The truck’s loaded up, the house is as empty and clean as the day we moved into it three years ago, and the time has come to say goodbye to my home of the past 11 years, the only American city I’ve ever lived in. Will you miss me, Miami? I’ll miss you. Not all of you, mind – there’s valid reasons for me to make this move. But I’ll miss your unique and quirky charms nonetheless. Here are the 5 things I’m going to miss the most.

1. The family we created. My husband’s family is mostly concentrated in the midwest, and mine’s almost all in Trinidad. But still we managed to make a family of friends in Miami, friends who’d come over almost every night for dinner and every weekend for barbecues, friends we could rely on if we needed them, who knew they could rely on us if the roles were reversed. Our band of brothers and sisters. Some have already moved away, some still reside in South Florida. I miss them all already. Lino and Lauren, Jenny and Jackie, Jeff and AJ. The Wolfman Jack. Clementyne, Alison, Sara. John, Jessica, Zane, Errol, Pablo, Roger. Forrest and Lydia. Francisco and Frank Houston. Melissa Burley, the best bartender in Miami. Rebecca, Nadine, Karen, Cristina and Diana, and the grandpa I never thought I’d have, Charlie Cinnamon… you know who you are. To quote Roger, “it’s a forever thing.” It so is, and we’ll always be in touch. Promise!

2.Familiarity. It hit me maybe a month ago, as I was on the way to my favorite book store in Miami, Books & Books. Traffic was backed up on Red Road and Ponce de Leon, so I went the other way and took beautiful Blue Road, winding past the lush lawns and gorgeous homes of Coral Gables. “Wow. I’m going to miss knowing where I’m going.” Now I won’t know the shortcuts or neighborhoods, and I expect to feel lost as I figure out my way around this new city I will make my home. It’ll take me a while and I’ll get there eventually… but yeah. I will miss knowing the ins and outs and back roads of Miami like the back of my hand.

3.Fabulousity. I definitely enjoyed a great life in Miami, and I’ve been feted and pampered at some of the finest spas and salons in the city. The Ritz Carltons at Key Biscayne and South Beach (and ooh, the new Eau Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach is to DIE FOR). The Mandarin Oriental, Lace Beauty Lab, Wax On Wax Off, ESPA at Acqualina, Uhma Spa, and Salon Vaso (which I’ll feature here on Afrobella soon, promise!) — Miami is a beautiful city and the places you can go to for beautifying treaments are hard to beat. I look forward to discovering Chicago’s pampering palaces, but I’m a bit skeptical. Few things can beat an oceanfront couple’s massage at the Ritz in Key Biscayne. Just sayin’.

4. The food. OMG, the food. Miami’s culture is diverse, sure… but it definitely skews heavily towards Latin and Caribbean. Which is great for me! I know Chicago is a great food town and I sincerely look forward to discoverings its unique culinary pleasures. But MAN, I’m gonna miss Caribbean Delite. And Jamaica Kitchen (which was featured on the Food Network, dontcha know). I heart Havana Harry’s and my favorite restaurant of all, Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar and Latam Grill. Anyone know of a good roti shop or Jamaican restaurant in the Chi?

5. Last but definitely not least, I will miss the weather. I grew up a Caribbean girl and chose Miami because it reminded me so much of home in term of the vegetation and the climate. The first thing everyone commented on when I told them I was moving to Chicago was, “oooh, you’re gonna be cold there!” I know, I know. But I picked the perfect time to move! It’s balmy and warm and beautiful this weekend, so my spirits are high. But I know there will be days ahead where I’m cold and sad and missing the blazing tropic heat. But you know what they say – forward ever, backward never. I’m psyched to be in Chicago! If you’re from the windy city, let me know the hotspots I need to check out. I’m ready to explore my new home town!

