Miami in Miami: Jose Rosales

Photo by Lily Fonte

Biography

Hello everyone. My name is Jose Rosales, my family emigrated from Cuba about 10 years ago when I was 14 years of age. I am a FIU undergrad who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in Biology. I plan to graduate next semester and attend Medical School with the goal of becoming a great neurosurgeon.

I basically grew up in Miami, but I have never exploited the fact that I live in such a popular city. If you go to any country (or any other state for that matter) and you say that you are from Miami, the first thought that goes into people’s minds is that you are a wealthy individual who lives a luxurious life and enjoys all the benefits that the magic city has to offer. I for one, have always taken for granted the fact that I live in such a popular city. I have never taken the time to get to know my own city. Hence, I decided to join professor Bailly this semester so that alongside him and my classmates we can truly discover everything that this weird, yet attractive city has to offer.

Metro as Text

Miami: A City Full of Hidden Treasures By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 11, 2019

I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. As time progresses, our society becomes more and more dependent on technology. We try to connect with people through applications such as Facebook and Instagram when in reality we just end up isolating ourselves from other people. Applications like Uber and Lyft make it easier to get to a desired destination with the click of a button, some of their more affordable options even include carpooling which is great for the environment and helps decrease the number of cars on the streets. However, these benefits are nothing compared to the advantages bestowed upon us by public transportation. The first big difference we can see is price, the metro is a transportation method that is fairly inexpensive. Riding the metro allows you to connect and interact with people, you get to see how they go about their everyday life. Even if you do not approach the passengers and establish a conversation, you still find yourself encountering all kinds of different people and of different social classes. Hence, get to connect with the more humane aspect of your life. Not to mention how much faster you can reach your desired destination, since you are avoiding all the traffic that encompasses living in a city as overpopulated as Miami. One of the downsides of riding the metro (or any form of public transportation for that matter) is what is known as “the last mile”, which basically means that these transport methods can often warrantee to get you within a mile of your objective. However, I like to see it as an opportunity to exercise your body by either walking or riding a bike. Overall, I had a great time learning how to ride the metro and discovering areas of Miami to which I had never been before.

Vizcaya as Text

The Jewel of the shoreline By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 25, 2019

Vizcaya Museum & Garden is a place that is often associated with quinceañeras and weddings due to this historic landmark’s astonishing beauty. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and I had never paid a visit to this monumental village until our first trip with professor Bailly. Turns out Vizcaya is much more than just a magnificent architectural jewel, it is the epitome of cultural appropiation.

What once was an endless shoreline of mangroves and inland native forest, billionaire James Deering turned into an extravagant villa that would later embody Miami’s essence. As you disembark the train at Vizcaya Metrorail Station and you make your way towards the villa, there is a bridge that dances with the flora and moves out of nature’s way in a zig-zag pattern that is both beautiful and respectful. As you reach the west entrance, you are greeted by a sculpture of Ponce de Leon and two flowing fountains that lead the way to the estate’s façade as you walk under a massive arch formed by trees that rise from both side of the walkway. James Deering’s goal was to create an Italian Renaissance style Villa as authentic as possible, and he did, it looks as though a European architectural piece had been magically removed from its rightful place and it had been planted on the coast of Florida. Deering wished for his winter residence to be a representation of his wealth, and he made sure that his guests acknowledged that. A statue of Dionysus can be found at the entrance of the mansion that captures the essence of Miami –as Dionysus is the god of wine and pleasure. He wanted his guests to know that his residence was a paradise, a Garden of Eden. He understood the very nature of Miami, of what it should rise to be, a city that is as weird and extravagant as it is beautiful.

Deering Estate as Text

The Sister Jewel By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on October 13, 2019

The Deering Estate is a four hundred- and forty-four-acre time travel machine that allows you to retrace the steps of history. It grants you the opportunity to walk the same paths as our predecessors. Thus, facilitating discovery as you dive deeper into its prominent hammocks, which house the subtle secrets that it has to share with the eyes of the meticulous explorer.

