France Spring 2020 As Texts: Victoria Carlucci

(CC by 4.0) photo by Maria Pettus

Victoria Carlucci is a junior at the Honors College at Florida International University majoring in International Business and Management. Expecting to graduate in Spring 2021, she plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to Miami in 2017 to attend college. Since little, she has been passionate about traveling, coming from an Italian-Venezuelan family and raised with traditions from both nationalities, exploring new cultures and experience the diversity that the world has to offer has been her favorite plan.

Vizcaya As Text

(CC by 4.0) photo by Victoria Carlucci

“European Villa located in Miami” by Victoria Carlucci at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

The Vizcaya Museums and Gardens has always been on my bucket list of things I must visit meanwhile I live in Miami. For some reason, I hadn’t been there until my Honors Study Abroad class scheduled a class in the museum.

 An European inspired villa located in Miami, that’s how I would describe the Vizcaya Museums and Gardens. It’s architecture style, landscapes, designs and elements make you feel at some villa in Italy, meanwhile you’re in Miami. It is a mix of styles between Italian Renaissance and Miami landscapes and lifestyle.

This European inspired villa was owned by James Deering, an American businessman who in 1910 inspired by the Mediterranean style begun working on the design for the villa. The buildings were inspired by the styles from Italy, Spain and France. Those three traditions can be found in the architecture, landscapes, gardens and buildings. Overall it is an expensive construction that needed an important amount of the people living in Miami at that time to build.

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens serves as an example of what Miami is. For many years Miami has been inhabited by people from all over the world, meaning that different cultures arrive to this city. Cultural appropriation is an important factor in Miami history, since it has many people that have different nationalities, each one trying to make Miami their home. Vizcaya represents that, how in the gardens, buildings or architecture you can admire the different styles that they used as inspiration.

Vizcaya is the perfect representation of Miami, a place where there is people from all over the world, trying to make some of this city theirs and you can perceive harmony and sympathy between the different cultures and styles.

MOAD As Text

“The exile” by Victoria Carlucci at the Freedom Tower

Leaving, leaving your family, leaving your loved ones, leaving your friends, leaving your house, leaving your neighborhood, leaving your country, leaving is often a hard experience that people go through.
But imagine how hard it must have been for kids between the ages of four and sixteen and leaving all of those previously mentioned because of a political regime. Furthermore, leaving your country thinking that you will return but truth is that they never came back.

(CC by 4.0) photo by Victoria Carlucci

The Pedro Pan program was an agreement between the U.S. State Department and Catholic Charities of Miami to send children to the United States because of the political situation that Cuba was going through. Fidel Castro was gaining more and more power and his ideas were disagreed by the parents of these children. As a result, more than 14000 children were sent to the U.S from 1960 to 1960 in search of a better future.

As a Venezuelan, I understand this since the political situation that my country is going through is similar to the Cuban. Every day, many families are divided because they can’t stand the instability, unsafety, low life quality of the country and as a consequence, they have to leave the country. Leaving without knowing if you’ll come back, leaving without knowing if you’ll see your loved ones again, leaving without knowing many things that make the exile profoundly hard.

It is hard when sending your children to a different country by their self-it’s the best option you can to have a better life. Political regimes don’t know the harm they do to families, the scars they leave on everyone that has to go, the sadness of their families back home, the moments of loneliness, the uncertainties, the challenges that people have to overcome. In the end, all of those situations experienced make us stronger, braver, wiser, and capable of overcoming obstacles.

Deering As Text

“Preserving Nature and Promoting Art” by Victoria Carlucci at the Deering Estate Walking Tour

It is hard to believe that the Deering Estate is located in Miami. Nowadays, we are so used to think of Miami as a vibrant, urban city, with many buildings and businesses that we forget how much natural, archaeological, architectural and historic legacy this city has to offer.

The Deering Estate located in South Miami in the village of Palmetto Bay has evidence of humans that used to live 10,000 years ago in this land. Founded by Charles Deering, Deering Estate was inhabited by the Tequesta and Paleo-Indians natives. Additionally, African American and Afro-Bahamian were in charge of working and building this place.

Art is an important topic in the Deering Estate. Something that called my attention from the virtual tour was that the Deering Estate offers a residence program for artists, where they have the opportunity to work on their projects, develop their ideas, network with other artists meanwhile they are in this historic place. I couldn’t think of a better place for an artist to develop its ideas, I think this can also serve as inspiration for moments when an artist may experience “Artist’s Block.” Moreover, visitors the Deering Estate sometimes may have the opportunity to access to the studios and appreciate their masterpieces. Also, the Deering Estate hosts events that are an incredible opportunity to engage and learn.

