Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Condo Living II

Since I posted about much has happened. For starters, I was sure things could be worked out, after all, we are civil people...we can compromise. Yes, well, condo living is like politics...and we know how that is working out these days!

Days came and went and nothing could be done to solve the problem of the noise upstairs. The family came for a month.....and they stayed about that time. All the while, dragging, dropping, slamming and making a racket at all hours. Visits from security, management and even a letter to the manager (with the hope it would be delivered to the Board) made no difference. Finally, when we were just about had it.....silence! They were gone! just as mysteriously as they came...thank you!

Now, this experience has taught me something: condo living is not for me, at least not here in Miami. People from all over the world live here, more from Latin America than other places, but still. There are young professionals, singles and couples; there are retirees, older professionals, couples with children. The whole gamut of humanity. On the surface...all seems so great.

I am not so sure these days. Once you own an apartment here, you are supposed to adhere to rules. You agree to get along and not to cause trouble. There are also the unwritten rules of civilized behavior and the rules of polite society.: like greeting each other in elevators and common areas. Unfortunately, people have to believe in these rules to follow them. I have found that most people, really do not care. We have found out, as well and the hard way, that when you own or lease an apartment, you can lend it to friends and family for as long as you like. Since the visitors do not live here , they can ignore the rules! And believe me, they do! This is upsetting.

My husband and I like to travel, we have no small children and condo living provides a wonderful way of spending our time in Miami....close your door, you're gone. No hurricane preparations, no yard to keep, no pool service to deal with, valet parking, someone to help with your packages and groceries when you need it......all absolute pluses. Also important: no commute for my husband! Oh, for those so inclined: a fabulous gym...and the fact that Brickell Key is a real oasis in the middle of the city. Close to everything and at the same time, secluded. We really love these things.

In many occassions we have been told to buy....and we have considered it. On the other hand, when you rent you can chose where you want to live and move on when you are tired of a place. When you own, you are stuck. So I don't think buying is in our cards, we want to retire here? NEEEEE!!! Can't see myself fighting traffic when I become older; as it is, driving is already nerve-wrecking. Can't see myself putting up with absolutely ghastly children whose parents cannot control them or with adults that are only interested in their own comfort.

Besides there is also the fact that construction and remodeling goes on at all times during the year...and because no matter what is done, you cannot completely soundproof a building....the noise level can be unbearable sometimes. Like this week, when as soon as the people upstairs left: somewhere in the building, someone started making improvements in their unit. All perfectly reasonable and within their right...but so absolutely annoying!!

So, NO, condo living has amazing advantages and for the time being it is a great alternative to us, but in the long run....can't imagine doing this for the rest of my life!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Miami Street Food Court

Our first time and I think, we got the hang of it. Got to see how it works, sampled some things, skipped others, had a good time. My sisters and son came along. The night was more than cool, but not unreasonably cold. There were lots of people and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Everyone very casually dressed, jeans, sweatshirts, comfortable shoes. Young couples with children having a night out, a real treat I'm sure. Young people in groups joking and sampling everything. Older folks enjoying the opportunity of a something different to do on a weekday. This is s splendid idea!

The routine appeared to be well established: you walk around, see what is offered at that particular spot, that particular night. Then you just order what appeals to you and move on. If something is very good, you repeat! Last night we tried the Cuban frita, tacos, a grilled cheese sandwich and a crackling duck sandwich. There was espresso and soft drinks and, of course, dessert.

The tacos were sampled first at Latin Burger and Taco...excellent and tasted so authentic. The best of the night. My son and husband tried the frita at El Mago de Las Fritas/Burger Beast...tasty, but greasy and too big to just sample. The crackling duck sandwich from Dim Ssäm à gogo was different, spicy and sweet at the same time. I enjoyed it even though one of my sisters complained of the bread. Then we had the grilled cheese at Ms. Cheezious.....made the old-fashioned way, toasted and buttery, it was very good. Espressos were on target and the small cupcakes from Sugar Rush just right to end the evening.

Despite the unusual coolness, we had a very pleasant experience. I would like to go again because I found there were too many burger and grill places. More variety would be great and I hear there are many of these food trucks out there. Overall, what was offered was delicious as a whole and the atmosphere added to the enjoyment. I would recommend these events; they give the city a new face.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011: New Year, New Attitude.....

2011 is here. It arrived in a very slow way while Frankie and I were celebrating with his family. It was a nice evening, subdued and cool, and not at all as what we had been used to. I know, it's been ages and our latest New Year's Eves have been a bit like this one. Nothing full of excitement or fun as we had back on the island. At the same time, this time it was a welcome change.....Camille didn't come home for the Holidays and Frank has gone to London to visit. So it was only the two of us. Subdued was just what we needed.

We picked up Frankie's aunt (she was my father-in-law's cousin....) and drove in the very light traffic to his uncle's home......long drive, as much as I'll say. The house was decorated and lit with Christmas decorations, everything was ready, drinks were offered as soon as we greeted everyone. It was a nice group of older and younger people, excellent food and the necessary drinks. Good conversation and genuine good will. Of course we could have used some lively music, some dance and definitely some incense! Overall, it was a pleasant evening.....

Once that was taken care of, we drove back. The next morning, it was a new year, but things looked the same, what to do? No beach day, the pool is not substitute and the day was not warm enough anyway! Ah, when will I get used to this? and do I have the time? or would we move before this happens? who knows? This getting used to Miami has not been an easy or fast process. Not what I expected, but also I have not helped it along. Time for a new attitude?....maybe. There is not point agreeing, better take things one at a time!

Letting go of the past is very difficult. It involves letting go of things that meant so much for so long. What we accepted as a given, suddenly is no more...not easy. Or maybe it's my age, not as young as I want to be. Should remember that I am still full of energy to start again, and probably will soon! Haven't I always wanted to be considered an expat? Well, this is what expats do: they adjust!!! Bloom where you're planted, sort of thing.

Seems 2011 would be the year I finally get down to it: let's see Miami as another stop in my life of moving from here to there. Enjoy what this city has to offer and do not think of it as a permanent stop, just another step. That is the way, the only way, to make the best of a life that will continue to be lived here and there!!!!

Tonight Frankie and I will explore something new: the Miami Street Food Court. The Miami Street Food Court is the spot where all the Street Food Trucks gather . This is the new rave in the area. Absolutely amazing food, sold out of especially customized trucks. They gather around the city, at different days every week. Reviews are glowing...will let you know all about it!!!!