Born and bred, raised and reared — I am a Florida girl, though I haven’t resided there in over twenty-four years! Throughout a year in Wisconsin, five years in Northern California, and long enough in the OC to raise my kids, I have always thought that eventually I would be back in Florida. I’m not sure why I thought that would be the case. I was happy in Wisconsin. I’ve been happy in California. Yet, Florida tugs at my heart with the strings of generations of my family and memories of friends. My California friends ask incredulously if I still want to move back to Florida even after last week’s hurricane. Well, of course I do. Or do I?

I am married to a minister; we don’t get to pick and choose where he serves. He is called by a congregation in a certain area, and he has the opportunity to decide whether to stay put or take off on a new adventure. My opinions are important, but the ultimate decision is his. Don’t get up in arms, my feminist friends. I knew the drill when I agreed to marry him! He is now deliberating a call for the eighth time in his ministry — to Minnesota. I love Minnesota in the summer; in the summer. Can this Florida girl make that change?

I am reminded of one of my favorite movies, The Pagemaster, in which a timid child is changed and matured after meeting books in the library — Horror, Fantasy, and Adventure. I feel as though I have become a child wondering what stories I will meet and how I will respond. Would a move to Minnesota be a horror or an adventure? Will I be forced  to live in my Florida fantasy world forever? Can I do this? My heart says perhaps I can. My tummy and my toes are skeptical.

I was raised on Southern food, and I still cook it often, much to the confusion of my OC friends. My dad fried everything: cubed steak; shoestring potatoes, which he cut and salted with such skill I was in awe; crispy cornbread that looked like tiny paper doilies.I spent hours shelling fresh peas on the front porch; and I ate bacon, eggs, and grits almost every day.

The amazing state of Wisconsin introduced my taste buds to new delights: dinner consisting solely of sweet corn straight from the field; Friday night fish fries, so unlike the fish fries of Florida, in taste if not in the fun and the community; asparagus straight from the garden; the first bratwurst I ever tasted!

Oh, and my wonderful California! Oh the culinary delight that you are! The wine and the Jelly Bellies. Delectable dishes from every imaginable ethnic group. I could choose to be Persian, Japanese, Mexican, Ethiopian, or Vietnamese easily on any given day. It was in California that I learned to love sushi, the food of all foods, and learned to appreciate the amazingness that is vegan food. Whatever would I do without these choices? How would it be in Minnesota not to have the option to run down the street for Poke bowls, acai bowls, or Pho whenever I had a craving? And how limited would fresh fruits and vegetables be in the dead of winter? I am so used to having anything I could ever want right at my local grocery store. Could I live without In n Out? What would Minnesota have to offer? Horror? Or adventure? My tummy wants to know!

Then there are my toes. I am known for going around barefoot — at home, in the yard, on the sidewalk, in the street, on the beach. I grew up running around the neighborhood in hand-me-down boy clothes with no shoes on my feet, Florida sand in my toes. When I am not barefoot, I am usually wearing flip-flops. California is great for that. California is great for a lot of things. If I wanted to, I could put my toes in the snow of the mountains and the sand of the beach on the same day! I prefer sand, and I still think the Atlantic Ocean is better than the Pacific, but that’s a different story. The terrible truth is that I am afraid of cold. I am afraid of slippers and snow boots and locking away my beautiful sandals for months at a time! I will have to wear socks! Maybe even two pair!

I know there are things about the Midwest that I like. In Wisconsin, I remember a field full of deer in the autumn, evergreens blanketed in pristine snow in the winter, and gladiolus in the garden in the spring. Before Wisconsin, I had only ever seen gladiolus in funeral arrangements. I do like the Midwest — short-term! I like Minnesota in the summer!

Long term? Horror or Adventure? Maybe it’s all in the way I choose to read. I am so glad this is not my decision to make. Minnesota? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll keep you posted.

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