So Rosh Hashana flew by last week, and Yom Kippur is rapidly approaching. Last year, Rosh Hashana overlapped with Fulbright training, much to the dismay of the three-four (?) Jews in the program. This time last year on the Jewish … Continue reading
It’s no secret to people in my life that I’m Jewish, but in Germany, my religion/culture isn’t something people could/would assume. As I soon found out, many Germans hadn’t even met a Jewish person before me. Not really a surprise, … Continue reading
A few thoughts on reverse culture shock… I returned from a year-long adventure of living in Germany just over a month ago, and now I’m suffering from a peculiar ailment known as “reverse culture shock.” Ah, culture shock. I thought … Continue reading
We all know the type. Those pesky people at youth hostels with the hiking poles, fancy backpacks, and firm calve muscles. Those Adonises of adventure travel which we all (or is it just me?) secretly want to be. My first … Continue reading
It is May 16th. Two weeks from today, I will be stepping on the plane, saying my final “goodbye” to Sarasota, Florida. And although this moment will happen in fourteen days time, I still have this feeling that I’m in … Continue reading
There are times when you make discoveries about the nature of a city you thought you knew. It could be a city that you were sure you knew and didn’t like. I had such an experience a couple of weekends … Continue reading
“Time Flies By//Time Flies By”. This stanza can be heard in the brand new musical “Hero: The Musical” that has debuted at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. And I mean it when I say “brand new” (not to be confused with the band Brand New, though I like them too). This is the second stage iteration of this work; with the staging at the Asolo providing a unique experience for the audience. Most of the time when I think of musicals, I think of national tours of shows that have already been on Broadway. It’s a rare chance for me to be able to experience a developing work that hopes to transfer to Broadway. It is interesting to know that the last instance of a musical production in development in this area was Bonnie & Clyde, which ultimately transferred to Broadway.
A key lyric in “Hero” is this idea that “there is wonder all around”. It’s a concept that is contested quite a bit throughout the show but it truly discusses this idea that no matter who you are, what you are doing, or where you are, there are things to explore. To appreciate. To love. And it’s kind of ironic that this new work relays this idea in Sarasota. I mean, Sarasota has a lot of culture, but it’s hardly a metropolis with a burgeoning young adult population. And yet, for us here, there is wonder all around… in Sarasota.
So… my friends and I have gone to see “Hero” twice so far and we plan on going a 3rd time (they have a special deal that makes it quite affordable for young adults which lasts through May 11th). I’m glad my friends humor me. It’s a must-see show, for sure. The music is a beautiful mixture of ballad and rock. There are moments that almost everyone can relate to. The show touches on loss, friendship, family, potential, love, overcoming challenges, vulnerability, new beginnings, troubled pasts, coming-of age, among other things.
My friends and I have been discussing which of the musical numbers were our favorites. It was quite surprising that all three of us agreed on the song “By Our Powers Combined”. They use a great vehicle (karaoke) to show a quickly developing romance between two individuals who need each other. Hmm… maybe not need. Each of these persons are fantastic individuals but when they find each other their lives exponentially grow. By their powers combined, they are able to experience so much more. It’s quite touching. Our second favorites were “A Vampire’s Kiss Means Forever”, “That’s My Kryptonite”, and “Powerless”. These song titles intrigue you??? Then you should call up the Asolo box office, get tickets, and go! Otherwise, you can satisfy your viewing cravings on YouTube.
“Time Flies By//Time Flies By”. As I begin to prepare to leave Sarasota and start my new life in Mexico, I’m beginning to appreciate those moments where I have to stop and reflect. Where I realize that time is really flying by. When I realize that I am taking for granted the wonders that are all around me. These last 30 days have flown by as if they were a mere 30 seconds, and while I am ready to take this leap, I’m hesitant to leave solid ground.
I want to know that I’ve cherished every moment I could here so that my experience in Mexico is just as robust. And it’s something that I have to orchestrate.
Hold on to your seats everybody! With wanderers coming back to Florida, planning their escape from it, and feeling nostalgic about the constant sunshine, Unexpected Wanderlust is proud to continue: Florida Week!! For our last segment, we’ll explore the topic … Continue reading
Hold on to your seats everybody! With wanderers coming back to Florida, planning their escape from it, and feeling nostalgic about the constant sunshine, Unexpected Wanderlust is continuing its discussion: Florida Week!!
