If you read my last post, then you know that I traveled to Tampa, Florida on June 30th. It was a trip that me and my family had planned since January. It is a good thing too, because we really needed to get away after such a stressful first half of the year. We rented a condo from July 1st to July 10th. It was a lovely ground floor condo that had a gorgeous view of the grounds of the condo community from the lanai. The condo had central air and washer and dryer so we did not return home with dirty clothes. Besides me, there was my Mom, sister and brother with his twin daughters.
My brother fell in love with Tampa about 5 years ago, and plans to move there in about two years. He is actively looking for a place in downtown Tampa by the water. If my brother finds something that he loves, and the price is right, he will buy it and just rent it out until he is able to relocate there. My brother wants me, our sister and Mom to relocate to Tampa too. I am definitely leaving New York, but I had already ruled out Florida as a place to move to. I have my eye on Arizona and New Mexico. Besides, I wanted to try living on another coast. I’ve been living on the east coast since I came to America. How about a change?
I was very resistant at first, but I am finally coming around, however, I am still considering if I really want to relocate to Florida. I did enjoy being in Tampa and the place is beautiful, but visiting a place for vacation is not the same as living there. I had to do some due diligence. I called everyone that I know who lives there to get their honest to goodness low down on living in Florida in general, and living in Tampa specifically. My main concern is crime. I read that crime in Florida is worse than in New York. Why would I leave NY to go and live in a place with higher crime? I could understand why crime rates would be high because my family saw quite a bit of homeless people there. Tampa jobs are low paying, unless you have a degree and a profession, and it depends on what profession at that.
The second thing that concerns me are sinkholes. I know that sinkholes can happen anyplace, but they usually show up in Florida because it has limestone underneath. The third concern is that Tampa is mostly for people who love the beach and other water oriented activities. I have never liked the beach, and I am not into water activities. As an example, my family got up very early one morning to meet a boat at 7:30am to go fishing. I stayed in the condo. I am more of a museum kind of gal. I love museums and cultural events. NYC and Washington DC fits the bill perfectly. The only thing is that I am done with winter. I want to move to a place that doesn’t get any snow. Where are the museums and culture in Tampa. I have a friend who lives in Lakeland, which is about 40 minutes from Tampa. She moved to Florida twelve years ago from Virginia, and she also loves museums and cultural activities. She said that Florida is not the place to live if you love museums. It was an adjustment for her, but she found other things to do, such as becoming active in her church and getting involved in activities there. She does travel a lot with her husband to other states so that helps a lot. I could join the local Unity Church in Tampa and get involved in their activities, but the question that I need to ask myself and be real honest about is, will I become bored with living in Tampa? I don’t want to move there just because it is beautiful. On the other hand if my brother, sister and mother moves there, then I really would want to be there too. Mom currently lives in Brooklyn. My brother lives in Maryland and my sister lives on Staten Island. My sister is eager to move to Tampa, but my Mom not so much. Mom has always been resistant to change.
Anyway, getting back to my vacation, my Mom and I traveled by Amtrak train to Florida. My sister, brother and his children flew in Friday night. My Mom and I were already checked in to the condo, shopped for groceries, cooked and ate by the time the others arrived. It felt so wonderful to be with my family under the same roof for a week. Even though I spent a lot of time working on school assignments, it was nice to just be with my family.
My Mom did all the cooking, which she loves to do, but for July 4th we went out to dinner at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. It is a Cuban restaurant that has been there since 1905. The exterior and interior decor is stunning.
The mosaic tile-work on the exterior of Columbia Restaurant is very beautiful. The restaurant also takes up one entire block.
The Original Location
2117 East 7th Avenue
Tampa (Ybor City), FL 33605
The appetizers were delicious. but quite honestly, my family and I were not really loving our main courses. It wasn’t bad at all, but we expected it to blow us away considering that we know how delicious Cuban food really is.
I didn’t take any photos of Columbia restaurant myself. These photos are courtesy of Photo News 247.
I am very thankful to have spent my vacation with my family this year. Family is so important and we look forward to doing this again for Thanksgiving.