The glitz and the glamour of Miami is unique. Out-of-towners want to visit and the residents want a helicopter so they can avoid the traffic.

I am proud to say I was born and raised in Miami-Dade and it wasn’t until I got to travel outside the city that I realized just how different my hometown is from the rest of the country. Miami is unique in many ways but it all boils down to the culture.

Español? Probably the biggest thing about Miami is that approximately 70% of the population is Hispanic and about half of those people don’t speak English. Amazingly enough, the language barrier hasn’t stopped very many Latinos from owning businesses, succeeding in professional careers, striving in the community and even claiming top-rung positions in government. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who ran in the 2016 elections for president of United States, is a Cuban-American, Miami Native.

The resilience of the Miami people isn’t just exclusive to Latinos. It’s a Miami thing. This is a land of new beginnings for many people. Miami is sanctuary to people who left their homes, looking for opportunities to shape their own futures without being stifled by dictators or lack of resources. When regaining control over their own destiny, many of these immigrants jump at the opportunity to not just survive – but to thrive.

When people thrive in Miami, they thrive hard. They pop bottles in top-tier clubs at 600% mark-up and drive half-million dollar cars in circles around Ocean Drive until the pedestrians get suspicious. As much as I love my city, I am the first to admit that the level of vanity is an epidemic. The ridiculous amount of money being thrown around Miami has left a lot of people, especially women, trying to cash-in on an early retirement by making the right friends.

The reality of it is that if you are a Miami resident, you are trying to live where the rest of the world is vacationing – and real estate prices are evidence of this. Trulia, a real estate website, did an analysis back in May 2015 that placed Miami as the 4th least affordable place to rent for college graduates in the entire country. According to an article by the Miami New Times:

“A worrying 41.68 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach metro area live with one or more of their parents. That’s the highest rate in the nation, and more than ten points higher than that national average of 30 percent.”

Combine these facts with extravagant lifestyle of South Beach playboys and “Instagram models” looking to be discovered and you have the most dangerous tourist trap ever.

It’s not all negative though. In many ways, the Carribean and Hispanic influences keep us grounded through an understanding of humility and the value of family. Regardless of how much we have, we know that we can lose it all – because many of our parents did lose it all when they fled their countries in search of something far more valuable: Freedom.

Miami is unique in that way, humility lives around the corner from extravagance.

Miami is unique in many ways

Downtown to Overtown

So when you come visit my city please know where the real value is. It’s not in Club LIV drinking $3,000 champagne hoping to catch a “bad bitch” in your thirst trap. It’s at the corner cafeteria in Hialeah drinking a cafecito soaking up the culture from an old wisehead. It’s at Chef Creole grubbing on some of the best Haitian and Carribean food you’ll ever have. It’s in Wynwood admiring local artist works, chowing from homegrown food trucks and restaraunts. It’s at the block party in South Miami that won’t stop playing Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata until the police show up and end up drinking coffee with your abuelita. I love my city and I hope people learn to love it for what it really is. If not, please keep your “talents” to South Beach.

 

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