In what part of town do you live?
How long have you lived in the area?
I moved in with Chris in 2014, but we met in Daytona Beach.
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Dominican Republic, and then as a kid, moved to Orlando, and then New Jersey, and then back down to Orlando. And then, Chris convinced me to move to Miami because that was obviously a better choice.
How did you and Chris meet?
I was going to Daytona Beach to skydive for the first time, and he was there with his buddies for bike week. We were both in very difficult situations. I was about to get a divorce and he was engaged. That day was just fine, and I thought I’d never see him again, but I gave him my number and then slowly through conversations, and a lot of boyfriends and girlfriends in between all of that, a few years later he convinced me to move down.
What keeps you busy during the week?
Right now, the baby and I get to work twice a week. Chris has a lot of free time, which helps us go out on the boat or skydiving in the middle of the week and not have to wait until the craziness on the weekend. And, I’m always cooking at home.
‘Get to Work’, sounds great. Where do you ‘get to work?’
I’m a dental hygienist. I work in two offices, one in the Gables and one in Westchester. I love both offices. They’re super flexible with my schedule and I haven’t had to choose between a baby and my career.
How did you get into the field?
I was taking classes and not really knowing what I wanted to do. My mom really wanted me to be a doctor, because both of my parents are doctors. But, I didn’t want to do that. She said, ‘why don’t you go shadow your aunt?’ She’s a dentist. I didn’t really like what my aunt did, but I loved what the hygienist did. I liked the interaction with the patients. I would say people are more personal with hygienist then they are with the doctor. It’s a great career, especially if you want to have a family. You never take work home.
You and Chris have found an envious balance between fun, work, and family. How do you set priorities and decide what to do?
Chris is good at that. I’m very spur of the moment. When Chris says, we’re going on a road trip, I’m like – ‘okay, sure.’ He’s very good at plan A, B, and C. I’m good at gathering everything last minute and making it work. I think that’s why it works so well for us. He’s such an organized person, and I’m the total opposite.
Chris mentioned last week that you love being a new mother. Would you describe how you are feeling?
It’s crazy. It’s weird, because I feel like she’s always been here. We had a really hard time staying pregnant. I had a lot of miscarriages before she came. At first, I felt inadequate, you know? But finally in the worst of it, I surrendered and then she was a kind of miracle. I feel like every day is special. Even if she doesn’t sleep well. It doesn’t bother me. I’m just appreciative of her and Chris and she’s such a great baby. She’s a good mix of us two.
How motherhood changed the way you make decisions?
I know I’m more careful, but other than that, I don’t feel like a different person. Now I have to plan a future for somebody else. So, it makes me think ahead more. I feel the same, honestly. Now, I just have a little buddy.
Would you share about the tradition of the name Norka?
Our daughter is the fourth Norka. My grandmother is the first and my mom’s sister is the second. I’m the third. Chris liked the name because he loves every Norka he’s ever met. He thinks my aunt and my grandmother are the best people ever, and he thinks highly of me. My great-grandfather picked up the name while in the military in Eastern Europe. All his kids have strange names for Dominican Republic standards.
You and Chris are regulars at the drive through. What’s the expereinece like?
Oh man, we love it. I remember the first time we came, you guys were calling everyone by name, and I said – I want you to know our names. Then when we tried the smoothie, and it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. I did not think it was going to be real fruits, you know. You guys are so family oriented and you care about your products and it shows. That’s what keeps us coming back.
What are you picking up when you come by?
The smoothies for sure. I love the granola. I wish I could make that at home, it’s just amazing. I love the Turmeric Hearts, and whatever fresh fruit you have. I had to hide the ‘longans’ from people because every time someone saw me eating one, they wanted to try one.
Do you have any favorite regular restaurants that you can recommend?
Fish House on Miller. The first time I went there, I was like ‘what in the world, this is so strange and the decor!’ But, I love it. I’ve never had anything that was bad. They have live music on the weekends. Another great place that we go for a treat is, Vicky’s milkshake bar. It’s in the Grove.
What’s Miami best kept secret?
People never go out to the sandbars in Miami. It’s just so beautiful out there. A lot of native Miami people don’t go out on the water or beach. We will drop our paddleboards off at the lighthouse on Key Biscayne and paddle out. We make a day of it and bring our cooler. I think that is the best part of Miami.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
We do everything we want. That’s a hard question. We’re not those people who say, ‘I wish we could do that.’ We make it happen.
What community groups are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
As a new mom, I’ve been using Facebook for mom meetups and stuff. I think COVID has torn apart a lot of our community and a lot of the love and affection that Miami shows. For the baby’s sake, I want her to grow up in a world where she has strong connections with people.
What question would you like to ask us?
(NF) Do you or Adena come up with the recipes for smoothies?
(W) Adena 100%. Adena is always thinking about the balance of fruit and what we can use or substitute as the seasons change.
Is there a pitch about work or something else that you would like to share?
I am very proud of what I do and I am a very good hygienist. I don’t mean that to be an advertisement. If I can help anyone, I’m more than happy to do it. I will even come in for people who I know can’t afford cleanings and I don’t even clock in and do the cleaning for free. I love it and enjoy it.
Is Chris brushing daily?
It’s funny because I’ll see people like Chris who didn’t have an electric toothbrush and who didn’t floss before he met me and now, he is addicted to his Waterpik. I tell patients, ‘please find a way to floss. And, if you’re not going to floss – Get a Waterpik, that will save your butt.’
What challenge, advice or question would you like to pose to the community?
I would like to challenge people to be more accepting and live life in the pursuit of happiness. That’s different for every one of us. We need to set up a future for our kids for when we’re dead and gone and when they’re the ones in charge. We can’t leave a sad world for them, it hurts my heart to even think about it.