It’s been a wonderful lesson in culture
07/30/2014 11:15 AM
07/30/2014 11:16 AM
I was born and raised in Brazil.
I was 17 years old when I began my banking career there. In 1986, I was offered a job at a Brazilian bank to manage its Miami branch. I lived here for four years before leaving to work in London and Grand Cayman.
I returned to Miami at the end of 1997 and purchased an apartment in Key Biscayne, where I lived for two years. At the beginning of 1998, I was hired as financial director of a Brazilian company on Brickell Avenue.
In 2000, I was offered a job at an American bank to open a branch here in Miami.
In the meantime, I met Carmen Crespo, Cuban-born and educated in Chile. Carmen was a singer by night, financial consultant by day. Upon first meeting her, I was inebriated by her voice.
After dating for four years, we became engaged, and were married in 2008. Carmen is a big supporter. I am sure that her encouragement empowers me to continue to forge ahead, beyond any obstacles that we may face in our lives together.
For many reasons, I realized that I had to move from Key Biscayne. I sold the apartment and bought a new one in Doral. When I married Carmen, we bought a beautiful house in the city of Sunrise. We’ve been here ever since.
I worked at the American bank until 2010, when I left the banking industry to devote myself to writing.
In Miami, I participate in some cultural organizations and associations that allow me to expand my thoughts by writing essays on different subjects. I have written two books, with versions in Portuguese and Spanish.
My experience in Miami has shown me that here we have the opportunity to make relationships with many kinds of people. For example, at a meeting you can sit at a table with someone who is from Colombia, another from Venezuela, another from Chile, another from Asia, another from Europe. We have to maintain a diversified dialogue with people of different cultures who do things differently. This gives us ample possibility to be flexible with others and, at the same time, with ourselves.
And we have to accept or accommodate ourselves to those styles of life to be happy within the environment where we choose to live. We learn so much from this experience.
In my opinion, it’s not the people who should accommodate us. Instead, we should accommodate them. In terms of culture itself, I believe that in Miami we have the opportunity to come face to face with these situations.
In addition, if we explore, we can find many cultural events here. It’s a question of looking for what is most convenient for us. If we go to Miami Beach, for example, we can find a lot of events occurring on a daily basis.
We cannot talk about this city if we do not mention the beaches. We have to know how to use the beaches and to take advantage of them. It’s in the best interest of our health, too, because we know that the water from the sea has a lot of energy.
Simultaneously, we are among other people who want to share their time and experience with us, and it results in a beneficial situation for everyone. The same can be said for tourism. If we do not consider the tourism part of this community, we will be divorced from a visible reality.
We can note this when we are walking in downtown Miami or even in Miami Beach. We will see a lot of people with different clothes, different hats, different smiles. But everybody who appears in Miami comes with a purpose. They come here to be happy and to enjoy the sunlight that nature offers.
As residents, we should take advantage of all that Miami has to offer. We should enjoy it as the tourists do. We should be flexible — go to the beach, go to the museums, and know the cultures of other countries. We should also be on the lookout for the variety of events that the city offers. This is the integration that exists between ourselves and this cosmopolitan city that opened its arms to receive us.
This is Miami, a city to which I am deeply linked.
Tell us your story
HistoryMiami invites you to share your Miami Story. To submit your story and photo(s), click here. Your story may be posted on MiamiHerald.com, published in Sunday’s Neighbors print edition and archived at HistoryMiami.org/miamistories.
This project is a partnership between HistoryMiami, Miami Herald Media Company, WLRN and Michael Weiser, chairman of the National Conference on Citizenship.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.