Saturday, July 16, 2011
Rather than waking up at 7 AM, this morning, I woke up at 10:40. My friends and I missed out on breakfast in the dining hall, so we ate brunch at Au Bon Pain. I feel that this little bakery is an iconic part of the East Coast. There aren’t any of them out on the West Coast where I live, and the food is unforgettable. After brunch, my friends Olivia, Rafjola, Rebecca, Cynthia, and I walked 2 blocks away to an eyebrow threading salon called (and pardon the innuendo) The G Spot Salon. There, Olivia got her eyebrows threaded for the very first time and loved the results. I loved her reaction to her new eyebrows and was glad she trusted me enough to experience this first time experience with her.
After getting Olivia’s eyebrows done, we left to go to the mall, Providence Place, in order to celebrate a successful first week at Brown. I felt bad for spending a lot of money, but the things I bought today were well worth it. Also, Cynthia and I bought a gift for Mariko for her birthday, and hopefully she’ll post a picture about it when we actually give it to her.
We came back to the dorms and, after a quick change of shoes, went out to V-Dub for dinner. My dinner consisted of fettuccine pasta and the tenderest grilled chicken I’ve ever had. Dinner was amazing, and we burned the calories off by walking around Providence towards the Fire Water show.
The show was simply a series of 80 firepits in the water, all of them lit up. Gondolas that carried passengers calmly floated down the river and were decorated with oriental lights and a few fiery torches. Ms. Williams, Cynthia, and Alex were with me as I watched the Water Fire Show while eating Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. We all had a casual talk that’s comparable to a mother taking in the venting of her three teenage children. She was adding in her commentary here and there, but never seemed biased about anyone’s side. Ms. Williams is taking on her chaperone role extremely well and I cannot thank her enough for that.
These girls are my best friends. Outside of class I have seen almost all of them stepping up and being a leader in some kind of situation. I am so proud of them. We have all come so far in so little time. I will never forget these girls.
I feel so lucky to have a good relationship with my roommate. Rachel is my roommate and all though we are both out a lot, when we do see eachother we make sure to chat and tell eachother about our day and how we are feeling. I know that at the end of a rough day I can always just come home to my dorm and talk to her to make me feel bad.
Of course this trip is about learning leadership skills. I thoroughly enjoy the class and I am learning so much. But there are so many moments that are out of class that are really the experiences that are making me realize not only what I'm living for, but the things I would die for. The moment where you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts. Having a cold cherry coke after a long day. Grabbing a Starbucks drink before class. Dancing in the hallways. Cuddling with the people you care about. Playing hilarious pranks on Katie. Laying in the grass and just listening to the leaves ruffle among the trees. Those little moments of pure joy and those little things that make me happy are what I live for. People who are robbed of those simple pleasures, are people I am willing to die for.
Kaylyn, Caroline, and I rode the bus together and pretty much stayed together for the rest of the trip. We all fell asleep during the bus ride, as there were enough free seats on our bus (the seventh in a large caravan of charter buses commissioned by Brown) for us to each stretch out on a row. Caroline slept so deeply that she had difficulty walking once we arrived because her legs had fallen asleep!
Once in Newport, we strolled along Thames Street, the main shopping avenue. Caroline and I were especially excited because Newport exactly suited our vision of a picturesque New England beach town. There were lots of sailboats, Adirondack chairs, and seagulls.
After we had toured the length of Thames Street, Kaylyn decided that we should go to the beach. After getting some directions, we walked about a mile to a beautiful beach. I was so excited because I had never seen the Atlantic Ocean before! We waded in the surf and looked for clamshells.
Later, Kaylyn and I cracked open a clamshell and she gave me a little anatomy lesson. Kaylyn is so cool! She wants to be a marine biologist. After the lesson, we tossed the clam to a seagull. Hopefully it appreciated the meal and still remembers how to crack clams on its own.
