A South Floridian’s Guide To Moving North

My people hail from New England. My hand to God, I had an uncle that was a lobsterman and looked just like the Gorton’s fisherman. My stock are a rustic people. I, however, was raised in south Florida because after my parents got married my father said, to hell with this crap, and packed up my mother and all their belongings and headed almost as far south as he could get to start life anew in Miami. It’s very possible he was aiming for the southernmost point of Key West and ran out of gas or got sick of driving and figured Miami was warm enough. I don’t know. I never asked him.

By the time they had me, their 6th child, they had settled into a small city about an hour north of Miami, but still as hot as the surface of the sun. I can assure you of that. It snowed there once. I don’t remember it. I was only 3 years old. I can imagine my father was pretty pissed that day. Poor man moves 1,500 miles to get away from snow and there it is like, you can run but you can’t hide! 

I’ve recently moved out of Florida, a state I had lived in my entire life, and am sitting on the precipice of my very first winter that won’t involve sweat. I don’t think it’s going to go well. I am woefully unprepared for this shock to my system. It’s still autumn and I’ve already threatened to move back four times. So, I feel it’s my obligation as a Floridian to prepare any of my fellow Sunshine Staters should they be packing up and heading this way. There are things I must tell you.

● First of all, if you’re thinking about moving north or are in the process, ABORT MISSION. You are absolutely, without a doubt, definitely going to die. I’m not even exaggerating. Okay, there may be some slight embellishment there, but no there isn’t, you are going to die. It’s cold up north. Have you heard about this? There are other states where the average daily temperature isn’t hot as balls! I’m serious!

● Fall is just a complex ruse to get you to think you’re going to like the north. They lure you in with all the pretty colors, but they don’t tell you those colors last for like a few weeks, tops. Then, all the leaves fall to the ground (hence the name) and you’re left with bare trees and a foliage slurry that sticks to the bottom of your shoes and makes you slip everywhere. If you’re lucky enough to not break your neck you end up tracking slimy leaf goop into your house and you’ll just slip there anyway.

● You have to own more than one long sleeved shirt. I mean, what the hell? How is a person supposed to live like this? I’m not even lying to you when I say I had to buy a winter coat. Not a hoodie, a true wool coat. And gloves, too! It’s madness. I had to pack away my bathing suits and shorts to make room for the cold weather stuff. It’s not like back home when I had that one sweater neatly folded at the very bottom of the drawer and I’d get it out that one day in January when it went below 40°F for like an hour. You have to have an entire wardrobe just for the winter months!

● You can’t wear flip flops year round. Well, you can, but the minute you open the door your toes are going to freeze and crack off and then you won’t be able to wear flip flops anymore. You’ll have to wear Birkenstocks or, my god, Crocs! And you have to wear shoes that are waterproof. You can’t just throw some sneakers on because the only thing worse than being cold is being wet and cold.

● You will never not be cold. You’re cold when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. You wake up to pee, you’re cold. You’re eating dinner, you’re cold. The floor is cold. The water coming out of the tap is like ice. The doorknobs are cold. The toilet seat is cold. Your coffee is cold three seconds after you pour it from the steaming hot pot. Everything is cold all the time, including you. The only time you’re ever warm is for about 30 seconds in the shower, but then all the hot water runs out and you’re cold again.

● You can’t set the heat at 75°F like you did down south because it doesn’t just kick on for an hour and a half every year. It’s constantly coming on, even when you set it at 68°F. And that might not sound too cold, but it is because, remember, you are used to it always being hot as balls.

If I still haven’t gotten through to you and this compelling evidence hasn’t convinced you to stay in your tropical bubble, all I can say is you’d better move way north. Move to Antarctica. Move to The North Pole. Move to freaking Fairbanks, Alaska because, if you live where the snowfall is mild like I do, all your northern friends will laugh at you when you complain about how cold you are. See, for them, you’re freezing your ass off but not enough.

So, go for broke. You’ve already left paradise and entered Hell. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Hell is hot, Christine. Hell is a fiery pit, a steaming cauldron. Oh no. Hell is 30°F with no socks and a cold cup of coffee while you’re walking through misty rain, looking at pictures on Facebook of your friends tanning at the beach in November and hearing your northern friends tell you about what real winter is. I have seen Hell, my friends. I am here.

*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay