Monday, June 30, 2014

Birthday and Senate Proceedings!

Birthday Oreos!
Darnit! Going back to sleep after going on a run is just so unacceptable, that should be the start of my day! I actually wondered about how my birthday would proceed after I woke up before going to class as I saw my friend come in to hang out. She wanted us to help her figure out why the dryer didn't seem to work after using it three times. Apparently, one of the dryers didn't work and I suggested that she tried to dry her clothes in another machine so that she wouldn't have to dish out all that credit to the Bear Bucks system! I wondered and wondered about what they have promised me for my birthday but I felt that other errands were certainly more vital to focus on.

At the Ratty, I ate less food than normal as I felt that my time economy could greatly improve when I am eating less (the new amount is about average) so that I can be more selective about the healthiest options that I can get as well as not feeling as full and lethargic later in the day! My eyes were glued to the TV screen as the Nigeria-France soccer match was under way. My friend next to me illegally placed a bet on the game on a Chinese internet site (only a bet of around 20 yuan) and was very enthusiastic about France winning, in which they did! I personally rooted for the underdog and was slightly upset about the outcome but c'est la vie!

In class, we first met up in groups to decide on the topics that we want to do as well as what group we want to be in. The instructor sent an e-mail to all the pupils in the class asking us to form groups and to brainstorm ideas for the final presentation...on a Saturday evening. My weekend was already jam-packed with activities where I was exhausted from the Boston excursion as well as trying to puncture a fairly large blister on my toe, maybe I should stop now. Because of my fear of trying to complete the assignment on time, I sent out an e-mail to everyone where I was frantic about trying to get in a group as well as choosing a topic. As per usual, I was fairly sufficient (yet not superb) at brainstorming different macroeconomic topics to do a presentation on but trying to choose one was the challenge. A fellow classmate responded back to me and offered to be in my group. I became relieved and I will admit that I did a bit of a jig.

After class ended where we learned about inflation, interest rates, and unemployment, I walked down to the State House to watch the Senate proceeding. I walked by RISD admissions and I regretted that I didn't stop to get information that I desperately crave as I am interested in the architecture program as well as the dual-degree program with RISD and Brown. Walking further down the hill where many of the historic landmarks coincided in a harmonic way with old, charming,yet humble houses on significantly steep grades led me down to Roger Williams National Park. I walked in a determined sense in scorching heat all the way up the marble steps to the State House.

I swerved through the tourists to watch the Senate proceedings which only took around 20 minutes as the Senate voted on many bills just last week and were only discussing three bills to vote on. The process was remarkably quick and the politicians were surprisingly active and engaged. This is most likely due to the small population of Rhode Island (a bit over a million) so many of the politicians were interacting with the public as well as the media personnel on a very casual and even friendly level. What a far cry from California and Capitol Hill in DC! Even though I was intrigued by the content of the bills as well as the deliberation process that ensued; the pounding of the gavel by the Senate Majority leader was especially thrilling to experience. I later roamed around to soak up the beautiful architecture as well as speaking at the podium of the Governor of RI. I also had small talk with a couple from Toronto on holiday as they commented that my speaking was extremely eloquent. I would disagree but it was really nice to get such a compliment! This is definitely a must-see!

Walking back to campus, I later took a two-hour nap, did my economics readings (probably should finish up the problem sets), and got my first slice of Chinese cuisine and it was surprisingly not disappointing but it wasn't satisfying at the same time. The popular drink is tea with tapioca pearls. My friend, Bill, was willing to pick up the tab after much argument (he is originally from Beijing so of course he won) where he also commented that milk tea hits the spot on such a hot day. Even though he says that the boba in Vancouver is much higher in quality; he stated that getting a tapioca drink in Providence is more fulfilling because of the extreme heat and humidity as Vancouver is extremely cool and rainy. He taught me a common phrase used by Mandarin speakers in Vancouver on getting depression because of cloudy/ rainy weather. Speaking of which, I really need to speak more Mandarin as my skills have probably plummeted to ignominious proportions.

No wonder why our RA wanted us to meet at 10. I was told to stand in the hallway where I hung out with my floormates as well as their friends that they brought along from other dorms on campus. They kept mentioning hints about cake where others who heard the statements immediately tried to cover up the idea of a cake being a part of what will be prevalent later on in the evening. I felt way too sweaty from all that exercise in the humidity so I honestly felt self-conscious about my appearance, odor, and yeah I'll stop there. I was greeted in the lounge with an absolutely gorgeous ice creak cake from Ben and Jerry's as well as suggestive, yet incredibly hilarious gifts for my birthday with the exception of Birthday Oreos and Catch-22.  I would like to thank all my friends, RAs, and acquaintances for recognizing and celebrating my birthday despite my repeated efforts for them to not trouble or inconvenience themselves for some random Brown summer student that they happen to meet. I also thank everyone for all the great wishes on social media as well as e-mail, texts, and phone calls. It motivates me to care and think about other people, especially people that I need to think about and contact more.

I later went to Roy's room to talk about his day as he does Summer@ Brown as well as playing with the Brown rugby team as he actually plays on the U-20 Scottish national rugby team! I found out at 12:30 that his birthday is also June 30th and hanging out in his room before then made me regret not saying my best wishes. Although he was playfully arrogant about being older than me by one year as well as doing a lucrative sign for fun, he wished me a happy belated birthday. One of his best friends. Ben, who actually was in my youth orchestra last year and attends school in Oakland turned 17 on July 1st, so most of my attention was trying to wish him a happy birthday! So many birthdays! Too bad he is on Morgan's (another RA on our floor) neck of the woods so I may not be able to partake in the celebrations! After going into Sam's room which is just one door down where I was part of a horah celebration, I laughed and listened to Michael Savage with my roommate where we laughed on how discriminatory and idiotic he is. Hugh identifies as a conservative and even commented on how bonkers this nut is. What a day!

Interior of RI State House!

Shark Week (It's Getting Harder...)

There wasn't really anything special about today, except for the fact that it was another of my California friend's first day at Brown. He's doing a two-week program in engineering and after that he's going to Vietnam for the rest of the summer so this is the only time we'll really get to see each other this summer. Tia and I met him at the VW for breakfast and when Tia decided to go finish up some homework I decided to take that opportunity to give Dylan a tour of Brown's campus. He had arrived late and missed all the tours so we did a quick walk around the main part of campus, with a nice walk down Thayer St. all the way to the building his class is in.

