It was very short. Too short. I flew in on a Wednesday night and left Sunday morning. It was definitely not a enough time to explore. Despite the time crunch, I was able to get a good sense of the community that I was in.
I spent most of my time in Gainesville, a small college town. It was definitely a cultural shock coming from the big bustling city of Los Angeles. Gainesville is very low key, rural-looking in some parts, and has a communal small town feel.
Native residents had southern accents. It was pretty cool! As a medical social worker in Los Angeles, I've come across many many different peoples and cultures. My patients from the south have been some of my most favorite: humble, communal, spiritual, and kind. It was really exciting for me to be on their home turf.
The weekend I came was homecoming weekend at the University of Florida, Gainesville. I was an honorary Gator (UF) for the weekend, able to partake in homecoming activities such as the law school tailgate and Gator Growl (concert).
Check out some pictures below (WARNING: Some pictures may be "boring"/random but each is a memory for me):
Winn Dixie: a supermarket chain with the nicest employees! My first taste of the southern charm!
So random! But I had to take a picture!
Lake Alice: Lays in the middle of the UF campus! It is home to alligators, fish and turtles. So sad I didn't get to see an alligator :(
You can't really tell, but I'm holding a Cuban coffee cortadito
The most interesting turtle I've ever seen! Spotted in Lake Alice
Saw Ludacris perform at Gator Growl. Also saw Foster the People
Alligator Rice Bowl: I know! But it was so good! It tasted like a hybrid of popcorn chicken and popcorn shrimp
Key lime pie: I searched all over for Key West key lime pie. I couldn't find any in Gainesville so I settled for this, a key lime tart. It was okay =/
Watermelon as a side?! "Only in the south" says a Gainesville resident
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa
Instead of getting a parking entry ticket, I got a poker chip! Never have seen this before!
Bayshore Blvd in Tampa
The sun is setting on the Bayshore Blvd. So so beautiful. These pictures don't do the Bayshore Blvd any justice. It was breathtaking in person. The homes along Bayshore Blvd were also breathtaking.
It's been real, Gainesville. This city girl really enjoyed the small town vibe that you gave. You totally captured my heart <3
I hope to see you again one day....