Humans of Cleveland
This week we followed our stomachs to Abundant Living Organic Foods to peruse their stock of yummy snacks. The small shop featured a collection of honeys, interesting sodas, gluten free everythings and huge assortment of teas.
We found Cathy Montagna diligently stocking the shelves.
'Where are you from?'
'I'm actually from Vermont but we lived in Florida for 12 years.'
'How did you end up in Cleveland?'
'My husband and I wanted to leave Vermont because it's cold nine months out of the year. So we moved to Arizona and we hated it. So we moved to Florida and we stayed there 12 years. You know, had our kids. We passed through Tennessee on our way to Arizona. Tennessee is my favorite state. I was like, 'If we ever leave Florida, I'm going to Tennessee.' So I don't really know how we ended up in Cleveland, we just did. Because we don't have family here or anything. This is just where we are and I love it.'
'What made you love Tennessee so much?'
'It's more like home'like Vermont. It's just milder. So I feel at home here without all the cold. And the people. The people are so nice. And I love being in the Bible belt.'
'Why did you leave Florida?'
'We went through a lot of hurricanes and we were like, it's time to leave. So we came to Tennessee.'
'Can you tell us about a Hurricane?'
'We had one down there; there was two that happened within two weeks of each other. They named them Jeanne and Frances, I don't know if you remember. But it came blowing through. It was in October. But all the power was out, we had trees down, the school roof was torn off so they weren't in school for a couple weeks and it just felt like forever.'
'Was there culture shock moving south?'
'The culture shock was moving west. It's not lush, like greenery. The ground is really hard, when you fall you get hurt. We wanted to water our yard but it was so expensive so we didn't. So we didn't have grass. Cactuses are cool. And it's so dry you don't have mosquitos. And you don't sweat because when you do it evaporates. So that's nice. But my hair got really straight, and it's naturally curly. The dryness straightened and frizzed my hair. Here feels more like home.'
'What is something you've learned from your travels?'
'People are different everywhere you go. People are really nice here compared to in Florida. If you bump into someone you're going to get yelled at. Here it's like, 'Oh my gosh excuse me, I'm so sorry!' And in Florida there are a lot of people who don't speak English. I don't mind, I like it, but I can't speak those languages.'
'Do you have any advice for college students?'
'Study hard. Don't worry about going to parties and stuff, because every decision you make will have an effect on your life. But also be you. Don't be afraid to be you. Just enjoy who you are, embrace it!'