Expats in Florida

There’s a line in Banana Republics by Jimmy Buffett about the American Expats. Well, that makes me think of our Florida days as Expats in Florida. There’s something very appealing about that. For one thing, we definitely felt like Expats. I think most people do. The first question people ask you is, “Where are you from?” Rarely is the answer California or Out West. Usually, it’s Ohio or Michigan or New Jersey. Talk about feeling like an Expat!

When we first arrived in Tampa Bay in fall of 2003, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the water but it managed to lift me out of a depression I’d been in since I met my father and heard some conflicting information about the past. While I still don’t know the complete truth, I discovered enough to know that I’d been lied to my entire life. It took a while to process all of that and what better place than Tampa Bay? It’s my “go to” place when I feel like running away and just living life to the fullest one day at a time.

We first landed in Orlando without a job but moved 7 weeks later to Tampa when Rich was offered a job. I remember being so disappointed but, as it turns out, Tampa was a fabulous place to live.

We were able to transfer our apartment contract from Altamonte Springs to Palm Harbor and we fell madly in love with Palm Harbor. I even tweaked the lyrics to my song, “Palm Fever” for “Palm Harbor.”

We arrived in mid November and our first Thanksgiving was spent at a seafood restaurant overlooking the water. The restaurant is no longer there but we’re hoping to relive that on our upcoming trip. In early December, we managed to book the Contemporary at WDW, stopped by Downtown Disney (as it was called back then) and did a little Christmas shopping. We remember laughing with the valet as we piled our bags full of goodies onto the luggage cart and then he whisked us up to our room. You can read that report here.

After we returned home, I started writing my second novel in the downstairs den of our rental town home and on weekends, we hung out on Honeymoon Island and started househunting. We signed a contract for a new home on February 29. Yep, Leap Day!

By February we booked a room at the Boardwalk Resort and were planning to meet Bob & Larry for the first time – two Disney friends we’d met on Passporter.com. But one day, while Rich was at work, the Concierge called to ask if we had any special requests. I didn’t think anything about it at the time but when we checked in, we discovered we’d been upgraded to a Concierge room. You can read that report here.

This upcoming trip is very exciting to us with a chance to relive some of the past, make new memories in the present, and, perhaps, pave the way for our future.

 

“Banana Republics”

Down to the Banana Republics
Down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated American
Hopin’ to find some fun

Some of them go for the sailing
Brought by the lure of the sea
Tryin’ to find what is ailing
Living in the land of the free

Some of them are running to lovers
Leaving no forward address
Some of them are running tons of ganja
Some are running from the IRS

Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senioritas
While they dance beneath the stars
Spending those renegade pesos
on a bottle of rum and a lime
Singin’ give me some words I can dance to
Or a melody that rhymes

First you learn the native custom
Soon a word of Spanish or two
You know that you cannot trust them
Cause they know they can’t trust you

Expatriated American feelin’ so all alone
Telling themselves the same lies
that they told themselves back home

Down to the Banana Republics
Things aren’t as warm as they seem
None of the natives are buying
any second hand American dreams

Late at night you will find them
In the cheap hotels and bars
Hustling the senioritas
while they dance beneath the stars
Spending those renegade pesos
On a bottle of rum and a lime
Singing give me some words I can dance to
Or a melody that rhymes

Down to the Banana Republics
Down to the tropical sun
Go the expatriated Americans
Hopin’ to find some fun

About Kathy

Novelist, Singer/Songwriter, Music Producer