The culture shock of moving from Summit to Orlando |

The culture shock of moving from Summit to Orlando


Some things you pretty much know are just quirks of Summit County. Others you come to believe as the norm. Having recently left Summit County to pursue a career in the “big city” of Orlando, Fla., every day I am noticing more differences in the small, laid-back town and the larger, more bustling new environment. Obviously, I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring my puppy to work with me every day as I could in Summit County.I also expected folks at work to be a little less casual during the work week in regard to their attire. However, my male co-workers wear ties every single day except Friday – that’s something I hadn’t seen in the two years I lived and worked in Summit County. I, too, in the week and a half since I started my new job, have tried to adjust to this new definition of “business casual.” I’m sure I have worn heels more times in the past week than I wore the entire time in Summit County. And when I wear them, it’s just for a normal day – not something like Wine in the Pines or a wedding. So far, I have not seen one Thule box. Nor is there a Nalgene bottle on every desk or in every bag. In fact, I may be the only one in my office of 15 that even owns a Nalgene bottle. I’m sure if Summit County was surveyed, the majority of residents would reply that they owned one, if not multiple, Nalgene-esque bottles. Something that I believed as the norm for an office is nowhere to be found in mine: recycling containers. Summit County is fortunate to have such an environmentally conscious community to even include recycling options in the post offices. On my first day, I asked where the recycling bin was for unwanted copies and printouts. I was shocked when told there weren’t any. This is something I’m trying to change. Instead of fearing a bear attack when walking home late at night, now I have to be careful not to get too close to the edge of lakes and ponds to avoid becoming a snack for an alligator. Rather than spotting the occasional fox running through my yard, I now live amid a variety of tiny lizards and frogs. Car washes, instead of boasting their mag chloride-ridding capability, now compete to be the best at removing love bugs. I haven’t decided yet which is more difficult. My fleece collection is slowly being replaced by a selection of bikinis. My Merrells are finding the back of my closet as sandals re-emerge to the front. While Summit County is proud of 40-plus miles of paved bike path, mine is proud of three and a half. Dog parks and dog-friendly areas abound in Colorado while my town of Winter Park, Fla., (odd, – more odd for me since I came to Summit County, Colo., from Summit County, Ohio), is one of the few in central Florida to even have one dog park. And the augmentation business – come on, I can’t help but notice – clearly reigns supreme here more so than in Summit County, as do flashy sports cars and designer purses. I am not talking about water augmentation.I think I am in shock at a lot of this because, unlike many residents of Summit County, who have spent their time working in a city and have now relocated to the mountains later in life, I essentially began my career in Summit County in my early 20s.Little did I know that people set up meetings via Microsoft Outlook by viewing each others’ personal calendar.I suppose I didn’t expect that the majority of all files and current information would be available only in the server and not as hard copies.I got spoiled with the leisurely lifestyle in Summit County. Here, everyone is at work on time, most everyone regularly stays late and I’m pretty sure people don’t condense their work weeks so they can go play during “the season.” As much of a change as this has been and will be for a while, I can appreciate both lifestyles. Now, I can be on either coast in the sand and sun in less time than it takes to get to Denver from Summit County.I didn’t wake up to a dusting of snow last week as many of you did, but I do now have humidity. Rainstorms have gone from a very seldom occurrence in my life to a very, very common one. I do miss seeing the mountains from every window, but palm trees are nice too. Something these two areas do have in common is the people I have met so far and how I have been welcomed into each place. I remember moving to Breckenridge in fall 2002, finding the Salt Creek with great bar specials and cool people hanging out there. Most people think of Orlando and immediately see Disney, Universal, crowds and tackiness. However, in the nontourist sector, the locals’ sector, I have found the people to be as genuine as Summit Countians. I visited a “locals” bar downtown on a Friday night (I drove past it once as I was gaping at everything else going on) and while waiting for my co-workers to arrive, I was welcomed by some folks sitting at the bar. When I mentioned I was finishing up my first week in town, I met the owner of the bar and everyone within a 10-foot radius. I suppose wherever you are, as long as you’re a local, you’ll blend in just fine. Christy Glemming is a communications specialist with Curley & Pynn Public Relations and Marketing Communications in Orlando. She is the formermarketing and events director for the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at

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