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Sheri says:
May 21, 2009, 1:38 pm
I'm with you on all five. I lived in Jamaica all he way up until 2001 right before going to UM for grad school. 7 years is a long time to live in a city as great as Miami, especially as and international person. Having just finished my first year in the midwest, your five things are my five things. Enjoy all the new life things, in the new fabulous city!
Nichole says:
May 21, 2009, 1:53 pm
It's always hard to leave a city especially one you have made home for so long. I grew up in Dallas, lived in teh Bay Area for a while, then LA, and now Vancouver. I always make a list of what I need to anytime I visit one of these cities. Now, you have a new adopted home and it's like being a kid in a candy store. So much to learn and explore. Enjoy! And always know you are only a flight away when you need your Miami fix.
Victoria says:
May 21, 2009, 2:02 pm
Congratulations on your move! Chicago is a great city (albeit cold :)! You'll love it too. And the lake is almost like beach in the summer... almost!
Robin says:
May 21, 2009, 2:52 pm
WELCOME! WELCOME! WELCOME! You'll love the Chi (yes, you'll hate the sometimes schizophrenic, sometimes unbearably cold weather, the parking meters, and the sales tax but) this is a beatiful, soulful, culturally magnificent city. There's plenty of hot spots I could recommend but I'll start with the Jamaican food. I believe you said you moved to the North Side (South Side all day! but I digress, lol) There's a spot called Ja'Grill which is a pretty fabulous sit down restaurant on the North Side, 1008 W. Armitage. I can vouch for their jerk catfish and chicken. YUMMY!! Also, on your regular day there are plenty of jamaican joints around the city, but my go to spot when I'm craving some jerk and plaintains is Uncle Joe's. Its on the south side (the closest location for you would be hyde park, 1461 E. hyde park blvd, right off of lake shore drive ) but reliable and sooo good. I would love to run down a list of my fave places. But that could take all day! Enjoy the weather while it lasts. I'll keep you posted on goings on and hotspots whenever I get the notion. Maybe I'll run into ya one of these days :)
SterlingRose says:
May 21, 2009, 4:46 pm
Bella, Chicagoland welcomes you with open arms! You’ll have so much to do and so little summer to do it. With a couple hundred different neighborhoods there are festivals and art shows galore. Festival of Life and the 57th St. Art Fair are faves. Restaurant wise if you like meat and awesome South American comfort type food check out Tango Sur on Southport. More veggie inclined, Karyn’s Café on Halsted. It’s all organic raw vegetarian. Yummy! Headed downtown? Check out Summer Dance, Movies in Grant Park and Taste of Chicago (on a week day at lunch hour if possible). You’ll love the lake. There’s a 20 plus mile bike path, parks and beaches and it’s always cooler there in the summer. I could go on for days! Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. There are so many cool nooks to explore. As for winter, it is NOT that bad. Just moisturize (hair and skin) a lot; get a great coat, hat, scarf, gloves and fab boots and it’s a piece of Chicago style cheesecake. You’re a rugged mid-westerner now. You conquer the elements, they don’t rule you! You’re going to love it here. Happy unpacking!
Shawnta` says:
May 21, 2009, 5:52 pm
I've never been to Miami but I definitely plan to go sometime soon. This post made me want to go even sooner.
Audrey says:
May 21, 2009, 8:12 pm
Check out Blu 47, it's a lounge/restaurant on the southside (Bronzeville) that plays live music some nights. There's a comedy club next door and they have Chicago-style step dancing lesson downstairs. As far as festivals, Chicago Summer Dance and the Ghanaian festival are fun. I also recommend Demera's for Ethiopian food (Northside, Uptown to be exact) and there's are lots of Peurto Rican restaurants in Humbolt Park...feel free to hit me up for other fun spots.
Kindred Smile says:
May 22, 2009, 1:27 pm
Welcome to Chi City, bella! There are many, many places I can recommend, from Cafe Trini on the southside for curry crab legs and macaroni pie to Semiramis on the Northwest side for amazing hummus, falafel and shawarma. Asili Chi and Honey Child are two of my favorite salon/spas, and I love going to Vive la Femme for plus sized diva duds. Looking forward to a Chi City happy hour!
La Grande Dame says:
May 22, 2009, 3:04 pm
Congratulations on your move! As a former (but true to the bone) mid-westerner I know you will find the people, the culture and the atmosphere exciting and rewarding. Just watch out for that first winter - Chicago's brutal! Have fun!
Luvvie says:
May 22, 2009, 10:14 pm
For some GREAT music, check out the reggae club Wild Hare in Wrigleyville. They have live bands on Fridays too. I LOVE IT! Welcome!!
Lianne says:
May 24, 2009, 11:16 pm
Hello My Bella friend! You are saying goodbye to Miami (hey...you can always visit!) and warm weather but you will have such a wonderful support system in ChiTown. You will love it! I will come visit you and we can be fabulous sashaying down Michigan Ave. together!
