“My

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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