Florida is a really weird place. I love it and it's home now, but it is entirely unique. Florida is as Southeast as the United States gets, but it is a state that just can't be categorized as the South or the East. When I think of the South, I think of slow, well-fed (if you know what I mean), Baptist, and Republican. When I think of the East, I think formal, classy, upscale, and Democrat.
But Florida is none of those things, in my opinion; if it is any of those things, it's some kind of mish-mash.
I still remember when I interviewed for my job, almost exactly 6 years ago. I was eating dinner at Crispers with Bestie and a large group of people I'd never met. She was busy eating her future husband's soup (hee hee), and I was getting a geography lesson.
"Southern Florida is 'Little Cuba.' Northern Florida is 'Deep South.' Middle Florida is 'Cows.' Pinellas County is just normal."
That's really pretty accurate. I haven't spent much time in "Little Cuba," save for our "Last Hurrah" trip to Key West (which was totally awesome and everyone should go at some point in their lifetime). I also haven't spent much time in "Deep South," thank goodness, because the idea of people who still think they should have seceeded from the Union kind of frightens me. I haven't immersed myself too deeply into "Cows," either, but I've driven past them many times in my trips to Orlando, Ormond Beach, or Melbourne. I do know about Pinellas County, however, and it is this little scrap of normalcy, almost Northern-ness, smack in the middle of this awkward state. Almost everyone I meet has a connection to Chicago, Philedelphia, or New York. Those who were born and bred here have no real twang to their accents. They drive like maniacs, just like at home. Nobody is creepily nice like they are in maybe Georgia or Alabama. The only people who dress in beach wear 24/7 are the tourists. In fact, the only people who visit the beach more than a couple times a month (if that) are tourists. What a weird little Northern bubble stuck next to the Gulf of Mexico! Here are some more weird things about Florida, or at least where I live: the real estate is outrageous compared to most of the rest of the country; silkworms dangle off the trees in the spring; snowbirds. Enough said; the cold days feel colder than cold days up North; you can literally find any kind of food style you want in this area; there are no tornado sirens, yet frequent tornadoes; it's the lightning capitol of the WORLD.
But I think that's why I've found a home here. It feels normal in its weirdness. The only thing that would make me feel more at home would be snow and corrupt politicians.