We couldn't really think of any other necessary things to do after that so we just decided to hang out on the main green with some other cluster members till it was time to go to lunch. Back to the VW for lunch and we were soon on our way to class. He left a little bit early from lunch because his class is near the lower half of campus, whereas mine is neighbors with the VW. Today in class we got a little bit more in depth about the tougher parts of economics and the things that I've been waiting for. We were assigned a group project today and I have Omar, Raka, Andra, & Gerald in my group. It's supposed to be a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation on an economics subject of our choice but we haven't decided on what we want to do quite yet. It should be interesting but juggling this as well as normal homework should be somewhat of a challenge.

Class ended on time and by 3:45 I was back at my dorm getting my clothes together for laundry. I did it with Tia this time, and after putting all our stuff in we headed back to Marie's room for a quick hang out with her and some other Everett-Poland students. It was fun and henna played a big role in it as she gave me the most amazing design that I have ever seen. I told her that I was a Pisces and something along those lines would be awesome but she took it to the next level by incorporating the Yin-Yang aspect into it with two fish entangled in an ever continuing circle. It took almost two hours to complete and I have to say that my stupidity got the better of me because I forgot to take a picture. You can still see the stain that the henna leaves but it's a little lighter than I would've like for that much of her time. Either way I loved it and I hope that she'll do another one before the camp is over.

Despite that the day was really slow. Got dinner at the VW, again, at exactly 7:30 PM and then went back to the main green for a cluster-wide game of Mafia. We only played about two rounds until we got bored and went back to the dorm lounge for a game of Cards Against Humanity. It's pretty much Apples to Apples but with a bit more vulgarity. That didn't last too long either though and before we knew it we were back in our rooms before curfew. Since then the blog seems to have been taking up my time and if I want to understand the concepts presented tomorrow in class I should probably go to bed now. Jusqu'a a la prochaine fois!

Back to Basics

Weekends aren't here forever, unfortunately. Our first weekend has quickly passed up and it's now Monday. Last night after the dinner, I began on the blog with very slow progress, as I was getting sleepy. I finished only to find out that our class had a last minute assignment to upload. I got to quick work and ended up sleeping very late- another reason I don't look forward to Mondays. Anyway, I woke up later than usual and had breakfast with the group (no waffle for me today, though) before class.

Today we had a class discussion instead of a lab and went over our electrophoresis results. It was kind of tricky to understand, but I got through that part of the class. On to the next part, we began talking about plasmid vectors and how we were going to be performing some experiments with unknown plasmid vectors tomorrow. I've never previously learned about this, so you can imagine what it's like to dive into something you're totally unfamiliar with, especially when it's complex and very in-depth to the subject. In any case, I'll be looking up some Youtube videos and will be reading from my textbook to get help and better understanding.

After a difficult lecture, the group and I had lunch at the V-dub and decided that we'd do laundry. Jing and I headed to Archibald's laundry room and found such a clutter there. Luckily, we had some washing machines available, but unfortunately, one of the ones I used stank, as did every other one I checked out. After getting that going, I knew I needed rest after a very unrestful night and morning, so I took a long, on and off, probably 2 hour nap. I had nothing done as I was knocked out. It was only after dinner that I actually picked up my stuff from the laundry room, but as you can tell, today has been very basic. Nothing much to it.

The day went on and I received an invite from Lupe to hang out, chat, and of course, have some of that promising pozole. I was ecstatic about that, so there's definitely something to look forward to for tomorrow. Other than that, I also took some more time for myself and listen to music, particularly live performances from show auditions to music celebrations. I enjoyed some time doing that and then actually just finished having a quick RA meeting. It was nothing other than continuing to be good people and not doing all those inappropriate, rude, and/or offensive things that others had done.. In addition, we found out that there was a program that we could go to as a group. I'm pretty sure it's one of those hour long discussions/advice sessions with Brown students. I believe the topic of the one we're going to was some Disney discussion (regarding race, I heard, but I don't know how I can be exactly sure about that). In any case, I'm about to go check in with my RA and head back to do some reviewing for tomorrow. Very simple, basic day, but tomorrow should be interesting!

Rest In Peace, Sock

As you can tell from the title, I seem to have lost a dear sock.  Today is Monday, which means it's laundry day.  I had one pair of socks, a few shorts, one shirt that I bought yesterday, one pair of underwear, and no pants left for the week so I really needed to refresh my wardrobe.  After a class lecture, I went down to my hall's laundry lounge (which is definitely larger than Everett's) to do my laundry by myself.  I'm lucky I chose Monday as my laundry day because everyone in my building did theirs yesterday, so I avoided the crowd.

At the end of the two hour process of washing my clothes, I realized that I was missing two socks of different pairings.  One was a white sock that was meant for everyday wear while the other was a black, formal sock.  I ran back down to the laundry room from the third floor to the basement in hopes that my precious socks were still there.  I was relieved to find my white sock wet and left behind in the washer I used, but was distraught at the same time because my formal sock was MIA.  I had a small moment of mourning for my sock back at my dorm as my white sock is drying from the battlefield that is the washing machine.

Aside from the silly talk, hopefully I can find that sock somewhere hidden in a shirt or pair of pants or even on my black bed sheets.  Luckily my mother was smart and packed me a second pair of formal socks so I don't have to worry about not having it for our dinner with admissions officers on Thursday. Besides my little laundry moment, the whole day was fairly average and we have a cluster meeting at nine today.  Oddly enough Charlie chose to meet at the laundry room, but it doesn't matter I guess.  More exciting adventures are to come later everyone.

Another Monday

It is already the second week of the Summer @ Brown program, and the third week of the Ivy League   Connection program. I am half way through the program.

Same as normal days, we three went to eat breakfast and go to the classroom. One thing different was we met one of our classmates, Coraly, on our way to the dining hall. She was from Puerto Rico. We talked about her life at Puerto Rico, and she said it was mostly beaches.

Jody focused on the discussion on the past two labs. First, she talked about the errors we made during the labs, and then the results. Brandon's result was used as the good example because his picture clearly showed the control sample and the other five treated samples. Good job Brandon!

Tomorrow we are starting a series of labs, including Competent Cell Preparation, Transformation with Unknown Plasmid, and lastly Plasmid Identification. From Jody's introduction, I did not fully understand. I hope I can gradually understand as I follow the procedures. She also showed us a TED video on gene therapy. In the video, the speaker, Nick Leschly, talked and showed an animation on a genetic disease called ALD. This kind of disease causes patients to have abnormal storage of lipid in their brain, and then causes death. Now, scientists and doctors develop a treatment, but there is still a lot of problems that they have to face in order to legalize the treatment, such as the government and money.

