Breaking the Bellevue Bubble
I’ve always been a windows-down kind of girl. There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your skin. Even if I can’t control where I’m going and what I’m doing, the vast, open sky can make anyone feel free. I was born and raised in a city called Bellevue, about 20 minutes east of Seattle. They call it the Bellevue bubble because people who grow up there tend to be, well, a little sheltered. I have nothing but good things to say about my hometown, but I acknowledge that it allowed me certain privileges other places didn’t necessarily have. It was rare to see crime, to see homeless people, to even see litter on the streets. The city was constantly clean and well-maintained. Even as a child, I felt perfectly capable bussing from my mom’s to my dad’s at night, or sneaking out after they were asleep to walk to my friend’s place. My fears were few and far between. I felt independent and free. And I loved it. Based off all that, you might think Seattle was a big transition, but it was and it wasn’t. There’s no doubt it’s different — you can feel it in the air — but it’s a familiar space at the same time. There’s more hustle and bustle to the city, more late nights and less parking spots, but it was easy enough to adjust to. I know it’s not as safe and sheltered, and my mom insists on buying me tasers and pepper spray, but I’ve never once been scared enough to pull them out, even while walking home late at night. Next came Bangalore. It’s the first time I’ve been out of the country without my family (besides Canada, of course), and to say I’ve been overwhelmed is an understatement. Everything is different — the people, the language, the culture, the food, the water, and even the air is different. There are countless rules while we stay here as well — no drinking the water, no petting the dogs, no going out alone at night. I know it’s for our own safety, but it’s a constant reminder that my intuition is wrong here. I can’t even cross the street by myself. Never have I felt so dependent on others, so incapable, and so helpless.
I needed to challenge myself, to give myself the space I so desperately craved. Last night, I decided to take a chance and break off for a moment. I walked down the street, following my map, all by myself. I crossed the street, for the first time, all by myself. I called an auto and rode it back home, all by myself. And through the open door into the night, I looked up at the sky, and finally felt free again.