France Spring 2020 As Texts: Janelle Fraga

Photo by Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Janelle Fraga is a Junior in the Honors College at Florida International University. She is an English Major on the writing and rhetoric track with a minor in international communications while seeking a pre-law certificate. She is currently an SGA CASE Senator and serves on the CASE Dean’s Advisory Board. Janelle is also the Vice President of Academic Affairs of her greek organization, Delta Phi Epsilon.

Janelle has only traveled to a few Caribbean islands. She is excited to be able to explore and interact with others of different cultures and traveling to another country for the first time. This summer in July 2020 she will be traveling to France with professor Bailly.

Janelle is eager to expand on her knowledge with this study abroad opportunity.

Vizcaya as Text

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

I Have Conquered A Land of My Own

Let the trees fall;

Let them mark the pavement I’ve passed;

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Let them be a representation of my reign;

Oh, because I have reigned;

You will remember me indeed;

For I have conquered a land of my own;

And I have called it my conquest;

No not the Spanish;

Not the French either;

They shall remember;

The Villa off Old Dixie Highway;

They shall remember;

The man who built it all;

The man who took a piece of all the great lands;

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

And turned it into one;

For I have conquered a land of my own;

And I have called it my conquest;

They shall remember;

Conquistador soy yo, I am the conqueror;

They shall remember;

J’ai dit, I have spoken;

What did I conquer?

Oh , you shall see; 

As the trees arch over you and I;

And the mellow breeze brushes across your cheeks;

And the light beams through the stained glass window;

Let us celebrate;

The Villa that began a city;

Dionysis, wouldn’t you agree?

You will remember me indeed;

James Deering is I;

And I have built this city. 

MOAD As Text

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Glory and Gold

Yearning for nothing more but to live a glistening youth. Ponce De León followed suit with Christopher Columbus, rather he wanted to discover his own New World. Glory and Gold were the goals for all the expeditionists who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean. For Gold brought Glory, and Glory brought Honor. Ponce De León established a place of his own where his Glory reminded spectators of the myth of the fountain of youth. He was who all the Spaniards dreamed to be. Indeed, he brought Glory and Gold in the name of Spain. He set sail across the Atlantic ocean and claimed as he swept the Caribbean waters. 

But his story is no friendly one at all. And the tales insist peace cannot coexist with the Glory and the Gold Ponce De León strived to achieve most. Did he find the fountain of youth? Did he bathe in the speckling waters? 

Spain oh Spain, did you get the Gold you needed? Did you get all the praise and all the Glory?

Spain oh Spain, here is La Florida. Take claim of this new land in this New World. As this land will forever be a reminder of the youthful days. La Florida continued to flourish, even when blood dissolved within the soil. Maybe it was the blood that nourished it so well and kept it fertile for years to come. Maybe the land progressed as did the conflicts and rivals. 

Spain oh Spain, La Florida is yours. A land enriched by its people. Enriched by its nature, embracing youth and blissfulness. 

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Spain oh Spain, did you get all the Gold and all the Glory. 

Did the blood seep far enough into the soil that the remnants bring to life the myths of youth?

La Florida, siempre sigue floreciendo.

Deering Estate As Text

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

A Home of Nature

A history of evolution,

A history of people,

A history of Miami lies in the bay of a home,

Deering Estate is what they call it.

Oh yes, a beauty indeed. 

The waters glisten,

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

The skies open,

It’s like all of heaven was praising its own creation. 

Nature flourished in response to the masterpiece,

The Bay’s beauty did not go unnoticed,

People wanted to rejoice in God’s blessing and dwell in His creation.

The Tequesta knew it first.

The Tequesta built their homes and nourished the lands.

Mangroves and hammocks surrounded in awe. 

There was a celebration,

A celebration by the trees,

By the insects,

By the freshwater animals,

And by the earth itself.

Even the Earth rewarded a rare sight of its own.

With a rock ridge,

You can say it protects the bay,

Or maybe it was just decoration added by the Earth.

Nonetheless, a celebration. 

