“Oh so you speak Spanish?” Chayanne asked me with the biggest smile he could smear across his handsome face. I stared up at him and got lost in his dark eyes. He was all of 6’5 and I was loving the height difference, his broad shoulder and of course his handsome face. “You don’t get that in Toronto!” I thought to myself as I answered back in Spanish telling him that I do speak the language. He was impressed. So was I because it had been so long since I’d spoken it. I guess all  I needed was a lil motivation! 😉

He upgraded my rental for free thanks to that sundress, and the sweat that stuck said dress to my booty so he could see every curve and jiggle as I walked in front of him. When I sat in the car he leaned in and asked me if I would like him to show me how to use it. I already knew how to use the radio and the wipers and all that shit. It was a Hyundai Elantra after all. What was there to learn? But hey, to have you lean in and “show me” this car then why not Chayanne. Show me baby! So he did and gave me his number just in case I had any questions. *insert devilish grin here* Just in case of course 🙂

After he walked off to help a customer who interrupted our tutorial I proceeded to plug in my GPS and enter the hotel info. That got interrupted mid way by a pair of gay lovers having a domestic spat in the mini van beside me. Young Boy was mad at older daddy. Daddy didn’t respect him and talked to him like he was a child and he was sick of it (his words not mine). He got out the van, slammed the door and proceeded to take all his luggage out the back in a loud swear word laced huff.

“I’ll walk. I don’t need your muthaF”’ ass! You think you own me because you buy me shit. Well F** you!”, he yelled slamming the back door hard. I secretly wondered if “daddy” got the waiver to cover any damages from that door slam.  Daddy jumped out behind him and proceeded to plead with him to get back in the car in the lowest voice I ever heard a man argue in my life. He was embarrassed. Young boy agreed and got back in the van and they drove off ahead of me but not before Young Boy asked daddy if he was going to get him something to eat. I guess daddy agreed cause next thing I knew they were gone. Again, you don’t see that in Toronto either!

Well, after calling parents and friends to let them know I was alive…sweating profusely but alive I made my way onto the highway.

I’ll say this. Driving in Toronto and driving on the highways of Miami was like an eye opening experience in bad driving. Signalling? Who does that? Speed limit? What speed limit? Those rules don’t exist. It felt like I was driving on the 407 during rush hour and no one was doing anything below 120 km/hr. 160 km/hr and above is the norm on the 407 and so it seemed to be in Miami as well. I was practically walking as I did 100 km/hr (posted speed limit of 60 miles/hr). Clearly I wasn’t home anymore. I wished I had gotten something with a bit more power so I could keep up a bit more. Nonetheless, I stuck to the right lane or as close as I could to it and did 100-120 km/hr to keep up with the flow. Miami radio stations are bomb! I used them to enjoy my drive as my GPS guided me to the hotel.

After passing a big car accident and fearing that those flashing lights meant that I too might be pulled over with everyone else, I finally I made it to the hotel. My friend came downstairs and helped me  up with my bags. 1 bed. 1 bath. Small room. Big sigh….

“Go get ready we are leaving in 10 mins.” he ordered as he sat back down on the bed to finish watching the game.

Say what now? I just got here! Ok, Well you drive.

I was so glad when he agreed and I so gladly sat in the passenger seat and took in the Miami night sky relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the highway again. We made our way down to a strip mall where a club blared Soca, Hip Hop, and Dancehall music. I danced and drank the night away and woke up the next day to a mild headache but happy to be alive, awake and ready to start my trip! Oceans drive here I come. I don’t remember where my new roomie went and it didn’t matter so much to me. I showered, did my hair, threw on my bikini , took the obligatory 100 selfies then drove 30 mins down to Oceans Drive. It was super hot! Like HOT!!!! My perfect Farrah Faucet – Kim Kardashian flips fell like old Christmas lights but my face was pretty and my body was on point so I didn’t mind. I spent 3 months eating healthy and working out so I couldn’t wait to show it off. I deserved it cause when I got back home I was going to finally eat food that tasted good and was filling. Burgers and fries here I come!