Arnold and I did laundry after lunch, and I went to a talk called "SparkNotes is Dead!" This session was talking about reading strategies in college.  He told us that the most important thing to do when reading a college text is to look for the thesis and then analyze the text. In order to emphasize his point, he told us to read a chapter called "Modesty, Gender, and Sexuality."  We then had a discussion, and I contributed my idea on how the author tried to present a conflict between social expectation an individual desire in women's heart in the society where men are the center of everything and women are inferior.

Continue with the topic on women, I went to another workshop called "Women in Media." We had discussion on modern U.S. media portrayal on women and also the inequality of women in the modern U.S. society. Women are often objectified, and are treated unequally in anywhere, including commercials, workplace, and even schools. The instructor, a current female Brown student majoring in chemistry, is still discriminated in the classroom. At the same time, she showed us several pictures that portrayed over-commercialized and photoshoped pictures. This society needs some changes.

The day ended with a gathering with our cluster. We ate ice cream birthday cake without a spoon or a fork, and that was not fun. Now I have to finish my reading for the DNA biotechnology class. Good Night!

Confessions of a Chaperone IV

Hot lobster rolls.  Unlikely French translations.  Fire-lit cauldrons.  Impressionist enthusiasm.  Freedom of expression.  History amidst the present.

My weekend began pleasantly, with an opportunity to hear live music, one of my favorite activities.  The adjacent restaurant, Aspire, hosts live music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Every Friday, it’s jazz.  I walked into the Aspire courtyard and the evening atmosphere of warmth and liveliness enveloped me.  Sitting across the way, I saw Lilian, the woman from ‘Yoga in the Park’ who I recommended the hummus plate to.  I recognized her, as she was wearing the same ball cap from yoga.  It appears she had taken my recommendation; she was there with her husband.  I went over and introduced myself, happy to see a familiar face, and knowing that she probably didn’t recognize me without my yoga workout garments.  Lilian was very helpful, giving me advice about the RIPTA bus system and letting me know that I could get to and from Newport for $4.00. Nice!  After speaking with my students, I have heard that they are signing up for a Newport excursion with their RAs, so perhaps I will head over on the same day as they go.

The evening was splendid.  An exceptional trumpet player was added to the jazz ensemble in the third song or so, and his playing added another complex layer to the sound.  Sitting next to me, a man about my parents’ age, Joe, began telling me about his childhood in Providence, how the buildings had changed, what the 60s were like, and how he grew up Catholic.  I asked him if he happened to be Italian (Joe? Catholic? East Coast?), and he verified that he was, delving into stories about his grandfather sending him to the corner store every couple weeks for an Italian herb, never speaking a word of English.  Joe had happy, squinty eyes behind his dark-rimmed glasses.  He reminded me of a character from the Scorsese film, “Goodfellas,” not in a violent way, but in the way he looked (gold chain, collared shirt, cigarette), spoke, and ingratiated himself into my company with familiarity and ease.  After a while, I felt like I could tell him anything.  He pronounced Santa Ana as “Sant-er An-er,” telling me about the few times he had been to California.  His lovely significant other, Laura, appeared later in the evening after her shift at a men’s department clothing store.  She had a short, blonde pixie cut, large blue eyes, and wore a long fuchsia dress, smoking her cigarette in a determined, yet effortless way.  I really enjoyed their company and hearing about their lives.  Sometimes people you barely know will open up to you, and you learn more about that time and place in the world than you would ever learn from hours reading a textbook.

The courtyard at Aspire Restaurant
Live jazz

The next morning, I woke earlier than usual to get ready for my personal Boston excursion, in order to be in the same city as the students while they were taking their Boston excursions.  My amazing Pinole friend, Maggie Brunstein who is currently living in New Hampshire while attending graduate school near Boston, drove into the city on Saturday to show me around.  I know Maggie through Pinole Valley High School.  She is in my younger sister’s graduating class, and we share several mutual friends. She met me in front of the Boston Tea Party Memorial and Museum, where parents and (some) reluctant children entered to participate in a theatrical role-play of casting the tea over the ship’s side into the water with actors who wore time-period specific garb and used words like “Aye.”  I laughed to myself as I saw two actors, dressed in time-period costumes, having a normal twenty-first century conversation while waiting for the next group of tourists to arrive.  
The Boston Tea Party Museum and Memorial
I thought when I met up with Maggie that I was already looking at a clear view of Boston Harbor, but then Maggie brought me to the real view of Boston Harbor, and I must admit, it is the most gorgeous picture I have seen thus far on this trip.  Imagine sail boats and modern skiffs over sparkling blue water, with a sky so clear it looks like glass.  I kept saying over and over, “I could sit here for hours!”  But hours we didn’t have, as there is so much to see in Boston. 

Boston Harbor
With Maggie

We decided to follow the Freedom Trail, an inlaid brick path that connects all the major historic monuments such as Bunker Hill, Paul Revere’s House, etc.  The Freedom Trail took us to Faneuil (pronounced like Daniel, but with an 'F') Hall, where we saw kiosks of souvenirs, drink stands, numerous international and domestic tourists, as well as ticket booths for the renowned Duck Tour Buses.  As we walked through some of the cobbled streets stemming from Faneuil Hall, I started to grow with excitement as I saw sign after sign in the restaurant windows advertising “Lobster Rolls.”  Since before this trip, a New-England lobster roll has been on my food bucket-list.  I know that Jack also wanted to eat a good lobster roll on this trip, so I hope that he met his goal on Saturday, too.  Maggie recommended the last brasserie on the path we took, called Belle in Hand, I believe.  I tried Maggie’s recommendation of a blueberry-flavored beverage, and we eagerly looked at the food menu.  I knew that I wanted either the Classic Lobster Roll (with mayo and lemon), or the Hot Lobster Roll (no mayo, but lots of butter).  Our server helped me decide on the Hot Lobster Roll.  It’s her favorite of the choices, and, well, you had me at “butter…” Maggie and I chatted about how all of our friends are getting married while we waited for our food, and just as our server set our plates down, a few hurried young women asked us, “Do either of you speak French, by any chance?”  At first I didn’t say anything, worst-case scenarios rolling over in my brain.  Is one of their family members stuck in the French consulate, needing my translation skills to negotiate an urgent release?  Maggie pointed to me. Then, I laughed with relief as the women said they needed to videotape me speaking French for a bachelorette party scavenger hunt piece.  Then she asked if I could say, “My favorite color is purple” in French.  Why sure, that was fun and easy.  I knew I would be using my French language over here on the East Coast, but I never knew it would be in such a carefree way. (I had better not speak too soon.)

