Boca Raton: A Beautiful Bubble

Boca Raton: A Beautiful Bubble

Please utilize your privilege and apply it to the greater good.

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Boca Raton, commonly known as the town where everybody's grandparents live. Also noted as wealthy, beautiful, and full of beaches. What can be wrong with a town like this? Weather is pristine, communities are gated, and shopping is plentiful. The food is excellent, a prime location for a foodie. Well, all these "perks" are actually what I consider downfalls.

A short disclaimer, this is not to say that I am not appreciative of the place I get to call home. These advantages, plus many more, are the reasons that I have the opportunity to write on a platform such as this. This does not mean, though, that I view Boca Raton the same as many of my peers do.

Moving to Washington D.C has definitely made me much more appreciative of how easy it is to live in South Florida. Consistently getting to wear shorts and a tank top is certainly a privilege, as I am realizing as I approach my first true winter. Traffic is light, and the rush hours at home are nothing compared to urban Washington. However, D.C natives possess this appreciation for the aspects that are truly taken for granted in Boca.

People that are not from Boca, or moved from other areas, say that the town full of opportunities and beaches is also a bubble. Although I never truly understood, I did believe these spectators hoping there was something more for me outside of this town. Turns out, there is an entire world to be discovered. What a shock!

As nicknamed the southern version of Long Island, New York, diversity is not something that is plentiful in Boca. My surrounding peers were very similar to me, being white, Jewish, and smart. Including me, everyone expects that they will attend college, receive a job, and become successful in life. Coming into a university where I am one of the only people from Boca, I was hit in the face with diversity. I realized, at this moment, that there is so much more to life then beaches and gated communities.

Around me, at home, some sensitivity training would do a lot of people a lot of good. These bubbles that Boca residents reside in are true, many fail to realize that declaring acceptance and acting accepting are completely different. I, admittedly, was one of these people. I had always learned about diversity but did not receive the chance to truly experience it until I left Boca Raton.

Learning to live with roommates who come from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds really put me through my own version of sensitivity training. Becoming more conscious of how to particularly phrase ideas so that unintentional offense did not occur contained a steep learning curve, and how to transcend that to those back in Boca makes me feel like I am talking to a brick wall.

With music, it seems that everybody likes the exact same group of artists, with occasional variations. Hate to break it to you, but chances are a lot of those people were simply just putting on a show. Openly disliking the mainstream music definitely affected my social life, as I did not "fit in" as well as those around me because I had no trouble sharing that much of this mainstream music is derogatory and offensive. And truthfully, I just do not see the appeal.

Again, this is not to say that I am ungrateful for Boca because, without it, I would not be sitting here writing this article today. What I mean to say, to residents of Boca, is that it is important to step outside your comfort zone, and understand that there is a whole world outside that really could not care less about your country club memberships or which gated community you live in. Take a minute every once in a while, and go to an area that is outside this bubble, talk to people who look different than you, and take in the unconventional similarities that you previously would not have discovered. Also, take advantage of the beaches and Town Center Mall, as we do not realize how truly lucky we are.

Finally, to those who helped me realize that there is a whole world outside of Boca Raton, Florida, thank you. To my parents that motivated me (even when I did not want it), thank you for reminding me that this outside world is worth discovering. And to the friends who have been outside of the bubble before me (you know who you are), thank you for reminding me that these "downfalls" are only truly downfalls if I do not transcend the opportunities given to me and apply them to the greater good.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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14 Things Not To Forget On Your Next Vacay

Every time I go on a trip I always forget at least 1 things.

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There are all sorts of things that we forget to pack when we go on vacation. How can you remember all the little details when a fun-filled trip awaits you? Not to worry! Here is a short list of items that can be easily forgotten. Pull this list up when packing for your next trip and be relieved when you haven't forgotten a thing.

1. A Phone Charger


2. Toothpaste/Toothbrush



3. Your Favorite Pillow



4. Socks/Underwear



5. Glasses/Contacts



6. Sunscreen



7. A Bathing Suit



8. Lip Balm



9. An Umbrella



10. Sunglasses



11. Money



12. Snacks



13. A Jacket



14. Extra Shampoo/Conditioner



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