Dearest Miami,

The first time I drove into your city limits in my sunny, yellow Honda Fit, an unnamed driver cut me off with a deftness I had not seen since I left Barbados. Cranking up the aircon and squinting due to the sun, I grinned at the palm trees that whizzed by me. Prior to this encounter, I had only passed through you, but despite having barely made your acquaintance, it was then I knew I loved you.

Before you, I considered myself a healthy cynic, and a staunch realist. I had conviction that, given those traits, I would assess Miami systematically, and only after a series of detailed observations would I consider casting aside my wandering ways. As the adage goes, however, man proposes and God disposes.

Every corner I turn in the city, I see echoes of all who came before you. Your sparkling clear, blue waters of your beaches remind me of my time in Barbados and Perdido Key. The colorful graffiti of the Wynwood walls invokes the creativity of those Indianapolis artists I’d seen some four years prior in undergrad. The lush greenery dotted with splashes of red flowering trees that I see each time I gaze out of my office window harkens to my childhood home and the forests of Alabama I grew up surrounded by. I fall asleep in Brickell every night with the window open, gazing at a skyline so breathtaking I cannot help but remember my time in Beijing and Hong Kong fondly.

Finally, you introduced me to Bilzin Sumberg. The little girl born on a pecan farm would not have imagined what it would be like to intern at a company that strives to take care of their employees like Bilzin Sumberg does. Everything from legal development workshops to the stretching seminar, and the Juneteenth celebration–the firm has been committed to its employees’ wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion every step of the way. As a Summer Associate, I feel thankful and proud to be part of the Bilzin Sumberg family.

With a grateful heart,

Nathifa