Merry meet one and all.
As promised, this is a quick post as I'm trying to get my head around all the cultural differences I'm experiencing now that we're down in Florida and starting to get settled.
The first thing I have to say is that the people here are so friendly! I know the whole British accent thing really goes down well anyway, but we're finding people are going out of their way to be helpful and explain things if we don't understand (thank you in particular to the chap at the car dealership who went into detail about the process of car buying and the lady in the Cox office today who went above and beyond to get us a good deal and make sure we understood it). Having said that, things haven't been plain sailing for us; anything that can go wrong has gone wrong, so it's been a tough couple of weeks, but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing I have noticed is there is a church of some description on almost every street we've driven down, and people seem to be very open about their Christian values. With this in mind, people have on occasion noticed my pentacle necklace, but nobody has commented. Having said that, when things have been going wrong for us and we've been relying on charm in the hope that people will do everything they can to help, I'm afraid I did take my necklace off. It's not that I'm ashamed of being a witch, and I know that some people may be upset, disappointed, or even disgusted that I made that decision, but the fact of the matter is my beliefs are nobody else's business but my own. As human beings, we judge a person within six seconds of laying eyes on them. Six seconds, and they've made up their mind about the kind of person you are and therefore that will affect how they respond to you. We are a long way from home, and have had no formal identity in the US until now, and the system is hard to crack if you have no social security number, no drivers licence, and no credit history. Add in to the equation the fact that our beloved German Shepherd dog is considered a dangerous dog so no realtors would help us find a home, and you might be able to see why I wouldn't do anything to jeopardise our chances of getting help.
We have now managed to find a house through a private landlord that is within our entitlement based on my husband's rank and number of dependents (just me), and it's nice and airy with a neat enclosed back garden so we can sit outside with the dog. The house does have air conditioning, but it's also angled in such a way that the sun isn't directly shining through the front or the back, which should keep the temperature down meaning we should need the air conditioning a little less than expected. We've also made sure that any appliances we buy are as energy efficient as possible to keep our electricity usage to a minimum. Thankfully the washing machines out here are much quicker than back home; a normal wash at home took an hour and twenty minutes on our old machine, but here the drum is larger so I will need to do fewer washes, and they're done within about thirty minutes. Our washing machine is also only a few months old and states it's one of the most economical models on the market. I am slightly perplexed as to why nobody seems to dry their washing outside in the scorching hot sunshine though; I will have to try to rig up a washing line I think as I can't bear to tumble dry all the time.
The one area I failed miserably on is the car. Because we need a big car to not only get the dog in but also his crate when we pick him up from the airport in a few days, we've had to go fairly big. Ok, it's huge by British car standards, I won't lie, and we would never have considered it back in the UK, but it was the first car both my husband and I got excited about. As a consolation it is big enough to shove some essentials and the dog in should we have to evacuate in a hurry because of a hurricane. In fact at a pinch we could sleep in it I reckon, dog and all. We'll just have to try to keep our driving to a minimum like we did back home, though I reckon on balance going from two smaller cars to one bigger one is probably about the same as it will be doing just one commute a day.
Anyway, that's our progress so far. I'm hoping to check out a new age shop that has been suggested to me, so I'm hopeful of finding suitable supplies there. In the meantime it's a question of keeping an eye on the sustainability of our lifestyle choices and adapting as necessary. I'll report back in a few days.
Blessed be )0(