This creation was a masterpiece.

James Deering saw this too.

And as he did, he decided to cultivate its beauty.

And claim this Bay as the Deering Estate,

And until today it has been,

The Deering Estate,

And all the people,

And all the animals,

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

And all the oak trees,

And all the clouds, 

Want to enjoin this creation, this masterpiece,

And view the sight for sore eyes,

Called the Deering Estate.

Artists attempt to capture its beauty onto a canvas,

But a canvas cannot capture the sounds of the waves brushing on the dock,

Nor the echo of the birds soaring above your head,

The Deering Estate is beautiful indeed!

South Beach As Text

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Do You See it Too?

Neon lights and urban aesthetics fill the streets,

We call it Ocean Drive now,

Or you can call it South Beach too.

Nonetheless, 

it is as iconic as Hollywood Boulevard,

It’s Florida’s very own icon.

Whether you’ve been there or not,

You can picture the landscapes and the erk of the seagulls,

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Pinks, greens, yellows, and blues flash from every corner.

Interchangeable landscapes. 

Do you see it yet?

Yes, like the 1980’s Scarface,

Yes, like Miami Vice too,

Hasn’t always looked like this,

South Beach may have not even been a beach,

South Beach did not always represent youth, art, and unrealistic body images,

Before the Art Deco takeover,

Before South Beach was reframed,

It was a unified community,

The Blacks and Whites shared and lived together,

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0)

Nothing but a wasteland,

Nothing but mangroves and palmettos,

Oh yes,

It was its own space,

Living in its own world,

Far away from the ideologies,

But that all quickly changed as railroads increased tourism,

As Carl Fisher reframed what was to what is. 

Do you see it now?

He was indeed a visionary.

Look at South Beach.

Many dream of indulging in it’s night life,

Tan lines,

And warm waves.

Do you see it too?

History Miami as Text

Photo By Nancy Fraga in South Miami 1990 (CC by 4.0)

What Makes Us

I’ve lived in Miami all my life. But to be truthful, I never did care too much for its history. I never did the research nor dig deeper into the lessons that were taught to me about this City. I merely let the facts slip by. But like every other city, town, and even county, there’s a story. The story of the people who built what Miami is today out of scrapes, out of a wasteland, and how it was transformed. History Miami Museum allows people the opportunity to not only learn about Miami’s history, but to experience. Archaeologists have found artifacts that show habitants from 7500 – 500 B.C in Miami. Based on these artifacts, History Miami Museum has attempted to display images of what was early South Florida. 

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0) Tickets saved by Nancy Fraga from AMC movie theater 1989

It was a simple life for them until the conquest of Spain. When Spain began to overcome Florida, the native people slowly began to diminish. The Spanish nor the natives were eager to share the lands for the most part. Battles and murders were quite common as survival of the fittest struck a strong cord in each of them. 

What makes history most special to me is how directly it transcended into our own daily lives. 

My family came to the United States from Cuba during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. The Museum exhibits what was one of the self-made rafts that the Cuban “balseros”. Miami is known for its large intake of immigrants, most especially from Haiti and Cuba. This historical context of the city deepens Miami’s diversity and melting pot of cultures. I’ve never seen photos of “El Mariel”, but I have heard countless stories of how many Cubans attempted to flee to the United States and many failed. What a lot of history books also fail to mention is how when Cubans were boarding the boats that were maxed past capacity, they were being thrown eggs by their own people for leaving. Because to their people, they were considered traitors to their leader Fidel Castro. And many of those people leaving the country, would leave with their best clothes on and their whole life narrowed down to one carryon. It was their moment to escape for freedom, to escape for a better life. 

Photo By Janelle Fraga (CC by 4.0) Tickets saved by Nancy Fraga from 1988

But the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are unpredictable and unforgiving. Some boats went down and never came back up. Boats filled with entire families, criminals, and poor locals. It’s impecable to imagine people risking their lives for a mere possibility. 

 History Miami Museum allows us to not just hear these stories but to visualize it as best we could. So we can understand what makes us, what makes our City.

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