Blue Skies and Bug Repellant

Gainesville is very different from Vista. Geographically, it’s almost night and day with difference in weather patterns, the presence of more bugs, (mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, lovebugs, fiercer ants) and lusher, greener landscapes with ponds and rivers plentiful. Demographically, it’s different too. Much of the town is populated with people who used to or are attending UF, or just people who grew up here. Whereas Mexicans dominated the population in SoCal, blacks and Indians (people from India) dominate central Florida. It’s a university town that really does center on its university, and this town turns up for Gator games when the team is in town. Take a stroll through the local grocery stores or The Oaks Mall on game day and you’ll be met with a sea of orange and blue. You’ll also have a hard time navigating around game-goers in RV’s and campers on busy streets like Archer Rd. and Newberry Rd. on game day, as it seems everyone takes to the streets to display their pride, as well as make their way to Ben Hill Stadium for kickoff.

San Diego hardly displayed even a fifth of this town’s enthusiasm when the SDSU men’s basketball team played their best season in 2011…

I like this departure. I’ve mentioned many times since my 26th birthday that I felt a change of scenery would be good for me, but I was too afraid to make the leap, and I needed a reason to do it other than it seeming fun. Living apart from my mom and dad for six years changed my psyche in ways I didn’t become aware of until I reunited with them. My life in California contained a lot of suppression – especially on weekends and holidays. With a husband working long hours, my best friend was usually my Wii console, or a stack of ungraded papers, or a glass of red wine. Oh, my dogs, too. Can’t forget them. I was so jealous of my friends who were able to dial up their parents and easily fit in some quality time. I didn’t have much quality time from July 2007 to August 25, 2014. I place the start date at July of ’07 because once they decided they’d leave, our interactions were always shrouded under the shadow of the upcoming breakup that we knew was inevitable. It’s nice to stay up late talking to my mom and not have the stress of knowing one of us has to catch a flight out in a few days, ending all this fun until some other undetermined date, ruining the encounter.

The other priceless gift is watching as my daughter interacts with her grandparents on a regular basis. Both sides, both she and they, needed each other so much. We needed them so much. I needed this so much. I’m so glad I didn’t get up and walk off of that flight when I left…

There’s a lot that I miss about my life in California, and I’m not sure I’ll ever truly stop mourning certain relationships, certain routines, or certain features of the first house I ever owned. I hope to make new friends and establish new customs, but I’m also not in a rush to make things “just like before.” The only way I can write a truly new chapter is to fill it with fresh content, so life has to be different now.

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