• Rachel Reynolds

Pensacola Recap: Highs, Lows, & Lessons Learned!

If you've been following along for a little while, you know I spent all of January and February living in Pensacola, Florida! You can check out my first week here. In that first week I talked about how jam-packed it was - if only I knew that that was just a sample of what the next two months would hold.

I keep telling my friends that Pensacola ate me up and spit me out alive.. ๐Ÿ˜‚ And while that might sound dramatic - between getting evicted, going to countless concerts, Leo getting & beating cancer, painting two murals, and so much more - I really do mean it when I say I didn't know so much could happen in just 2 months. Still, I absolutely wouldn't change a thing. So let's dive into a little recap:

Okay, I feel like I just foreshadowed a lot of information - so I'm just going to break it up for you the best I can.

1. The Eviction

I feel like I can actually talk about this now that I'm out of the panhandle, I just didn't want to worry my grandma before. But yeah, basically at the end of January I was happy as a clam living at my friends house, when we got an email from the property manager saying there was an "unidentified female and dog" living at the house. Busted. I get it - there are rules to follow - but we just really didn't think it was a big deal if I was only there for 2 months. We went back and forth with them a few times, but at the end of the day we just decided it would be best if I left. So I don't really know if evicted is the right word, one of my friends says dislodged, but I think eviction adds a little dramatic effect.

I'm actually so grateful this happened! It taught me to think quickly and adapt. It gave me an opportunity to stay at different airbnbs all throughout the Panhandle. I got to meet a lot of cool people and try new things - like jiu jitsu in Panama City. I stayed at unique places like the Peacock Oasis, where everything was DECKED OUT in peacock decor. Everyone was so cool and I learned a lot.

Lessons Learned: Always check with where you're staying that you're actually allowed to be there. Life will happen, learn to adapt.

2. Countless Concerts

Okay, I kept saying that Pensacola is the actual music city - which means a lot considering I just moved there from Nashville. Music might not be the first thing you think of when you go to Pensacola, but seriously, I felt like I was at a music festival. One time I went to Vinyl Music Hall 4 nights in a row and I asked the bouncer if I could just have a season pass. He said that's not a thing.

My absolute favorite was seeing Matt and Kim. They. Put. On. A. Show.

I just loved Vinyl so much that I would go to concerts of bands I've never even heard of. Those were some of my favorite nights!

Lesson Learned: Go to random concerts even if you don't know the songs - there is always a mad appreciation to watch people love what they're doing.

3. Leo gets & beats cancer.

Woof. This was definitely the most dramatic thing that happened! Again, I didn't really talk about it until it was all clear, but now we are good to go!! PTL.

Basically, I took Leo to the vet for his check-up and pedicure. The vet asked if there were any concerns and I casually said 'Yeah, actually he has this bump on his elbow'. Honestly I didn't think anything of it because he's had little bumps before that just go away. But once I showed the vet his new bump, I could totally see it in her face that it wasn't good. We got it tested in early February and the results came back a week later that it was cancerous mast cell tumor. We were staying in Panama City Beach and went back to Pensacola that night to have the surgery the next day. She explained to me that by removing it we would be able to see if the cancer had spread to inside of his body. The results took another 2 weeks to come back!! Longest 2 weeks ever. But alas! The tumor was removed in time and Leo is cancer free!!

I'm not going to lie, I don't think Leo ever even knew. He also has the sassiest walk I've ever seen in a cone.

Lessons Learned: Take your doggos for their check-ups. Stay away from google. Also, I'm glad I had Banfield pet insurance (this always makes me feel safer since Leo travels so much).

4. Pensacola Overall:

Y'all I LOVED Pensacola. Like loved it loved it. I had know idea I would be such a fan, I just thought it was so much fun all the time. And so chill! And I met some of the nicest people!!

Some of my favorite highlights:

- Going to a bunch of different beachy galleries (Pensacola has a gallery night once a month and it's so cool!!)

- Learning to make homemade sushi

- Fishing with Leo

- Exploring the Naval Aviation Museum

- Sleeping on the beach

- Taking day trips to 30A

- Running the World of Beer 5k every Wednesday

- Painting 2 new murals and a flamingo cabinet

- Eating at The Union Public House (so good!!). Also I lived for the blue cheese dressing at Seville Quarter.

And of course spending time with my best friend and making a bunch of new friends!! Thanks for such an amazing two months, Pensacola! Leo and I will be sure to be back.

Overall Lessons Learned: Talk to gallery owners. Don't overstuff your sushi rolls. 30A has the best beer. Running is a cool way to see a new city and join a community. Go to places with an open mind, they'll surprise you with what they have to offer.

Next up, Chicago for 3ish months - can't wait to see what's in store!









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