Along with the palm-tree, sea breeze and sunny glory of living in Miami, there’s also culture shock and some necessary adjustments for people who have never lived in tropical climates.
These tropical topics are not arranged in any order of importance, but we cover: socializing, dating, humidity, heat, bugs, Miami as a city and hurricanes. If you'd like advice on a topic, go ahead and leave a comment at the end. We'd love to hear your questions!
Socializing & Spanish
Dating: Many men in Miami think they have a little Don Juan in them, or that they are Don Juan reincarnated. Choose wisely. Meet men through friends, social groups, etc. Some women have stated they've had better relationships with people north or west of Miami.
Friendship: Put into practice some of these tips for being a true friend.
Or download the Social Girls Miami FREE ebook! The ebook not only emphasizes some points we should practice to build friendships, but is a guide to some chic, friendly Miami spots. Because it's free and online, we'll be updating it occasionally.
Like moving to any new city, taking up a hobby is a great way to make friends.
Great hobbies to take up in Miami
(note: extra precautions due to COVID are being taken, however most of these hobbies are finding ways to avoid direct contact)
Take a Salsa dance class
Learn a language: French, Spanish, Portuguese are the top in the city!
Join a biking club
Volunteer for kids, the arts, to donate food
Attend Social Girls Miami online and in-person events! Follow Social Girls US on Instagram and join the Social Girls Miami Facebook group
Spanish: You may have suspected this, but, yes, you would be smart to take some Spanish classes.
Considering that you have chosen to come to Miami, which is, de facto, a highly Spanish-speaking area, give learning another language go! One, two, three or four languages increases how many more friends you can make.
Frustrated? What's the point of being frustrated or belittling anyone for their lack of English fluency? Approach people with the kindness you would like them to treat you with. Take it as a game or fun challenge to see how well you can communicate.
Miami: A Big City in a Tropical Paradise
Parking is a b*tch
Expect to pay hundreds of dollars in parking and parking tickets. The public transport system is only great if you live and work in downtown or on the beach. Ridesharing works, but there are always problems with being picked up and arriving in a timely fashion.
In some areas, the city vibe is coastal and glam, in other places the city is residential and Latin, but there is an underlying New York “go, go, go” energy that will often surprise people who are here for a fiesta vibe.
If you think you’re “cool” driving 64mph in the fast lane, you should hear how many times your mother has been cursed very loudly from within vehicles that angrily pass you at 85mph. Drive 64 in the middle lane.
Salaries are depressed in Miami in comparison to other cities. This phenomenon is known as the “Miami tax,” because so many people want to live here: supply and demand, baby!
There is some Miami-local-exodus to other cities in Florida and even Texas, where pay is higher and rents/mortgages are cheaper.
Although Hispanic culture is dominantly present, there are quite a lot of people from non-Latin American countries! Wonderfully cosmopolitan!
You probably won’t get to go to the beach as often as you thought if you live in Miami. But you'll always be happy when you go ;)
How Real are Hurricane Threats in Miami?
They are so very real. For a newcomer, your whole summer can be one nail-biting experience.
Miamians are quite used to hurricanes. We go on autopilot preparing whenever it looks like one is close by (see the preparation list below).
Meteorologists and, well, the whole scientific community, has warned of increasingly volatile weather. In Miami we've seen flooding on regular, rainy days in areas that were once prime property.
So, let's start with choosing where you live: avoid first floors and flood areas. Before choosing a home, ask the neighbors if it floods. Save yourself from mold and backed up plumbing.
Always be prepared during hurricane season, which is usually from June 1 - November 30, although the hurricanes have been ignoring scientists' categorization and encroaching as early as May!
Hurricane Preparedness in Miami
Here are a few things to purchase and keep in mind. It's not exhaustive, just the bare basics.
Check out the Miami-Dade hurricane preparedness page.
Have a bag packed and ready with your passport, extra clothes, important docs, masks, soap, hygiene products, medication, etc.
Camping gas stove
Paper plates and biodegradable, disposable cutlery
Fill jugs with tap water
Freeze potable water in plastic containers
Multiple power banks for your cell phone
Always have your laptop and phone charged
Moderate amount of cash
Extra gas tank
Never go below half a tank of gas, always fill up during the week
Packing tape (to reinforce your windows with "x" if you don't have storm shutters)
Know where your designated hurricane public parking lot is if your spot is on floor-level
How to Deal with the Humidity
The faster you make peace with humidity, the happier your time in the tropics will be.
First: think of the wonderful benefits to your skin. Most people that live in the tropics have moist, plump skin beautiful skin - especially with age - in comparison to cold-weather countries. Personally, that outweighs the annoyance from the frizzy hair or the elevated perspiration.
Anything that sits still for longer than 5 minutes gets moldy. We’re only slightly exaggerating. Take out into the sun frequently:
Leather, luggage, purses, shoes
Behind your sofa or anywhere that doesn’t get a lot of light
The corners inside of any of your cabinets
Ceilings from rain/water damage
Food that you leave out
Clothes that you don’t wear often and are in the back of your closet or drawers (wear all of your clothes that month, use a system to rotate clothes in your closet so you wear it)
Hang to dry absolutely everything before you put it away. If it is not completely dry it will mold. Suggestions for places to dry: balcony on a sunny day, bathroom shower curtain rack, sunny windowsill.
When you're gone, leave your cabinets open so they receive sunlight. Move your sofa away from the wall randomly some days every few months. Use a spray bottle with water and just a tablespoon of chlorine in areas mentioned that looks like they might start molding.
You can also buy some moisture-absorbing sachets filled with silica (bigger versions of the sachets that you often find in purses or vitamin bottles) and place them in your closets and drawers. Of course, this is not recommended if you have small children or pets.
How to Deal with the Heat
Between the heat and humidity, you wake up swollen almost every day. Eat foods with lots of turmeric, and counterintuitively, drink water to keep the water flowing through your system. Medical science has been alerting us of the dangers of constant inflammation, usually because it is a symptom of a reaction or something wrong in our bodies.
After a day of walking, will soak your feet in a bucket of cold water and Epsom salts. Cold showers and exercise have multiple benefits aside from just keeping you cool and reducing inflammation such as increasing circulation, encouraging collagen, etc.
Now take this seriously: peak sun hours are too hot to be walking around for hours. You could experience a heat stroke. Walk in the shadows at a leisurely pace, plan to enter a couple of shops for breaks, and bring a water bottle to consume as you walking; it’s well worth the inconvenience of the weight.
Creatures: Great and Small
The term “hermetically-sealed” suddenly goes from obscure to important. One day I walked into the kitchen and found a stream of ants from somewhere behind the counter and into some corner in the kitchen cabinet. What were they attracted to? A visitor who had lived their whole life in New York City had opened a big bag of sugar and just left it open in the kitchen cabinet since her morning coffee time.
If she would have stored the sugar in a hermetically-sealed container, the ants wouldn’t have even smelled it, much less be able to munch on it and left a horror-movie stream.
The same goes for cockroaches. Miami is their abode. While it’s very difficult to be rid of cockroaches completely, you can keep them under control by:
storing all food in hermetically-sealed containers
sweeping all crumbs anywhere in your home or kitchen
ensuring you don't leave dirty plates anywhere
seal any little crack or space around electrical sockets, plumbing, doors and windows
as a preventative measure, placing roach motels in corners where the critters will inevitably traverse
Enjoy the birds! The tropics receive an abundance of feathered visitors from colder areas. There are also parrots that have been let loose and