October 2009

Ballroom and Biscotti

Okay, so I totally stole my blog title from one of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls, and funnily enough, its the episode right before she goes off to college! So, life in college, fun? hard? crazy? I guess I would say that it is all of those things, except so much more. But before I get into philosophizing about the nature of college life, (I can hear Plato’s thoughts on the virtue of Philosopher Kings in my sleep, thank you Political Theory!)  I thought I would give you an introduction to my  typical college day (well Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

I tend to get up at 8 every day, last year it was 7 three days a week because I was crazy and took 8 am Spanish, but I returned to my senses this year and do not have class until 9:10. My first class is Early English Literature, which I was totally afraid to take. The Canterbury Tales are definitely not light reading, but I survived and we have moved on to 16th century love sonnets which I adore. Did you know that Shakespeare wrote his first 100 sonnets to a boy? I’m not sure if that means anything, but you read it in a different way with that knowledge! After English I go to Research Methods for Political Science, which is kind of dull. Not the professors fault, but how interesting is it that good theories must be falisifiable? It is a Major requirement and I am sure it will come in useful later, fingers crossed.

After that I get to my favorite part of the day Ballroom Dance class (and the namesake of my title)! My roommate and I planned our schedules so we could take this class together and it is so fun. We get to spend an hour dancing around and there are even some really good dancers in the class. Right now we are learning Foxtrot, Swing and Rumba. Currently Swing is my favorite, but some of the turns in the Foxtrot are really fun when you get going. I love it when the teacher brings her husband to class because we get to watch them dance, it is inspiring. I like getting to dance with the teacher because she can make me do steps I did not even know I could do!  I always come out of ballroom feeling extremely happy. Portland also has a lot of dance clubs that allow under 21 which I hear is really fun. They have blues dancing, swing dancing and salsa dancing, my roommate went blues dancing last night and said it was amazing, they even offer beginners lessons. After Ballroom I eat lunch and then I go to work at the Admissions Office. I love working in the Admissions Office (and not just because you get cupcakes and candy during the winter!). While it’s a lot of filing I think it is way more interesting than sitting in the Library or watching the printer (yes that is a job on campus!).  After classes and work I like to relax and watch TV a little bit before starting my homework. Meal times tend to be the best time to see all of your friends during the day as every one heads over to the “Bon” at about 5:15.
–A note about college slang–Every college seems to have a lot of slang and some of it is annoying, so just so you know
L&C= Lewis & Clark (the place where you want to go!) and as a side note, you are only supposed to use the & sign and not spell ‘and’ out (who knew!) but hardly anyone knows this
Campo=Campus Police (standard on most campuses)
Pio= short for pioneers (our mascot) used in reference in everything to our shuttle, the mascot and our school newspaper the Pio Log
The Bon= AKA Fields Dining room, named the Bon after the catering company and it is the place where we eat 3 times a day
The Raz/Pio Express=The shuttle that takes us to Fred Meyer (the grocery store) and downtown all day
South Campus= The graduate school located up the hill from Forest and Hartzfeld Halls
Lower Campus=The prettiest part of L&C (and my favorite) which is the original grounds of the Frank Estate with the reflecting pool, swimming pool, grass, and rose gardens
Okay, that’s the short edition of L&C slang, more to come I am sure
Anyway, after dinner and hanging out I start my homework, or if its Tuesday I head off to Band. That’s a pretty typical day for me, except some are way more exciting! Oh yeah and for the last part of my title, I really have no idea. I don’t really like coffee, but biscotti is good, I wish they would serve it in the Bon! Hope this is informative and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me, ebm@lclark.edu

P.S. The pictures are of my roommate and the mountain on our drive to my house in Bend for fall break.

Barlow Toll RoadMt. Hood

7 October 2009


mature college kids being sillysacred wall of lego piecesthe lego store! The days are getting shorter and darker, and fall break’s already started! Unfortunately, I don’t have any exciting plans. However, I would love to pilgrimage to the nearest mountain peak to witness a storm, and take a much-needed break from my insane 21-credit semester! Yes, you read right, 21 credits. Why am I torturing myself during my final year of college you ask? Well, I kind of “relaxed” a bit too much these past three years; from taking 12-credit semesters to easily withdrawing from classes without considering the consequences.

