I like Tampa. That’s what I’ve decided. I haven’t decided why. It’s a funny place, and it feels nice to be here. I wondered, as we drove off on Saturday, what it might be like, or if I’d ever start to feel the shock of leaving. I wondered if it might be suddenly traumatic, or if I might just slide seamlessly away. I felt a little bit like we stole away in the night... There was no final, loud celebration, or any crowds standing on the docks waving their handkerchiefs and wiping their eyes. We boarded the truck early in the morning and sailed away quietly.
It’s strange to be at the beginning of something. I’ve done this before; packed my life away and headed south to live a totally unfamiliar life. Wilmington was once brand new, and then familiar, and then I adored it, and at some point it became my home. I’m aware that this process is about to reoccur. I don’t feel afraid. I feel like I want to drive around all the roads on Tampa and meet all the people and find the best coffee shop. There’s a store we pass on our way to work called “All About Puppies”. The outdoor pool is open until Halloween. There are two Urban Outfitters and an Ikea. The Starbucks in the neighborhood we’re looking into is open 24 hours. The African Safari themed Busch Gardens is ten minutes away. We have a 24 pack of Cheerwine stocked in the refrigerator in the garage. It won’t be home overnight, but it is a good new world.
We’re living with some of Kyle’s family, and so we’ve acquired a large house, a dog, and four kids under six. Tuesday morning the three oldest crawled into bed with us with their favorite books at a too-early hour. They hug us goodnight. We’ve helped make dinner. It feels like real family… I haven’t had that for awhile. I’m grateful for how welcomed we are. I think living with a whole established family could be tricky, but they make it seem normal. I also think that their four-little-kid-life is a glorious nuthouse, so we probably fit right in. “Of course there’s a married couple living in the guest room.”
Kyle and I both work in cubicles. It’s hysterical and awesome. We’ve been really occupied since we started training Wednesday. If you want our job descriptions, probably you could talk to Kyle about his. I’m still trying to figure mine out. It’s good to have something to do, something to think about, and somewhere to focus all of my excited energy. Everyone is quirky. Everyone is friendly.
Kyle and I are having a lot of fun together. We drive around a lot. We’ve been shopping. We’ve played Roller Coaster Tycoon. We’ve ridden our bikes around the neighborhood. We’ve braved Ikea (I still see it when I close my eyes.) We’ve talked to some of you, but not all of you. We’re sorry about that.