Tag Archives: making friends

Tuesdays with Texas

I lived closer to my second friend that I met in Miami when I lived in Dallas, than I do now.  Texas moved to Florida, from East Dallas with her family in June. Just like me Texas’s husband was offered a job here in the Magic City that he could not pass-up.

I didn’t know her before I moved, but when a friend that I have known since I was in diapers in the nursery at church facebook messaged me and told me that Texas was moving to Miami I had a feeling we would be tight; those who choose to live in East Dallas have something in common.  I can not pin point exactly what it is, but there is something that made us, and others, choose this more expensive, eclectic, area of Dallas, “inside the loop”

When Texas arrived in June, I didn’t waste anytime.  We went and bought beach towels for her kids and showed up at their new front door.  I welcomed her like I would have loved to have been welcomed to a new city and hoped that my eagerness did not come across as stalkerness.  My gamble paid off.  Texas seemed to appreciate the calls of support and our kids enjoyed playing with each other.

I would have prefered that she moved right next door (I know, I know that might be a little too much togetherness for a new friend, but I’m telling you if my neighbors would talk to me they would really like me. I’m good at neighborly conversation with great instincts for how much is too much), but the promise of excellent public schools, and a well located office building,  took Texas and her family to a great neighborhood about 30 minutes south of mine.  Even though it was not my first choice to have my second friend live so far, the milage between us might have some advantages.  If Texas ends up loving The Falls and reports a much easier time with getting to know the Miamians in her area, there is nothing stopping us from buying a house down there when our Coconut Grove lease expires (except for a little hour+ commute for my hubby but he could get over it right? Well, maybe that is too much too ask, we would miss him).

Thus far at least two of Texas’s neighbors have spoken to her and one even invites her little cowboys to play ANYTIME THE GARAGE IS OPEN, and it sounds like it is open quite a bit.  We have agreed that we will probably decide there is simply a trade-off.  It looks like The Falls might be more friendly like our former home in East Dallas, while “The Grove” is probably one of the more beautiful parts of Miami, the classic brains vs. beauty debate.  It was love at first sight when my husband and I saw the Grove, but we wonder if the size of her coconuts, so to speak,  might not be enough in the long run to make us happy.

Texas is still enjoying the anonymous stage of her move (described here), so there is still a lot to learn about The Falls.  Time will tell.  We look forward to comparing notes.

It would be easy for a married mother of elementary school aged children to find no time to see her friends, that is why Texas and I made a commitment.  We have a date each Tuesday to explore a new part of Miami.  We’re going to kill two flamingos with one stone: we’ll catch-up and get to know this crazy place at the same time.

We started our Together Tuesdays this week and thought there was no better place to begin than the epicenter of the city: South Beach (some locals may not agree with that statement on “epicenter” but us newbys have gotta start somewhere!).    Texas and I went on a walking tour of the Art Deco Historic District that stretches about 10 blocks wide, and maybe 5 blocks deep in the heart of Miami Beach. Trip Advisor rated Christine Micheal’s small group tour as the second best tour of ALL AVAILABLE tours in Miami (it would be hard to compete with a boat on the beautiful bay waters, but she beat all but one).  Not surprisingly in the 90 degree weather and 150% humidity, Texas and I had this delightful tour guide to ourselves.  Christine talked history, architecture and design while she crab-walked through the district.  We just loved it.  We learned so much about both Art Deco and Miami and we promise to share our new knowledge with you when you come visit (I noticed from her recent facebook posts that Texas really listened to my success stories of heavy campaigning for out-of-town guests). Click for a link to the Art Deco Walking Tour here.

And this is just the beginning.  Texas and I have a lot of  places we want to explore and week by week we will start crossing our Miami must see spots off our list.  This is something that you could do in your own city, even if you have lived there your entire life.  It seems like locals of every city do not always take the time to explore or take advantage of their home town’s treasures.  Many Miamians have admitted to rarely going to the beach  and usually say they wish they could find the time (if they only knew what it meant to be land locked I bet that wouldn’t be the case).  But the truth is, you’ve got to make the time: sit-down, carve it out, and make it happen.     Even if you aren’t on a new friend search like me, I am sure there are hidden gems in your town waiting to be uncovered.  Experts say that friendships are based on shared experiences and even if you think you don’t have room in your life for new friends, I bet you have a few bonds that could use strengthening.  So what are you waiting for?   Call a friend, or take a risk and call someone you hope might be your friend, and make a commitment to go see or do something new!  I don’t think you will regret it!

