Dresses and Ties

       High heels, bow ties, swing music and a chocolate fountain.  Saturday night’s Gala was the perfect excuse to get dressed up and take advantage of spring’s hesitant, but definite arrival. 

            At this point in March we witness the transition from a long and cold winter to the highly anticipated warm weather of spring.  Regardless of season, the Bates student body tends to err on the casual side with it comes to clothing. On an average day, it is typical to see some combination of blue jeans, sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweaters, flannels, fleeces, bean boots, sneakers or moccasins.  The main priority is to adapt to the current season and outdoor temperature.  

            This weekend, the student body stepped out of their normal décor, and got dolled up for the big Gala.  Fabulous dresses and dashing suits filled the dorms and houses as people gathered to take pictures and admire one and other’s glamour before the event.  It was so great to spend the night doing something out of the ordinary.  The music, dancing, dinner and dessert were all wonderful.  Lively swing music filled Gray Cage and friends twisted and spun on the floor.  The ceiling was covered in tiny white lights, and there were fresh flowers all around. 

            Despite our typically laid-back attire we Batesies sure do clean up well.  

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Freeport

Having Freeport only 20 minutes from school adds a whole new dimension to Saturday jaunts.  To get there, you take a slowly curving road that follows along the Androscoggin River, passing by farms, old churches and sweet country houses.  This weekend, my friend’s sister was visiting from California, and we decided Saturday afternoon was perfect for an adventure.  We headed off around one, arriving in Freeport to have lunch and spend a few hours perusing stores.  The L.L.Bean outlet, regular L.L.Bean store, L.L.Bean Fishing and Hunting store, J.Crew, Gap, Banana Republic, Patagonia and Mexicali Blues were our destinations of choice.  We split up for lunch.  Eager to have Maine lobster, the sisters headed to the Lobster Cooker, while the rest of us had lunch at a new Mediterranean Grill.  It was a gorgeous day and Freeport was the perfect excuse to be walking around outside instead of sitting in the Library.  I personally splurged– buying a pair of sandals, two shirts, a skirt and a 50% off L.L.Bean canvas bag- monogrammed for free since I am a card member.  Great sales, great weather, great chicken kebab, great car ride. 

Unique Easter

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Today, Easter Sunday, my friends and I found our own way to celebrate.  First of all, we successfully replicated an Easter brunch with a wonderful breakfast at the Pop Shop.  We gathered in the quad at eleven to walk because it was beautiful outside, the snow is finally beginning to reseed.  Family style, ten of us packed into two tables.  After a long and delicious breakfast of omelets, eggs, fruit and phenomenal corned beef hash, the next leg of the journey began. Feeling nostalgic about childhood Easters- seeing family and friends, egg hunts and church services– I decided a certain activity was crucial.  I wanted to have our own egg hunt, so that is exactly what we did.  We went into CVS, and with the ten-dollar bill I had in my vest pocket, I purchased 6 bags of 99 cent chocolate eggs and brown paper bags.  Back in our dorm, decorated our paper bags- the simplified baskets.  In front of our building I hid a variety of candy and plastic eggs– fully utilizing windowsills, steps, bushes, snow banks, railings, etc.  With “baskets” in had, the hunt began.  To say the least it was incredibly amusing.  Some were harder to find and eventually we gathered all of the eggs.  While it was goofy, it was fun and satisfying to take part in an infamous Easter egg hunt.  All in all, it was wonderful to be outside, especially because spring is finally beginning to show itself– slowly but surely…

 

“the people”

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So, I am a tour guide.  This means I am constantly asked what my favorite part of Bates is.  When first asked, this seemed like a pretty difficult question to answer- to pinpoint exactly one aspect of Bates.  But when I thought about it simply, the answer was obvious- the people.  Students, Professors, Faculty, Pablo the pizza-maker, Luke our custodian… the list goes on.  Since arriving at Bates in the fall of 2006, I have met some of the most interesting, friendly and wonderful people.  At under 2,000 students, the size is perfect for appreciating the people around you.  Not too small and not too big.  It offers a range of diversity among individuals and the capability to have many friends at varying levels of closeness.  It allows for many different activities and events, yet familiar faces among them. Apart from peers, a large part of my one word answer is the relationship between students and their professors.  I have sensed, in the professors that I have had, a great deal of intelligence, energy and excitement towards the subject matter and class in general.  I was always a bit skeptical of the perfect depiction of a small college where the teacher-student relationships extend beyond the classroom and email.  To my surprise, the vision is shockingly accurate.  A friend of mine had the “best vegetable chili” at her professor’s house last fall, made from the vegetable that had grown in his garden all summer.  An art professor of mine invited all of her students over every wednesday evening last year to eat pie and watch Project Runway.  Another professor of mine returned from the hospital a week ago and many of us have been pitching in to help her out with day to day projects.  As you can see above, I walked her dog Luna last tuesday.  These and others are examples of the mutual commitment and interest professors and students have to one and other.  While our ages, knowledge and experiences vary, we both have a lot to give and take to and from one and other. 

