I’ve never been too quiet about my dislike of Orlando and the Central Florida area. Ever since I’ve realized it was possible, I’ve wanted to leave it.

But over the last few years my long-time hometown and I have made our peace with one another.

Here are a few things I’ve learned to love about her.

* Spanish moss

* An hour drive to Cocoa Beach or hour-and-a-half drive to Ponce Inlet, Daytona Beach

* The monsoon season (the sunshine state’s most guarded secret) and it’s just-like-clockwork afternoon rainstorms

* Disney, Universal, Sea World, the water parks and the ghetto theme parks

* Florida-residents discounts and deals to theme parks

* Space shuttle launches

* That unique Florida sky with it’s chalky pastel colors

* That not-so-unique stormy sky with it’s bold dark blues and ominous greys

* Publix, Publix subs, Publix Greenwise section and Publix sweet tea

* The smell of orange blossoms (which is getting harder to find)

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