Recently, I ran into a coworker whom I had worked with for a few years who was in town from San Diego and was slated to move to Orlando in the second wave of San Diego-to-Orlando relocation efforts. So, I emailed him the following description to give him and his family an idea of what we've experienced here. Here are my takes on Orlando, as it pertains to me -- a Southern California native (which means I've been there for over three decades); hope you like it ..

In our first month here in August, we were inundated with stories of:
•    the huge bugs – spiders that were so big that when they scurried by, they were mistaken for rats!
•    lightning storms – where even with the most expensive surge protection, expensive large screen TVs were fried! some locals are mindful to unplug everything rather than to rely on surge protection.
•    and of course the statistics:
    Orlando is the 5th dummest city in the nation
    Orlando is the angriest city in the nation
    Orlando is a dangerous city

In addition, colleagues educated me as to where *not* to go: south OBT (Orange Blossom Trail), Paramore, Mercer, and Pine Hills (“crime hills”). The bugs and the crime stories made us feel like we were surrounded by danger and it was tough to sleep on some nights in the first few months. It also didn't help that everyone I’ve spoken to here has mentioned how they would LOVE to live in California which makes me wonder, "Why? What's so bad about Orlando, FL?".

So, it's now five months later and we love it here! LOL! Aside from love bugs which they say come out every Labor Day and Memorial Day and they’re out for a week or two (it’s pretty disgusting).. but aside from those, the other bugs aren’t so bad if you spray your place and do not live in a secluded woodsy area, and they disappear when it gets colder anyhow (like now). We LOVE the lightning storms. The lightning storms aren't as dangerous as we feared; and they are BEAUTIFUL. I adore the weather here -- the skies are gorgeous and dramatic. But, maybe I had grown too accustomed to Southern Californian weather – it bores me: the dreary marine layer in the morning, the dry sun, the dreary marine layer in the evening, the occasional earthquake, the dry Santa Ana winds.. blah. Still in the back of our minds, the crime and stupid statistics are here and we don't want to ignore them. But, so far, we’ve been fine: we know where not to go and we alarm our little apartment every time we step out or go to sleep. And that's different for me. I never had an alarm where I've lived and I've even lived in communities in San Diego where doors were left open, let alone unlocked. But, that’s where I am happy that we don’t plan to live here for the rest of our lives. My new hubby and I came out to live here for a couple years and move back to the west coast (San Diego or wherever life takes us) but we're having so much fun that I want to stay for more like five years.

We are really loving Orlando because of the people that we love here and the following places we’re still eager to visit:
•    Florida keys
•    Miami /South Beach, and Daytona
•    The South (we’re going to New Orleans and Galveston next month)
•    The East Coast (we’re planning to go to Savannah, GA in March; oh maybe that's also considered the South *shrug*)
•    Europe is much closer/cheaper from here (we're going to Budapest and Poland in October)
•    Cruises to all of these gorgeous islands (Virgin Isles, Caribbean and Bahamas) are really cheap here
•    When we wake up late, the lazy bones on the pacific coast are still fast asleep! muahahaha.
•    I haven't seen a single uppity superficial person here! Everyone is down-to-earth (granted, they are less stylish and not as attractive but who cares? they're nice!)

I would advise that living in Orlando, FL temporarily might be the best of both worlds/coasts. But, some people are lifers and I can see why. Florida is the tourist capitol of the world and that makes it feel like we're living in a permanent vacation time share.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Awesome post for anyone planning to move from California to Florida! I'm happy that the stories about big bugs, crime, and big bugs committing crimes were all unfounded.

  2. Alison says:

    Great post and good info for Orlando newbies. I was so worried about the weather and crime, never really prepared myself for the bugs. The weather has been a synch and the crime not an issue (as of yet) but the bugs have really freaked me out. I think if you brace yourself for the worst, you'll be pleasantly surprised how nice it all is. LOL!