Florida: My Second Home

Continuing series of posts covering my two years around the United States with my Rialta RV

September 2011
Historic Lake Eola

Immediately after arriving in Orlando, I started looking for a new place.

Initially, I was going to move into a bland apartment complex located far away from downtown Orlando. The rent was cheap, the lease was monthly, and my room would have A/C. But, there was nothing in the neighborhood and indeed was in a borderline area.

I continued searching and found the perfect house. A room in a two bedroom house located in historic Lake Eola district in walking distance from the downtown city. I would subletting from another guy whose lease was expiring by New Years so he only needed someone for four months which was exactly how long I planned on staying. Nearby, I could walk to the downtown bars, Lake Eola itself (which is the iconic symbol of the city of Orlando), grocery stores, and restaurants. The area itself was beautiful with red brick paved streets and palm trees overhanging the sidewalks.

The house inside was just as good. I was able to purchase a bed from my sub-leaser and was allowed to use his desk as well as all his kitchen utensils for free. My roommate was a quiet, professional guy in his mid twenties. I never saw him, and he never made any noise.

Lake Eola & Downtown Orlando, just minutes from my house

Lake Eola & Downtown Orlando, just minutes from my house

Life was good. I started exercising on my own at a local LA Fitness. I meditated regularly with two groups including an Insight Meditation group in Winter Park on Wednesdays lead by Peter Carlson and a Kwan Um Zen (Korean sect) on Sunday evenings in walking distance from my home. Often, I would take walks around Lake Eola, drink tea at Dandelion Cafe, or eat pho at one of the several Vietnamese restaurants. Every weekend, I would walk to I-Bar and dance at Backbooth bar where my new, Orlando friends congregated.

Despite a rocky start in Florida, everything seemed to be going pretty well. Little did I know that life was about to throw me some harsh surprises.

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