Little City, Big Love

 

Here I sit, missing everything about Miami. Its tall palm trees, sandy beaches, humid air, sweltering sun. It isn’t really the weather that impressed me, but the people that I met everywhere I went. From the moment I was picked up at the airport by my friend Magda, to the minute I boarded the plane back to Chicago.

There was love everywhere.

I regret not eating more at the wonderful place where we had Thursday’s dinner. When my friend had a hog fish with seven different sides and I couldn’t even finish my delicious plate of fried oysters. I think Mignonette is going to be one of my favorite restaurants.

Friday morning’s workout was a bit embarrassing, actually. I didn’t know how to do a kettleball throw thingy (despite the fact that I have a personal trainer. I think he just hasn’t introduced me to that yet) and I fell when I tried to strap my left leg on to a TRX and without holding on to the rail. April Buchwald was like a machine, and my friend, Magda was the model student. But that picture, huh? It was cool – made me look like I knew what I was doing! Shout out to Lulu Lemon – love those tops. I will never wear anything else.

Breakfast at All Day Miami – I swore to buy the cane sugar syrup that they used on my iced tea. After an hour at Body and Soul, I was ready for those eggs. And bacon.

Staying at the Soho House in Miami Beach was like every writer’s dream. My creative radar was on, and everywhere I went, I felt like I was in the company of greatness. I wanted to sit in the lobby all day long and just people watch.

I had my name in lights – well, okay. On a chalkboard – at Books and Books. I’m not embarrassed to say that there were less than ten people at the actual talk, but the live stream was on and I had a fun exchange with those who came out to see me. Really great questions, you guys! Humility is a virtue. I never pretend to be more than who I am. I’m an unknown in a big world of books. And I’m okay with that.

When my friend told me she would throw me a party with beautiful people, she wasn’t kidding. Our 10:30 pm dinner at Komodo was a blast! I am grateful to all those who came out to spend some time with me, including some of Miami’s up and comers. All young, all hip, all beautiful. Included in that group was Dave Grutman, the King of Miami. So honored that he stopped by the table and spent some time to talk about In This Life.  The Peking Duck brought back memories of my childhood, and the Pork Belly sticks tasted magnificent. There’s just no way they could be bad for you!

Saturday’s book signing was a really positive experience! Its organizers were just so accommodating and kind! It was lovely to meet Jen Rogue, whose poetry I truly admire. And Seth King – can’t believe he wanted to sit with me!  And hang out with me. What a nice afternoon and early evening at the beach with two very interesting and smart young people.

The Zika threat took over the Wynwood area, cancelling our event at Mortar and Pistil that Sunday. And while I was so disappointed at not being able to meet and talk about Anna, Jude, Dante and life in general, we still made the most out of a great day! A photo shoot at a very nice book store in Coral Gables with a wonderful photographer named Marlene was first. Sorry, Marlene. You should know – every time I try to look sexy, I end up looking like a nerd. My Uber driver to Coral Gables was a young man named Alberto. In thirty minutes, he schooled me in the history of Cuba (his grandfather worked in government), Socialism, and the beauty of living in a democracy. We talked about politics and government and I learned more from him than I have by reading the news.

Lunch at the  Soho Mandolin was so good! I loved the roasted vegetables and Halloumi. Relaxed on the beach with a  dear friend from Miami and her beautiful baby boy. He crawled around the sand so fast and tried to eat the shells and the seaweed.

The Eden Roc hotel is beautiful! It’s classic, old Hollywood, kind of eclectic. Dinner at Nobu with my fried Brussel sprouts and more pork belly really capped this wonderful weekend trip.

I checked out of my hotel at 4am on Monday morning, just as people were ending their night. I would have loved to stay longer. But the responsibilities of work called to me.

Thank you, Miami. For your love and hospitality. For your beautiful people, your rain, your music and your vibrancy. For your culture, your crazy airport, your night life and your resilience. Thank you for your welcome. In this journey I’ve been taking, you will always be at the top of my list.

 

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