I’ve frequently been described as cold-hearted, intimidating and unapproachable, so being surrounded by a bubble is nothing new to me. In fact, I’m kind of like Glinda the Good Witch, not being anyone would consider me a good witch, but because I fly around surrounded by a gigantic bubble. The thing about flying in a bubble is that if one little thing goes wrong then it pops and you spend the entire time you’re falling to your death wondering why in the world you thought a bubble was a good mode of transportation. I’m really dragging this metaphor out, but my point is coming to NYU Florence popped my bubble. Suddenly I had to socialize and actually get to know people and do it in a different language. To cope with the stress of my bubble popping, I created mini bubbles wherever I could.
The first one was already created for me, because, if we’re being honest, all of NYU Florence is basically a bubble. Our campus is separated from the city center and blocked off my huge gates and high hedges, the complete opposite of the New York Campus. After 3 weeks, you know just about every single person on campus. Everyone you would ever need to talk to speaks English. It’s even a 40-minute walk from the center. It’s a big beautiful bubble floating up on a hill above the rest of Florence.
Within the NYU Florence bubble, The La Pietra Dialogue student office where I work has become a sort of bubble, along with the offices of the people I work with. Aside from a few other friends, the people at LPD know me best, because it’s where I spend most of my time. In my small LPD bubble, I never feel the anxiety that comes with being in an unfamiliar place, probably because I am constantly focused on the 189 things I have to do that week.
Basically the opposite of LPD, the other bubble I’ve created is called Tijuana. It’s this Mexican restaurant that my friend and I go to every single week because they have the best margaritas and their happy hour starts as soon as I get off of work. It’s a haven for us because she is Mexican and I’m Floridian and we both speak Spanish and eat Mexican food all the time at home. They also play reggaeton and other Caribbean music, which is what I listen to most in my free time. We go so often we’ve memorized the specials and gotten to know all of the staff. A lot of people on campus also know to ask us about what’s happening at Tijuana on any given night.
The beauty of having my little bubbles is that I don’t get completely overwhelmed. I already feel homesick and if I didn’t have bubbles outside of my room, I’d probably spend my entire time in Florence cooped up in my little apartment by myself with a tube of Pringles and a bottle of Moscato watching a movie I’ve already seen 8 times on Netflix. Having bubbles away from home gives me the freedom to travel and decompress when I need to. I just have to be conscious not to rely on them too much. Now instead of traveling via bubble, I travel freely and make a stop by my bubble whenever I need to.