When Lars and I was in Greece a couple of years ago we met a man who had emigrated to Florida in the 70’s and had come back to start a restaurant in the village on Karpathos where he was born. Since Greece’s economy isn’t peaking right now his restaurant wasn’t doing very well, but we had an interesting conversation about politics. When he talked about America his voice got dreamy. Florida – it’s paradise on Earth he told us.
I have now spent a week in Florida and I’m not sure if I agree. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a great time. But I need more out of a place to call it Paradise. In my opinion Greek islands are closer to paradise, but everyone is different. Disney World is situated about 1,5 hours from here but all of Florida has a Disney World feeling to it – like it isn’t for real. The buildings are too pretty, the AC is too cold, there are too many wealthy old people. At the same time – the climate is wonderful – even though the weather has been bad while I’ve been here (with Florida standards) it’s like a perfectly fine Swedish summer. But tropical – cool birds, stingrays that you can see from the boardwalk and white powdery beaches.
And once again I have been taken care of by lovely people. I already wrote about my distant relatives that let me stay in their house. We’ve embrabaced their Swedish heritage and we cooked meatballs from scratch and did cinnamon buns. in Swedish that would be perfect kids’ food but i guess American kids have different preferences. But the grown ups liked it at least.
Baking cinnamon buns with Lincoln, Elizabeth and Heather.
Swedish and American food culture is different in many ways, I knew that and was prepared to gain weight since there is a love of sugar and deep fried in this country. But one thing I didn’t expect was that so few people sit down and eat a home cooked meal together. Most places i have stayed in doesn’t have a dinner table. You eat standing up, or in the couch, semi finished food or finished food (I don’t know if that’s the right translation but I am trying to write halv- and helfabrikat). Since I have adapted to American food culture very well it felt so good coking for a good amount of hours (we made meatballs out of 4 pounds or 2 kgs of meat). And the cinnamon buns took us 24 hours, because we ran out of time after we had made the dough, so we let them raise in the fridge over night and until the next afternoon. And by then the dough was so cold it took forever to flatten it to make the rolls. But the longer it takes to cook something – the better it tastes.
I found this on the lawn a couple of days after our baking adventure…
This week has been all about family life and skating. And combining these two things. It was a really fun experience to go to family skate at a skating rink on Wednesday night. We danced and raced and played around on skates and I was so impressed by all the kids’ skating skills. I wish i could skate like that. I feel like i need to start a skating rink back home, since they don’t exist in Sweden and they are so much fun. I just need to win the lottery first. At family night I was the only one wearing any kind of protection and the only one who hurt myself falling. I hyper extended my hip when I accidentally did a split after tripping on my own toe stop racing an 8 year old icehockey player. At least I feel better now.
I skated with some kids.
I am related to all these people. Even though it’s a distant relation, just think about it – there are so many people all over the world that we are related to without knowing it. Pretty cool.
The next day I skated about 14 miles or 22 km to Clearwater beach. Part of the skate was a really high bridge, but if you bend your knees enough when skating almost anything is possible. I need to keep reminding myself of that, because I’m one of these skaters who get lazy and quit bending my knees. On the other side of that bridge one of those white powdery beaches waited for me. I didn’t go swimming because it was windy and quite cold, but I sat down at a luxurious beach bar and had three drinks, which made me really drunk because I hadn’t had enough water during my skate. I guess why that’s the three drinks went down so easily.
Vulvo on top of the (world) bridge.
I didn’t go swimming, but the beach still posed for a picture.
The sun set in the Mexican Gulf while I waited for the bus.
Everyone in the roller derby community that I have told I’m visiting Tampa has gotten hearts in their eyes and said ”Aaaaaaaaaaaaaw, I love the Tampa girls”. I am ready to agree with that. At WFTDA Champs in Nashville I met this girl at the after party. We spoke for about 5 minutes and we just had enough time for her to tell me she was Panty Bandit from Tampa and me saying ”I’m going there soon”. Then she gave me her name so I could add her on Facebook, which i did. So when I got here I contacted her and she gave me a ride to Daytona Beach where the roller derby tournament State Wars was held over the weekend. She also hooked me up with some of her teammates who I shared a hotel room with. What a great bunch of people.
This is me and PhDiesel, who I shared beds with at State wars.
The first night in Daytona i met two girls from Texas in the jacuzzi. It was obvious that they were roller derby players so I started to talk to them. Since we were right on the beach we decided to go skinny dipping together. Half way to the water we realised that we hadn’t introduced ourselves. So we did. And then we ran naked into the water.
Sharing beds or swimming naked with strangers would feel super weird to do with other people. But with roller derby people it just makes sense.
Last day of the tournament I got a little sick of derby, yes it is possible, so I went to the beach by myself. I put on my angriest selfie face to show to the world how nice it is to take a swim in the warm ocean (but people from Florida told me it was cold).
I’m headed out for a day of skating with the Tampa girls (aaaaw, I love them). Tomorrow I’m off to Austin. Didn’t have time for photos this time – but there are videos and photos on both my Instagram and Facebook if you are super curious.
Below are some photos taken after this blog post was written, but that still belongs in the Florida section of this blog:
Lunch Lady and Panty Bandit from Tampa Roller Derby took me to a skate park in a convertible Mustang on my last day in Florida. It was close to 30 degrees Celcius and a perfect way to finish off the Florida part of this trip.
This is us at the skate park, as you can see it was warm and that combined with skating made our faces so shiny and T-shirts so wet. I am not that much taller than lunch lady. I am still wearing my skates.
Tampa Roller Derby invited me to a Thanksgiving Scrimmage with a Pot Luck dinner (knytkalas) afterwards. Aaaaw I love them.