I have never been in a flood before. I hate severe weather, particularly lightning, but the idea that water on its own could be such a threat never really crossed my mind. Yesterday, parts of Miami-Dade county received up to 7 inches of rain in something like 12 hours (local coverage here).
Things I love about living here:
1) Being close to family. This is the #1 reason we are where we are. While I wish I could also be closer to my parents and sister, most of Josh’s entire extended family (including his grandmother) resides in Miami Beach or nearby. We have frequent family celebrations and I love being able to walk or drive just a short distance for these.
2) My job! I feel like I started out with a good job but have crafted one that I really love. I have great coworkers, have great pride in the institution where I work, and have been thrilled about they have allowed me to design a schedule and set of responsibilities that work for me. I started off at 100% clinical, with 9 half-day sessions each week (1/2 day on Friday to catch up with everything that piles up!). When I began to feel very trapped by this, I jumped at the opportunity to make developing our peds residency program part of my career trajectory. Then, as you all know, I went to 80% time in April of this year. I’m down to 6 half-day sessions, which feels really balanced, and will likely be transitioning to just 5 once we have residents (July of next year!). I am doing more leadership and making good use of my organizational abilities (yay!) but also get plenty of clinical time. It’s a great balance for me.
3) Our kids’ preschool. A has been at a preschool associated with a community temple essentially since we arrived (Annabel spent about 2 weeks somewhere else and it was not the right fit), and Cameron began at age 2. The school is Emilio Reggio-inspired, and really well-run. I have been so impressed with their teachers and the overall approach to learning through creative play and community. A starts elementary school (public) this fall, so this experience is a complete unknown — we will see how it goes, but I have reasonably high hopes.
4) Our nanny. This one is probably clear from anyone who reads regularly. G has been with us since early the beginning (she’s our first and only!) and is basically parent #3 in our family. We have developed such great household routines, though I credit her initiative and organization more than my direction. She truly loves A & C, and was 100% on board with another baby — something that I honestly considered in our decision. I will also shout-out to our other babysitter, who is wonderful and reliable and allows us date night when we want (need?) it.
5) Our neighborhood. I love that I feel safe running in our immediate neighborhood, and that we can walk (or run) to the kids’ swim lessons on weekends.
6) Having friends! This took years, but I finally feel like we have enough friends that our social calendar is as full as it needs to be. I’m pretty sure Josh wishes it were even LESS full sometimes – ha. Classic introvert/extrovert dichotomy, but we seem to manage okay.
Things I am a bit less thrilled about . . .
1) The weather — specifically for running. I’m sure the fact that it is August doesn’t help me here, but honestly — truly ‘good’ running days are SO RARE here. Even in December, we have many “lows” in the 70s — not really cool enough for me to truly feel comfortable out there. I will say that the two times I ran the Miami half-marathon, we had SUPER cold mornings (luck!). I just wish they were more frequent. And the summer weather is just disgusting for runs. I’ve banished myself largely to the treadmill for this one.
With all that said, I DO love that our pool is warm for several months of the year, and that the kids can swim outside (in heated water) year-round. It’s a little bit thrilling to be able to hang out comfortably on the beach in November. But this one really is a mixed bag. I truly NEVER thought I’d say this but . . . I kind of sort of miss real seasons.
2) Priciness and culture of materialism. There is definitely a lot of value placed on image and beauty and things down here that I am not used to, and I don’t just think it’s because we’ve moved ‘up’ in our careers. I will say that Josh’s family is decidedly ANTI-material, and I love that. But sometimes it’s hard to be the only one at a school function without a designer bag (Chanel / Goyard / LV / etc) or ummm, ‘upgraded’ body parts (this is an exaggeration, but not a huge one). We try to be very purposeful with our spending, preferring to invest more in experiences (for us + the kids) than things. I suspect that in other places, I’d feel less alone in this.
3) Community cohesiveness. This one is a little tougher to put into words, but I just don’t get warm fuzzies thinking of our local restaurants, stores, and coffee shops the way I did in Durham, or even Chapel Hill. Perhaps this just takes longer — we were in the Triangle for 11 full years — but I’m not sure that’s it. It might just be that I prefer a slightly smaller-town atmosphere.
4) Climate change. I am pretty sure we are not living in the ideal spot for rising waters + temps. Just had to throw that in there.
5) My commute. I honestly don’t have a terrible attitude about it, and enjoy the podcast-listening time. But sometimes it just feels FAR, and I wish I had those hours back. I hate that I can’t jet home if needed in the middle of the day, and that working a half-day feels like a waste. I detest the weekend rounding, when sometimes I drive 2 hours just for 2 hours of hospital work time! My 80% situation helps, but I can imagine that as the kids’ activities/meetings/etc multiply as they get older, this is going to get more and more annoying.
I am grateful to live here — flooding, humidity, and all. I definitely feel like this is HOME after 4 years, and that we have really built our adult lives here. There is no way to know if we’ll be here forever, and I am really intent to see how A’s first foray into elementary school goes. But for now, I’m happy. It’s not paradise and it’s not perfect, but it is a lovely place to call home.