Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I woke up today and I thought, whoa, it’s my birthday! How weird! Yeah, today was my sweet sixteen. I never expected to have such a unique birthday experience, and it’s been pretty cool. I have to say, we had visitors in class today and it was pretty exciting to be able to introduce myself and say that I was 16 years old.

My friends were all so nice to me! This morning, and I mean at 12 AM, I was doing homework in my room and a bunch of my friends on my floor sprinted in through my open door and started singing “Happy Birthday.” It made me really happy, and I didn’t have to worry that the noise would wake anyone up because no one is ever asleep at that time anyway. Soon, but not yet.

I actually made it to the dining hall in time to eat a real breakfast, which was a good change. When we got to class everyone sang to me again, and Josie, Cynthia, Kaylyn, Ava, and possible some of my other friends did this really cool tabletop hitting/clapping routine as they sang. It was a little embarrassing to be the center of attention, but it sure made me feel loved. After that we all got down to business.

Half of the class presented their Amazing Woman monologues today (with the other half going tomorrow). There were some pretty amazing presentations, with people getting really involved by embracing their roles; we are to give our speech from the first person, pretending that each of us is our amazing woman.

Here are three examples of Amazing Woman monologues: Marlie as Fannie Lou Hamer, Cynthia as Rosa Parks, and Caroline as Alice Waters.

In the afternoon, we had special guest Professor Wendy Schiller, a professor of political science at Brown. She spoke about women in politics and special challenges that women face and have faced. For example, as recent as the 1980s there was no female bathroom off of the floor of the Senate. The few female Senators had to take the elevator to the public bathrooms in the visiting area. In addition, women working in the Senate were forced to wear skirts or dresses! With these anecdotes and other interesting points, Professor Schiller educated us about the recent history of women in politics.

We also had a panel of Brown students visit in the afternoon and talk a little about their personal experiences as female students at Brown. Samantha, Felicia, Briana, and Jasmine all seemed so intelligent and confident. Their personal stories were all very inspiring, but I most appreciated their advice and encouragement about college and our lives.

After class, a bunch of us went to the Science Library so that we could do our homework in a more focused environment. Dorm rooms are more relaxing, despite the sometimes stifling heat, but they just aren’t quite so conducive to a productive studying atmosphere. One of my best friends, Clara, called me to wish me a happy birthday while I was in my room getting my computer, so I got a little sidetracked, but I made it there eventually. It was such a good idea to go to the library that I am amazed we didn’t all think of it sooner! I am pretty sure I’ll be going back there tomorrow.

Tonight Ms. Williams took all of us out to dinner, partially as a birthday get-together but also as a check-in point. We ate at a fusion Japanese and Chinese food restaurant. Originally the plan had been to go to a sushi place, but Caroline and I were the only ones who ended up ordering it. We did manage to convert Ms. Williams into a sushi consumer, which was exciting.

My sushi dinner: tuna avocado maki and salmon avocado maki. Ms. Williams liked both!

Caroline and I scarfed down all of the vegetables from the vegetable chow mein.

It was really weird to spend my birthday away from my family and my friends back home, but it was made a lot easier by the fact that all of my classmates/dorm mates have pretty much become my new family. It really sucks that we only have two weeks to spend together before we’re swept off again to all parts of the globe. I can only hope that we keep in touch.

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