My ancestry – Grozny, Chechnya, where my father and his mother’s side of the family have been since the outskirts of the Persian Empire. They are called Mountain Jews, and speak a Mountain Jew language that is a mix of Turkish, Farsi, and Hebrew.
My birthplace – Moscow, Russia, where my mother’s parents met and her family lived, but originally from parts of Ukraine.
My childhood – Denver, Colorado, where we immigrated to because we had to move to a place that we had a relative. I went to an Orthodox Jewish school because otherwise they told my parents that we would not get a Jewish education. I still keep in touch with my childhood friends, and use everything that I learned in that school in my observant Jewish life.
My hometown – Miami, Florida, where we found a long lost relative that moved during Ellis Island times, we loved the weather after knowing cold winters, and stayed. High School, University, Nightlife, Cruise Ships, many amazing memories from my formative years. I always joke that I have Latin flair by association from living there for so long.
Florida is so many different places, all lumped into one state. They are as diverse as can be, and the people from each part love it fiercely. Miami was a fun place to grow up, I was there from age 13-27, and lived through Hurricane Andrew. Miami has an infusion of Cuban culture, but it is also mixed with South American flair, and throw in some Haitian as well as the everything of Miami Beach. I used to also have fun in Ft. Lauderdale with rock clubs and dress up parties, and loved having friends from all walks of life. Orlando is Disneyworld, and up north are the Gainseville and Florida State University towns. In between is an interesting mix of history, that I drove through trying to catch a train going to Orlando. I was late for the first one to drop of my mom, missed every other one, not a penny on me, literally rolled out of bed to take her; I don’t think I even washed my face, no food or drink, four hour drive!
With Hurricane Irma looming, I am thinking of my friends and family all throughout the state, but especially Miami, where I am seeing personal updates through social media. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.