Ineffable Miami: Doral by Victoria Carlucci

B I O G R A P H Y

(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.

G E O G R A P H Y

Map retrieved from Google Maps

The City of Doral is located in the north-central area of Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. Doral is neighbored on the west by the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, on the north by Medley, on the east by the Palmetto Expressway and the south by Sweetwater. This city is one mile away from the Miami International Airport and twelve miles from Downtown Miami. Doral, likewise, is close to areas such as Hialeah, Fontainebleau, Tamiami and Miami Springs.

Nowadays, this neighborhood contains numerous shops, well-known businesses, important corporations, headquarters, financial institutions, colleges and universities, and various public, charter and private schools awarded with the grade “A” status. All of these facts previously mentioned make the City of Doral appealing for investors, families, students, and employees. Doral is characterized by being host to more or less 150,000 people that work in this city. This city is in constant development, even though it’s relatively new compared to other neighborhoods, Doral is a fast-growing city.

H I S T O R Y

Alfred Kaskel. Photo by Anonxyz123 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48315195

 In the late 1950s, Alfred Kaskel and his wife Doris, who were pioneers in the real estate field at the time, decided to buy 2400 acres of swampland, which was part of the Florida Everglades, with the purpose of building a golf course hotel in that piece of land. 

The name for the golf course hotel was made by combining both of their names, having, as a result, Doral as the name of this area. In 1962, the Kaskel couple opened the hotel, naming it “Doral Beach Hotel”. This hotel and country club was remarkable for its facilities, it included three golf courses and since the Kaskel couple also owned a hotel in Miami Beach, they offered transportation from the beach to the country club for its guests. This hotel and country club was the first structure built in the area of Doral and it soon became a popular hot spot for visitors.

In 1968, Alfred Kaskel passed away but his grandson, Bill Kaskel, continued his legacy and continue developing this city. In the 1980s, Bill established Doral Estates and a joint venture to build Doral Park. Even though this area started to have residents, Doral lacked facilities such as stores, schools and, parks. Many people started frequenting the area, but it was somehow inconvenient, amenities were something that the city of Doral had to work on at that time. In contrast, Doral had farms with cows, horses and chickens and traffic was nonexistent.

In the next years, from 1983 until 1985, Miami-Dade County imposed a building moratorium for the area which forbidden the construction of buildings in order to protect the fields. After the ban was lifted, the city continued growing and constructing more buildings, new roads, and landscaping the area.

The city of Doral was incorporated in January 2003, after 7 years of this effort, one of the main reasons was because residents of Doral were paying high prices for services received and the community wanted more services but at a fair price.

As the years went by, Doral kept on developing and growing, in 2012, Donald Trump bought the Doral hotel and country club for $150 million and changed its name to “Trump National Doral Golf Cub”. Doral is still growing at a rapid pace, transforming this area into more residences, businesses, buildings, schools, and universities.

D E M O G R A P H I C S

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of July 1st, 2018: there are 61,824 residents in the City of Doral. The ethnic composition of Doral’s population is composed of 84.2% Latino or Hispanic, 10.6% White, 2.2% African American, and 3.3% Asian. As for gender, 52.4% of the population is female and 47.6% of the population is male (“United States Census Bureau; City of Doral, Florida”).

The median age in Doral is 35 years, 34 years for males and 36 years for females. The median household income is S77,418 and the annual per capita income is $29,276. Doral has a huge percentage of residents from Latin America, from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Ecuador Therefore, 92% of the households with persons 5+ years old in Doral speak another language other than English at home (“U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: City of Doral, Florida”).


Biography of Fernando (a Doral resident)

Fernando Gonzalez was born on May 16th, 1990, in Venezuela. He moved to the United States in September 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in Business Administration at Millennia Atlantic University. Since then he has been living and working in the city of Doral. Currently, Fernando works at Tracfone Wireless Inc, part of America Movil AMOV (NYSE), as an accounting analyst.

