Growing up in Jacksonville, I had always viewed Orlando as a big city. Maybe it was because of the theme parks & its tourists. Or maybe it was because it was so far away, and all I had left was my imagination to fill in the gaps of my memories. Maybe it was because Orlando was one the first cities that popped into people’s heads when they thought of Florida. Whatever the reason, I had bought into the idea that I was moving to a bigger city when I had moved here 2 years ago to attend UCF.
It has only been within the last few months that my eyes have been opened to see the reality of what I live in (and it’s not a bad thing, just not what I had thought). Since moving to Orlando, I have had the tremendous privilege to travel to big cities all over the country. I have been to Seattle, Vancouver, Washington D.C., San Francisco, & Miami, to name a few.
It had finally hit me in San Francisco & Miami, what a real big city looks like. I came back realizing how small Orlando (& my home town Jacksonville) was. Another wake up call to me was how quickly I had began acquaint myself with most men in the gay community here in Orlando! I thought that I had only met a few, and had expected to continue meeting dozens of new people for years! When it turns out that those few are all there is! I continually run into the same people at all of the social functions & events!
I say all of this as a disillusioned local, but not as a bitter one. I have learned that I hate big cities, but I love small cities!