We first met back in 2000, and even then I think I knew I was in love. I was a lot younger then and wrote it off as mere infatuation, but the longer I stayed away, the more I knew I couldn’t deny it. I am talking, of course, about Miami.
Many of my friends have moved away from home for school or for work. I moved to Miami when I was 23 for no reason other than the fact that I loved it. I loved the mix of cultures, the beach, the tropical weather and the promise of something new. I grew up in Charlotte, NC and went to school in Charleston, SC. Aside from a summer in Italy, I had never lived somewhere so different from what I was used to.
Today I took the day off from work — I needed a mental health day in which I was totally alone, and I also needed to get some errands done (taxes, car stuff). In the morning I ended up in downtown – close to where I had my first job. I forgot how much I love downtown Miami during the day. It’s sort of like being in a caribbean city but with a historic American twist. The little shops, the total mix of people and even the way it smells is so totally and completely Miami.
Afterwards I wound through back streets to get to South Miami. Most tourists will never discover the route that I took and that’s a shame. It’s beautiful and shaded with trees and Spanish moss – perfect for driving with windows down and the sunroof open. If I had another day off I would head to the beach in a heartbeat. Not South Beach, but mid beach where I like to walk on the boardwalk, and there’s a break in people.
I have been to a decent amount of places, and very rarely do I walk through a place and feel at home. The only other places I can think of that illicit the same feelings are Italy and the bay area. If I hadn’t started growing roots here in South Florida I would already be packing my bags in a whirlwind to move to one or the other – and lately it’s been tempting.
I’m glad I had today to myself because it reminded me that aside from the craziness that is my life, I really do love it here.