Hot Lobster Roll

After eating our perfect lobster dishes, we continued along the Freedom Trail.  We passed by Paul Revere’s House, deciding to skip the extremely long line of tourists and continue exploring the North End (Boston’s more authentic equivalent of San Francisco’s North Beach district).   I adore North Beach’s Little Italy, so naturally I loved North End.  I peered in restaurant windows and saw people doing quintessential Italian things – sitting with family over a nice bottle of red wine, talking animatedly or calmly, enjoying cheese plates or bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I stored a restaurant called Limoncello in the back of my mind for a future Boston voyage.  As we walked along the cobble-stoned paths, we noticed small crowds starting to form in the entrances of restaurants where televisions were visible. I knew these crowds had to be World Cup-related.  I couldn’t resist stopping at one of the crowds to see what was happening in the Brazil-Chile game, and there it was.  They had gone into double over-time tied, and now it was time for the dreaded shoot-out. In my ten years of playing competitive soccer for club and high school teams, I have only had to participate in a shoot-out maybe three or four times.  Imagine the heightened emotion of participating in a shoot-out in the World Cup!  Brazil won, barely, in a 5-4 overall shoot-out score, only because the final Chilean player kicked the ball off the side bar of the goal structure.  I heard a fellow bystander say, “I wouldn’t want to be that guy.” We were all thinking it, but she said it. 
The crowd gathering in the street to watch the end of the Brazil-Chile match.

Maggie and I continued on, to meet my friend Andrew Weiss in the Seaport area to watch the second World Cup game and catch up on life since our Euro-trip six years ago.  I met Andrew and his close friends, Lauren Seigel and Joey Bestreich, on a rapid Europe tour that I took with my sister, Karly, in 2008.  Andrew, Lauren, and Joey instantly became our “New York” friends, and the five of us became inseparable on the tour because of our shared sense of humor, sarcasm, and weird voices used when imitating others.  Those long bus-rides in between countries can conjure up some pretty hilarious conversations, and this group had its share of those.  I always tell my French students about the time my friend, Joey, came down with strep throat in France, and how I had to describe his symptoms to the francophone concierge and understand her directions to get him to the nearest pharmacie.  (This is how I hook them, or at least try to, on the importance of learning and knowing health-related vocabulary in the target language.)  Since the Europe trip, we have stayed in touch on social media and visited briefly during a leisure stint in New York.  Lauren and Joey are still in New York, but Andrew has moved since to Massachusetts, as he now works in space-planning at UMass (University of Massachusetts).  I appreciated him meeting up with me and Maggie, and I appreciated them both for indulging in World Cup-mania with me.  That first Colombia goal was mind-blowing, by the way.  The ball rica shays off the top bar and bounces down behind the goalkeeper, past the goal line – GOALLLLLLL!

North End

Catching up with Andrew

Arriving back in Providence, I walked out of the Amtrak station and past the Rhode Island State Building.  Though an hour before Water Fire was due to begin, I noticed people were already starting to crowd around the waterway closest to the train station.  I had two things on my mind – I needed to charge my camera and change my shoes. (I have realized that no matter how comfortable one’s shoes may be, after walking around in them all day, there is a point when the feet just need to get out of those shoes and rest.)  I was able to change into more comfortable clothes and search unsuccessfully for my camera charger before finally heading down to the waterway in the financial district.  Upon arriving, I squeezed into a spot on the railing overlooking the waterway, and watched as gondolas with pairs of people floated along in the waterways past the crowds, rowed on by gondoliers in striped shirts and traditional gondolier hats.  A mystifying, simmering instrumental music played as the crowds awaited the next step.  Finally, large rowboats with people dressed in black moved past us, large piles of wood in the back of the water vehicles, a torch aflame with just a touch of fire, ready to light the floating cauldrons at any minute.  A shaman floated past us, wafting a sweet-smelling incense into the air, an action symbolizing neutralization of negativity and encouragement of positive spiritual energy, if spirits be present.  Finally, the cauldrons were lit and the fire in each grew and grew.

The Rhode Island State House

WaterFire begins.

If I am being completely honest, after five minutes of watching the flames grow, I sincerely wondered if this was all there was to this event, and if so, what was the big deal?  Was I going to be sitting here (standing, rather) for two hours watching the same flames flicker?  I decided to walk across the bridge over near the food vendors, and there, my understanding and point of view of the event completely changed.I started to see glimpses of blue light. I walked closer and saw a patch of trees with blue glow stars in the branches, and yellow luminaria bags lining the walkways and sprinkled in clusters across the grass. Walking amongst them, I began to read messages left to loved ones under each glowing light. “I miss you every day,” “I am so thankful to have found you,” “I pray for your safe return,” or “I wish you were here, Mom,” were some that I saw.  It is difficult to not become emotional, knowing that people are longing for the presence of their loved ones all over the world.  Other than feeling sadness in remembering the many good people that I have lost too soon, I instead felt overwhelming feelings of gratitude for this beautiful moment – at any time I could reach out to my siblings and parents, hear their voices, and know that in this minute, at least, they are healthy and at peace.  To have one’s family in good health is the greatest gift and joy.  Thus, I ended my perusing of luminaria messages with one that I felt summed up my feelings for the evening: “To a happy, healthy year.  To fun times and love.” Well-said.  Thank you.

WaterFire Luminaria

Remember how I said that my perspective of the event changed after crossing over that bridge?  Well, after exploring the beautiful glow-lit luminaria area, I understood that WaterFire is more than just the visual aspect of water on fire, it is an evening of reflection and gratitude, a time to remember those lost and celebrate those living, to be spiritual, or hold hope for the peace and health of those not near us. I decided to think about the lessons of my previous yoga class and be ‘present in the moment.’  I acquired, through a donation to Water Fire, a blue glow stick and wore it as a headband.  I walked back and forth in the crowds of people, acknowledging the accordionist, the banjo player, and the guitarist that played their music softly into the dark night.  I purchased a Chicken Tikka Masala from the Indian restaurant vendor and ate it quietly on a ledge overlooking the fire, the creamy tomato sauce tasting sweet against the buttery slice of naan bread.  I sat in several different areas surrounding the waterway, noticing the crowds thinning out with time and seats becoming more available closer to the water. I listened to the music, now recognizing that the artists and lyrics of these songs spanned all cultures and religions, a perfect nod to Providence, a city founded on the ideals of religious freedom.  I had walked across the College Street Bridge at 9:05PM, wondering if the monotony of the fire could keep me entertained for the next ten minutes.  Now, here I was, returning to my hotel nearly three hours later, not wanting the evening to end.

Wearing a glowstick headband and an MIT shirt.

