Thanks!

September 6, 2010 - One Response

With the first day of classes behind us, we just wanted to say thanks so much for reading and following us this summer!

Don’t be too sad that we’re ending the blog: you’ll still be able to get your weekly dose of our wit and charisma as both of us will be writing for Midd Blog this coming year!

Till our next Vermont summer,

Cody and Audrey

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

September 5, 2010 - One Response

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you. (Did you really think I could make it through this whole summer without a Sound Of Music reference?)

But in all seriousness, seeing anything great come to an end is really hard for me. And to say that this summer has been great is quite an understatement.

Cody and I created this blog on a whim the night we moved into Battell, sometime in late May. To be honest, I didn’t think much would become of it. I thought we would half-heartedly post every now and then, and as the summer flew by I figured we would forget about it by the end of June.

That was not the case though. The blog soon became much more than a way to let our friends and family members across the country know what we were up to. It became a sort of multi-media scrapbook of our Vermont summer. We went to great lengths to make sure our experiences weren’t just written accounts of what happened, but that they were supplemented by photos, videos, audio recordings, etc; anything to create a more complete representation of our incredible escapades. It will be so nice to have this blog in the months and years to come as a way to look back on a fantastic time spent with fantastic people.

We posted a lot this summer on our Summer Bucket List, a list of things we HAD to do before the end of the summer. Well, we never went to Montreal, or Boston, and even though Cody bought a bike by the end of the summer, we never made the trek to Fort Ticonderoga. And while these may have been our grand plans, so many other things happened this summer that definitely warranted a place on our bucket list.

Therefore, I give you our last Summer Bucket List update (in no particular order):

  1. Learn obscure phrases in various languages from your friends who are attempting to not break the language pledge. (i.e. – “Meine hampster ist gestorben.” and “Wo pa paopao.” )
  2. Convince boatloads of prospies that Midd is the best place on Earth. (Between Admissions and Swim Team recruits, Cody and I are practically going to be responsible for the entire class of 2015).
  3. Make drives to Burlington like it’s the town next door.
  4. Get to know numerous Middlebury faculty and staff. Even babysit their kids/dogs/houses.
  5. Become super close with an amazing group of people in a beautiful town during one of the most incredible summers of our lives.

I had high hopes for this summer. Every other June, July, and August of past years is full of memories of swimming, swimming, and more swimming. And while, these are certainly things I cherish, I was tired of the same old routine. A summer at Midd was the perfect remedy. I truly had the time of my life and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was a part of it. I’m glad we will be able to look back on these memories (and this blog) together with smiles on faces in the future.

So tonight we say goodbye to the summer and hello to the new school year. Goodbye to forced meals in Redfield Proctor, goodbye to sleepovers in basements in 100 degree weather, goodbye to swimming holes and lakes, goodbye to board games in town apartments, goodbye to warm starry nights and rooftop talks. But hello to new and old friends, hello to more growth and learning, hello to crisp fall air, hello to the Proctor booth room. Bittersweet.

Hating to go and leave this pretty sight,

Audrey

Notes on a Summer

September 3, 2010 - 2 Responses

My textbooks have all arrived (thank you Amazon free student shipping). I’ve moved into my fall housing. I’ve crashed every possible Freshman Orientation event that I could.

I guess that means that the Summer is finally drawing to a not-so-welcomed close.

When I think back to May, I’m not sure what I envisioned for my summer. At the time, I was just happy to have a paying internship somewhere where the temperature wouldn’t be 110 degrees (read: Dallas). I was excited that classes were over and that a much needed break was going to begin, but as far as to what I wanted to accomplish or achieve during my summer, I had no concrete plans. I didn’t even know that this blog was going to be created. I entered with no expectations, ready to embrace whatever came my way.

Little did I know that I was in for a summer full of adventures and pleasant surprises.

There is something really special about being at this place during the summer. Without classes, professors, or 2200 other students on campus, the college becomes this huge, leafy, expansive playground. There’s no rushing from place to place, staying up late to write papers: you get to experience the college in its most basic state all while reveling in the near perfect weather. To say that it’s idyllic doesn’t even begin to describe what spending a summer here is like: words can’t do it justice.

