Monday, April 07, 2014

One Final Look, In Retrospect...

Let me be clear, our time in Miami was not an endless parade of things we hated; we didn't just sit around complaining all the time.  Much good came from our time there.  We met people and went places we otherwise would not have.  We made some lifelong (I hope) friends and visited places I never thought I would ever see.  While Miami may have not been the best culture fit for us, it still yielded some amazing experiences for which I will be forever thankful:
KB did an amazing job choosing an apartment for us:  a 2B/2B penthouse on the 36th floor with almost 270° views of North Miami Beach, South Beach, Port Miami, Brickell and further views of Coral Gables and beyond.  The apartment and views were quite spectacular. If I couldn't work and had to stay home everyday, this made it worth it.

(Click image to enlarge and see panorama of our balcony view)

One of my hopes was that one day, KB and I would go to Disney World together.  And while living in Florida, we went 4 times.  We toured all 4 parks, several times each.  We also visited Downtown Disney and Harry Potter World at Universal Studios.
We visited St. Augustine, the oldest city in America.  I always wanted to go there but knew it wasn't a destination enough on its own.  So I figured I probably wouldn't see it.  But we grabbed the chance to walk the streets and tour Castillo de San Marcos.
We spent a great weekend in Key West and stood at the southernmost point in the US.  And even more special to me was the day trip out to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson, a place every Lincoln Assassination-phile dreams of going, but logistically decides is simply impossible.

Visits to South Beach brought us fun experiences like people-watching on Lincoln Road, lunches at The Carlyle, and walking past the Versace Mansion.

We enjoyed local food at some great places like Perricone's, The Filling Station, Pubbelly, Pride & Joy, and Yardbird.

We fired automatic weapons at Lock & Load Miami, and found out that we actually weren't bad shots!

We visited the Adrienne Arsht Center to see Pilobolus and the Broadway tour of Once.

We made great friendships that I hope will last a lifetime; friends who I truly believe understand why we had to leave and why Miami just was not for us.

And for me personally, I was able to do some things that I either didn't have time to do before or just never thought possible, like scanning in all my photos, obtaining my PHR, speaking to my lifetime hero

And there are definitely things I will miss, like:
  • The Wynwood Arts District, arguably our favorite place in the city for obvious reasons, 
  • Our favorite neighborhood hangout, Elwoods, where they make their own condiments and where we came in 2nd place during a trivia contest,
  • Bayfront Park, which was directly across from where we lived.  A great place to have lunch and just watch the cruise ships,
  • And sitting on our balcony at night, drinking Red's Apple Ale and watching the lights of South Beach. 
The decision to leave Miami was not made lightly.  But we knew that Chicago was the place we belonged, at least for now in our lives.  But we had to try Miami, or risk forever wondering, "what if?"  Looking back now I think, "what if we would have missed all this?" How can I ever think that my life in Miami wasn't worth it?  Especially when through it all, I had the man of my dreams right there beside me. 

The fun thing is that someday down the road, we'll be sitting around with friends and say, "well there was that year we lived in Miami...".  And these will be the things we remember.