Trying to Love Miami
Hey readers, So since it’s the holidays and I’m taking a semi break (meaning I’m still posting on here and on my other platforms, just more relaxed posts?) I figured I’d write this super informal stream-of-consciousness blog about my last two weeks in Florida.
Before leaving to visit my family in one of the very boring suburbs of Miami, FL, I was proactively trying to make my visit different to the one I’ve done every year for the last five years. I wanted to find hidden gems, go writing in coffee shops, drink craft beer at cool bars, and enjoy every day there. I made a long list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see.
Of course, this visit turned out pretty much the same as every year. But I actually wasn’t upset about it.
You see, every year I make it down to Miami at least once, but most of the time I can visit 2-3 times a year. I know my limit when it comes to how long I can handle the vast sprawl, party-hardy, hot atmosphere that is South Florida. Anywhere from 6-10 days, but definitely no more than that. I’m so not the type of person to thrive there. I’m introverted, I like to find little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars, I don’t love to party, and I definitely don’t love crowds. Everything in Miami is what I just mentioned, so I never felt like I fit in. Obviously, I have lots of friends and family who live in Miami, or otherwise visit around the same time as I do (holidays and summers and such). So it’s not like I have a choice in just not going, because I definitely miss these people a LOT. It’s so bittersweet to go back to visit.
This year was different because it was the first time that I hadn’t had a chance to travel there all year. My sister had visited me in the summer but other than that I hadn’t seen my family since last Christmas. So I booked a TWO-WEEK LONG TRIP because I missed them a lot, and I also needed a vacation desperately. (The reason I hadn’t been down all year was because of work.)
So yeah, going back to what I mentioned earlier, two weeks is a LOT of time for me to spend in Miami. But at the same time I really wanted to spend as much time as possible with my family. So to make things feel better, I decided that I was going to really try to love Miami.
I kinda failed.
It all starts off with the fact that Miami is sprawl. It’s huge and spread out and if you don’t have a car, it can make for a very boring time unless you want to spend loads of money on rentals or ubers, which, frankly, I did not. My mom, stepdad, and sister all have cars, but since I flew down, I was left without transportation. My mom works really close to where she lives, so she would sometimes lend me the car if I could drop her off and pick her up from work. This worked out okay, but seeing as I had to conform to her schedule, I wasn’t that free to spend the day how I wanted. Because even if I dropped her off at 10 AM, by the time I got back home, ate breakfast and got ready (I said I was on vacation okay!?) it would be lunchtime. By that point in the day, traffic would be so bad, that it would easily take 45 minutes to an hour to get anywhere remotely interesting. Then I’d have like, an hour MAX to enjoy the activity before having to drive back to pick her up. So yeah. I won’t even mention the fact that my stepdad’s car broke down for 4 days or that my sister got into an accident and her car was in the shop for 2 days. Because that meant they were having to share cars between themselves to get each other to work and school. Ugh.
Obviously, I had friends and family that were able to pick me up and do fun stuff, but then that meant I had to do what they wanted to do. Of course, I was more than happy to go out to eat, chill, or party with them, but I felt like I had little control over my list of things I wanted to explore.
That was the worst that happened really. I didn’t get to live out my dream fantasy of loving and finding new spots in my hometown. But it ended up being okay. Because what happened instead was that I got to really spend some time with amazing people. I had amazing nights with my mom and stepdad, talking about my family history and their childhoods. We watched dumb telenovelas and ate good food. Oh god, can I mention that I ate twice my weight in food while I was in Florida? But anyway, it was really nice to have enough time to just chill with them. Because I usually spend just about a week in my hometown, I’m usually busy every single night catching up with everyone. It was so nice to dedicate a lot of time just being at home with not much of an agenda.
Christmas was another really nice day. I got to celebrate with my extended family, and just chill out and catch up. There were good vibes all around, which was nice seeing as the holidays can sometimes be stressful for me because of how diverse we all are (heh, politics and religion).
Lastly, I spent some really nice days with friends. I chose to not go out clubbing or dancing as often as they did, so the couple of times we saw each other were really nice. We’re all so busy and all over the country that we don’t get to see or speak to each other that often, but as soon as we’re all back in town, it’s like no time passed. I’m truly so lucky to know these people and I can’t wait to refer to them as my childhood friends when I’m a little more older. We’ve all known each other since like middle school, and we’ve had our little friend group since high school. That means I’ve known some of them for like 13 years, which is absolutely insane.
Now that I’m back in Winston, I’m a bag of mixed emotions (is that a saying?). I’m HAPPY to be back in cold weather, I’m happy that I’m not in a city where soooo many people live, and I’m happy to be back at work with my friends that live here and my boyfriend. But I’m so sad that I’m not with my friends and family anymore. This was one of the most meaningful visits and I feel like I bonded more with everyone and I could just feel that all my relationships were so much stronger, whether it was my relationship with my mom, stepdad, friends, acquaintances, cousins, uncles, aunts, you name it. I can’t wait to be around home again. I’ve said this a thousand times, but my home is these people. South Florida could drown tomorrow and I wouldn’t care. The place means very little to me. It’s my family and friends who matter.