Alas, here I am, taking five classes and reading more about development in third-world countries and media saturation than ever before. The lesson? Take your studies seriously. That way, when you’re a senior, you won’t be the one stuck at home with 100+ pages of reading every night, while all your friends are out at bars having fun.

Back to the subject, I’m just glad that the readings are fascinating. I’m also taking Beginning Spanish, and so far it’s been a bit of a challenge. I took French in high school, so I have to try very hard to resist not pronouncing certain words, or blurting out in class “qu’est-ce que c’est?” But I’m liking this language, as well as the tidbits of Latin American culture in the textbook.

Another class in particular that I’m enjoying is Western Art History, taught by the wonderful Ben David. It amazes me that not only does he know so much about art, he also talks about it with such poise, and eloquence…so much that his words are like poetry. Added to the dim lighting of the classroom, it’s hard to not relax too much and fall asleep. I’ve been guilty of this several times already.

To further prove that this hasn’t been the semester from hell (yet), I managed to squeeze some time in on Tuesday to volunteer at a homeless feeding center in Southeast Portland. And no, I didn’t take pictures. I’ve always had this thing where I think that by taking pictures of, and by extension, studying homeless people (especially when it’s for school projects), I’m objectifying them. And the thought of that is unsettling, since they are in enough misfortune as it is… I know this probably doesn’t make much sense; it’s just one of those things that I haven’t really thought through just yet.  

But anyway, it had been a while since I’d helped with the homeless, and like each previous time, I was reminded of just how privileged I am. I’m not going to go into the stories people shared with me. They’re too depressing. Instead, I’m going to leave you with some pictures I took today at the mall, because really, there is no better way to end a blog post than by juxtaposing homelessness with vapid commercialism. (Although I have to admit the Lego store is really cool.)

7 October 2009

Fall Break Already?

img_0341.JPG Hey guys =)   

This week has been pretty hectic but the good thing is, I got through it!

I had a presentation for my mass media class on Monday. The assignment was to create a television pitch,  which conveyed creativity and developed thoughts of a show you wanted aired. I was very excited for this because this is an area that I ultimately would like to be in. Sheena and I came up with a Drama on CW called Interchange.

The show follows the struggles of an elite family which we see drastically changed by the economic crises, specifically through loss of employment by the father, Victor Loveland. The show confronts serious current social issues, while still providing a sense of escapism and entertainment for the audience, which was very important for us.

We had alot of fun coming up with the outrageous twists and turns both  in the parent’s marriage and  children the children’s lives.  Gossip Girl has nothing on us ;)

Last night I went to the Slam Poetry night WHICH WAS AMAZING! It never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent here at Lewis & Clark. People that I see every day or even in my class were standing on stage delivering breath taking poetry. I volunteered to be a judge within the audience.  I was not much help since I couldn’t give anyone lower than a 9! They all were just so good! After our student poets we heard Jon Sands as the featured guest. He left us all wanting more. He was truly unbelievable.

 You guys should check out his myspace: http://www.myspace.com/jonathansands 

You guys will quickly learn that a large part of my life is MUSIC. My mom  really got me into India Arie when I was about 10 years old. Five concerts and four albums later I am still obsessed!  I will often try to leave you with a song that I have been playing a lot or one that is encouraging me for that week.

 This week the song of the week is, Beautiful Flower- India.Arie  

Till next blog =)



7 October 2009

You know, time goes by fast like rain

Wow, first entry! And it’s already October…

It’s only the first month of my junior year in college, but I am easily busier than I have been in my entire life. I do suppose that that is what I get for being in the choir, vocal lessons, an a cappella group, the main stage play, holding down a job for Admissions and preparing to go on my foreign exchange trip to London next semester all at the same time. Oh wait, and that whole CLASS thing… Sleep and a social life fit in there somewhere. For how much crazy there is in my life right now, I’m actually finding it strangely…fun.

Being halfway through college is really strange. All of your classes become exponentially more interesting…and difficult. For me, my four challenges this semester are Social Theory (pivotal class for Sociology and Anthropology majors), Directing (thesis prep for Performance Theatre majors), Anthropology of the Body (300 level seminar class) and Theatre and Society (Greek theatre galore). Amidst all of the stress, some of us sophomores and juniors begin to question what we are doing in our academic lives. Are we in the right place? Are we in the right major? Are we really doing what we want to do with our lives? And then, something happens that reassures you. This past week was that kind of week I had for both of my majors.

