Reflecting on the place I call home
Florida Has Broken My Heart
The heat index in my city reached 106 yesterday.
I live on the Treasure Coast of Florida, but I’m increasingly wary of calling Florida a treasure anymore. We currently have the second-highest number of Coronavirus cases in the United States, surpassing even several entire countries, and a governor with his head in the sand from the beginning. The local news says hospitals will be overflowing by this coming weekend, which fills me with anxiety and dread. Of course, I’m anxious most of the time anyway, but never before has that feeling come from simply living in Florida.
The heat here is deadly. Every summer consists of praying my air conditioner can keep up with the elevated temperatures. One year it didn’t, and my family got sick from heatstroke while we waited for the repairman even though we were under our own roof. I’ve been here in Florida since I was fourteen years old, so you think I would be used to it by now, but I find the temperatures unbearable. I tell my husband every year that I’m not going to make it through another summer and he agrees.
I’m not exactly sure when the thought of moving to another country seriously entered my mind, but now it’s all I can think about. Honestly, I believe that if President Trump loses the election in October, it’s going to be bad either way. We either get four more years of Trump, or he loses and inflames his base to start another civil war with their huge stockpile of weapons. I don’t mean to be an alarmist or seem paranoid, but I see signs of this every day in the news. People don’t seem to be happy here anymore.
I have the word “peace” tattooed on my right ankle in Chinese. When I got it put on, my life was so far from peaceful it was laughable, but it was what I aspired to be more than anything in the world. Even now, I just want to live in peace, be calm, stay focused. There’s nothing else I need as badly. I began to look at moving away from the U.S. as a means of getting to that kind of peace as fast as possible. Of course, I know that no country is a perfect utopia, but it has to be an improvement over what’s happening in our country.
Here in Florida, we have our own special set of problems besides the heat. We have to worry about climate change as experts have predicted that parts of Florida will be underwater in the next several years. We probably have some time where I live before that happens, but the fear of a hurricane hitting us is always at the back of my mind. I can’t imagine being flattened by a hurricane in the middle of a pandemic. It would cause unbelievable suffering on top of what is already happening here. Every time my local weatherman mentions tropical depressions out in the Atlantic, I fall into one of my own.
Still, the idea of leaving my country hurts me. I’ve lived in Florida for more than 40 years, and I feel bad about abandoning it. America has been good to my family. The really hard part is that I don’t recognize it anymore. People I knew and loved in high school now want to fight with me every day on Facebook about politics. I’ve been accused of being everything from an idiot to a “libtard” and a snowflake.
Even though I mostly brush it off, it upsets me that their support of this president comes first, before our friendships and certainly before our country. No matter what hateful or hurtful thing Trump does, they are right there to defend it.
I used to get so angry about it, but right now I’m just tired. I have spent more time looking at my “peace” tattoo and wondering if I’ll ever find it. All I could ask for is my husband and children near me and a nice place to live with maybe a car and some scenery. That’s about it.
I go on Craig’s List every day and search for apartments in other countries, not really sure if I’m serious or just amusing myself. What I’ve discovered is that it comforts me to do these searches, to know that there are other places to go in the world. It gives me a sense of hope that I’m having trouble finding these days. My daydreams are simple for our family, but I don’t know if we could actually pull it off.
It feels like everyone in America is angry. I’m also angry, so I understand. I’m upset at the political and social issues and people taking sides. While I hope that things could change, I don’t want to count on it. There are other countries that have wiped out Coronavirus while we have it at alarming levels, especially in Florida.
Meanwhile, our president seems to have decided that he’s not going to deal with it anymore and move on. I haven’t seen the least bit of empathy coming from him or our governor. It leaves me feeling like I’m on my own with nobody to help me if I need it. Presidents are supposed to care about the people they serve.
I’ve shared my dreams about moving with my husband, who gets excited when I talk about them. He has lived in Florida his whole life, and the idea of trying something new greatly appeals to him. I’ve seen enough palm trees to last a lifetime. I’m sick of the hate in my community that seems to be reflected everywhere else. Looking at pictures of other places is the only thing that lifts my spirits lately, although I still feel somewhat guilty about it. As I said, America has been good to me.
Then again, this is not the America I remember.