I am already back in Portland. So much for my "grand adventure."
I don't really know what I was expecting in Florida. Probably sunshine and alligators and streets full of very tan, muscular men who walk around shirtless because of the heat. Or something along those lines.
It didn't take long for me to discover that my destination was a place that looks like Alabama.
|I swear I could hear banjo music in the distance...|
|What was that noise overhead? Oh, you know, just an alien spacecraft...|
Everything was flat and covered in a combination of scraggly little trees and grass that needed to be watered. Billboards promoting fundamental religious beliefs lined the highway. There was not a single hipster in sight - instead, it seemed that everyone was overweight and attempting to keep their unruly flab inside their tight clothes while drinking a large ice tea from the one Starbucks in town.
It should also be noted that I had to explain to a barista in that one Starbucks how to make me a cup of basic, brewed coffee. I realize that I'm beginning to sound like a snob, but it was all a bit shocking.
Landing in a household that assumed I was a "liberal, green peace, tree-hugging hippy freak" simply because I asked where the recycling bin was didn't do much for my opinion of Central Florida. It didn't help that I was obliviously drinking decaf every morning. Anyway, it wasn't long until I wanted to go home.
In fact, all I could think of was Portland - my friends, my family, decent coffee, trash cans that say "LAND FILL" on them, the quirky night clubs, etc. So when I got a text asking if I could house-sit in Southeast, I quickly replied "YES" and booked a return flight to the Pacific Northwest.
It wasn't a worthless adventure - I feel as though I gained a lot of insight on the rest of the country as well as myself and how truly West Coast I am. I also got to spend a day at the beach, try a lot of weird Latin food (I stayed in a bilingual household), and see Cirque Du Soleil for free (I happened to be in the right place at the right time and some random guy named Ted handed me a ticket he couldn't use...so, so awesome). So that's all good stuff.
|Sticking my feet in The Atlantic Ocean|
|Hanging out with some seagulls|
|A bit of beautiful scenery|
|Embracing the campy side of Orlando|
|Eating yucca con chicharon (or, those potato-type things with pork skins on top)|
I also took advantage of the moderately abysmal scenery and shot a music video when no one was looking. I only took one take because I wasn't entirely sure where I was and those big black birds were beginning to circle above me (vultures, perhaps?), but I think it turned out okay.
Anyway, it feels incredibly good to be back in the town that still honors the dream of the 90's.
Except I'm not really back in town - I'm staying at my parents' house in the country. But that's a small detail.
(Note: If you are reading this and you are from Central Florida or anywhere in The South, please do not take offensive to this post. I do not have anything against you - I've just lived in Portland my entire life and found your Bible Belt shocking. Take everything I say with a grain of organic kosher salt.)