Probably the biggest change for us in making this move was leaving behind our precious Space Coast community after 16 mostly sunny years.
Through work and personal pursuits, we came to intimately know the area, and forged relationships with SO many kind and wonderful people whom we are extremely fortunate to call friends. We knew that leaving such a vibrant and active area would be quite an adjustment, especially when the rural village of Cuba boasts only roughly 750 residents within the legal boundaries. (Though, an estimated 7,000+ people live within the immediate 30 mile radius on reservations and in smaller outlying communities.)
We were once snuggled in between a handful of really fantastic neighbors in Cocoa who shared family news, offers to pick up odds and ends at the store, and refreshing dips in the pool. Now, our nearest neighbor lives 20 miles away!! We can still see civilization from our new perch, but we can’t just stroll down to our local watering hole anymore. Some people may not be able to separate themselves from their larger social sphere as we have, but we’ve come to find it wasn’t as difficult as we expected.
From day one in town, everyone has been fantastically open and welcoming to us. Almost everyone has extended an offer to help us find what we need, just as you’d expect in a small town. Our new mechanic was recommended by the local police officer when he saw we were having trouble with the Ford. We’re on a first-name basis with the folks at the post office, hardware store, and chainsaw service shop. Most everyone waves when you drive by, and you can usually find out more than you really need to know after talking with someone in line for two minutes at the grocery store. This is nothing new to us as we moved to Florida from a small town all those years ago, but it was a nice reminder of how you can find a sense of place and community wherever you choose to be.
Ben and I are particularly happy to know our new neighbors, who were introduced to us by our realtor. We had the good fortune of meeting this lively group of three for lunch last week, and we all hit it off like we’d hung out for years!! 😉 As a way to say thank-you for all their efforts to make us feel at home, Ben and I extended the invitation to lunch so we could get to know everyone a little bit better and find out more about local services and the surrounding area. The time went by way too fast with our realtor having to leave for another client meeting, but our neighbors reciprocated the invite by asking us to come visit their little cabin in the woods. We eagerly obliged and followed them to their place out of town for a nickel tour. It was really awesome seeing how they developed their homestead over the years, but the best part was just chatting and sharing more with each other about life in general. I’m so pleased to say that Ben and I left there [we hope] with two new friends-for-life!!
On the way home that day, we were quite reflective about what the idea of community really means, and how our community has changed since we moved. There is no doubt that we feel some disappointment upon the realization that we can’t just run out to meet our dear Brevard friends over a pint, or see our fabulous colleagues at meetings and professional programs. We want so badly to keep our Florida circles connected and hope we’ll be able to keep those relationships sufficiently kindled. And, I miss my daddy!! 😦 But, we’re really looking forward to getting to know people around here and finding out more about how things work and what’s important to folks.
I guess if no one beats us to it, we could always buy a restaurant!!