Rafaella Ribeiro: Miami as Text


My name is Rafaella Ribeiro. I currently a junior at FIU. I am majoring in international business and supply chain management. I was born and raised in a small town in Brazil. I have always loved Miami, that love however is fading away. I am taking this class to fall in love with Miami all over again. I love taking pictures, hanging out with friends, and learning a new side of the things.

Downtown as text

Beginnings 

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at Downtown Miami  September 30, 2020

Downtown Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro / CC BY 4.0

Downtown miami is a place that I had never really explored before. There have been a few times I had the chance to drive though it but I had never had the chance to see what it has to offer. It is the place where Miami Ave and Flagler st meet and Miami as we know begins.I could easily describe Downtown as a place that is unique, full of culture, and history, but rather I see downton as a place full of new beginnings. It is literally the place where the city stats, but it goes much deeper than that. 

Downtown holds 60 historic buildings. One of the buildings that caught my attention was Fort Dallas, a rectangular building that holds so much within its walls. It was once the place where the slaves lived. It was also used to  prevent trading between the Seminole and traders from Cuba or the West Indies. It then was used as a place that people would go to socialize. Today, although closed due to the pandemic, it is a place of learning. As I stood before that building I was overwhelmed. I thought about all the people who experience that place with sadness and lack of freedom. I then thought about how many people had a great time in the same place. I wondered how many friendships started, and if people ever feel in love there. It made me realize that over the years people experienced so many different things in Fort Dallas. It made me realize that Miami is a little bit about that, different people, in different times, all with so many dreams, realties,  and goals. Downtown has a strong and powerful energy. It holds so much, it expresses so much. I learned that the city can speak to you. I went to Downtown not knowing what to expect, I left Downton feeling empowered, free, and connected. 

South Beach as text

Overlooking the city

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at South Beach 16 September 2020

Barbara Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro / CC BY 4.0


Miami once again has made me fall in love. Form the blue water, the wam weather, to the historic building and randomly placed pieces of art. The walk from South Beach to Lincoln Rode was another reminder of the rich and unique history on the city. It was so mind opening to learn that a place that is now know for it’s diversity was once a place of segregation and discrimination. Although that is a chapter of our history, it does not define who we are. Miami means so much for so many.
Mimi is so rich in details and history. I have walked though the area so many times but it wasn’t until I was lecturing on t history that everything fell into place. Ocean drive has always had a special place of my hear. I have always love the aesthetic of buildings. My appreciation for it grew bigger e after learning of the fight for preservation that Barbara Capitan. She fought to keep the building as they were. She was the voice and the reason why we have Ocean Drive as it is. I have been there so many times and have always overlooked her statue. From now on when I appreciate the uniqueness of Ocean Drive I will be thankful for her. She is the reason why we can enjoy so much of our history today. She is long gone but her legacy still stands.

Deering Estate. Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro / CC BY 4.0
Deering as Text

Miami’s time capsule

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at Deering Estate, 2 September 2020


I was seven years old when I first traveled to Miami. I was just a little girl with a life ahead of me. What I did not know then was that the plane ticket to a summer with my aunt would change my life forever. I soon fell in love with the city, and I knew that one day this would be my home. Fast forward a few years and here I am. What once used to make my heart skip a beat became routine, and after six years in this magical place I began to forget why Miami is such a big part of my life. My visit to the Deering Estate was a much needed reminder of my love for the city. As I had the chance to walk through paths once walked by Tequesta, fellow immigrants, people who builded this city, and dreams I felt such a strong connection to Miami. I had the chance to experience the nature of Miami like never before. 

The Deering Estate is a  one of a kind  time capsule of nature and history. In a city full of buildings, changes, music, food, and history it is so incredible to find an untouched place that holds so many pieces of what makes us Miami. I will never know the names, the histories, the dreams of those who walked before me, but that did not stop me from connecting and appreciating them. I got there expecting to see trees and explore the nature, but the journey was much more complex than that. There was something unique about the way the sun hited the place. There was a connection of simplicity and luxury, past and present. As I followed professor Bailly the journey I took was much deeper than the nature hike. Deering Estate allowed me to fall in love with Miami all over again. I left a piece of heart there and took a piece of our history with me. I am beyond grateful for this experience and I look forward to my next visit.

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