Fernando’s thoughts on Doral:

Victoria: What is your favorite aspect of the city?

Fernando: My favorite aspect about the city of Doral is that here, we have what I would call “the best of both worlds”, we are a small community or small city with more or less 50000 people without any crowded places or big density of population In the same place but at the same time we have the fun aspects that big cities have like places to go shopping, eateries, and recreation places that make this small city unique.

Victoria: What is your least favorite aspect of the city?

Fernando: If I have to mention my least favorite aspect of the city of Doral that would be the cost of living. Because of the demand, everything turns expensive, like housing prices, shopping, taxes. But I understand that in some cases it is because of the infrastructure and other factors like school ratings, that makes Doral be one of the most expensive cities in Florida.

Victoria: Do you enjoy living in Doral?

Fernando: Absolutely. I enjoy living in the city of Doral, as I previously mentioned, “we have the best of both worlds”. Even in the cultural aspect with the Latin influence in the cultural activities and how the society goes in the city, mixing that with the American culture making sure that everything works properly and following the rules.

Victoria: If you could change anything about Doral, what would it be?

Fernando: In my opinion, I would change or improve firstly, the Waste Management Center located in Medley, which is next to the city of Doral because it sometimes disturbs the community of Doral. Secondly, I would improve transportation, traffic congestion in this city is a problem and it could be solved by building more highways of implementing more public transportation.

-All in all, Fernando appreciates living in the city of Doral, he’s proud of the community and the beneficial aspect it has that that most of the people can live and work in the same city, but some consequences can come along with that in the long run as more traffic congestion, higher costs of living. For that reason, he considers that the city of Doral has to address all of their efforts to those aspects that can be threatening for this city. –

L A N D M A R K S

Doral Contemporary Art Museum

5775 NW 84th

This museum was built in 2016 by a group of “collectors, museologists, community leaders, entrepreneurs, artist, scholars and architects” (DORCAM). Its mission is to offer a vision that connects artists and audiences through the presentation of contemporary art, moreover, emphasizing on what it means to be a citizen of Doral and the world. This museum provides space for debate, critical thinking, dialogue and programs for all ages. Doral Contemporary Art Museum is a very unique place in the City of Doral that shows a good approach to art, architecture, visionary design, and technology innovation.

Miami-Dade Public Library SystemDoral Branch

8551 NW 53rd St a107

Opened on September 28th, 2000 with the purpose of providing the community of Doral a space for engagement and exchange of ideas, promoting literacy and learning, personal growth and countless opportunities. This library brings new technologies to the neighborhood and facilitates the access to information for Doral residents.

T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

According to Data USA, as of 2017, 80.5% of the population drive alone, 9.51% carpool, and 4.51% make use of public transit. The average commute time is 25.4 minutes and the average car ownership is 2 cars per household (“Doral, FL”).

The majority of the residents of Doral drive alone, but there are also many cars circulating in the city due to the people that commute every day to Doral either to work, study or any other reason.  

Doral offers public transportation for free with their Trolley System. Launched in February 2008, the Doral Transit System is a program that provides an intra-city circulator named the Doral Trolley. The purpose of this transit system is to relieve traffic congestion by reducing the people that make use of cars, increase transit ridership and balance parking shortages in the city.

Additionally, this service has some advantageous features, it’s free, provides residents transportation to different locations, and it is interconnected with other trolley and existing transit system such as the Metrorail.


Currently, the city operates four routes. Route 1 is called Cross-Town Connector or the Blue Route, Route 2 named Commercial/Metrorail or Yellow Route, Route 3 named Residential/Metrorail Connector or Green Route and Route 4 named FIU Connector or Purple Route. Those routes can take people to many destinations as Midtown Doral, Palmetto Metrorail Station, Doral Government Center, Downtown Doral, Miami Dade College West Campus, City Place Doral, Dolphin Mall, Miami International Mall, FIU – Engineering Campus and FIU – Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

GREEN

The City of Doral contains many parks where people can recreate themselves and do activities such as grills, picnics, exercise, fishing kayaking, play in different sports courts, kids can enjoy of the playgrounds and have a great time. Overall, there are several green places where residents can gather together and enjoy outdoor areas this city has to offer.