Further, I was finally given the opportunity to get to know Vermont. In many ways, I consider myself a new-born Vermonter, spending weekends in Burlington, going to local fairs, driving through all the wonderful small towns in the general area. I’m a big proponent of spending time being a tourist in your own town/city/state, so it’s been great adventuring through the mountains of VT.

But what made my summer experience so wonderful, aside from a great job and fantastic scenery, were the people I spent it with. Luckily for me, I was able to form a very tight-knit group of friends, with both students I spent time with during the semester and students I barely knew going into the summer. Not surprisingly, all of us were so much less stressed, so much less caught up with being ‘Middlebury College students’ than we normally are during the school year. It’s a rare opportunity given to us summer workers, the chance to get to know one another outside of an academic context.

While not everything about summering in Middlebury was completely rosy (living in battell, eating in the same dining hall for the entire summer, working 7 hours a day 5 days a week), I can’t help but look back on my experiences and smile. For me, it was a summer of grilled onions, board games, climbing trees, Ke$ha and Gaga played loud and proud, monsoon weather, late night star gazing, rooftop talks, foreign languages and a sense of true contentment.

I’ve grown a lot this summer, both in the way I interact with others (when you spend your entire day attempting to win over prospective students, you find it easier and easier to get to know strangers) and in deciding what I want out of my future.

While I’m not sure what to expect going into the new school year, I know that whenever I get stressed about that 15 page paper or when the temperature plummets below freezing, I can reflect on my summer spent beneath the Vermont sun and feel at peace.

Cody

Fresh Meat: 2014

August 31, 2010 - Leave a Response

The Middlebury College class of 2014 has (slowly) begun to arrive on campus, and let me tell you, they look about as eager and fresh-faced as any new Midd Kid is when they first catch a glimpse of the College on the Hill.

Beginning this past Saturday (the 28th) with the International students, a small stream of student athletes, resident life staff and various other members of the student body have begun to repopulate what was an almost deserted campus. With these students come the resurgence of parking difficulties, lines at the cream cheese station, and a sense of what being a student at Middlebury truly feels like.

And it’s extremely weird.

For the past month or so, we (the students staying over the gap between Language School and the regular Academic School Year) have had the entire campus to ourselves, which has made the place a ghost town (try to imagine the entire campus as inhabited by only about 25 people). But, with all the new students, things are slowly beginning to transform back into the Middlebury College that all of us are used to.

It’s odd to think that as our summer here at Middlebury is drawing to a close (we’ve still got 5 days, mind you), a new slew of adventures are beginning for the class of 2014, and  with the addition of about 580 more students on the campus today (for Domestic Orientation), we’re pretty excited to observe the look of wonder upon all of the new Panther faces.

Cody

Middlebury’s Own Chocolat

August 21, 2010 - One Response

In a town that rarely seems to change (Middlebury is a Main St. kind of town, of course), it’s always a pleasant surprise to stumble upon something new.

In this case, the new discovery has come in the form of Middlebury Chocolates, an independently run chocolate shop that has recently opened in downtown Middlebury. Today, Charlie, Olivia, Whitney and I ventured to town in search of the wonderful chocolates and warm chocolate beverages that we had heard were amazing and decadent.

Luckily for us, all the rumors surrounding the chocolate goods were incredibly true. The four of us essentially ordered everything on the menu: chocolate truffles, warm cacao (that was actually warm, not hot, as Charlie Arnowitz freaked out about), and cookie sandwiches in hopes to sample all that the newly formed eatery has to offer.

And everything was amazing. We (read: me) ate everything pretty quickly, using every variation on the word ‘good’ that we could to describe the chocolate creations. Once we had finished, we decided to have a conversation with the owner of Middlebury Chocolates, Stephanie.

Stephanie, a native of North Carolina, told us that her focus for the café is to make sure that everything always remains local (most of the products and ingredients come from farms located within a 20 mile radius). She described how she wanted to find an environment that was close-knit and would support her local interests. We all told her that Middlebury was the perfect place for her.