As we ventured further into the grounds (avoiding certain poisonous trees and solution holes) we came across different fossils that date as far back as 50, 000- 100, 000 years. I was fascinated at the fact that I stood where many creatures now extinct, such as mammoths, once roamed free, the only thing that stood between us was time. Let alone the fact that it never crossed my mind that at any given point in time mammoths wandered in Florida. I will never forget the moment I got to hold in my very hands a fragment of such magnificent creature’s teeth, something that I can now proudly check off from my bucket list.

Paleo Indians, Tequesta’s and Seminoles have lived at different times in the land encompassed by the Estate. During our hike we also stumbled upon many artifacts that serve as living proof of the Tequesta’s trading methods. We discovered different colored pieces of pottery that hail from different parts of the nation. We know this based on the elemental composition of such fragments. These native Americans would trade pottery items for conch shell tools, which were modified by them to serve various purposes. We also had the opportunity to visit a Tequesta burial mound where their loved ones now rest in peace. A colossal oak tree lays at the center of the burial, serving as its very own Taj Mahal. I can only hope that more people would take the time to enjoy this magical experience, and by effect learn more about our past.

Chicken Key as Text

In Preservation of our Shoreline By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on October 23, 2019

A week had passed and I found myself back at the Sister Jewel. This time, however, with a different goal in mind, to save the lives of many marine animals that struggle to fight against the wreckage that we as human leave behind. As we gathered by the bay, professor Bailly detailed out the instructions on how we were to proceed once we got to Chicken Key. I remember having a hard time keeping focus due to the inexplicable beauty that lay before me. It was a sunrise like no other, and I just kept thinking that it was at last the time for me to make a positive impact on our local environment. We traveled by way of canoe, after paddling for approximately 45 minutes we arrived at a small island that would prove to be the beginning of our adventure. Once there, we were faced with an overwhelming amount of marine debris. There were plastic bottles, shattered glass, plastic bags and all kinds of rubbish scattered all around. It was just a heart-breaking moment, to come to the realization of how much unnecessary harm humans can cause not only to the beautiful and innocent creatures that inhabit our waters but to the planet itself. Freeing up the island from so much pollution is definitely one thing that brings peace to my mind and something that I can be proud of. I wish people would become more conscious of all the damage that we are doing to our planet. We as human are so proud of our technological advancements and exalt ourselves as a superior species. Yet, in truth, we are just the most brutal, selfish and cruel organism of them all.

Wynwood as Text

A look into Contemporary Art By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on November 6, 2019

People often spend months, even years, planning trips to European countries such as Italy and Spain in order to visit museums and experience masterpieces by the greatest artist of all times, such as Picasso and da Vinci. However, something that I did not know is that we have on our very own backyards (metaphorically speaking), some of the leading contemporary art collections in the world. Collections that people from Paris, Rome and from all over the world desperately long to visit. It is funny how everything is a matter of perspective, how one finds more desirable that which one cannot easily obtain (or have access to for that matter). To be honest, art has never been one of my strong suits. Though I was excited for the visit to the art collections, I did not expect to be truly captivated by anything. I was expecting to see what I always believed to be overpriced abstract paintings that I couldn’t understand. However, much to my surprise, we came across some fantastic and very unique works of art. At the Margulies Collection, we were extremely fortunate to have Mr. Margulies himself take time out of his busy schedule to give us a tour of the premises. As we walked by the different rooms, he explained how art was not only about being visually appealing to the audience but that it was also about conveying a message. Art can take on many forms, from a simple photograph to a sculpture, to a urinal hung up on the wall. I remember he said, “if you take a shirt and hang it on the wall, then it becomes art… that does not mean it is good art, but still art nonetheless”. When he said this, everyone laughed because it was so funny, yet also true. He gave us a little insight on how he collects the works that he believes in and he even let us take a peek to what he had in storage. After visiting both, Margulies and the De la Cruz Collection, I finally understood that, as the saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover. One must first approach the piece and try to understand it whether it be visually appealing or not, and only then should we decide whether we like it or not. I will be definitely be coming back with my family and friends and share with them a little bit of what I have learned.

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