Since last week we were unable to view the Water Fire, today we all walked down the hill to the river. It was amazing! The flames were mesmerizing and the reflection on the water looked beautiful. I had a wonderful night and I’m glad that we had a chance to go see a Providence trademark.
I went to the mall again with some friends and made it back to eat at the V-Dub dining hall for dinner before making it to the Water-Fire Show with Ms. Williams. In Rhode Island it is a tradition to hold a show every Saturday. There are booths set up selling food, carts of glow-in-the-dark accessories and swords, stars hanging from the trees, and hope lanterns that really touched me. It was very festive and I couldn't believe that this (which obviously needs a lot of preparation) happens every Saturday.
Something else that was totally awesome were the fake statues! There were humans that dressed up in grey and painted their skin and moved slowly to keep the aura of a magical environment. It reminded us of Harry Potter and their live statues.
Today was the beginning of our first and only weekend here at Brown. I proudly started it by sleeping in, which felt really weird because even before classes began, we woke up early to tour colleges. I slept in until my roommate, Abby, made a ruckus trying to leave without waking me up. It felt really weird not having class, which made me feel guilty because it felt like I was skipping.
Alex texted me to let me know we were having breakfast so I rushed over to Cynthia’s room where Cynthia and Josie were just woken up. We ended up waiting an hour for Cynthia and Josie to get ready and right when we were about to leave, Cynthia realized she locked her and Josie’s I.D.s and keys in her room.
With that type of start to the day, it was doubtful it would be a good day. However, we went to Au Bon Pain for breakfast. We chatted in the wonderfully air conditioned dining area. I love the class and our professor Kisa. I miss our classmates and Kisa today. However, we made up for that by going to the mall again and taking somewhat advantage of our free bus access. Just bring your Brown I.D. and you get anywhere for free! I feel extremely guilty for spending so much money but I made a new friend at Build A Bear Workshop. He is a bunny named Fredward Hoppington. I feel like we bonded more with our new friends today, which was a challenge because I literally feel like I’ve known them for years.
When we got back, I showed off Fredward to my newest best friend, Kaylyn and her sock monkey Lionel. I also packed up the souvenirs that I plan to mail home to my family but realized while blogging that I am currently wearing one of them and that I sealed the box, making thing a bit complicated. I helped Kaylyn with her laundry and finished it when she went to water fire. She took pictures for me because I didn’t feel up to going. Then I did my own laundry after going around town trying to find a store that would give me three dollars in quarters so I could pay for the washer and dryer.
Although I was a little anti-social today and didn’t really do much except shop, I feel happy and at peace with my first day without class. I wish I did more homework but that just means I have to pay for it tomorrow.
When we got there, we were amazed by the beaches beauty and relaxed vibe. The water was calm and the entire beach was warm, in contrast to the Pacific Ocean beaches that us Californians are used to. We noticed the red algae lining the shore. Kaylyn, a fellow woman in leadership from Ohio, is interested in marine biology and told us all about the red algae and what effect it has to the ecological environment. We also noticed that the sea gulls were picking up clams, carrying them into the air, and then dropping them to crack them and eat the meat. This was amazing to me, since the only thing I’d ever see seagulls eat was the garbage at our schools. We decided to look at a clam ourselves, and Kaylyn, who had dissected one before, taught us about the anatomy of a clam. Who knew a beach day could be so educational?
After the beach, we grabbed some lunch and got back on the bus. After I got back to my dorms, I passed out, compensating for the lack of sleep over the last week. I woke up to my fellow classmates asking me to come to Water Fire with them downtown. It was a beautiful event, with lanterns, gondolas, music, and dancing. It was even more special to be sharing it with such good friends.
We left Providence at around nine in the morning and arrived in Newport almost an hour later. Stepping off the bus, I noticed how much hotter it was than Providence. It was practically sweltering!
