since moving to orlando, to say i've experienced culture shock is a pretty big understatement. but each day, i get more and more comfortable here as i encounter new things, people, and experiences that make me appreciate my new surroundings in different ways.
this past week, my parents came to visit, and i got the opportunity to check out some places that i hadn't previously gotten to explore in the area. we spent a few days in the beachside community of vero beach (which, i swear to god, was the inspiration for seinfeld's "del boca vista", but nice nonetheless) and wandered around orlando's leu gardens, which was a beautiful retreat in the middle of the city.
but the place that really, really got me was winter park, a city just north of orlando that's been called "new england in florida". as soon as i stepped out of the car and onto the brick, tree-lined streets of the city's famed park avenue, i fell in love and felt extremely comforted - really, the first time i've felt "home" since i've moved here. it reminded me so much of the main streets in the boston area - and it felt almost like a quainter newbury street in boston. it probably only added to the charm that it was a brisk 60 degrees that day in orlando - a rarity for fall here - so i relished the chance to stroll in my scarf, sweater and boots. my parents and i snagged a streetside table at a casual eatery, 310 park south, and enjoyed our sandwiches as we people (and dog)-watched. i wandered into the newly-opened barnie's coffee kitchen after lunch for a chai latte, and decided promptly that i must live here someday. nevermind the 600k-multi-million dollar price tags on most of the area homes. it's happening, y'all!