Downtown Doral Park

8395 NW 53rd St

Downtown Doral Park. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This green area is next to the City of Doral Government Center it was completed in 2012, is 3 acres and its located in the Downtown Doral Area. It’s an ideal place for family picnics or walkways, it includes children’s playground, picnic tables, walking/jogging path, and a large open lawn. This park is open from Monday through Sunday from 7:00 AM until sunset.


Doral Central Park

3000 NW 87th Ave


Doral Central Park. Photo by Tamanoeconomico – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Doral Central Park is the largest park in the city and hosts major events such as the Independence Day celebration. This park is 82 acres and located in the commercial area of Doral, bordered by the headquarters of Carnival Cruise Lines and the United States Southern Command. It counts with amenities like a 9- mile walking/jogging trail, exercise station, grills and picnic benches for rental. Doral Central Park opens Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 8 pm and from Saturday through Sunday from 7 am until sunset.


Doral Glades Park

7600 NW 98th Pl

Doral Glades Park it’s known for its Natural Preserve and the amenities it offers. This park is 25 acres and it counts with a 12 acres lake with Natural Preserve, a lighted Boardwalk and Nature trail around the lake, a viewing pier, fishing and kayaking activities, a themed playground, an open lawn, two tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, a nature center with interactive nature exhibits, an e-library free to the community, indoor multipurpose rooms and an outdoor pavilion for rental. This park is opened from Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm and weekends from 8 am until sunset. The kayaking and fishing hours are from Monday through Sunday from park opening until Sunset

Doral Meadow Park

11555 NW 58th St

This park was built in 2006, is 14 acres and its amenities are ideal for sports fans. Doral Meadow Park offers a children playground, two soccer/football fields, two baseball fields, batting cages, bikeway access to trails and tails park and an exercise path. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm and on weekends from 8 am until sunset.

P L A C E S O F W O R S H I P

Chabad Jewish Center of Doral 

10181 NW 58th St #16

Chabad Jewish Center of Doral was established in 2006 by Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky, with the purpose of providing services for the community of this area. It is a convenient location for Jewish people residents of this area since before this center was created the closest possibility that they had to practice their religion was to commute to Miami Beach, Aventura or Kendall in order to attend services. There are Shabbos Services offered every Saturday morning and they celebrate Shabbat on Friday nights with the Rabbi.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

11691 NW 25th St

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This church was built in this area with the purpose of embracing the huge Catholic presence in Doral. Most of Doral’s residents come from Hispanic countries and most of them practice the Catholic religion in their own neighborhood. It was named after the Virgin of Guadalupe on September 1st, 2001. This church has more than 700 families registered, and it’s well known because it offers masses in different languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Metro Life Church 

10045 NW 19th St

Metro Life Church Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Founded in 1997, Metro Life Church was initiated by a Miami native, Steve Alessi and his wife Mary. This is a Christian ministry in the City of Doral where people can praise, and worship and experience services given by Pastors with relevant messages for their life.

F O O D

Since the City of Doral has many influences from different countries, in my opinion, these are my top three restaurants recommendations you have to go to.

Sabor Venezolano

10722 NW 74th St

Sabor Venezolano Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Most of Venezuelans in Miami live in Doral, if you want to try authentic Venezuelan food this is the place you must go. This restaurant is a small family business where you can enjoy Venezuelan cuisine. They are popular for their Arepas which are cornmeal flatbreads that can be stuffed with fillings like cheese, chicken, pulled meat, beans, plantains, eggs and can be either grilled, baked or fried. They have many more Venezuelan dishes like Empanadas, Tequeños and Cachapas but Arepas it’s their signature meal. You can also buy Venezuelan desserts like Quesillo (Flan), Spanish Swiss Roll and Arroz con Leche (rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and vanilla). As well, you can buy Venezuelan goodies like chocolates, candies, and snacks.