For Anthropology, my little epiphany happened in my Anthropology of the Body class. At the moment we are studying a little (and by little, I mean all encompassing) thing called phenomenology. The most basic definition of phenomenology I can give you is the study of the essence of things. Basically: everything. It is the categorization and structure of how we create our reality (kind of a big topic). In this particular class, we narrowed down this discipline to the phenomenology of the senses with an emphasis on our visual capacities. Over the course of the class discussion, we started to touch on visual literacy, or how we categorize what we see into things that help us navigate and understand our world. There are many kinds of visual literacy that humans must learn in order to live in society, especially now that we live in the information age; but one that American culture really takes for granted is “photographic literacy”. One of my favorite things about my classes at LC are when my professors decide to tell stories, and in this particular class, Professor Deborah Heath decided to tell us about a time she encountered a discrepancy over photographic literacy while doing field-work in Senegal. She was doing some studies on the uses of space in Senegalese culture, and as a result of her study, she had to take photos of places that her informants would recognize. Some of her informants for this study were the people she was living with and their friends. She took photos of their houses and various other locations that they interacted with on a day to day basis, places they would have recognized instantly. However, when she gave them the photographs to conduct interviews about the locations, none of them understood what they were looking at. None of them had decent photographic literacy, and therefore couldn’t read a photograph despite the fact that it was of a location that they saw every day. She then gave them photographs of THEMSELVES, and they still couldn’t read the photograph well enough to see their reflection staring right back at them. The photograph was showing them familiar things, but completely out of context. This isn’t even the craziest part. The daughter in Deborah’s host family was visiting from Dakar where she went to school, and scanned through the photos of her house and neighborhood as well. She responded saying “these pictures are so sad; they remind me of the slums in India.” At this point, my mind in class was completely blown. It turns out that the daughter had enough of a thing called “cinematic literacy” that she placed the images into the only visual category she had for them in her head: images from the context of movies and documentaries that she had seen. This got me thinking about myself and my own culture. Americans have incredible visual literacy because we are such a visual culture with computers and television and advertising, but how literate are our other senses? Which cultures have a better sense of hearing? A better sense of smell? Taste? Touch? And why? I LOVE ANTHROPOLOGY.

My Theatre epiphany happened in my Directing class. It is a very stressful thing to do, to direct. You need to be a good leader, have an incredible sense of creativity and you must be completely CONFIDENT in all of the choices that you make; all at the same time being true to the script, managing your actors and stage crew, picking over other people’s schedules for obscure rehearsal dates, prop hunting, and finally, making sure that it all comes together to make someone in the audience FEEL something. Oh yeah, did I also mention you have a time limit? It’s a very scary thing. Luckily, this class on the whole has been proving to be extremely helpful for me getting used to wearing the many different “hats” that the director must wear, often at the same time. This class has provided more of a gradual epiphany as opposed to a spontaneous one, but what I can tell you is that my confidence in regards to being in this daunting position has gone way up and I have been learning much more about acting, set design and script analysis than I had ever anticipated to. Thesis is slowly starting to look a lot less like the most stressful three months of my artistic life and a lot more like an opportunity to “play” around and make something beautiful.

Many things have been happening outside of class for me as well. I think that the first non-academic activity that I will introduce you guys to will be my a cappella group: Momo and the Coop. I joined this amazing group of singers my freshman year, and it would be an understatement to say that being with them has changed my life. They have been one of the many families I am a part of here at LC. For some strange reason, a cappella music is REALLY popular at LC. End of the year performances for all of the groups on campus end up looking mysteriously like rock concerts. This is a strange semester for us because about one third of the group is now new members. After a HUGE audition process, we have welcomed five awesome new singers and are looking forward to how they are leave their own musical impact on the group. Last week we had our first concert, A Cappella Out Loud with two of the other groups on campus: Section Line Drive and the Merriweathers. The songs that we ended up performing were Long Train Runnin’ by the Doobie Brothers, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service, and Leafhouse by Animal Collective (That’s right. Animal Collective. A CAPPELLA.). We have a big feat in front of us with arranging and learning a bunch of new music, but I’m pretty sure that by the semester we are going to sound better than ever!

Momo and the Coop!

My goodness I’ve talked a lot. Well, off to a multitude of rehearsals and some library time!

Until next week,


P.S. Musical present of the week.


7 October 2009