The following is a list of what I miss about Florida. I lived there for about 18 months, and while I find that in general I'm more of a Portland kinda gal than a Floridian, there are things about it that I miss. These...are those things. (insert Law & Order "bum bum" sound).
Hanging out at my dad's place - One of the best things about having spent time in Florida was getting to see more of my dad, my stepmom Ellen, and siblings Billy and Lindsay. Well, my brother Billy was out living his own life in Orlando - how dare he - but I still saw him more times than if, say, I had not been in Florida. But I particularly enjoyed heading over to my dad's place, sitting by the pool with him, Ellen, Dave, occasionally Lindsay, and several appetizers and bottles of wine. The best appetizer was velveeta and Rotel melted in a small crockpot and eaten with scooped Fritos. Scooped Fritos, not regular Fritos. I also enjoyed how, the more wine was consumed, the louder we got. There was one topic of conversation which, I dare say, made an appearance at each and every gathering in one form or another - Puerto Rico's status. That one got especially loud.
La Granja - I actually expected to find better Cuban food down there than I actually got, but I think we were too far from Miami-Dade. But La Granja, man, that was a good place to get rotisserie chicken. Now, I don't know what Cubans call rotisserie chicken, but Puerto Ricans call it BBQ. It's not BBQ, I know. But we call it that anyway. So, a tub of black beans, a tub of yellow rice, and a mess o' BBQ chicken. Damn.
Cuban food delivered to your office - There was a Cuban restaurant that delivered to the office park where I worked. Not just lunch, but breakfast too. Cubanos, scrambled eggs with toasted Cuban bread, tostones, oh my! Did you know that the sweetener in café con leche is actually crack?
Short flights to PR - There is nothing like being able to wake up at a decent hour, go to the airport, hop on a plane, and be walking into the wall o'humidity that greets you just outside the San Juan airport's doors three hours later. A weekend jaunt to see the fam? Easy. No interminable flights, no layovers, no wasting a whole day of your vacation just to get to your destination. And the best part - only having to put up with rowdy Puerto Rican passengers for three hours instead of 5 or 6. Such as those who get pissed and cry discrimination when the flight attendant tells them that Courvoisier is only available in first class, and not in coach. Listen, pana, if you want to get fancy with the liquor you're just going to chug down anyway, plunk down the cash and go harass the passengers in first class. They get their own bathrooms, too, it's really much better up there.
Hoochie mamas - Oh my God. I thought Puerto Rican women had a penchant towards dressing somewhat inappropriately. Let me describe some of the things I saw: women going to job interviews in miniskirts and fuck-me stiletto heels, women wandering the aisles of Marshall's in shorts where you could - seriously - see their buttcheeks hanging out, women running a quick errand in bikini tops. Extra points for spotting a hoochie mama who was also tanned to a matte leather finish. Some of these women were not physically equipped to be making these fashion choices; in fact, most of these hoochie mamas did not, in any way, have any business flashing anyone their cottage cheese asses. And if they thought that showing their cleavage and crossing their legs Basic Instinct-style was going to get them the job - well, some of them may actually have been right. They did get jobs. I wonder if that would work in Portland.
Publix Brand Fruit Sorbet - I bought it on a lark, because it's a store brand and therefore cheaper. But you'd never know it's generic - they actually tasted like the fruits they were supposed to be made out of. They had various flavors, but being the simple kinda gal that I am, my favorite was Orange.
Beaches you can swim in - In Oregon, you don't call it "the beach". You call it "the coast". You don't really go swimming up here, because the water is usually too choppy and cold. But even in the summer, you don't see people laying out in bikinis, working on their tans. People go to the coast to relax, fly kites, let their dogs run, and just stare out into the ocean. It's very nice and I can appreciate it, but I'm a run-into-the-water-swim-then-run-back-to-my-towel-and-drink-a-cold-beverage-under-a-blazing-sun type of beachgoer. Florida can provide that. Oregon, sadly, cannot. Sorry, Oregon.