With a location overlooking Otter Creek Falls, and an owner that seems down-to-earth, this spot is going to become very popular. And to boot? Stephanie confided in us that she is going to be getting wifi soon.

I may never leave.

Until the next truffle,

Cody

PS. Stephanie is looking for couches. Anybody have a few to spare?

Fair, Field, and Fun

August 17, 2010 - 2 Responses

An event not to be missed by any Middlebury citizen, the 62nd Annual Addison County Fair and Field Days were held last week, August 10-14th in Vergennes, VT. After being assured by numerous community members that this was the event of the year, the summer Midd kids were certainly not going to miss out on some authentic Addison County entertainment.

And Field days did not disappoint. It was the quintessential county fair; complete with rides, games, junk food, barnyard animals, demolition derbies, fireworks, and more.

We began our afternoon with a wander around the Paquette Building to see some of the many vendors present at the fair (Cabot Cheese and their free samples were a big hit). We also watched part of a children’s TaeKwon Do demonstration. Conclusion: Vermont children are equally adorable and violent. We were captivated to say the least.

We made our way down to see some of the 4-H exhibits, and we unfortunately just missed “Rosie’s Racing Pigs” show. We also spent a considerable amount of time in “Dreamland”, the fair’s ride and game section. Nial was very determined to reach 18,000 points to win a prize playing Skee-Ball. No luck.

We then fulfilled our need for speed and adrenaline on the Himalaya and Dream Catcher (a pendulum, claw-like ride). I had a blast on both rides, as did Nial. Olivia opted out of the later, and Ryan just looked like he was going to be sick the entire time…

Finally, we ended our fun filled fair and field day by stuffing ourselves full of Skinny Pancake crêpes, soft pretzels, and hot Italian sausages. Possibly not the smartest decision after a rousing ride on the Dream Catcher.

As promised, the fair did not disappoint. Our only complaint was that we could not stay longer or come back another day to see more of the events offered. The fair would certainly have been a great place to take kids, although I will say everything was a bit pricey.

In my opinion though, everything was well worth it and I hope to attend many more field days in the future!

Till the next tractor pull,

Audrey

(Photo Credit: Ryan Kellett)

From Russian to NPR: Language Study Matters

August 16, 2010 - Leave a Response

Well folks, we’re back in a Ghost town.

This past Friday, all of the language school students (finally) left, leaving a 1,500 person sized vacancy on our huge, leafy campus. For (almost) the entire summer, the few, the proud, the English have been surrounded by foreign language school students, so to have them gone feels very strange.

Not to mention that the cute French children have also left.

To celebrate the end of the Language schools, the college held a commencement ceremony this past Friday to honor those students who were receiving Masters or Doctorate degrees in Foreign Language. It was held in Mead Chapel, which was a nice throw back to the days of Convocation (I mean, who didn’t love touching the cane?). For the ceremony, the school brought in Vivian Schiller, the president of NPR, to speak. Besides being such a powerful woman (she’s not only run NPR but also the Discovery Channel and CNN), Ms. Schiller earned her Masters from Middlebury in Russian almost exactly 25 years ago in 1985.

As to be expected, her speech focused primarily on language acquisition and education. As an undergraduate, Ms. Schiller earned a degree in Russian, obtaining her Masters in Russian later on at Middlebury. You might be wondering, as a lot of us in the audience were, how she could have possibly ever ended up pursuing a career in journalism. She discussed how she receives that question a lot of the time, people prodding her to figure out why on earth she studied Russian. She responded, saying that she studied Russian because she loved it and it is because of her study of Russian that she became the journalist that she is today. She went on to say that she could ‘trace a straight line’ from her decision to study Russian to her current work with NPR.

Wow.

