by AARON BETANCOURT
If you go around UT and ask different students where they’re from, you will probably realize more than half the student population is from out-of-state. Some are from others states, others from different countries. But you will find that a good chunk of those out-of-state students are from the Northeast. I am one of them, having been born and raised in New York. When making their college decisions, many students were probably drawn to the beautiful campus and tropical feel of UT. Some may have also wanted to try living in another part of the country. The different cultures, sceneries, accents, food and lifestyles distinguish the North from the South of the United States. But the biggest difference between the North and South is the weather.
Living in the Northeast you experience all four seasons. You see the leaves change color and fall from the trees in the fall. If you live in a house with a lawn you have to rake the leaves and jumping in the pile of them becomes a can’t-miss activity. Though the color change and pile jump may seem fun and nice at first it may become a weekend task during the season. The fun and beauty will stop being a novelty when you have to constantly spend countless hours raking and packing leaves into bags and when the wet leaves stick to your shoes. During winter, you get to go sledding, skiing or snowboarding if there’s vast amounts of snowfall. You also experience freezing temperatures and winds and what it’s like to wear layers of clothing. You will have to shovel snow also have to salt roads depending on how much falls. And as time progresses the snow turns to yucky, mushy mud. When it rains it’s even worse because a lot of times it’s freezing rain. So basically you’re cold and wet. In the spring there’s mild temperatures, some days cooler than others, and you truly see that “April showers bring May flowers”.
Northeastern temperatures go from one extreme to the other; freezing temperatures during winter to heat waves in the summer. That’s the time when people try to soak up the sun at the beach, pool, tanning or doing outdoor activities. Spring and summer, more-so summer, are the two seasons you will see almost everyone you know outside. Of course there are some who love to play in the snow but then there are people like me who only go outside if necessary doing those winter months. Some Northeastern states like Vermont have more extreme temperatures and harsher winters than other places such as New York.
Living in Florida is a completely different ball game. Florida is known as the “Sunshine State” for its year-round warm weather, sunny days, beautiful beaches and palm trees; the tropics. Although northern parts of the state may experience cooler temperatures in the winters, Florida has a pretty consistent temperature.
Every month you can find people wearing shorts and tank tops. Unlike up North, pools are open all year. In fact, many amenities that are only summer-based up North are available year round in Florida such as the beach, pool, and amusement parks. In the Northeast amusement parks such as Adventure Land, Coney Island, Jersey Shore, and others are closed in the winter. In Florida, places like Disney and Busch Gardens are open all year long. Other than the weather, the summer is just like every other time of the year. Most people work and some go to school. People have errands to run throughout the week and weekend. People do not have time to sit around and be outside at the pool, beach, amusement park, etc. The only problem is Northeasterners only have three months to do these things. Three months may not be enough time to do all of these activities. If the opportunity is missed, people have to wait a whole year to have a chance to do them again.
I am a summer baby and from a young age, summer has always been my favorite time of a year. I always got excited from the smell of sun tan lotion and chlorine pool water. Watching my parents and other people uncover their pools always gave me an excited tingly feeling inside. Although I was happy about the vacation part of it, I was most excited about the nice warm weather and outdoor amenities that came with summer such as longer days, ice cream trucks and seasonal clothing. I love the water so swimming was part of my daily routine in the summer. I always hated the fact that I was restricted to using the pool only three months out of the year.
After a trip to Puerto Rico in my junior year of high school, I realized I wanted to live in a warm climate. It had been a brutal winter back in New York and being in the tropical weather. Nothing beat the warm, sunny days and the nice breezy nights. Being able to go for a nice walk without brutal winds. There I was also able to do my summer activities such as swimming. I was so over waking up in the morning and being smacked in the face by 30 degree weather. Having my fingers freeze while I held my cup of coffee walking to the train. It’s hard to be outside doing anything, other than playing in the snow, when it’s so cold.
As much as I love and miss New York, I love the fact that there’s endless sunshine down here. The fact that in December, January and February I will still have access to the pool. I will be able to do my favorite outdoor activities like running or riding bike all year long without being restricted by the snow on the ground. In the morning, I do not have to worry about how cold it will be when I step out the door and if my fingers will freeze.
Aaron Betancourt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org