Location, Location, Location

 dsc06274.jpg   dsc06273.jpg                               In terms of residency, Lewiston, Maine creates a wonderful equilibrium.  As the second largest city in Maine, we have the things we need on a weekly basis- grocery store, movie theater, coffee shop, restaurants, bowling alley… More specifically, the location is prime because of the balance it strikes between many extremes.  We have access to wilderness and metropolis, mountains and  ocean, calm and excitement.  Our location makes it extremely easy to decide to head off skiing, hiking, camping or swimming when you desire to.  With the Appalachian trail and the Atlantic coast, we experience both beautiful and active settings.  On the other extreme, we are also close to city life as well.  One can decide to go the Freeport for the day to do outlet shopping, twenty minutes away.  At a distance of only 40 minutes, Portland offers a thriving art, culinary and shopping scene.  Add an hour to that, and you are in Boston. If you want the outdoors, you have them and if you want a city, you have it.  This weekend several friends and I made the latter trip to see Justice preform in the Paradise rock club in Boston.  We drove down Saturday, arriving in time to spend the day being remarkably unproductive.  Together we made a dinner of salmon with fresh pesto and an amazing salad of mesculin greens, gorgonzola, peppers, tomatoes and pasta.  The show was amazing- a small venue, a great performance and very sweaty dances.  It can be hard to pull away from campus when there is so much going on, but on occasion, it can be a well-appreciated vacation.  In this case, it was so great to go away with good friends, eat great food, sleep well and see a phenomenal concert all at such ease.  I am thinking that after two lazy days, I will choose to take advantage of the great outdoors next weekend…

Remarkable Froth

One great thing about Liberal arts schools is that they offer the ability for people to be involved in academic, athletic and extracurricular activities regardless of their level of experience or dedication.  Academically, students are encouraged to take classes in departments that intrigue them without committing to a major or minor.  Athletically, there are three levels of sports: Varsity, Club and Intramural.  The areas of visual and performing arts are also this way- open to newcomers and professionals alike. The theater world at Bates is incredibly extensive and welcoming.  The department itself has a main-stage production each semester, along with thesis projects.  The Robinson Players, the student theater group, put on a short-term musical, big productions, several one-acts and a musical review. This afternoon, I went to see a good friend in the current main stage production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, set in the 1970’s.  It was very well done. It was great to see many familiar names being given recognition in the production pamphlet. I had friends who were involved in the cast, the set and the costume design.  My friend Lily played a small part male named Froth. Fully in character with a handle bar mustache and bulge in her bell-bottom pants, she dominated the stage for her few minutes of glory.  Unfortunately, the relatively stoic Sunday-matinee audience left lots of room for my incessant laughter to be pin pointed and potentially distracting.  After the show, I was told that while my energy was hard to ignore, it was well received.  It is great to be part of a campus that so strongly encourages students to be active and engaged. 

Paninis

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  Conversations among my friends frequently land on the discussion of two things: wisdom teeth and paninis.  Our favorite sandwich from the Den is the grilled cheese with its wonderful grilled parallel lines.  The most repetitive napkin written for the Common’s suggestion board is a request for a panini press.  We just do not understand why something that would bring so much joy at a relatively low cost is so ridiculously unattainable.  It is the one thing that is missing from our plethora of choices.  These continual conversations usually focus on the best ingredients as well: portabella mushrooms, spinach, Gorgonzola, avocado, bacon… so many options. On Saturday night, the perfected sandwich became a reality.  A campus group, the Greg Waters Band, was performing from 7 to 10 at a local cafe called “She Doesn’t Like Guthries”.  A friend and I took a $4 cab to avoid a walk in the pouring rain.  At the tables sat several Bates kids who had gotten there early to eat dinner, exactly our plan.  At a high round table, my physics professor, for Musical Acoustics, was sitting with his son watching the guys warm up for their set.  After saying our hellos, Ali and I took seats at the bar and reviewed the menu.  Our eyes landed on one thing at the exact same time. Simultaneously, we read the words: Cranberry and Walnut Chicken Salad Panini.  Phenomenal, truly. The follow through was strong, a culmination of all our panini obsessions.  Kids continued to arrive until the room was filled with fabulous music and dancing. Great space, great music, great people, GREAT panini.