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Why I Live Here: South Florida

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I was living in San Diego, enjoying the year-round sunshine, when my boyfriend, Lou, got a job offer in Seattle. I had been there once. My friend took me to trendy places I hated, but I figured every town has laid-back haunts where I would fit in.



Lou moved in the summer of 2000, and I joined him January. I was excited for a change. San Diego was where I spent my twenties, and I had just entered my thirties. I thought I was getting too old for the social scene.



Everyone kept telling me that the perception of Seattle as dreary and rainy was exaggerated.  I thought the views would be nice. And I would still be living near water.



Once I got there, Seattle and I just didn’t click. I realized this at the end of August, when I started to feel the first nip of fall. I thought, “That’s it? That’s all the sun I get until next year?”

 

Everyone in Seattle says, “It really doesn’t rain all that much here.” This is a true statement. Miami gets more rain per year than Seattle. But in Seattle, two of every three days are gray! Not so much rain, true. But very little sun. Seattle boosters leave that part out! Also, I’ve never lived anywhere else where people try so hard to sell the place, repeating over and over how great it is.



I tried to buy in, but the sales pitch rang hollow.



By 2006, I needed a new plan. I diagnosed myself with a mood disorder triggered by the weather. I craved the sun. I wanted warmth, but more than anything, it’s the sun that just makes me happy.



I visited my college roommate Sue in south Florida. She had such a nice life with the ocean nearby and all that glorious sunshine. I thought about how much fun the two of us could have living in the same city, something that hadn’t happened since graduation.



I wanted to move, but I didn’t want to give up my job at an advertising agency. I talked to my boss about telecommuting, and she was receptive. My job involves coordinating a lot of details, and one small problem can snowball quickly. My boss didn’t want to lose me, so she approved my request to work remotely. I hated to give up the office perks: unlimited free Diet Coke, a foosball table, and a plasma TV.



But the palm trees were calling my name. I even sold Lou on it.



The weather was typically gloomy the morning we left Seattle. And it was raining. Lou told me to look back and take one last look. “No!” I said. Lou drove like it was his job to get us there by sundown. Every time I suggested stopping, he said “Just another hundred miles.” We made the 3,600-mile trek in four days.



We settled in Delray Beach, about fifty miles from Miami.



Our lives improved in ways we never expected. Our families, mine in Massachusetts and Lou’s in New York, are just a three-hour flight away. My sister had emergency surgery in December, and I was able to get to the Boston hospital much faster than if I were still in Seattle.



Sue and I play tennis all the time, and I’m getting to watch her kids grow up. Though I’m not interested in children for myself, I like spending time with Sue’s little girls.



I have always preferred Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks, and here there’s a Dunkin’ on every corner.



Yes, there are a lot of elderly people in south Florida, and that requires patience.



Lou and I are not sure this is our forever home. It’s our for-now home, and I wouldn’t trade it.



I like knowing that if it rains today, tomorrow will probably bring sun. And I can make plans to spend the day outdoors knowing there’s little chance I’ll have to switch gears because of the weather.

 

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