Every year I make at least two trips back to Tallahassee. It’s difficult to get my head around the fact that I lived here for 37 years, then left so easily. Having been brought up in the northeast, attending Syracuse University (which prepared me for living in snow country!), and visiting the New York area while the kids were small, I always felt a sense of belonging in the north that I did not feel in the south. That said, when I got here last Thursday afternoon after eight states and a quick overnight stop in Weaverville, North Carolina, it was all so familiar and comfortable.
While there are many many changes in the Tallahassee landscape, I still have trouble feeling so comfortable and yet not living here! It’s a very weird feeling. But, after 2 1/2 years away, I find myself identifying the things I miss. For example, the town the day before a big football game. It was a home game weekend so the university area was exciting, crowded, anticipatory. Only hours after arriving, I was in College Town, an area that didn’t exist when I lived here; beautiful apartments, restaurants, bars, parking (valet parking for students — are you kidding?!), all for students and within walking distance of campus. Fine dining in all parts of town, new shops, renovated buildings, a new downtown entrance, and a roundabout approaching the stadium. I miss getting in the car and pretty much getting wherever I want to be in less than 30 minutes — shopping is 5 minutes away for anything you could possibly need. Getting to the airport which is about as far as you can get is 30 minutes. Going to Costco was a fun activity for me (doesn’t that sound pathetic?!) mainly because it was so convenient. In the Pocono community where I live now it’s 20 miles each way to Home Depot or a decent grocery store, an hour to Costco in New Jersey, or to Homegoods or other stores. It’s 45 minutes at least to New York and shopping; 1 3/4 hours to New York City. These things are advantages as well, but when I went into Publix for a couple of things, I wanted to shop and shop and shop.
I miss the beauty of Tallahassee, going out to lunch or dinner and running into people I know or taught or worked with. Now there are many things I do not miss: summers in Tallahassee, humidity, palmetto bugs, driving near the university or down Tennessee Street (especially on a game weekend), running into people you know everywhere you go (it’s a double-edged sword for sure!), Florida politics (although it is always entertaining), and working full-time.
Visiting here, coming home again, re-visiting — whatever you want to call it — is wonderful. I have said many times that I am thankful to be flexible enough to come to Tallahassee whenever I feel like it. So, having a great time in the gorgeous weather and wish you were here!!