idk how ppl got this coloring to work

Dear Florida

I’ve heard ppl say they hate living here my entire life. All 26 years of it. While it gets old, I understand! There’s a lot of bad stuff here, like SO much, but I was born here and I have so many memories here, I can’t imagine hating it with my entire being. I grew up near the gulf in the suburbs and then moved to orlando so I know my experiences may not be universal but whatever :). Here’s some Florida positivity and feelings:

- I know it doesn’t appeal to everybody, but perfect beach weather! I grew up near pine island and I swear my family had every birthday there. Eating burgers and hot dogs at the picnic tables so close to the water, the gulf breeze ruffling sundresses and cheap plastic table cloths.

- where I lived there was a large wooden tower you could climb up and watch the sunset/rise from. Years of teenaged graffiti had been carved into it’s beams and made you nostalgic for the days of hanging out with friends during the summer and not worrying about having to pay your bills or go to work.

-swimming at the spring, crystal clear cold water with the warm sun at your back, your nerves awake and tingling.

- ice cream sandwiches and freezepops while you walked down the cracked pavement, prickly grass poking through.

- nature always shines through the urbanization, Florida can’t stop being Florida.

- gaggles of kids during the summer, running up to any house where there was evidence of another child and ringing the doorbell, asking if there were any other kids there to come out and play.

- the cities are ugly and regular draughts dry up the grass and ponds, but there’s something weirdly nostalgic and unique about those stretches of road, lined with failed businesses and strip clubs and used car lots. As a kid I always imagined those empty parking lots as the perfect place for a fight between superpowered folks or werewolves lol idk

- waking up early to see the sun rise from the overpass and waving to the cars below as ppl commuted to work. ALMOST as beautiful as the sunsets.

- imagine if you got to see the most gorgeous explosion of color in the sky every single night. So much so that you almost get used to it and then, one night, you stop to really looked at the gradient of pinks and purples and oranges and realize all over again how breathtaking it all is.

- the stars at night over the beach and the smell of fried food from a seafood shack close to shore.

- cicadas screaming while you try to get a dragonfly to land on your kayak or catching lizards and grasshoppers in the grassy lot near the woods.

- little crabs scurrying in the sand and finding a seagull feather to put in your headband. Sandhill crane couples making their way across the street and making you late to class (but they’re so pretty!) And the sounds of wild peacocks while you swim in your friends pool before dark. Signs of animals everywhere you go.

- publixes in Orlando with the best guava pastries and even better croquettes. The subs! The fried chicken!! The sweet tea!!!

- tiny ice cream shops like papa Clyde’s thatve been around for 30+ years and have the best handspun shakes you’ll ever taste.

- the mermaid shows and tubing down a lazyriver and manatees that are too chill. Getting lucky enough for a baby manatee to fearlessly brush against your leg.

-a warm breeze rustling through the palms at night. Bonfires during the short winters while the dogs dig in the dirt for a nice cool place to sleep.

- theme parks just an hour away. Knowing every loop of the coasters by heart and leading your out of state friends on a tour of a place you know like the back of your hand.

- hurricane parties and waving to your neighbors as you wade across the cul-de-sac, water up to your knees. You haven’t spoken to them in a while but you catch up under an umbrella and ask if they need any batteries or toilet paper.

- fresh oranges and feeding baby Gators and the scent of sunblock and a hot water bottle rolling around the floor of your car.

Feel free to add any good/nostalgic Florida memories!