Wednesday, October 17, 2012


One year ago today I arrived in Florida and began the process of restarting and rebuilding my life.  It has been a year of ups and downs; of challenges and excitement. I still believe it was the right thing for me to do and do not regret making the move.  There are many things I love about living in Florida and the weather is only one of them.  I definitely DO NOT miss winter and its cold, snow and ice.  Yes the summer had its hot and humid days, but Maryland has them as well.  We actually had less severe weather than they did this summer.  I know they had lots of threats of severe weather since I can't get Montgomery county to stop sending me the text messages on my cell phone.  Currently the fall weather here, though wetter than usual, is beautiful. 

I have been very busy since arriving in Florida.  I did have a slow start due to not being able to find a doctor and getting treatment for my RA for the first 4 months, but once that challenge was met and I got back my flexibility and for the most part lost the pain I got busy.  My energy level isn't what it used to be, but that may have as much to due to age as RA.  I can do a lot in a day or maybe even two, but then I need to really rest for a day or two.  An example is I can go to Disney World and spend the day and maybe also evening walking around with no problem, but then the next day I need to have planned R&R to get back my energy level. 

What have I been doing this year.
  • I've joined a number of "clubs" in The Villages.  Most that I have joined deal with my interests such as Card Making, Quilting, and Disney.  Some are purely social such as neighborhood and church gatherings and a few activities for singles.
  • I have learned how to play several new card games such as Samba and Texas Hold 'em, and have become reacquainted with Canasta a card game of my childhood and youth.  
  • I have read a lot. And I do mean a lot!  I've collected the books in a box to give away at some point and there are currently over 30 in there. That doesn't count the library books I've read or those that were loaned to me by others.
  • One thing I have really enjoyed is learning how to line dance more than just The Electric Slide.  I have spent a fair number of evenings dancing and listening to music at one of The Village squares.  (As of last weekend we now have three free music venues every night and that doesn't count the musical entertainment at the various bars.)  
  • I've made a few short trips to visit other parts of my new home state.  One trip took me over to Tarpon Springs on the Gulf Coast.  As part of that trip I revisited places from the past when my parents lived in Bayonet Point.  Sadly their old neighborhood was looking pretty run down.  But looking back on good times had there was fun.
  • There have been lots of trips to Disney World.  I've gotten more than my money's worth out of my annual pass.  It was a good investment and I have enjoyed the relaxed nature of visiting there when you know you can always come back to see what you miss.  There have been fun free concerts and other events such as Epcot's Flower and Garden show and now its Food and Wine Festival. With an annual pass and shopping restraint a visit to WDW can be very inexpensive for FL residents.  
  • I am finding a variety of volunteer opportunities.  Some of these are directly tied to volunteer experiences I had in MD such as working with 4-H, packing food bags for the homeless, and our quilt guilds up coming quilt show scheduled for January of 2013.  I'm also finding new activities involved with support of military personnel deployed overseas and their families, working with craft classes for people living in assisted living homes and soon I will be working with a craft group meeting in a new women's prison in Ocala.  
I am definitely not bored!  I thought I would be going to the movies more once I moved down here since it is much less expensive to do so down here than up north, but I actually haven't.  Partly I just don't find the time to do so, partly I think why pay money for such things when there are so many free things to do.  The truth is actually probably more that I just don't like to go to movies alone.  If I'm going to watch something alone I'll sit at home and do it on my TV. 

One thing I have learned about life in TV (The Villages) is people eat out A LOT! They eat out before group activities, they eat out after group activities.  They eat out after card games and after golf games.  Church on Sunday morning....go out for brunch afterwards!  Nothing specific to do on a Thursday evening find a group of friends and go out for dinner. Going for an early morning walk or exercise class go out for breakfast afterwards. I think between all the various groups I am involved with I could probably eat out at least 8 or 9 meals a week.  I don't though; too much money and way too many calories.  I eat out 1 or maybe 2 meals a week.  Consequently, I spend a lot of time begging off invitations to join in dining out.  The other thing done a lot down here is drinking.  Booze is cheap in most bars. Most have Happy Hours all day and night long.  I've seen bumper stickers that say "The Villages--a drinking community with a golfing problem!"

All the above said what is my favorite activity in The Villages.  Well other than going down to Disney World I think my favorite activity remains driving around TV in my golf cart.  There's something freeing about it.  I love being out in the fresh air.  I also like not having to visit the gas pump with it.  It's electric!  Oh and I love the cloud formations in FL.  They can be absolutely breath taking! 

I have met a lot of wonderful people, made lots of friendships and am now cementing those friendships which are becoming deeper than others.  I still miss my friends from Maryland and hope one day some of them will wander down this way to visit.  I definitely miss my family members, but they all have lives of there own that they are now involved with.  I look forward to their coming down to visit as well as my going back to visit with them. 

Now on into my second year.  I am looking forward to what God has planned for me in this next year.  He has indeed been good to me so far.  He has guided my steps and protected me when I've needed protection.  He is my strength and my hope.  I am daily amazed at the depth of his love and his grace. I praise God and give thanks to him for all he has done for me.

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