Sunday morning, I had set up an optional excursion to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Art Museum with the Brown-I cohort.  I met them on the Benefit Street entrance, and we entered the museum.  Sunday admissions are free, and I was reminded of Paris, where Sundays, too, are often free or half-priced in the hundreds of museums present in France’s capital.  I knew that I wanted to explore the European art, 19th and 20th century art, and the Greek and Roman art.  But first I started in the “Graphic Design: Now in Production” exhibit.  In talking to Arnold, I knew that it was his first time in an art museum, and he seemed to be loving it, snapping pictures of the graphic design art.  This made me really happy.  I continued into a room that held twentieth century art. I like how RISD combines all genres of art – interior, as well as fashion design, into each time period.  I was ecstatic to see some work by Henri Matisse in this room.  I have been to many art museums since my studies in Paris in 2007, and the more I visit museums, the less I feel the need to read or look at everything, but rather just approach art or relics that draw me in.  However, on the other side of that statement, with more art exposure, I probably in turn find that more oeuvres draw me in than before I started frequenting art museums.  In the twentieth century room, I studied some mid-century modern furniture that I or my mom would love to own. I also saw a gorgeous floor-length black dress by Calvin Klein, simple, yet comfortable in its jersey composition, its museum description giving a nod to Coco Chanel’s pioneering of comfortable garments for women. 
Mid-century modern furniture
Matisse oeuvre

The Calvin Klein dress

Next was the Greek and Roman room – I was blown away with the variety of genres this museum houses! I immediately remembered the Art History class I took at Cal, one of the more difficult classes due to the required recall of dates, artists, and styles over the span of centuries.  Still, it was breath-taking to see these marble statues and sarcophagi, now white, but likely painted vibrantly back in their original construction. I moseyed on into the next room, feeling like I needed more time in the museum than I would have, and realized I had arrived in my comfort zone, as I was in the French Impressionist Art room.  I saw some works by Claude Monet, Eduard Manet, his wife Berthe Morisot, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renor, Henri Rousseau, and Pablo Picasso (not French, but lived in Paris during the impressionist/post-impressionist eras).   Brandon told me he had seen this room, too, and I am sure it brought his memory back to our French 3 Impressionist Art project, where the students had to research and imitate the work of their chosen artist through a drawing or painting.  I was drawn to a Monet work, A Walk in the Fields of Argenteuil (or La Promenade dans les Champs à Argenteuil), where he had painted a field scene with French red poppies.  I have become somewhat occupied over the past month with obtaining French red poppy seeds for my garden, after seeing the red dainty flowers in the Berkeley Botanical Garden during a visit with my significant other, Sohil.  This painting really made me miss my garden at home, and furthered my light-hearted obsession (oxymoron?) with obtaining those red poppy seeds.

This sarcophagus is one of the few to chronicle the Trojan War.
A piece by Picasso
Greek vases reminding me of the opening of Disney's "Hercules" movie.
A glimpse of the French red poppies!

I could go on for hours about the art museum, but I will stop here, as I have come to terms with the fact that I will need to visit RISD again next Sunday, for I didn’t even step inside the sixth floor, where the Egyptian Relics and Asian Prints exhibit is housed.  The students and I met back in the lobby, minus Kevin, who would sprint to meet up with us later.  We ended up seeing the outside of the First Baptist Church of America, snapping some pictures and vowing to return later for a tour at an admissible time, and continuing onto Canal Street to find Roger Williams Memorial Park.  I had been here previously for yoga, but did not know as much about Williams’ life and work before this morning.  After hearing the students’ accounts of Roger Williams, now experts after their junior year of AP US History, and seeing the video and touring inside the Visitor Center (thank you, Sparkle Bryant), I now feel that I have a better understanding of Roger Williams’ journey.  He left England for Massachusetts at a time of great religious divide, and after studying to be a Protestant theologian himself, he realized that he held views that were not necessarily in line with what he had studied all of his life.  He founded Providence on the basis of religious freedom, as a place where peoples experiencing persecution for their religion or lack of religion could find refuge.  He was the earliest proponent of separation of state and church.  His most prominent work, A Key into the Language of America, has greatly influenced our Bill of Rights, and the original copy is actually housed in Brown University’s Anthropology museum.  Providence reminds me a lot of the city of Berkeley, another city where freedoms of belief and speech were historically pioneered, though much later in United States history.  I love seeing the LGBT pride that appears in little nuances throughout the city, and I am sure the city’s founding ideals play a large part in the freedom of expression seen and felt here.

The First Baptist Church of America
The Visitor Center at Roger Williams' Memorial Park
Williams' compass
What houses looked like before the 19th century in Providence

After our morning, the students and I went our separate ways to prepare for our big dinner at Siena Restaurant later in the evening.  I had brunch at a chic café titled XO Café, where I had the XO Benedict, potato pancakes and short rib covered by poached eggs and a chipotle hollandaise.  The motif inside the café was romantic and luxurious, with plush pillows separating the seating, and leopard print apparent amongst luscious textiles.
XO Cafe

Dinner at Siena was lovely and very enjoyable for all who attended, it seemed.  I walked over to Federal Hill on my own – I wanted to be there early and make sure appetizers were set up for the arrival of twenty guests.  You know you are in Federal Hill when you cross over a freeway overpass and walk under an elegant arch.  The street is lined with little unique shops and lots of excellent restaurants.  Federal Hill is definitely a hill – when you look around you don’t see skyscrapers and tall buildings like other parts of Providence, just the clear sky and sun as far as the eye can behold.  The five cohort students, experiencing a close brush with tardiness to an ILC event, came sprinting up the stairs to the back room of the restaurant, out of breath but looking dapper in their formal wear.  I smiled and shook each of their hands, acknowledging that they had made it a minute early, relieved that the ‘hosts’ had arrived before the guests.  I am proud of them for trying the RIPTA bus system, but I think they will think twice about departure times before the next mandatory event.  I will say no more about it; they made it on time in good form.  And the thought of them sprinting down Atwells Avenue in their formal wear makes me giggle a bit.