That’s when I met Gary. American men and Canadian men are super different! American men will cross traffic to come talk to you. Men from Toronto expect you to cross traffic to talk to them! Disgusting. It was nice to have men approach me politely, compliment me and talk to me. I don’t mind approaching good looking men (now) but to have a man approach and smile was so refreshing. Unlike Toronto men who stare from a distance, don’t smile but look at you longingly like, “come talk to me” and if you don’t the look turns into disgust. Gary was nice. He invited me over to his table and we sat and talked. I ordered food and drinks for myself of course. You’re not paying for my coochie sir so you can turn around and demand a return on investment. We spoke for a minute then he went to check into his hotel. He had just arrived and the hotel was on Oceans Drive right above the restaurant I was at. His Georgian accent was hard to understand at first but I did well piecing together what the hell he was trying to say to me. He was cute and we agreed to meet up again that weekend.

Everything was going great till I checked my credit card and realized the dumb bitch at the car rental counter put a $500 hold on my credit card for the car when she told me she’d only put the rental plus 10% which would’ve amounted to $160. That’s $660 hold on my card that wouldn’t be released until after I returned the car Monday morning before my flight. That’s the kind of hold you put on rentals for people under 25. I was livid but worst that left me with less than $200 for 3 days since I already spent money on my card since being there. WHAT THE F***!!!!! I know I don’t look my age at all but the bitch checked my ID and saw that I was NOT under the age of 25. Like WTF! I was in another country, I had to eat, put gas in my rental and live. I sat by the pool and broke down crying in +100 degree heat. My tears practically evaporated as they fell from my face. I wondered what the hell I was going to do now.

You see, Oceans drive was cool but it stung to see girls down there with their friends as I walked around by myself. I am an introvert. I know a lot of people back home but less than 5 are my friends. That’s intentional. I felt super lonely down there. I struggled to figure out what I was going to do to entertain myself and be safe. Safe being the word because I wanted to do so many things but I didn’t feel safe going to those places by myself.  I could’ve laid by the pool all day and got that tan that my friend told me to get but then what? I prayed. I cried some more. I prayed some more then picked up the phone and called my dad. He sent me $200US and I picked it up from the local American Bank near my hotel(to the Canadian one that I bank with). The customer service lady was super nice and empathetic as she looked for branches nearby. $1000 spending money had nearly evaporated just like that through no fault of my own. I was super upset. If I could’ve drop kicked that girl at the rental counter I would’ve. I held onto that money like it was life. I didn’t know what the next 3 days held but I knew at least I had $200 US plus what was left on my card just in case. Thanks dad even though I’m an adult given the circumstance of me being there the way I was I’m still his daughter.

My roomie friend was empathetic. We went out to eat. He went to a wedding. I went back down to Oceans drive and made friends. I told myself that this was the worst that it could possibly get. Things had to look up from here and I couldn’t let my friend bailing on me, or the bitch at the Enterprise Counter get me down because of her negligence in UN-CLICKING that “25 and under button on her screen” – yea I know what the screen looks like – not to mention feeling very uncomfortable in my sleeping arrangements get me down. I was here and I wasn’t flying out till Monday and it was Saturday night. Go have fun and turn up I told myself. You have a good head on your shoulders, you’re fun and most of all you’re smart. Just listen to your gut and get out when it tells you to. Don’t end up on an episode of “Bad trips Abroad”. Make the most of being there. So I did just that. I hung out with Gary on Oceans drive. We watched the basketball game together. He was cool. No sex. No touching. NOTHING! We just chilled.

Chayenne was busy so he couldn’t meet up with me. Its a shame really but probably for the best. We probably would’ve got to kissing, then touching then there goes the clothes. He was so sexy but I didn’t go down there for that. Along the way I met some girls down there who were pretty cool. Who knew just sitting down to rest my feet and I…the shy introvert would make friends and talk and best of all laugh with strangers. After that ice breaker I spoke to everybody. The valet, the officers, the cute guys who approached me, the nice lady passing by the men who said hi as they walked past me, the Spanish people who would walk up to me and only speak to me in Spanish (how did they know I spoke it?) even if I spoke to them in English first. Damnit, I spoke to everybody! TExcept most of the black girls down there. Some were a bit…standoffish. Ok. I didn’t pay them any mind. They stared at me like they didn’t know what to make of me. Some stared like they could just tell I was a stuck up bitch like how dare you. I wasn’t a stuck up bitch but they would never know. I spoke to those who spoke back to me if not….I kept it moving. Girl Bye!

