Rafaella Ribeiro: Miami as Text 2020

Photo taken of Rafaella Ribeiro in 2019. CC BY 4.0

My name is Rafaella Ribeiro. I am 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 moved to Miami when I was 15. I have known I was going to move to Miami since the first time I visited the city at age 7. 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 things.

Deering as Text

Miami in Miami of FIU in Deering Estate. Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY 4.0

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.

South Beach as text

Miami in Miami of FIU in South Beach. Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY 4.0

Overlooking the City

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at South Beach, 2 September 2020

Miami once again has made me fall in love. Form the blue water, the warm 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.  

Downtown as Text

Miami in Miami of FIU in Downtown Miami. Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY 4.0

The beginning

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at Downtown Miami  September 30, 2020

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.

Chicken Key as Text

Miami in Miami of FIU in Chicken Keys . Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY 4.0

Eye Opening Experience

Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at Chicken Key  14, October 2020

Chicken Key was a place like I had never been before. A little island off the coast of the Deering Estate that although has never been modified by humans, has a lot of trash. This class was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a long time.I grew up around water none of my experiences compared to it. I have always loved being in the boat or the jetski, I had never before experienced any water vehicle that you have to do some kind of work to make it move. As superficial as that might sound the experiences are so different. Going in I had no idea how much physical strength it would take to get it moving.  It was so frustrating because I had no idea what I was doing. I had a partner  who was more experienced but the struggle was real. My arms were not ready for it.

I had no expectations of the island, but as soon as I got there I was blown away by its beauty, luxury in simplicity, and the amount of trash. It was very upsetting to see it with my own eyes. As an Earth lover I realized that I was very ignorant and many times failed to truly see the damages we cause to the planet. Getting there was a wake up call. The place was supposed to be clean and home to many sea creatures, but instead it is dirty and home to piles of trash. My heart was a bit broken and my continence a little shaken. I have always seen pictures of other countries and  I never thought that we had a place like that so close to us. This was an awakening experience and it has changed me in more ways than I could ever imagine.

Bakehouse as Text

Miami in Miami of FIU in Bakehouse . Photo by Rafaella Ribeiro/ CC BY 4.0


Rafaella Ribeiro FIU at Bakehouse  28, October 2020

Bakehouse is an art gallery in Miami that is home to 100 resident and associate artists, deriving from a rich diversity of backgrounds. It is a place where artists can rent gallery space and showcase their art. We had the opportunity to be a part of a project greater than us. Many times it is easy to forget about things we see. It is ever easier to forget about things that are out of sight. Coral reefs are an essential part of our ocean that is rapidly disappearing. Art can  be used to bring awareness, and that is exactly what this project was about. Lauren Shapiro the mastermind behind this project is using her skills to bring the community together, and to make people aware of the current situation of the coral reefs. 

Scientists made silicone molds out of corals.We then have the opportunity to use clay in the molds to make corals. The beauty of this project is that it is so raw, human, and temporary. The clay is never baked and therefore the shape is momentary. The clay does change color and texture because it air  dries but in the end it will all be destroyed. Lauren Shapiro will then recycle the clay into new projects. To many this might seem like a waste of time, why make something that will get destroyed. But the way I see this project is genius. I think Shapiro represents the problem with our coral reefs in a beautiful and unique way. It is a reminder we only have so much time before it is all gone and we cannot restore it. This project is a call to action, I  hope that the people who have the opportunity to be exposed to this project become more aware of our coral reefs and our environment as a whole. 

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