Our dinner included a lot of good conversation and advice about being successful at Brown.  I learned from Helen about Brown’s Open-Curriculum system.  Richard shared the ‘feeling’ he got when he knew that Brown was where he wanted to be and where he wanted to stay even after graduation.  Juan and Julio were able to share their own post-graduate experiences, as they are alums now, both working in education.  Camera knew that she wanted to be a Brown student when she saw that students acted normally and were able to function harmoniously even during finals’ time.  I thought this was interesting and refreshing.  As a Cal graduate, I can honestly say that being at such a competitive undergraduate school, I definitely witnessed some less-than-healthy finals’ week behavior – all-nighters before a 4-hour final, cramming with the use of study drugs or caffeine pills, students I normally saw every day disappearing into their rooms or libraries for a week at a time to scour over notes, peoples’ physical appearance seeming to deteriorate from lack of sleep or stress. I personally felt that I was able to balance my normal life with finals fine, but it would have been nice to feel that my peers were doing the same, and it sounds like at Brown they do.  (Again, I LOVE Cal, but I couldn’t help but provide a contrast to Brown’s finals' culture.)  Lytisha talked about the ease with which she was able to change majors from Physics to Biological Health at Brown, which I know relieved some of the cohort members who weren’t quite sure what they wanted to study. 

As the dinner came to a close, I took a few pictures of the group, and although they were technically “dismissed,” I was thrilled to see that everyone genuinely wanted to continue talking, and so they did so standing for the next several minutes. Guadalupe Morales, a Richmond High School graduate and alumna of the Ivy League Connection, offered to walk the students back to campus, which was a really kind gesture.  She and Arnold were able to connect, as he is a current Richmond High School student.  Although I didn’t get a chance to sit at the same table as Bianca, Isaiah, Eveyln, Lizbeth, or Candice, I could tell they were having lively conversations with Jack and Arnold.  The walk home felt easy, as I got a chance to speak with Jing about her family and how much she was enjoying her time at Brown in Providence.

My choice: Penne Alla Vodka with prawns
The group
Genuine conversation post-dinner

I look forward to this week and celebrating the Fourth of July in a New England city.  What could be better than to celebrate our country’s freedom in a city whose ideals were founded on the basis of freedom?  Providence, je t’aime!

Siena, Roger Williams, RISD

Waking up to no homework or no assignments that are needed to completed made the day much nicer to wake up to, which helped faciliate the process of getting out of bed earlier. I dressed quickly and went over to RISD to view the rest of the art that I haven't seen. I thought that there wasn't much older art that was featured but it just happened to be that I didn't venture up there! I learned how to appreciate art in many different forms and styles and I really liked how RISD put some sort of emphasis in older interior design as well as porcelain and other items from different civilizations. The art which had a relation to societal matters like I have described in my earlier blog still had the most impact on me. I was so busy exploring the art that I forgot where in the building I was in and fount out that one of the elevators didn't go all the way down to the library! I later had to walk across the building after taking the elevator to the 3rd floor and then I would transfer to the other elevator to go down to the lobby.

Since I got lost and I had to put my phone in my backpack which had to be left at the front desk, I had to run over to Roger Williams National Park by myself! Nevertheless, the jog along the Providence River where Waterfire was hosted yesterday was incredibly pretty, with many different charming landmarks lining the way. I quickly met up with them at the Visitor Center where they were watching a film about Roger Williams and his life. To me, seeing Roger Williams's impact on history and seeing the colony thrive to the spirit of religious tolerance by what he proposed after being banished from Massachusetts inspired me to be more active in the social justice front and to fully advocate it not only during a dedicated time that I set aside time for but rather that in my activities and my daily routine. It was interesting to explain the facts and the progression of many different faiths with Alana and Arnold, especially with the Catholic, Separatists, Puritans, and the Anglican denominations. Roger Williams basically went with the Church of England in training  in his native England but later went with the Puritans after being offered a high position within the faith and later went to Massachusetts Bay Colony. After he wrote about conflicting ideas and recognized the linguistic and cultural rights of Native Americans, he was banished and founded the site of where Providence is today. We later went through the small visitor center and talked about more of the attractions we could've done!

After walking and running a bit up the hill back up to campus, I went into Arnold's room to coordinate the trip over to Siena. We set a time and asked if everyone is okay with taking a bus that we would have to walk towards downtown to board. Everyone consented to the decision and after making sure that what our plan was, we both fell asleep in the room where Arnold's roommate continued to do his routine like nothing had happened.

I went out to Keeney to wait for the group to come out to the dinner and someone was slightly late to meeting us in front of the dorms. We then went with Option B where we boarded the bus at Thayer and Tunnel where we were close to making it on time. We did make it two minutes before 5:30 and it turned out that no one was there. Because we ran at a faster pace than everyone else, the people that we originally saw on the bus walked in after us and exuberant laughter and conversation ensued throughout the night!

I especially loved these group of students and graduates and since I have been through the dinner formalities before, I began to fire away at questions related to admissions, student life, and more. They asked me and were interested in what I had to say and what I was feeling and I appreciate that it was a mutual conversation and it wasn't totally one-sided! We also talked about matters in great detail as well as more general matters from planning how to proceed with the application process on a time frame to experiences in concentrations, where I met a wonderful geology major who opted out of the School of Engineering. I was surprised to hear that some engineering students at an institution that prides itself on its liberal arts are still rather antisocial and immersed only in the activity that they do. I am still not afraid of pursuing what I would like as I believe that Brown would foster that environment of a mutidisciplinary approach as well as incorporating many different experiences and ideas into objectives that a student or others wish to do. I also admire how students tend to be collaborative, yet care about their grades so that there is a healthy balance. The dinner went by really quick over great calamari, gelato and doughboys, as well as a great seafood pasta dish that was in a tasty sauce with mussels, scallops, oysters, and other assorted seafood! Surprisingly when I ordered, my Italian pronunciation wasn't butchered... We then walked all the way back to campus, a great way to burn off the calories!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Day Before Monday

For the most part, today was a pretty chill day. My morning began with waking up later than usual (finally), but not as late as I'd ideally like. Brandon and I were going to get breakfast at the V-dub since the Ratty is not open Sunday mornings. To our surprise, we arrived to a closed dining hall. With only less than half and hour for breakfast before the time we needed to meet everyone else at the RISD Museum, we got our breakfast at Starbucks, but subsequently split up into our separate ways to get there (his breakfast took forever to be ready).

I had no idea where to go, so I went on my Maps app only to find myself more confused about which direction to head. After crossing the street and back, I had the hang of where to go and made my way down the hill to the entrance of the museum where I found Jing and Alana there waiting for the rest of us. We went up the stairs and were well on our way to check it out.

