Living in Miami has been a crazy ride. No place is quite like Miami. I often hear jokes about how great Miami is because it’s SO CLOSE to the United States. Coming from the northeast, those first few years in Miami were serious culture shock, but I learned many valuable lessons that I’m certain will prove to be helpful as I wander through life.
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It’s called Cuban Coffee…aka cafecito. It even has it’s own time. 3:05pm is official Cafecito Time. 305 is also the Miami-Dade area code, as anyone who’s ever heard a Pitbull song surely knows. I’ll never forget my first taste of that sweet liquid crack. I didn’t sleep for 35 hours. Good times. Just make sure you know a few words in Spanish before ordering this. I recommend “poquito azucar”. Otherwise your teeth may instantly fall out!
Little did I know when I moved here that eventually I would see a dress while shopping and think “that will look great the next time I’m on a boat”. Oh you thought going on a boat involved a swimsuit, cut-off shorts and baseball hat? No, no honey…you are yachting now. You probably won’t get in the water at all. You will sip champagne in a $300 maxi dress with bare feet (God help you if your pedi isn’t fresh) and let the staff serve you ceviche on a tiny spoon.
My tip: If you are one of the rare Miami girls like myself who actually eats food, go down to the kitchen with the staff to scarf down ten of those babies…you can’t be SEEN doing that!
It’s Friday night, you are dolled up and wearing your Valentino rock studs that you spent an entire month’s rent on with the hopes of meeting that special very rich someone. Get ready to work work work work work because you have to make the first move. Men in Miami are spoiled. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I am pretty sure the ratio of women to men is 13:1. This conveniently leads in to my next subject.
Yes, I am still using the 1 to 10 scale. It is astounding how attractive, stylish and fit women here manage to keep themselves. I moved here from Baltimore where I thought I was looking pretty fly, but I soon realized that I was the most unstylish and overweight girl on South Beach at a size 4 rocking my Banana Republic capri pants. My fitness level and fashion sense have improved a bit since then but even when I think I’m killing it, I go out and am literally staring at other women because they look so bomb! Insecure 12-year-old me appears, shyly asking girls where they got that killer white lace romper (Answer: a store I never heard of).
Men don’t have to try so hard. If they are clean, can speak in full sentences, and have a job, they are winning!
Moral of the story: If you were a “10” in Albany, you are probably a “5” in Miami so be prepared to make the first move and have a good personality! THAT is where many Miami girls fail. Don’t shoot the messenger!
Grocery stores sell out of bread, water AND WINE when there is a hurricane warning. A well-stocked bar = prepared. Hurricanes are also the best way to discover that sketchy dive bar in your hood that you would normally never go to but now it’s the only place open. Hello creepy guy with eye patch and a cat on his shoulder…buy me a drink?
In fact, this will cause you problems. Other drivers are less likely to make way for you if you use a signal. The Miami way is to rudely and aggressively bully your way into whatever lane you want. Go ahead. Try to be polite and use a signal. You’ll be waiting a very long time for Mother Theresa to let you in. If you’re lucky, somewhere in Fort Lauderdale you can finally get off of I-95 and turn around to return to that exit you missed.
Cher’s tip: Beware of the famous Miami quadruple lane change as the person staring at her newly enhanced duck lips or taking their lunchtime Adderal suddenly realizes she almost missed her exit.
So you move to Miami and think…peace out winter wardrobe! Nope! Keep those items for the arctic blast of AC that greets you as you enter most buildings. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but a few places for which you may want to pack a sweater include: Movie Theater, Restaurants, Plastic Surgeon’s office, Strip Club.
It’s very common to hear things such as “Mi amor” in general conversation with coworkers or even from the check-out lady at Walgreens. This translates to “my love”. It doesn’t sound quite right to say this in English, does it? Imagine if you said this casually to people in your daily lives. As a man you could get smacked. As a woman, you could gain a stalker or two.
I once overheard a coworker asking somebody to send a fax and thanked her by saying “Gracias, mi amor, mi corazon, mi vida“. This translates to “My love, my heart, my life”.
Really? That isn’t a bit much? “Pass the salt, my heart“. “Would you take out the trash, my life?” It just doesn’t work in English.
I will keep this simple. Nobody is on time. Ever. If someone tells you five minutes, they really mean one hour. My recommendations for social gatherings: You are supposed to be at “somewhere” at 8:00. You should start getting ready at 8:00. If you are the “on-time friend” you leave your house at 8:00. Entienda?
In NYC people brag about how much they work. We Miami folk like to brag about how much we don’t work. It’s not uncommon to see Facebook posts from your Miami friends “Look at me at the beach on a Tuesday”.
#miamilife #beachday #workisforsuckers
So, thank you Miami. I have learned so much and will miss you dearly. I’ll miss the plastic surgery offices on every street corner, the men who drive a Porsche but still live in a tiny house with 24 of their family members, and most of all, I’m going to miss that damn coffee!