The Deering Estate offers an awesome view of the best landscapes Miami has. For instance, from the Deering Estate Boat Basin, you can appreciate a wide variety of marine life such as manatees, sharks, turtles, rays, and dolphins. Preservation of natural areas is key here; you can see this variety of marine animals because no watercraft of any type is allowed there so they are not disturbed by human activities. The Deering Estate is also a good spot to see the Biscayne bay from the Peoples dock, and the Island of Chicken Key, which is located one mile offshore and was formed by the deposition of quartz and limestone sands by ocean currents. From the tour, the one that I liked the most was the Deering Point.

Deering Point. Photo by JW Bailly CC By 4.0

Through the online tour, I was able to get to know the Natural Preserve in the Deering Estate and learned that you can see the flora and fauna as it was many years ago. Other interesting facts I learned were the historic remains in this place such as the airplane that crashed in the Deering Estate and how its story is still under urban myths and mystery, Likewise, the Tequestial Burial Mound, where there’s evidence of the Tequesta living in there because of the hundreds of shell tools found there.

Even though I have never been there, I think it’s a unique place here in Miami, where people can appreciate the most beautiful landscapes, connect with nature, appreciate the work of artists and enjoy different events. After the quarantine is over, I would like to go to the Deering Estate and get to know this beautiful place by myself.

HistoryMiami As Text

“Learn from the Past” by Victoria Carlucci at the HistoryMiami Museum Walking Tour

Located in the center of Downtown Miami, the HistoryMiami Museum, shows the former times of Miami, revealing its positive and negative aspects. History is shown in this museum through exhibitions, artistic endeavors, tours, researches, collections, and publications. This museum demonstrates the history of Miami from its first arrivals and first archaeological founds.

Photo by JW Bailly CC By 4.0

When it comes to how the past shapes the present or the future, I like to think about a quote I learned years ago that says, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”, from the philosopher George Santayana. This quote came to my mind when on the walking tour I read about the discrimination, racism, and, human intolerance that Miami residents were going through some years ago. What astonishes me the most is that these actions weren’t from many years ago, it was from the 1920s. In the Museum there’s a representation of the Buena Vista Trolley from that year that discriminates people because it has a sign that says, “State Law: White Passengers Seat From Front.”

The thought of being “superior” to a different race is simply absurd, atrocities are made to one another just because one person felt better based on their language, skin color, nationality, characteristics, beliefs, and many factors that somehow determine or shape a person.

Since little for me, racism has always been difficult to understand, I think it is because I come from a country where most of the population is a mixture between Europeans, Africans, and Americans, so our ethnicity is pretty diverse. With that perspective, they believe that race can make some people feel superior to others is illogical to me. In the end, we are all the same, and as it is cited in the Catholic Bible, “we all come from dust and all will return to dust.”

People often tend to think that money, bank accounts, ethnicities, properties, or power make them different and for some reason “better” than others.  Selfishness is what divides us. For that reason, we should all learn about the facts, history, see what actions had negative consequences, and stop doing them to not to repeat old mistakes. Racism must be condemned, but we should never forget those who went through and still go through hard times because of selfishness and acts of discrimination. No one deserves to be judged by who they are, everyone has a different background, history, morals, beliefs, and that it’s what makes every one of us unique.

Miami Beach As Text

“Getaway Plan” by Victoria Carlucci at Miami Beach Walking Tour

I have always felt a sense of belonging to the beach, maybe it is because I where I grew up the beach was just 30 minutes away from home. Or maybe because my parents love the beach and since I was little the beach was always their favorite place to go. Every weekend, my parents and I used to wake up and think about doing something and our plan always ended up in going to the beach. Vacation trips, weekends, birthdays, it doesn’t matter the occasion, or if we were celebrating something or not, the beach is always our favorite getaway plan.

Miami Beach. Photo by Victoria Carlucci CC By 4.0

Going to the beach turned into a necessity for me and my family, we like to go as many times as we can because for us going to the beach is something that gives us energy, recharges us in some way, and makes us think, reflect, enjoy nature, the sounds, landscapes and escape from the chaos for a while.

A huge factor that influenced my decision to attend college here in Miami was its closeness to the beach. Somehow, it would make me feel at home because I could go any day I wanted, and it wouldn’t be a long trip. My parents told me to enjoy everything the diversity of nature. With that I mean to enjoy every landscape I was able to see and think about what aspects I like the most about the beaches we went to. For instance, in Venezuela, I appreciate the contrast between the mangroves and the crystal-clear water. I do that appreciation reflection here in Miami too. It’s incredible to see the contrast between architecture and nature. I like the style of the streets In Miami Beach, how even though everything is modern, its buildings and its art-deco architecture make me feel in Gianni Versace’s times walking around south beach. I also enjoy watching the cruises arrive and leave the Port, the diversity of tourists wandering around the area, and how when the sun sets it transforms into a vibrant cosmopolitan nightlife area with restaurants, bars, theatre, and clubs.

All in all, I enjoy living in this city for many reasons, but one of them is its nearness to the beach. Going there and enjoying a good day of sun with friends, family or by myself has become like “therapy” for me.

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