At the Roger Williams National Memorial Park
Some work from the RISD Museum
As usual, I was already caught up in something and was the slowest one of the group. I was particularly looking at some interesting pictures regarding the destruction of the natural environment. As someone who has love for he environment and nature, it struck out to me more and more how these pictures reflected some of the leading issues we have faced and will likely encounter in the future if they are not addressed. Aside from the pictures, though, I walked throughout the other displays of art showcased throughout that floor and eventually came upon another very interesting theme. On a TV there was a very interesting video involving the connections between the educational system, economy, intellectual and divergent thinking of young children, and loss of interest in school that many children and adolescents seem to face. Having done an educational research project on schools and education, it was pretty relevant to me and quite interesting. After exploring most the floor, I quickly made my way the the next one really briefly before I had to meet up with everyone else to head to our next stop Wemade it further down the hill to the Roger Williams Memorial Park. There we learned a bit more of the history of Providence and how Roger Williams had such a fundamental part in the city's development. Right next to the park was the visitor's center where we watched a more detailed clip on the man. In short terms, he was very liberal with religious beliefs and strongly advocated for the freedom of beliefs- a man to commemorate.

One of the many though-provoking works at the RISD Museum

Making it back up the hill took the effort, but it turned out to be a fun workout between Kevin and myself as we raced up the hill. Out of breath, we waited for Brandon and Jing to catch up as we headed to the V-dub for dinner. It was rather nice since our extensive time eating and talking created some more cohort bonding. Alas, we split up our own ways at the Keeney entrance where we had time to catch up on rest and get ready for a fancy dinner with Brown students and alums. Kevin came over to my dorm and we both tried looking up ways to get to Siena for dinner and somewhere along the lines of looking for a place and relaxing, we ended up knocking out. Fortunately I woke up on time to get both Kevin and myself up and going for dinner. Since Plan A didn't work out so well, we made it to Thayer to wait for the bus where we impatiently hoped for the bus to arrive soon. At our side, we saw a large group of students, very fancily dressed, but didn't give into believing that by coincidence it might be the students who we were supposed to meet at the restaurant. We all got on board and anxiously made it to our stop. Immediately after stepping off, Kevin and I ran as fast as we could, to not get late to our reservation and shortly after, everyone tagged along. Adrenaline rushed and excitement mounted with every stride I took. For a while, I thought this had to be one of the crazier things I've done thus far out here. Running with a group of more teenagers than myself, all dressed up nice and fancy, some with backpacks, another with a camera, all racing along Atwells Avenue just to not make it late. We'd finally made it to the restaurant. We found Alana and took our seats, just about 30 good seconds before we saw our guests (a.k.a. the students we saw on the bus) walked in as well. We simply couldn't believe how coincidental that was, but it was.

We shook hands with everyone and introduced ourselves amongst one another. We took our seats and took a look at our table (ours had 8 while there was another of 10) and menus as well. More than anything, I was super excited sitting with Lupe (Guadalupe) Morales, who is a Richmond High School alumna. I've seen a video of her and her transition from an underprivileged and negatively viewed high school, to a world class and prestigious university and was just simply excited to make connections there. Back to dinner, though, we all reintroduced ourselves and got on to talking about Brown, of course, and more to Brown and Providence that we didn't yet know. Bianca, Candice, EvelynLizbeth, Lupe, and Isaiah, the students at our table, each commented on a few places to visit, eat at, and more about what to do at Brown. We ordered and even when our food came, we were able to keep the conversation as steady and engaged. We socialized, not only about school, but on a personal level as well. I know I don't talk too much about the food, but I had the fancy named gnocchi (I'm just terrible with all these names). It was delicious, but found it quite heavy, so I had it boxed to go. Bianca ordered the gnocchi as well, but everyone else ordered other entrees, which I don't recall (I'll try to get the names for next time's final dinner, though; not that it's of great importance, but just because it's nice to know). Anyway, most of our table ordered the ricotta and honey cheesecake (particular fancy name unknown), while others others, like Candy, ordered a chocolate lover's paradise of chocolate mousse, chocolate sauce, and other chocolatey goodies. Unfortunately, our time for the dinner wrapped up and said our goodbyes to the students.

From left to right (if I'm not mistaken, and my apologies if I am): Jack,
Kevin, Isaiah, Juan, Jing, Brandon, Julio, Bianca, Candice,
Lytisha, Camera, Evelyn, Brandon, Lupe, Me, Lizbeth, and Helen
While many had to go, some students walked us back to Brown. Along the way, I was particularly able to speak with Juan for a while. I was pretty excited to know he concentrated (already completed his undergrad) in Psychology, one of my underlying interests. I was also pleasantly surprised to know he was going to grad school, at Brown as well, pursuing education. Also along the way, I walked with both Lupe and Julio. Julio was really chill and shared his experience about coming to Brown not exactly knowing it much, but ultimately loving it, which in a way got me to consider Brown a bit more. Other than sharing experiences, it was a casual walk back to Brown. Once we got back, we said our goodbyes once again. Though this was our last dinner with only students, I have still yet to hear more from Lupe about the transition to Brown (and maybe have some of her homemade pozole too!).

A relatively short anc chill, yet long day has gone and I have to say that I'm really going to miss all of these amazing dinners with all of the students. They're definitely one of the highlights of this trip. In any case, I'm glad that I had another opportunity to speak with some great individuals and take another step in exploring what Brown has to offer. I'm still looking forward to chatting with Lupe, but first I need to make sure I get to class tomorrow, which requires some good sleep! Goodnight!

Woah, I Have Class Tomorrow?

Today could be seen as what people call a throwback, as today was a day spent with the cohort.  I woke up today at around 9 to get ready for another visit to the RISD.  This time, I would be with the rest of the cohort excluding Jack, as he slept in.  Jing and Kevin went to the museum first to meet with Ms. Scott while Arnold and I went to get breakfast since we woke up later than the two.  We checked the V Dub for our breakfast and passed by the new wave of 1-week students at the Main Green on our way there.  It made me feel kind of proud that I was now a source of help for these students and that I've been living on campus for a whole entire week.

Anyways, the V Dub turned out to be closed because the closing time for breakfast is at 9:30, a lesson to be learned for the next time we want breakfast on the weekends.  Arnold and I ended up just going to Starbucks because of that.  I told Arnold to go on ahead after he got his food, as I didn't want him to be late to the meeting.  After getting my doubly chocolate chip frappuccino and my morning bun, I decided to just go a bit later to the RISD and find the cohort somewhere inside the museum.  Thus, I went back into my dorm to enjoy a nice, quiet breakfast looking out at the view of Providence.  Following my breakfast I went to the RISD to explore the sections that I didn't check out on Friday.