I spent the day with Claire, a girl in Harkness, and three boys who are taking Philosophy courses: Ian, Matt, and Patrick. We went to the beach, went on a cliff walk, and spent our time just exploring Newport. Even though the weather was hot it was nice to walk around and be in such a nice area.
After returning home, I went out for a bit and worked on my projects for class. At around nine in the evening I took a taxi to see the Water-Fire event! It was absolutely breathtaking and definitely a nice event for Providence. Several people attended and were just watching the beauty of the fires. I was glad I got to see it.
That concludes my Saturday. Tomorrow I will spend the whole day working on projects and reading chapters in our reader.
Class today was very engaging. In the morning, we discussed gender stereotypes by writing out words that describe how a male should act compared to name’s he is called if he doesn’t portray the typical male image. We did the same for the way a lady-like woman should act. Many of the girls chose the same words and phrases, which surprised me because we’re girls from all around the nation, and when I went around looking at what groups wrote down, everyone had nearly all the same words written down. This shows how commonly words such as “faggot,” “easy,” “pansy,” and the B-word are used. As a matter of fact, many girls even begin referring to each other as “sluts” and other degrading terms. This is inappropriate, but in our society, almost unavoidable. Degrading sexist terms are found everywhere.
At lunch, nearly my whole class ate lunch in the V-Dub cafeteria. This was a first, and it was an honor being included in their plans. Almost all 22 of us were squeezed in at one table, hoping to be able to talk about life outside of the classroom. It was really unifying.
After lunch, we watched a video in class that was about Women in the Media, and how the media has shaped women’s roles in society. Women are photoshopped to the point where they look like completely different people and in some cases, they are! Four different peoples’ body parts are even used to create one image of a woman used for advertisements. In the media and advertisements, the models are seen to be white if not light-skinned, have large eyes, a thin neck, and virtually no pores or imperfections on their faces. Also, advertisements were made to make it seem like women were cars or bottles of beer. This turns women into objects, and a lot more likely to become victims of violence. Because of what I watched in the video “Killing Us Softly” by Jeanne Killbourne, I became more aware of how women are used to advertise nearly everything and how it can negatively affect their roles in society.
After a lesson-filled day, the ILC group met up with Ms. Williams at Providence Place Mall and shopped around. It felt great being able to relax in the city. We ate dinner at the mall and watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. It was a great way to end my first week here at Brown.
Today I participated a lot more than usual because I was so passionate about these subjects. I could actually relate to them and that gave me a better understanding of how they affect our communities.
Videos were shown of two women speakers who talked about the topics. I wasn’t able to catch the first speaker’s name, but she tied biology and social norms together. I had many of the same ideas that she discussed and was very excited to speak my mind when discussion time came around. There were some very interesting statistics I learned today such as people who have surgical operations performed on them just so that they could fit in with the social norms. I found it a bit nerve-wracking because I am a big believer in evolution. What if those “mutations” were actually advancements in the human population that we are compromising just because we want to blend in with other “normal people”? I expressed my idea and was pleased to find that others found my perspective interesting and as something that should be considered.
Another fascinating topic was advertisements and how they affect women and men in society. A woman named Jeanne Kilbourne was shown in a video where she expressed her ideas of how advertisements lower self-esteem in both women and men. Usually it is far worse for women because we often see images of “perfect women” in television commercials, magazines, billboards, etc. and it plants a seed of doubt within our minds that soon sprouts into low confidence. A large majority of women tend to want that almost unattainable “beauty,” and I find it funny because those images that are fed to us have been previously doctored and are, therefore, unrealistic depictions.
As the end of class neared, I wished that the conversation would never die down because it was so compelling to see other girls’ opinions on subjects that I am very interested in.
After class us Brown II cohorts met up with Ms. Williams at Providence Place. She took us to watch Harry Potter 7 which was amazingly interesting. It re-sparked my interest in the series and I will be re-reading all 7 books again. Mariko and I discussed the differences between what was written in the book and what was being depicted in the movie. The books always seem to be better.