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The Misplaced Hoosier

New to Florida by way of Indiana

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Orlando

I May be Misplaced, but Orlando is My City

In the 10 months since we’ve left Indianapolis, Orlando has just been the town I moved to.

Indiana was home, and Indianapolis was my hometown. I was here with reservations, and my heart wasn’t in it.

But last night, after 49 people were killed and another 53 wounded at Pulse,  a local gay nightclub here in Orlando, this has become my city.
Continue reading “I May be Misplaced, but Orlando is My City”

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The Time I Had an Overnight Guest

I had an overnight guest last week at the Kerouac House.

His name was Adam, and he was traveling.

Not on vacation, not on a trip.

Just. . . traveling.

He didn’t have anywhere to be, he just wanted to keep moving.

So I took him in because he was living the Jack Kerouac life. And I knew if I didn’t, I’d kick myself for years to come.
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Day 61: In Which We Search for a Church

The hardest part of moving to a new city where you don’t know many people is searching for a new church. You can’t ask just anyone, because walking up to someone in the street and asking where they go to church is both awkward and impolite.

Er, or so I’m told.

We start our search a couple weeks after we arrive, trying one church after another. A good friend introduces us to his sister and brother-in-law, and we visit their church. It’s a nice church, very big, and everyone is very friendly. But we’re more liberal than this church, so we agree to keep looking. However, we also agree we may want to revisit this church once in a while. Sometimes there’s something cool about being in a big church.

The following Saturday, we Google “progressive church Orlando” and try to choose from the most liberal-sounding ones that don’t delve into the hippy-dippy.

That didn’t work.

If there was a church created specifically for hipsters, we find it the next morning. There are so many lumberjack beards and flannel shirts here, I think I’m in Portland, Oregon.
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Day 31: Creative City Project Orlando

We must have come to Orlando at the right time, because we’ve managed to catch a lot of art celebrations.

From the Third Thursday/Dio de la Muertas block party.
From the Third Thursday/Dio de la Muertas block party.
Whether it’s a mural painting party at Sam Flax, the local arts supply store, or Third Thursday Dio de la Muertas (Day of the Dead) celebration, we’ve done something arty every weekend.

Last Saturday the 17th was the Creative City Project Orlando, a multi-stage festival that shut down Orange Street right in the heart of downtown. It’s a four block stretch, the restaurants are open, there are a few food carts, but no food trucks. (I have yet to see a food truck downtown.)

If you time it right, you can park anywhere for CCPO. We arrive about an hour before the first performance, and park in the lot across from my office in The Exchange Building. It’s $1 per hour, which isn’t great, but it’s only 4 blocks from where we need to be. Down here, that’s pretty close.
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Day 24: In Which I See My First Pride Parade

I’ve been told by my gay friends and by people in the Orlando entertainment business, Orlando is a very gay friendly city. It has to do with the fact that Disney and Universal Studios hire more gay people than just about anywhere in the state. I would even wager just about anywhere in the country.

So the Orlando Come Out With Pride Festival, and Saturday’s Pride Parade, is a big deal.

The Pride Orlando organization
The Pride Orlando organization

My friend, Clay Rivers, invited me to watch the Pride Parade with him and a few friends. So I spent the day Saturday running errands and exploring — I’m really intrigued by the neighborhood called Mills 50 — before meeting him in front of his friends’ condo on Central.
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Day 21: Five Things I Hate and Five Things I Like About Orlando

I’ve been in Orlando for roughly three weeks, and am figuring out the things I like and don’t like about my new city.

Five Things I Hate About Orlando

  1. The traffic: Everyone is so laid back here, they don’t drive much over the speed limit. They especially don’t drive much over the speed limit in the left lane.
  2. There’s no baseball. There’s the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, and that’s it. There are a gazillion Single-A minor league teams, and none of them are within an hour of Orlando.
  3. There’s one interstate highway for 2 million people: Come on, man! Indiana has five different interstates for 1 million people. Sure, there are plenty of parkways and state highways though, but most of them are tollways. They’re finishing a part of the parkway system so it runs around Orlando, but I think we’re a year or two from completion.
  4. Continue reading “Day 21: Five Things I Hate and Five Things I Like About Orlando”

Day 11: Snakes. Why Did It Have to be Snakes?

I’ve never been a big fan of snakes. I hate them. I hate snakes so much, I wish they were all eaten by sharks. And then the sharks were all eaten by bigger sharks, which were then fired into the sun on big rockets.

And don’t give me that “snakes eat vermin” bullshit. Snakes only exist to creep people out. It’s not like we’d get overrun with vermin anyway. Look at the New York City sewers. People flush all kinds of alligators down there, but the city is still overrun with rats.

If they really wanted to solve the New York rat problem, they would have started flinging snakes down in the sewers by the bagful. But they haven’t, so really, how useful can snakes be?

Boom, snake logic.
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Day 5: Exploring Orlando

After keeping ourselves around the vacation home for a few days, right off the Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway — you ever want to Hulk smash your GPS, listen to her fumble with that mouthful 7 times on one trip — Emma, Ben, and I decide to do a little exploring on Saturday.

I map out a few places I know they would like to visit: Sam Flax Art Supplies, Sam Ash Music, Best Buy (I wanted to get a new Internet modem), and a comic book store.

My in-laws show up on the same day. They’re looking for a vacation rental in the area, so we said they could come down, especially if they could bring a few items we couldn’t get in our cars. They left two days after we did, and showed up today.

After helping them unload, Emma, Ben, and I pile into my car, and head up I-4 to Downtown Orlando.
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Day 3: In Which We Arrive in Orlando

After spending the night in Bowling Green, KY, and the next night in Macon, GA, we roll into Orlando. We’ve spent the last three days not riding in a convoy, and I can’t recommend this enough.

It relieves soooo much stress on the drivers. No one is driving too slow or too fast. No one is stopping too much or not enough. We agree to try to be in an area at the same time, but if we’re not, no big deal.

We nearly miss Toni and Maddie in Valdosta, and actually only get 2 minutes together before they’re off again.

I stop with Emma and Ben and pick up a Florida Toll SunPass. You stick it on the windshield of your car, and a little transponder chip inside tracks your car as you pass through tollways, deducting an amount from your account. I can’t recommend this enough either. The Florida Tollway is the fastest way to get from I-75 to Orlando, and this will save you several minutes. Of course, we use up the minutes saved by activating it by phone, but it’s still worth it.
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