Gaby Gabino Italia 2020: As Texts

Gaby Gabino is a student at Florida International University where she is a part of the Honors College. She is majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications and is minoring in Marketing. She is very interested in keeping up to date with trends and the fashion industry. Professionally, Gaby is employed at a boutique in Coral Gables called Aria Rose as the Social Media and Sales Assistant and she is the Electronic Communications Director for Alpha Xi Delta at FIU. She hopes to someday work for the marketing department of a magazine. When she has free time, she loves to create graphics and create content for her travel blog!


“Its in the Details” By Gaby Gabino of FIU at Vizcaya

Being raised in Miami, Vizcaya is a place that I had heard of frequently and
had visited prior, but I never truly understood its value. This home was
created by James Deering with the idea of placing everything he loved and
admired about Europe into one place. Whether it be the Spanish caravels or
ancient deities such as Bacchus, every aspect of Vizcaya was created or placed in the home with a purpose. Somehow Vizcaya still perfectly reflects what Miami is today.

What I found to be the most interesting part of Vizcaya was the architecture
and how thought out everything was. James Deering did not place anything in that home without a purpose. For example, the arch near the entrance is almost identical to those made in Europe after a war. Deering placed this in his estate simply because he wanted to feel a sense of victory when walking through it. Another example is the painting of the children in the office. Deering placed that in there because he believed that most people have pictures of their children in their offices, therefore he would too. And lastly the strategic placing of benches in the garden. Placed simply so he could spend time with the maidens that would tend the gardens.

Every aspect of Vizcaya was made with an immense amount of attention to
detail, and I believe that is what makes it such a valuable place. It is a
place with such a deeper meaning that most visitors will probably fail to see.



“Butt Ball” by Gaby Gabino of FIU at Museum of Art and Design 

When I go to museums, I do not usually stop to read the little paragraphs that explain the artwork or artifact being displayed, but I just had to for this one. The Maya Ballgame Ritual instantly caught my eye while at the Museum of Art and Design. Me being the goofy and immature person that I am, I found it hilarious that this game was played with their butts. I was instantly intrigued. It seemed so impractical and unnecessarily difficult to play this fairly simple game with your butt. It also blew my mind that this game was played in arenas where people actually watched a few people bounce a ball with their butts.

As I kept reading about the Maya Ballgame Ritual, I began to understand a little more about it. The game has a religious aspect to it as well. The Mayans believed that playing this game was key to their survival. It showed their devoutness to the gods because in some cases the losing opponent was sacrificed. The ritual was interpreted as a competition between the gods of life and death. There were also times where the winning team captain would be sacrificed as a way to show how devout he was to the gods. People would gather in arenas to watch these competitions and sacrifices.

I really like that something that seemed so simple and silly actually carried such a deep and significant meaning. I was pleasantly surprised and as corny as it sounds, you really cant judge a book by its cover.

Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0

“Alternate Reality” by Gaby Gabino of FIU at Deering Estate

I have only visited the Deering Estate one time, which is surprising given that I have lived in Miami my entire life. I never knew how much I was missing until I visited. Everything about the Deering Estate is so beautiful, but the Deering Estate Boat Basin was my favorite part. The mixture of the cool breeze and the faint sound of the fresh water waves crashing made me want to lay there for hours. It is such a relaxing spot that oftentimes you will see artists set up painting the beautiful landscape or families sitting on the grass playing. 

Although in the 1900’s the basin’s main purpose was to keep Charles Deerings two boats, the Barbee and Mar-y-cel, safe, today no watercraft is allowed in. This rule was put in place in order to protect the delicate marine life that lives within the basin. While you walk along its border, you are sure to spot some manatees. The fresh water makes it an ideal place for them to gather and breed. If you stay long enough for sunset you can also witness the migration of birds, mainly Ibises, from the mangroves to the mainland. 

This spot is a great place to come and reconnect. In my opinion it is so calming that it almost feels like the world stops. It is so different from the usual fast paced lifestyle of Miami that it does not seem real. You can stare out into the water for what seems like hours and just let thoughts come and go. I can definitely see how artists and writers feel inspired here.

Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0

“Staycation” by Gaby Gabino of FIU at South Beach

South Beach is what draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to Miami. Amazing restaurants, beautiful boutique hotels, and bars with excessively large drinks line Ocean Drive and just on the other side of the street is the beach. Even having grown up in Miami, visiting south beach feels like taking a tiny vacation. 

Something that I really enjoy about South Beach is that everything is a walkable distance from the next thing. Parking can be very difficult to find, so walking is the most efficient way to get from place to place. There are also other alternatives such as a free shuttle and bike rentals. My favorite part of the beach is right off of Ocean Drive and 1st ST, also known as South Pointe Park. It is the most southern point of South Beach and it is not as packed as other areas around 5th ST and 7th ST. About a five minute walk away is my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood, The Big Pink. 

In my opinion, the most interesting location in South Beach is the Versace Mansion. It is a Medeterranian Revival style building that Gianni Versace called his home. Tragically, he was also shot and killed just outside on the steps of this beautiful space. Today, The Villa Casa Casuarina is a hotel, restaurant and event space.

South Beach may be one of the most popular tourist spots in Florida, but it is also a place where locals spend a lot of time escaping from everyday life.

Pioneer Life Exhibition (Photo Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum ©)

“The Struggle for a Better Life” by Gaby Gabino of FIU at History Miami

When I think of pioneer life, I instantly envision the midwest and the great plains. I forget that there were also pioneers here and I am surprised that I never learned about how life was as a pioneer in Miami. In those times, the only way to reach Miami was by boat. This meant that any pioneer living here had to fend for themselves and come up with creative solutions for problems. Given that they knew nothing about the area, they created friendships with the natives that had lived on the land for years. The natives taught the pioneers how to survive. 

Another part of the History Miami walking tour that I enjoyed reading about was the “Gateway to the Americas” exhibit. Coming from cuban descendants, I have heard a lot of stories of ways that my family members arrived in the United States from Cuba. “Balsero” is a nickname given to a person who arrived here on a makeshift raft nicknamed a “balsa”. Essentially, it was a bunch of buoyant objects tied together and covered in a tarp. People would pile onto them, hope that the raft would hold up, and pray that the tide would take them the 90 miles to Miami. 

Miami’s History is definitely very unique.  

Leave a Reply