The past few weeks have been hectic to say the least. I have been missing in action on my blog, and a virtual basket case at home of late.
See we are in the process of packing up and moving from the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Some would ask and assume that we are leaving because of the oil spill. That is not entirely the reason, but it was the catalyst that sent me in the direction to make the decision to finally leave this place.
The biggest reason was financial.
We've been here in the Pensacola, Florida area for a little over 2 years now. It's a beautiful area, but it wears the tired cloth of economic hardship that has been here since Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004; Hurricane Katrina filled its leftover spaces full of Louisiana refugees, and the Great Economic Recession took what was left over for the kill.
Let's not forget about the "Good Ole Boys" who refuse to allow this area to change for *what-E-ver* the reason.
Then that freaking oil spill hit! Talk about insult to an already injured area!
The struggle to stay and make a living in this area has been hard indeed. It has cause an immense amount of personal and family suffering which I personally, no longer wish to put me and my family through.
Kids are resilient, but they suffer in silence in times like these.
So I have a 2 year rule of survival: "If we're are not making it at or better than what we were before after 2 years, then it's time to leave and cut our losses."
Our losses were great here. Because of the economic recession, all of our savings were exhausted and we have been living basically from day to day trying to make it work down here. I cannot even begin to tell you what it has all done to my marriage, my family, and just getting by on a day-to-day level. My mother has heard more than enough tears from me about it. I finally gave her ears a rest and just kept quiet and dealt with it.
When we moved here, we were under the "assumption" that this area was growing and would be a great place to raise the kids, retire, blah, blah, blah. Just 3 months after moving here, I began to really look around and say "uh-oh".
We drove through neighborhood after neighborhood in Pensacola looking for areas that were still freaking alive thriving. Block after block were business and homes that looked either severely worn out or abandoned all together. The only area(s) "thriving" that we could see were the downtown (barely), and where the mall stood.
This, combined with the severely disappointing Mason-Dixon survey that some citizens of Pensacola had to pay for out of their own pocket to find out what the city jackasses "leaders" didn't want to face, and the fact that Nadia and I had to escape out the emergency exit of Old Navy at the Pensacola Mall one hot day in August under gunfire that erupted due to some STUPID argument that erupted at the Food Court; wasn't leaving me a beginning good taste in my palate for this area.
It was months before I left the confines of my sleepy little community of Gulf Breeze. Which, by the way, I rarely ventured out of in these past few years except for the recent return to school in May and a few excursions to the Gulf Shores area of Ala-BAM-a.
I justified everything because we had the beach to sooth any feelings of remorse or regret about this area.
Until the recent BP oil spill bloody screwed that up too!
To say that we have struggled for the past few years here is an understatement. The only reason we haven't left sooner was because of the kids and their love for the area. Nadia has found a most valued friend in our next door neighbors family; Emily. From the day we pulled up the moving truck here, they have been locked together. Emily and her sisters have truly been the best thing that ever happened to Nadia. Moving her away from them has been a heart-wrenching, tear-filled decision for me. I don't know if Nadia will ever know how much my heart breaks for them both.
I literally have had to choose whether to feed the family, or keep them together. Yes, the finances are that bad! Even though, I have vowed to keep them connected in some way, some how. I am in the process of creating a photo book to give to each of them that includes poems and photos of the past 2 years of them together. I am hoping that since Emily's grandparents live close to where we will be, that that connection will remain intact in the years to come.
My own love for this area is not insignificant either. I have been my most depressed here, but out if it, I have been forced to grow in areas of my life I didn't think possible at this age.
I started this blog as a result of the depression I was undergoing, and I found a lot of family and friends on Facebook because of it. I reconnect with my estranged older brother, and found my best friend I had been looking for for the past 17 years. My faith and trust in God was made stronger from the influence of these family and friends. I will have to thank my cousin Larry Conger on the latter because God used him to touch me in ways that I cannot describe here.
All of these in combination, saved my life and my sanity in more ways than I can count and be thankful for.
As my Sista in Arizona forever reminds me: "Things always happen for a reason."
Okay, here come the freaking tears now!
So living here was not a "total loss". Things were lost, but others were gained in the process.
As I wrap my arms around my family, I make this move in a few weeks knowing that still have challenges yet to face, but have been made stronger in order to tackle them one by one.
Good-bye Gulf Breeze, FL - I shall always miss what you are, and what you could have been.