines) and deciduous trees. I could believe I’m in northern Minnesota, unless I’m at the beach or Disney, where palms do grow. Ok, technically we do have a palm tree in our backyard, but it’s not natural. I thought there’d be more palms.
2. I can need my sunglasses and my windshield wipers alternately and repeatedly within the span of a few miles, as the weather here is ever-changing.
3. There are no tornado sirens here, even though there are tornadoes, so the impetus is on you, fair citizen of Orlando, to prevent your own demise.
4. There is a lot of wildlife. I am not accustomed to this, as in China there was only the occasional bird or cockroach. Here I’ve seen armadillos, snakes, raccoons, possums, deer, vultures, sand cranes, and one gator. Only one.
5. I’ve said it before, but I was told there’d be gators. I’m so disappointed. I’ve only seen one, and when I did I freaked out like a kid on Christmas.
6. I should have kept up on my Spanish. One phrase I do remember, that I’m hoping I can pull out sometime is, “Ayude! He caido y no puedo levantarme. Y estoy teniendo dolores de pecho!” One of these days, I’m going to need that, and all those years of Spanish will pay off.
7. Orlando likes to build community sub-divisions, like the Truman Show. I expect everyone to pull out of their garages at the same time and drive to work.
8. There are beautiful sunsets here. They’re so common that my standards for what constitutes a worthwhile sunset have risen quite high.
9. I still need a winter wardrobe, but for the indoors, just like in Singapore. People typically set the thermostat at 70 degrees. To me, 90 and above is shorts weather. 80 to 90 is cropped pants weather. below 80 is call for pants. Below 70 requires layers. Hence, winter wardrobe.
All in all, I like it. It’s fun to get to know a new place, to add it to our collection of places we know and love. Come on down and visit – we can sit under the pines, watch the sunset, and look for gators.