I enjoyed jumping in my car and singing along to the songs as I drove down the highway. I was getting used to the aggressive driving but I still signaled when I changed lanes. I had no planes of using that extra medical insurance I bought. I rolled down the window and let the wind blow through my hair and marveled that I was in another country and I was dare I say it ok! I felt independent and stronger like I conquered my worst fears and lived to tell about it. I wasn’t afraid anymore.

I took in the mannerisms of the people and giggled at their accents. The did the same at mine. They stared at me in quiet observation because they knew I was foreign plus I didn’t act like they did. I was quiet and a bit shy but I still have that look about me that says, I can and will defend myself so don’t try it. My friend and I and his friends went to the beach Sunday and frolicked in the perfectly clear waters that is the beautiful ocean. The salt water felt so good on my skin, tasted refreshing as the waves splashed over my hair. My new friend (that I made that day on the beach) and I giggled whenever the waves crashed over us. We sat in the water and talked about everything. Life, her kids, the ocean, the beautiful sky what it was like being in Florida, when she was leaving etc. It was awesome.

You guys, I gotta say I got so dark. My before and after pictures are astonishing really. Caramel skin quickly gave way to bronze sun kissed skin. It was a nice even bronze too that went well with my dark brown hair. It was as if the sun was different down there compared to Toronto. I’ve never tanned so golden bronze before in my life. I stared in the mirror and thought….I really like this. A LOT! My friend was right. She is going to be so proud of me LOL Finally xxBronzexx is actually…bronze!!

Of course funny things happened in between. Like the lesbian who stared me down in Burger King as her friends behind the counter dared her to come talk to me. The lesbian waiting for her boyfriend who asked for my number so she and I could be friends while she was down there to visit. The drunk girls in the group et al. All in all it was fun!

Sunday night was spent with my good friend Rheena who lived 25 mins outside the county I was in. She and I went to PF Changs and we ate and talked about life. I told her about my situation and she was so nice and understanding. She offered me really good perspective on what to take away from my time down there; things to learn and how I could use this to grow. She was right because I’d already grown so much as it was. She offered great dating advice too. At that point I was not involved with anyone. She gave me a lot to think about. We drove around for a bit before she dropped me back to my car and I took off down the highway back to my county. When I got back to the hotel my roomie was knocked out from partying that evening. He was snoring very….VERY loudly. I don’t think I slept much at all the entire trip. His snoring was loud and obnoxious. At one point I sat up and looked at him and said, ‘oh come on!” He didnt hear a thing. I put my ear plugs in from the plane ride down there and tried to sleep. His snoring was on a level I’ve never had to encounter before in my life. I packed my bags, left out what I would wear on the plane ride back and went back to bed to sleep as much as I could.

I thanked my guy friend for all he’d done for me while down there before I left. I appreciated it. His obnoxious snoring was the least of what happened to me while I was down there. I flew out of Miami at 8 am and landed back in Toronto by 11:00am. I was happy to see the Toronto skyline. Who knew? I was just happy to be alive. Everyone on the plane slept until the seat belt light woke us up and the pilot informed us that we were descending onto Toronto and he expected to land the plane in 30 minutes, a whole half hour ahead of schedule. I buckled my seat belt and fell back asleep. I woke up as the plane touched down. Ahhh!!! Home sweet home.

My dad came to pick me up and the first thing I did when I got home was drop my luggage, change my clothes and crawl into bed. I slept the whole day away. I knew this trip was life changing. I could feel it as I got back home but what I didn’t know was how life changing it was going to be now that I was back home. How different my perspective was going to be. How permanent that change would be and the affect it would have on those around me. I didn’t know 5 days could quickly change me the way it did. In my next coming posts, I’m going to share how life changing it has been and how it’s reverberated in my life today. Stay tuned. Oh there is so much more to share!

Till next time 🙂

Next post Nov 10th!