Jewelry Rockstar says:
May 25, 2009, 1:56 pm
I've been to Miami & I've been to Chicago. I am not going to say which one I like the most. I wish a great new adventure and a wonderful new life in the Chi. The new adventure will carry you most of the way, and don't forget to get a goose down early.
Newly Nappy says:
May 25, 2009, 5:51 pm
Hiya, welcome to Chi City! U pikd a wondrful time 2 come, 80 degrees rather than 8 being more of the norm lol. Nxt sat (may 30) will b the my blk is beautiful forum @ uic. Its free & sounds vry xcitg. U shud check it out, jus google it & register online. Itd b great 2 plan a lil bella welcome party/meet up. Welcome welcome!
Fleurzty says:
May 26, 2009, 12:47 am
I missed Miami a whole lot when I first left. I missed the familiarity and the resemblance to Haiti. I got to central Illinois last Fall and did not meet one person from back home the entire time I was there. I also missed the easy going life I had in Miami. I lived on Brickell and worked in Key Biscayne, so did my husband. We had literally no commute and a very easy going life full of friends and family all around us. Nonetheless, we found our move to be a tremendous blessing. Sometimes comfort can keep you from realizing your dreams. Leaving our comfort zones stretched us in ways we could not believe and made us better individuals. We have since started new business enterprises and are continuously looking for ways to improve ourselves and the lives of those around us. I honestly doubt whether my site would even be up if I stayed in Miami. I know your move is a step forward Bella and I wish you the very best. I hope it is everything you expect and so much more. Best of luck in your business ventures as well!
Sara says:
May 27, 2009, 12:31 pm
*sigh I got teary eyed when i read number 1. I love you guys and miss you already! All the memories of that first year are playing over and over again in my head!! I can't wait to visit you in Chicago!!! Lots of love and best of luck in your new hometown! I'll keep Miami warm for your visits!!!
Monica Byrd says:
May 27, 2009, 12:54 pm
Patrice - Congrats on your move to Chicago - I am sure you will adjust fabulously! Take care, Monica
MsTeri says:
May 27, 2009, 3:23 pm
Welcome to the WIndy City! First of all I suggest you buy long underwear ASAP. You'll think you can wait until November to bust them out, but there's always that surprise day in September (occasionally late August) when it's chilly, but with the wind it's COLD! Go to Irazu on Milwaukee Ave. for Costa Rican food, the Edgewater Antique mall for vintage clothes & furniture, and the South Loop Whole Foods for the $5 Sunday brunch! If you're in Oak Park, a neighboring suburb, go to Tasty Dog for the best Chicago Style hotdogs, Anana's for clothes and Nora's Shoes for...SHOES (they are pricey but they have layaway)!!!
Gina says:
May 28, 2009, 2:51 pm
Hey there Bella....please please please come and check out the D3 Bootcamp once you get to Chicago. The camp is run by Dre Everett. I've been reading your blog for about 3 years now and I love it. I think that you would really like D3.
Afroamerica Writer says:
May 31, 2009, 3:26 pm
Wow Bella, I'm a South Florida girl and lived in Miami for ten years. (What up Biscayne Blvd!) But I'm always going back to my cold climate town on some holidays (Folks in South Florida still ask about being from up North just on how I look), I really don't like brutal cold weather. But I agree with you about the food in Miami. It fits my multi-cultural background. Nothing like it. All the best to you on the move.
Philip says:
January 11, 2012, 12:50 am
I grew up in Miami and had to move for work reasons....call me when you leave for Raleigh, NC, now that's a big adjustment.
James May says:
May 19, 2016, 9:30 am
I am so with you ,that is on missing Miami.I miss the beaches,access to the water for boating and fishing and indeed although I complained about it all the time the warm weather. I moved to Leeds,England in the UK two and half years ago. The hottest it has been here is maybe 73. It is mostly cold and rainy but being in England is great for my kids.Schools in the Uk are excellent ! In Miami I miss my Miami Heat and Hurricane games ! The food from Samurai to Havanna Harry's . The things to do like going to black point for drinks at night on the dock to Art Basel ! Miami is such a great city and my wife and I plan on coming back to you in the next 10 years when our youngest starts college ...
ignacio says:
September 16, 2016, 1:34 am
i stumbled upon your blog and i live in Miami and love it here i grew up in new york and miss the high pace of capital of the world but i feel you when you say you are going to miss Miami.i work with landscape in Miami and have found that Miami has the most beautiful gardens and places I have seen, the weather is my favorite part of miami and I doi sometimes miss the cold I love the fact that I can get up and walk outside in flip flops anytime of the year even though in January it does get a little nippy LOL! thank you for being part of the city. have you been back ever since you left?