By the end of the one hour exploration of the RISD, I realized that I still didn't cover everything that the RISD had to offer as I did not touch on the Egyptian and Asian section of the museum still. I guess I'll visit that section another day during my remaining two weeks here.  We visited the first Baptist church a few blocks away, but unfortunately they were closed to visitors and we just missed the tour by an hour.  We then moved on to the Roger Williams Memorial Park, a nice, green park memoralizing the founder of Rhode Island.  There was even an information building that had a five minute video on the history of Roger Williams. After our time at the park was over, we all headed back for lunch at the V Dub then to our dorms to get ready for our dinner with Brown students.

We decided to meet a little bit before 5 to catch a RIPTA bus to the restaurant, Siena.  We were almost late and ended up having to run in our formal clothing from the bus stop to the restaurant to make it two minutes early.  I'm sure the sight of a bunch of kids running in suits and nice clothes was quite the sight for the nearby pedestrians.  I think it's worth mentioning, though, that we unknowingly took the same bus as some of the students we would be dining with.  After introductions and all at the restaurant, we took our seats, spread out so we each could have a chance to talk with the students.  I sat next to two students named Lytisha and Camera as well as an alum named Julio. Talking with the students gave me great insight on how things work at Brown, including the two week shopping period that Brown offers and the open curriculum system that allows for freedom of class choices.  Speaking with everyone really made me realize that Brown is actually a school that I would like to go to for college.  The campus is beautiful, the community is super nice, and the academics seem very open, allowing for students to easily find their interest and the right major during their time here.  The surrounding city is modest and small, great for someone like me who comes from a small, quiet town.  I will surely be  looking into applying to Brown this fall

As for the food, we had pizza and calamari for appetizer and I ordered lobster mac&cheese for my entree. I've been craving calamari as of recent and the calamari here sure did not disappoint.  The seasoning was just right, the squid itself was easy to chew, and the fried portion was well done.  The mac&cheese was excellent as well.  Bread crumbs were scattered across the top, adding the crispiness missing from the dish. The cheese was really rich, and the lobster tasted great.  My overall experience was great, and even now I wish I could have it for a midnight snack, even though I didn't finish my plate sadly.  For dessert I had doughboys with Nutella and gelato, something that reminded me of something I would eat on a bad day at home.

After the meal we took a few pictures and some closing conversations.  I found out that one of the students sitting at the other table was my RA for the Boston trip yesterday, Candice.  I had a conversation with her about the dorms, her cluster, and my cluster.  Conversations ensued when we finally left for our long, uphill walk back to our dorms.  To my surprise, I found Candice and Camera talking with one of the RAs on my floor when I returned.  I gave a quick greeting to them and then went back to my room to change out of my sweaty suit and get some rest.

Today surely was like old times, going around with the cohort and eating fancy foods that my stomach can never seem to finish. It certainly didn't feel like a Sunday today nor does it feel like I have class tomorrow. Now, we're all sitting in our dorms doing our own things, never truly together.  I'm with Arnold and Jing a lot, and occasionally Kevin, but I've seem to lose touch with Jack. We're doing laundry together tomorrow, so that'll be nice I guess.  For now, I've stayed up too late and the lights are out, so I'll be sleeping.

The Perfect End To A Perfect Weekend

View of Providence from the waterfront
I slept in today till 10 AM due to the lateness of the previous night's blog post. I figured that since I have class tomorrow I should probably start a little bit earlier tonight, so that I can try and get up a bit earlier to be more prepared for the day ahead. There wasn't much going on today except for the fact that a ton of new students arrived. Throughout the day I kept seeing many new faces, in fact Caleb and I helped move a kid into his dorm room in Grad Building C. You get a really good feeling doing something for someone other than yourself and after sorting out all the kinks in his living arrangements we left with somewhat of an empowered feeling.

Providence Flea Market
After returning to the dorms and escaping the heat for a few minutes we decided to head down to the Providence Flea Market, as we had heard only good things about it. It took us awhile to find as we walked in the wrong direction at first, but we soon found it and with that all the interesting things accompanying it. I took a few passes past the camera tent but didn't really find anything interesting until I strolled by a guy who was selling a plethora of different items made from recycled skateboards. That peaked my interest and helped me notice all the different pictures that he was also selling around the side of the tent. I chatted with him for awhile about photography and after a long while I decided to buy a picture. It really reminded me of Berkeley, CA because of the cool graffiti taking part in it. It also has a pretty long depth-of-field, which is one type of shooting that I've been really interested in.

Steak & Salsa Eggrolls w/ Chipotle Sauce
After buying one though I decided I was pretty hungry and perused all the different food trucks that were parked to the side. We didn't really know what to get so we decided to try 2 out of the 4 trucks that were there. I was the only one who ended up getting anything though, with a Frozen Lemonade and Steak and Salsa Eggrolls, all for under $6! The Frozen Lemonade was perfect on the hot day and I don't think I'll ever have Steak and Salsa Eggrolls again that can compare to the ones I had today. In fact the pictures I got of the eggrolls may be some of the best ones I got all day.

We left the flea market around 3:30 though and decided that the main green would be a nice place to hang out until I had to leave for dinner. I got dressed around 4:35 and met my cohort in the front of Keeney at 4:45 PM sharp. Arnold was a little late so we ended up having to take a different bus to the dinner at Siena, an Italian restaurant in downtown Providence. We thought we would be late but it turned out that we were taking the same bus as the Brown students who were eating with us, so we all arrived at around the same time.
Left to Right: Bianca, Candy, & Arnold talking about school
Filet Mignon w/ Risotto & Green Beans
There were two tables totaling around twenty people. My table only had 8 people at it but I thought that it was the life of the party. Everyone seemed to have a different major, which was pretty cool, and they all had completely different takes on their time at Brown. The only aspect that didn't waver was the amount of love that they all had for Brown. Soon came the food though which was absolutely outstanding. Many of the people at my table had the Cioppino but I decided to have the Special Filet Mignon w/ Risotto and Green Beans. It was delicious and I didn't know if I could eat anymore, but when they brought out the beautiful dessert menu I had to force myself to order something. Tiramisu, Raspberry Sorbet, Honeycomb Cheesecake, and Chocolate Torte were the things that graced our table at the end of it all. Can you guess which one I got?
Chocolate Torte w/ a sinful Chocolate & Raspberry Sauce
Unfortunately, the buses stopped running at 6:30 so we had to walk all the way back to Brown, but it was actually a really nice walk. I talked with different Brown students about life, what I want to do in college, where I want to go, how I like Brown, and many more topics. We were back before we knew it thought and after meeting my friend Dylan, who just arrived today, we decided to head up to the 5th floor lounge for a little hang-out with our cluster. Some random games ensued but we had to go back to our rooms for curfew and a good night's sleep, which is what I really need to get. Jusqu'a a la prochaine fois!