I grew up in the tundra. The winters were long and dragging and seemed to last for three seasons’ time. When the two-month Summer scorched our pale skin and teased us with momentary light, we were then thrown into the blustery, breezy Autumn. Autumn was my favorite. Leaves bled out their green in the loveliest death imaginable, sweaters felt heavenly when pulled from a months forgotten drawer, and everything breathed nostalgic.
Then, the winter came. That first snow felt like magic in childhood, but as I grew, it meant torment. It meant ice and snow and cabin fever. It meant frozen pipes and back-breaking shoveling. It meant worrying about your loved ones on the road. It meant ages without sunlight to warm your skin, and the result was a dreary, dismal despair.
Spring was the thing we all ached for. A burst of flowers and butterflies. A promise of green grass and ladybugs and a garden abundant. What we got was never what we’d hoped for.
After twenty-six years of that, I wised up and realized that the ice cold Midwest could never be what I wanted it to be. I didn’t want nine months out of twelve to be spent hoping for better. I wanted better without the wait.
My children will grow up in the tropic. Their winter will feel like a Wisconsin fall. Here it holds crisp leaves and sweaters and promises that are genuine, things that actually come true. The Spring here is lovely. There is no mud, no sleet, no slush. Honestly, they don’t even know what that word means down here. Here, they don’t understand words like blizzard or seasonal depression or double-lined coats. The water is warm, the sun is bright, and I will break out of my shell of social awkwardness that felt safe and comfortable and normal in the place I came from.
This is our new home. With the sea all around and the blue sky above. What a different world. What a place to live.