Do you ever feel a different atmosphere in different locations? I was thinking today how different life was when we left Elgin, a suburb of Chicago, and moved to Florida.
Life just felt different there!
Of course, the first noticeable difference was the weather. During Elgin winters, we had to have snow boots, snow pants, mittens, gloves and scarves topped off by a heavy parka with either a hood or some kind of knitted hat. Seriously, guys, I really did walk to school in snow ... for two blocks!
But in Florida, I only had to sometimes wear a sweater. No keeping up with mittens or gloves. Glorious! Oh, the freedom! I felt like a bird let out of a cage.
Winters in Elgin were dark. It seemed like the sun had better things to do than to shine on us. In Florida, every day was a sunny day. If it did rain, it would rain for like 10 minutes, stop, and the sun would come out and dry everything up.
Besides the weather, another big difference for us was the housing. We'd always lived in two story white houses that were built almost a century ago. Now we lived in a brand new one story house made of brick and block, and instead of carpet, there were terrazzo floors. (It looked like polished cement somewhat similar to granite counter tops). You didn't need tons of blankets and quilts or heavy window coverings.
The neighborhoods were different. I'd been used to living in an older settled neighborhood only a few blocks from little mom and pop style businesses bordered by the Elgin Watch factory. Now we lived in a subdivision that covered about 80 blocks.
I guess for me personally, school was the biggest change of all. I was in the middle of the fifth grade school year when we moved. As I said before, in Elgin I walked two blocks to school. In Tampa, I walked 11 blocks. In Elgin, we went home for lunch, but in Tampa, we ate in the school cafeteria. What a shock that was! Cafeteria food was like nothing I'd ever tasted.
If that wasn't enough, Florida schools made even 5th graders go outside every day for P.E. or phys-ed as we called it in those days.
I haven't even discussed all the other changes I experienced when we moved - like THE BEACH, or getting my own room for the first time, or Cuban foods, Busch Gardens and Dipper Dan's (which was like Baskin Robbins) - did you know there was such a thing as bubble gum ice cream??? You could grow banana and orange trees in your yard! Even the grass was different because St. Augustine grass is nothing like the grass grown in northern Illinois.
It was enough to make your head spin.
I've moved to other places in my life and each place felt different, but none was quite the culture shock that I experienced going from the Chicago area to Florida.
However, every move had some things that stayed the same. I could always count on family being there. I knew there'd be dinner every night at the family table. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I'd be in church Sunday worshiping God, whatever town I lived in.
I know that someday I will again experience culture shock when I move from my earthly existence to my heavenly Home. Everything there will look differently, smell and feel differently. There will be no more rainy days and "nothing but clear sunny days*." It will be life-changing and take some adjusting, but I think I won't have a problem with it. It will feel like Home because there will still be some familiar things.
Family and God.
This post is #9 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."