Although I live in Brooklyn, NY, I was born and raised in Miami. South Florida is a strange and unique place. Yesterday, while waiting for my flight home, I got a little nostalgic and began to catalog some of my memories of my hometown.
I remember cheek-kisses as greetings instead of hugs or handshakes.
I remember the ballet moms sharing gossip and tiny cups of cafecitos as they watched their daughters dance from the waiting room of Ballet Etudes.
I remember how the pleather seats of the school bus burned the backs of my thighs every afternoon from September to November and again from April to June.
I remember running through the sprinklers on the P.E. field during summer camp.
I remember going to my first quinceanera and learning how to booty dance.
I remember the worst sunburn I ever got, waiting in line to go down the waterslide at C.B. Smith Park.
I remember pizza with my dad on the Hollywood Beach boardwalk.
I remember a tourist approaching me when I worked at Banana Republic to tell me that I should get a tan, so I didn’t look so pale and sickly.
I remember strawberry picking in January.
I remember palm trees with Christmas lights on them.
I remember turquoise waters. I remember the first time I saw the Jersey Shore and thought, “This isn’t a real beach.”
I remember skipping school to go to South Beach.
I remember traffic jams caused by dead chickens in the middle of the road.
I remember my parents pulling over on Kendall Drive to pick up a stray avocado that had fallen off of someone’s backyard tree.
I remember blinding afternoon sun and cumulus clouds like pillows of cotton candy.
I remember red flamboyan trees dotted along the highway.
I remember sweating.
I remember the musky smell of evening humidity.
I remember afternoons that were too lazy and too endless.
I remember all of this whenever I come back.