Next up, we’re talking about everybody’s favorite part of Florida’s natural landscape: the beach!
What is your first Florida beach memory?
Hamilton: A beach day during a family reunion in Palm Coast! It was the first time that I had ever been to any sort of event on a beach. I learned that I am not very graceful eating a full meal on a blanket in the sand.
Lucia: When I moved to the States, my dad’s cousin picked me up from the airport and we drove by the beach. She pointed it out to me and asked me what I thought but I was a little 10 year old who had just been forced to leave everything she loved behind so I wasn’t in a praising mood and I just coldly replied that I didn’t see what the big deal was…rude!
Stuart: When I was younger, I won a trip to Disney World for a Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis conference. I remember sunshine and a lot of clear water. I used to think I went to the beach. When I moved to Florida, I realized that Disney World is landlocked in Central Florida… My actual first Florida beach memory was at Treasure Island in Saint Petersburg for July 4th celebrations. I had only been in Florida for about 2 weeks, and randomly one of my friends from Massachusetts was in the area for vacation. We drove up on the beach, posted up, and watched the sunset and fireworks show.
Which Florida beach is your favorite?
Hamilton: Tree beach. It’s a place in Sarasota where the blue sky and the equally blue ocean seem to meet at the horizon. Trees spring from the sand and the water. I’ve yet to see anything else like it.
Lucia: Siesta Key in Sarasota! Rated #1 beach in America by someone somewhere. The sand is glorious and the water is beautiful, I’m so excited to go next week!… Hollywood beach comes in a close second for it’s awesome walkway and Nikki Beach in third as the best beach in Miami.
Stuart: Lido Key in Sarasota. I love how accessible it is, especially North Lido. I’m not a beach person. So I like to be able to park easily, hop onto the beach for a nice vista, and then leave at my leisure. North Lido Beach allows for that.
What makes Florida beaches special?
Hamilton: The warmth and the clarity of the Gulf coast deserve a mention. But ultimately the fact that Floridians treat the beaches like their own personal playgrounds where they put their quirks on display makes them special.
Lucia:It’s one of the few states where you can go watch the sunrise in one coast and see the sunset in the other on the same day.
Stuart: I’ve never experienced east coast beaches, but I really like the gulf coast beaches in Florida. For two years, I’ve vacationed at South Padre Island Texas for New Year’s Eve; while I liked the beach there, I liked the other side of the gulf coast better.
What has been your greatest Florida beach experience?
Hamilton: All of the times that I went to the beach to escape the pressures of my school work with my closest enablers, I mean, friends.
Lucia: One time I went with two friends to watch the sunset in Lido Beach. We saw a gorgeous sunset that gave way to a clear view of the milky way band (first time I’d ever seen it!), and then there was the most beautiful thunderstorm inside of this huge cumulus cloud. The stars were so beautiful and we couldn’t help but decide to go in after the sky was dark. We dived into the sea, opened our eyes, and saw our bodies glowing! We hadn’t realized it but there was bioluminescence at the beach that day. It was one of the moments of most intense connection to the beauty of nature I have ever had (and yes I do realize I am a hippie).
Stuart: My time in Florida is coming to an end and with that, I’ve been hanging out with some really great friends. An attempt to cherish these moments. A week or so ago, we were hanging out at a restaurant that abruptly turned into a bar/club (that was quite awkward), so we ended up hanging out on a beach. And it was amazing. It was serene. We could see the stars. We could sing to the ocean. We could cherish our time together. It was kind of like time stopped for a bit while we were out on the beach.
What has been your worst Florida beach experience?
Hamilton: That would be my only experience on a Florida beach at night. A few friends decided that I could not leave Florida until I had experienced the beach after the sun had gone down. Walking across the sand, the sound of crashing waves, a full clear moon, and creatures, creatures everywhere scurrying across the sand. I couldn’t even see what these creatures were. I could just see them popping out of the sand, moving quickly, and in one case, felt one of them running over my feet. Never again.
Lucia: One time I bought a bathing suit from H&M. I went to the beach, went in for a swim, and after I got out of the water I realized the bathing suit became see-through when it was wet…
Stuart: My roommate and I took the day off to go to the beach. Spring was in full bloom, and we wanted to get some sun and relax. Too bad the winds were a little too high and the sand pelted. So many granules in my teeth that day…
What do you love the most about Florida beaches?
