I was looking back at old photos yesterday and it hit me that this month I’ve officially been in Tampa for three years.
Holy moly, time sure does fly when you’re having fun, right?
Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with Tampa when I first got here. I moved for a boy (a boy that would eventually become my husband) and, in all honesty, a boy I would have moved clear across the country for if he asked me. Derek and I had been dating for about two years at that point and we were at a place where we knew one of us would have to make the big move if our relationship was going to continue to grow (I was living in Orlando at that point and he was in Tampa). I loved Orlando with all my heart, but at that time it just made more sense for me to move to Tampa. So I quit my job, started working for myself, and said good-bye to the city I had fallen in love with.
It took a while to adjust to the move. I saw Tampa as a “temporary solution” (our original plan was to live here for 2-3 years, then move back to Orlando – HA!) and I wasn’t quite ready to cut all ties with the city I loved. Heck, for the first few months I was still traveling to Orlando at least once a week (if not more!). To be honest, I wasn’t giving Tampa a fair shot and wasn’t making much of an effort to settle in.
Eventually all the trips to Orlando became too much and I knew I had to cut ties. Very slowly I started to venture out in Tampa a little more. I started making friends, attending group outings, and putting myself out there. I became a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I got really involved with Yelp, and I took advantage of every local networking opportunity I could. I was hungry to be involved with the local community and really began to sink my teeth into it.
One day my friend Courtney invited me to a swim practice with her training group and things really started to click. That swim practice turned into another, then another, and another. The training group became more than just a training group, they became my best friends. They became the Tampa rocks I had desperately been seeking and really made Tampa home for me. I’m not sure I could have survived the last two years without them.
After working for myself for 2 years, I returned to an office job a year ago. Yep, a year ago. Crazy to think I’ve been in my job now for A YEAR. Thanks to my job, I feel more connected to Tampa than ever. I have my dream job, I have friends, and I have a city that still surprises me everyday with what it has to offer.
So my “temporary move” doesn’t feel as temporary anymore, now it simply feels like home. I love Tampa and I’m not afraid to admit it. Orlando will always have a place in my heart, but Tampa is definitely home now.
Cheers to three years as a Tampan (ha!) and hope for many more to come!
How long have you lived in your current city?