Trattoria Di Più

2475 NW 95th Ave #9

Trattoria Di Più Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

This is a family business owned by an Italian-Venezuelan family recreating the typical Italian-style eating establishment. Their recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. They prepare authentic Italian cuisine and also sell Spaghetti, Ravioli and Pasta sauces from scratch and homemade. You can also build your own dish, deciding your spaghetti type, sauces and toppings. Their price range fluctuates between $7 and $15. Additionally, this restaurant has a beautiful lake view and environment that will make you feel in an authentic “Trattoria” in Italy. Whenever my family and I want to eat something similar to Nonna’s food this is our go to restaurant.

Monserrate

9545 NW 41st St

Monserrate Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Monserrate is a Colombian restaurant that is the closest to authentic Colombian food you can find in Doral. Their Meat Empanadas, Barbecues, Bandeja Paisa which is an authentic dish from Medellin and fresh juices are delightful. Their service is super quick, the waiters are really kind and the environment will make you feel at Colombia. Their price range varies from $6 and $14. 

B U S I N E S S E S

City Place Doral

8300 NW 36th St

City Place Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

The City Place is an incredible place where people can do many activities such as shopping, dining, play bowling, go to the movie theater and experience events. It’s the perfect location to hang out with friends and family. It offers different kinds of restaurants like Mexican, Peruvian, Argentinian, American, and Cuban. In addition, it has bakeries, coffee shops, and bars. City Place Doral also entertains with the bowling place, a hookah bar, a movie theater, a comedy club, and two art galleries.

Downtown Doral 

8300 NW 53rd St

Downtown Doral. (CC by 4.0) Photo by Victoria Carlucci

Downtown Doral is a community that features stores, boutiques, convenience stores, and eateries. It’s adjacent to the Downtown Doral Park, so people can enjoy both when visiting. It has coffee shops and bars and offers a variety of gastronomic experiences like Cuban, American, Peruvian and Japanese food. Additionally, the Miami-Dade Public Library is located in Downtown Doral.

S U M M A R Y

Doral is the perfect definition of a multi-cultural city, people from many places choose this city not only because of its benefits but because it will make easier their transition to a new country since they can find some things about their country of origin in this city. Furthermore, there are not xenophobe acts towards the different cultures that wish to live in this city, Doral is described as a welcoming community for foreign people.

This relatively new city has a convenient location because it is located near the Miami International Airport and close to the Ronald Reagan Turnpike and Palmetto Expressway that can take you pretty much anywhere from Miami. Furthermore, this city has good statistics, such as that it was placed at #22 in Money Magazine’s list of top 50 cities to live in, it was named the fastest-growing city in Florida and 11th in the country by the Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center, it was recognized as the Best City in Florida for Business Start-ups by BusinessWeek and #2 of America’s Top 25 towns to live well for its cultural amenities, pro-business environments, and highly educated workforce by Forbes.com (City of Doral). To sum up, many factors make Doral so appealing not only to investors but to families as the ideal place to live.

The City of Doral is growing up fast and some aspects can be improved in order to keep on being a great community and city to live in. For instance, there should be more public transportation and more routes created. Currently, we can see many buildings and housing in construction which is advantageous but that can be a threat if that causes more traffic congestion, therefore expanding highways and roads could be beneficial in the long term.

I live in Doral since 2018 and I enjoy living here because this place has made my transition to a new country smoother because if I ever get to miss things about my home country, Venezuela, I can find most of them here. The location is pretty convenient, I can go to Miami Beach in less than 30 minutes or visit my family in Pembroke Pines or enjoy the Downtown Miami without suffering from the struggles that crowded cities like Brickell face. Also, Doral is really close to the Miami International Airport which is beneficial for me when I have to pick up family and friends or when I go to Venezuela.  

W O R K S C I T E D

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.