Strange times in Coral Gables

Rebecca Goddard
Coral Gables, FL
March 27, 10 a.m.

Strange times in Coral Gables

Hello! My name is Rebecca and I am a junior majoring in motion pictures with minors in journalism and political science. I also have the incredible honor of working as The Hurricane’s editor-in-chief.

Although I am originally from Parsippany, New Jersey, I chose to wait out this pandemic at my on-campus apartment in the University Village. I made this choice for three main reasons: 1) I wanted to stay close to campus so that I could easily continue reporting for The Hurricane, 2) I wasn’t ready to give up the independence that I’ve enjoyed since leaving my hometown, and 3) The outbreak is worse in New Jersey than it is here, although Florida is quickly catching up.

Things are pretty quiet on campus. ABM crews are still busy sanitizing every building and maintaining UM’s impeccable landscaping. People are still milling around our campus’s green spaces, with students relaxing on gliders and families picnicking on the Foote Green. I’ve been frequenting UM’s Gifford Arboretum, which has always been my favorite spot on campus.

But mostly I’ve been staying inside, only leaving the white walls of my apartment to brave the grocery store or enjoy a walk around the neighborhood. Everytime I go in public, there is a palpable tension in the air, at least to me.

Publix has signs all over asking shoppers to stay six feet apart, which is responsible but also reminds me of something from an Orwell novel. Every cough, sneeze or sniffle resonates through the store, putting people on edge. Everytime I have to pass someone in the aisles, I hold my breath.

I hate to see people so scared, although I myself feel that same fear. I miss seeing my family and friends in person, and I miss when people felt safe enough to smile at strangers they passed in the grocery store.

But things aren’t all bad. My favorite part of most days is when I go for my daily walk around the neighborhood. I pass a lot of people who are doing exactly what I’m doing— escaping the barrage of bad news in favor of the Florida sunshine. And when we’re outside, more spread out and less likely to spread the disease, everyone seems a bit more relaxed.

I like to take my walks around 6 p.m. in the hour before the sun sets. During this time, the sunlight becomes golden and douses the Earth in ethereal beauty. Seeing that light peaking through the lush green trees and reflected in the windows of stunning homes makes me feel better, even if only for a little while.

I’m always a believer in taking time to appreciate the little things, but gratitude is even more important in times like these. Although this is a terrifying situation, I am grateful that the sunshine persists and that I am still healthy enough to enjoy it.

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