Hamilton: The variety of beaches: beaches with powder soft sand, beaches with shells, beaches with trees, beaches with warm water, beaches with cool water, beaches with imported sand…
Lucia: People watching! We have such a different array of people so you can get everything from the swimsuit model to the giant family so it’s always fun.
Stuart: The sand. It is very soft. It doesn’t retain too much heat but it’s warm enough to be comfortable.
What is the worst Florida Beach faux-pas?
Hamilton: Blasting bad music like you’re the only person on the entire beach.
Lucia: Littering. There is no excuse for littering. If you do it, please don’t visit Florida or anywhere else for that matter.
Stuart: People who mess with beach animals. One time I was at the beach, and this family just let their children run into a group of birds. Over and over and over again. It’s cruel to the animals plus it affects other beach goers too.
Hold on to your seats everybody! With wanderers coming back to Florida, planning their escape from it, and feeling nostalgic about the constant sunshine, Unexpected Wanderlust is proud to announce: Florida Week!!
What does this mean? It means that all posts this week will be group posts and they will all center around our beautiful sunshine state. So get your bathing suit and flip flops ready, and make yourself a piña colada as you join us on this cruise through the good, the bad, and the dazzling hot.
Let’s start with one of our favorite things life has given us: Food!
What is the one food you miss the most when you’re away from Florida?
Hamilton: I definitely miss the availability and quality of tropical fruit in my food and au naturel: guava pastries, taro boba tea, but most of all ripe, sweet starfruit.
Lucia: This is a hard one but I’m gonna have to go with key lime pie. My mouth is watering.
Stuart: Florida avocados. I love avocados and the ones in Florida are large and very savory.
What Florida food makes you shake your head in disgust as you wonder how anyone could ever eat it?
Hamilton: Alligator, but apparently one of us has gone there…
Lucia: Avocado. I just don’t get how people like it (I’m a bad Colombian)
Stuart: Ditto on the alligator. I was a vegetarian for 4 years. But even when I eat meat, I can really eat conventional meats… basically chicken.
What is your favorite restaurant in Florida?
Hamilton: I’d like to take this moment to talk about the glory that is Taco Bus. Forget greasy fast food after all of those nightlife adventures. Taco Bus, open both during the day and late night (24 hours in some locations-like Tampa-during the weekends) offers fresh food whenever it’s open. Carne asada tacos topped with shredded cabbage washed down with watermelon water never fail to please.
Lucia: This tiny local sushi place close to my house in Miami called Sushi Joe. The Doral Crunchy Roll is the best roll ever made.
Stuart: There are so many great small business restaurants, especially in South Florida. And I love them. But I also have a slight addiction to a chain that began in Florida-Tijuana Flats.
Extensive sauce bar of Tijuana Flats
What is the best Florida city for food?
Hamilton: Definitely Miami because, although I haven’t spent much time there, every time my Miami friends brought me food back it was like Christmas had come early. Slow-cooked meats and vegetables seasoned to perfection with rice (you can’t imagine how much rice).
Lucia: Miami for sure! You have food from all Latin American countries, there is no limit to how many empanadas, pastelitos, platanos, or arepas you eat so it’s basically food heaven.
Stuart: It’s hard to say. I’ve had good experiences and mediocre experiences in all the cities in Florida I’ve been to.
Wackiest food you’ve ever eaten in Florida:
Hamilton: Salmon ceviche! I figured that it would taste and have the consistency of smoked salmon. Served in a stylish stainless steel martini glass filled to the brim, I noticed that it certainly didn’t look like smoked salmon. Then, I put it in my mouth. Double nope. I didn’t realize when I ordered it that it was raw fish “cooked” with lime juice. And that’s what it tasted like.
Lucia: Alligator! It was pretty good but a little rubery.
Stuart: Hmmm… I hardly test by foodie boundaries. I broke my vegetarianism in Florida and I also began eating Sushi with seafood in it… I’m still not the biggest fan of meat or seafood, though…
What food works best to beat the heat?
Hamilton: Hit up Daiquiri Deck in St. Armand’s to get chilled out in more ways than one.
Lucia: Ice cream is good in any context but in the Florida heat it is glorious.
Stuart: Iced coffee!
What are your favorite Florida noms?