Despite the fact that snakes are rising up against me, there are things about Florida that I love that I had completely forgotten about while I lived in Connecticut. In an effort to block the snake incident from my brain and to keep myself from hiking up my tail feathers and running back to Connecticut, I’ve been trying to remember things I’ve missed about life here. Things like…
1. Chick-fil-a – Without a doubt, hands-down, Chris’ favorite fast food place. How we lived for five years without those golden nuggets of perfection, I will never know. We used to binge on Chick-fil-a in the Atlanta airport when we were flying through on our way home for holidays. And, one time, when my parents flew up, they brought us an entire bag full of Chick-fil-a chicken sandwiches from the airport. Best. Gift. Ever. And now, there it is! Right up the street! No flight necessary!
2. Cold Brew Iced Tea – I looked everywhere for these up north and only found them once in my local grocery store. I hoarded that box of tea bag for MONTHS, so afraid I would run out and never be able to cold brew my iced tea again! I guess not a lot of people drink iced tea up there. But in Florida, you can get cold brew tea bags. You just throw them in the pitcher with cold water and 10 minutes later – voila! – iced tea!
3. Basis Facial Soap – I used this all through college, but when we moved to Connecticut, I couldn’t find it anywhere! I’ve had to order it from Amazon for the past couple years and ask for it for Christmas in my stocking! The horror! Now, it is happily on the shelf at the drug store again. It smells so divine. So fresh and clean. I just love it. Nothing better than taking a hot shower after a long day at the beach, washing your face with this clean smelling stuff, and then getting in cool sheets. Reminds me of summer. Right there on my face.
4. Good Mexican food – I am a Mexican food connoisseur. Seriously. Underneath this pale, freckled skin and red hair is a tiny little Mexican. I LOVE Mexican food! In Connecticut, they had Mexican restaurants, but they were more expensive and more gourmet than in the south. In Florida, you get good, cheap, authentic Mexican food. Nothing dressed up or fancy. Just some good queso, enormous burritos with more queso, and homemade tortillas. To dip in queso.
5. Waffle House – Growing up, Waffle House was a staple in my hometown. It was where you went for breakfast. Where you went when you woke up late on Saturdays and needed a good lunch. Where you went at 4:00 in the morning after you’d been out with your friends. It was awesome all times of the day. Smothered, covered, and chunked hashbrowns. Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. Waffles with melted butter. And all the chocolate milk you could drink. The diners in Connecticut were pretty fantastic, but nothing compares to the food at Waffle House when you just need a greasy meal on your stomach.
6. Thunderstorms – Florida is the thunderstorm capital of the world. Okay. I don’t actually know if that’s a true statement, but it certainly feels true. Thunderstorms here are massive and loud and downright scary at times. I think its because the land is so flat and the air is so hot. You can see the lightning for miles. Oh, how I love it. Not such a fan of driving in the storms, but a good afternoon thunderstorm and a nap on the couch are just about the most homey, comforting sounds in the world. Connecticut had its fair share of rain, but hardly ever any lightning or thunder. I didn’t really think much about it, but being back in Florida I realize how much I missed that.
7. City Walk and Downtown Disney – When Chris was in college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and I would visit him every couple weeks, I would beg him to take me to City Walk at Universal Studios or Downtown Disney at Disney World. We never had enough money to get into the parks and we usually didn’t want to fight the crowds either, but outside each park is an area with shopping and restaurants. I loved going down there and just walking around at night. Occasionally, Chris would surprise me with dinner somewhere like Margaritaville on the boardwalk in City Walk, but most of the time we wouldn’t even eat there (too expensive for our college budgets). We’d just walk around and spend time together. I love both those places.
8. Biscuits and sausage gravy – Do I really have to explain or justify this one? I mean, really. Biscuits. With gravy. Made of sausage. Come on.
9. 1,000 country music stations on the radio – In Connecticut, I got one country station on my car radio. One. And only in certain spots. When the weather was perfect. And the wind blew just right. One country station. Here in Florida, every other station is country. And I loves me some country music.
10. Papa John’s Pizza – This one is a little tricky. New Haven, CT is known for its pizza. There is this area of town in New Haven called Wooster Square and rumor has it that when Rudy Guiliani ran the mafia out of New York, a few of the Sicilian families migrated up to New Haven and settled in Wooster. This area of town is like Little Italy. It has great pizza. Legendary pizza. Infamous pizza. I love this pizza. Thin crusted and full of toppings. Delicious. BUT, sometimes, a girl just needs some good ol’ Papa John’s Pizza! And there wasn’t one in the area we lived, so when we got to Orlando and discovered a plethora of Papa John’s Pizza with their special garlic sauce by the gallon? Well. I almost cried.