The Life I Imagined in the Sunshine State

Posted: 09/15/2016 in Uncategorized

I drove 12 hours to Florida and I swear I never arrived faster to any place before. I went straight to see my cousin Zorica from Australia who was visiting her daughter in Tampa who is studying at the University of South Florida. Upon my arrival we decided to drive another hour to Orlando with more cool cousins that came to see Zorica. Just before we left Orlando, the Hurricane Hermine began. But it sure didn’t stop me from dancing in the rain…

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I then wanted to go see my friend Octavio I kept in touch for over a year but never met in person. But I had to drop off Zorica at the airport first, she was leaving. Then he called to tell me that he won’t be home, he had an assignment at the airport. But it turned out into a very good coincidence for me because we actually met at the airport for the first time! Then Octavio took me to see what became the most interesting part of Tampa for me, and actually, most interesting place I’ve ever been to: Ybor City.

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Place where first immigrants from Cuba and EU settled in 1907, and today as a symbol chicken are walking around. It is just so funny and lovely! I mean, I went to see them while it was pouring rain! And when I was leaving for KY, I seriously wanted to steal one. : )

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I don’t even know how to sum up my trip..I saw dolphins in the sea..Penguins at the Busch Gardens..and revisited my chicken.

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And this was my fave coffee place, the Bunker. That’s my tank in front. : )

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This is Adriana, Octavio’s beautiful and amazing daughter.

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This is during the USF football game I was shooting with the Tampa Bay Times, and I believe this was my best shot. : )

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And this is the gang. Ed went to WKU with me and I haven’t seen him in a decade. Will edited my work for the Tampa Bay Times, and both happen to be good friends of Octavio.

Then I met Ana Muminovic and Dragana Mrvos who came to my presentation with her boyfriend.

Then we drove to Smyrna to see Richard and Sammye. Richard’s father had passed away.

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And this man in the middle, the most generous, kind and with a soul I absolutely love, Prof. Dr. Hiba Abdelwahab from Tunis. Peacemaker. Professor. A humble human being who made my trip to campus and his classes such a memorable experience. This is Sajjad Hussain, his assistant who watched all three of my presentations. Sorrrryyyy. : ) But probably they left the biggest mark on me on this trip..Thank you. And of course thanks to USF, Eric Fiske, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, and Octavio for being my ‘messenger’ as he calls it for organizing this event.

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This is my buddy Nikola Tesla in Saint Petersburg.

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And the beach…

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My last day there, I was writing a message for my friends, when a guy appeared next to me asking if I wrote the other message [not visible in the photo because they sat in front of it], and what it meant. I had to do a bit of explaining: “You know…there is this city in my country and we joke about “this is how we imagined life..” and that “there’s no better place…” I mumbled something…I received a biggg hug and so to say, life happens in a moment, and I absolutely loved every bit of this moment! So beautiful that ‘a life as a imagined’ actually happened as I was writing those same words..: )

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Love.

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