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The Aristocrat: my first friend in Florida

On Saturday I launched a search for the best way to make friends in Miami (see my previous post linked below).

My family and I moved here from Dallas on New Year’s Day, 2012 and thus far I have made 2.5 new friends.

I met my first friend Mary in mid-February. After unpacking boxes and getting my three children settled in school I sat down and emailed the four friends of my friends whose addresses were given to me before I moved (did you follow that? Friend set-ups). I heard back from all but one.

With two of them I played a game of tag. We emailed back and forth until someone forgot we were playing. I am pretty sure it was not me. That left one potential new friend and honestly, I thought a 25% return for my email efforts was not so bad.

I get it. We are all busy and some people just don’t have any white space on their calendars. A dear friend from Dallas, who I vacationed with this summer said something like that: “You know Meredith, I have such a full, busy life, I don’t really want to make any new friends. I can barely keep up with those that I already have.” Why should these new girls work a stranger into their lives if they can barely make time for people they already know?

But Mary had her reasons. In fact, as soon as she read the name Sarah Brown, she said her fingers were flying with a reply (I love this story).

“Dear Meredith,

It was so good to hear from you. I would love to plan a get-together soon. What day will work for you? Sarah Brown was my very first friend at the University of Texas. I went to orientation without knowing a soul and Sarah was assigned the dorm room next to mine. She was from Dallas but seemed to know every Texan at the entire school and I was so thankful that she let me tag along with her for the weekend. When our freshman year began we pledged different sororities but always kept up. If I ever needed clarification on a Texas eccentricity, or really anything at all, Sarah was the first person I called. I would do anything for her.”

Well thank you Sarah. I thought that was a pretty awesome pay-it-forward twenty years after the fact!

We agreed to meet with the kids at Riviera Country Club on a Tuesday after school the next week. When I came home from our date I told my husband if anyone ever used the term aristocracy anymore I would call Mary an aristocrat!

The Junior League, University of Miami Art Board, TWO yacht clubs, never mind the golf club where we were sitting. Have you heard of the fancy resort in Key Largo that every U.S. President has visited? It is called Ocean Reef. Mary and her family are members there too! They take their beautiful 32 foot boat down for the day and sometimes spend the weekend in their condo in the Keys.

I hit the jack pot! Mary is a well of wonderful information, but it gets even better. She is SUPER NICE, but not in that sappy sweet sort-of way. Really nice which made me feel comfortable digging for information about Miami society.

She is also available. Not all the time, but enough. She works, has 2 young children and lots of family and friends in town. Mary and her husband both went to high school in the Gables… well look at me, I am already picking-up the local slang. “The Gables” is short for Coral Gables. Some would argue the Gables is the most beautiful suburb of Miami and I might agree, but I digress…

When I call, Mary always finds time to answer my questions. We have enjoyed dinner at a few Miami hotspots with Mary and her husband and spent a wonderful afternoon on Biscayne Bay with their entire family.

She lives close but our paths rarely cross. Our children go to different schools. If I was in a bind and my husband was out-of-town, I would be comfortable asking Mary or her husband for help. Just knowing that they are there feels nice.

Sometime before Christmas, when I get through my back-to-school to-do list, I will call Mary for a lunch date to hear about her typical Miamian’s summer, which means a summer not spent in Miami (they say it is too hot to stay here… we’ll save that topic for another day) and I know she will make it happen.

And when I am teaching and re-teaching my children the Golden Rule I will tell them the story of Sarah, Mary and me and remind them that you must always do unto others as you would have done unto you because you never know when you will need a recommendation for membership to one of the most exclusive yacht clubs in Florida every action causes a reaction and your simple kindness might brighten someone else’s life 20 years from now, and that is just well, super cool!
Key Biscayne Sand Bar