As a student fascinated with languages (I’ve studied French, Italian and Spanish, and am thinking about jumping on the Portuguese train), it was empowering to hear that so much success could come from pursuing a foreign language passion. I sometimes find myself struggling to validate my intense focus on language study, both because it is incredibly time consuming and because, at least on the surface, it doesn’t seem very practical, but Ms. Schiller has seemingly defied that notion, and in her speech she spent a great deal of time urging all those in the room to not only study a language, but to become immersed in the culture of that language. In America, she went on to say, we have lost touch with what it means to be aware of other cultures and that only through language study can we ever hope to regain a sense of knowing what it means to be citizens of the world.

Her speech brought me, if nothing else, immense clarity about what I want for myself. I want to study languages, yes, but I also want to become an active participant in bringing together those parts of the world that seem so lost in translation.

I guess Middlebury isn’t a bad place to start.

Listen to Ms. Schiller’s speech here:

And a rousing rendition of Gamaliel Painter’s Cane (led by François Clemmons, tenor):

Ciao/Adios/Au Revoir,

Cody

Eggs, Eggs…and More Eggs

August 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

(A guest post written by sophomore Ada Santiago)

“We need more scrambled eggs now, and get another platter of pancakes right after that.”

It’s 7:40a.m. I have officially been at work for over two hours, and my day is just getting started. The usual 7:30am students-eating-before-class rush is ten minutes in, and it has yet to slow down. They pile in, two or three at a time, and clear a platter of fried eggs twice as fast as we can make it. No matter how many we squeeze onto one platter, they amazingly manage to consume it all within a matter of two minutes. Literally.

My name is Ada Santiago and I am a student worker spending my lovely Tuesday-Saturday mornings working in Proctor. While I am not a regular eater at any dining hall on campus, during the school year or otherwise, I have gained quite an appreciation for what goes on behind the counter. The day starts at 5:30am, which is also when my shift starts. We go upstairs, me and one full-timer, and we start the hot cereals (always oatmeal, and the other one varies from day to day), and we open at 6:30 for the Language School students. Proctor gets French and Spanish people all day, and Italian and Japanese people in the morning as well. Amazingly, there are always people waiting outside at 6:30. Why? We still don’t know. They’re usually professors, and they usually spend the entire hour and a half before class at 8am in the dining hall for breakfast. We question a lot of things about them; we’ve been told they are very different from the school year students, and we like to compare them to what we know about the regular Middlebury College students. Some differences:

1)    Language School people eat more than Middlebury College kids. They are all required to be at their meal times, more specifically lunch, so they figure they may as well eat while they’re there anyway, whereas Midd students have the luxury of being able to skip a meal or two and only really attending dinner if they wanted to. This means that though we’re feeding 800 people a meal during the summer as opposed to 1500 during the school year, we may as well be feeding 1200 at the rate and amount at which they eat.

2)    Language School people don’t like the food here as much as Midd students do. They (mainly the professors) tend to give the food a funny look, as if to question it and its sources; sometimes they end up eating it, sometimes they don’t. Midd students will eat the food without question.

3)    Language School people ask a lot more questions about the food. For example, “What is this?” is a very common question we get. Even though there’s a sign RIGHT ABOVE said food that lists, not only the name of the food, but every single ingredient in it, right down to the salt and pepper. We often direct them to the signs, only to get puzzled looks in return. Honestly, I cannot sit down and try to explain to you what sautéed squash and zucchini is, sorry if you’re confused.

Perhaps one of the more amusing incidents at Proctor was when a woman walked up to us wanting to order fried eggs, which they often do during breakfast and brunch time. The woman was from the Spanish School and wasn’t familiar with American terms such as, “sunny-side up.” Therefore, she proceeded to ask me for eggs that were, “um, how do you say in English, eh, con el sol arriba? (with the sun up)”. It was very endearing, and I luckily understood what she meant and explained to her what she wanted, and how to say it. She’s now a regular, and can ask for a sunny-side-up egg. In English.

Overall, working in Proctor is pretty rewarding. You get to see how fresh the food all is, and how it’s made and where it comes from, and why the lines aren’t always full when you need them to be (be patient with us, yeah?). I will most probably return to Proctor to work in the fall, so drop by and say hi on your daily visits to Proctor. Also, say thank you to the workers, whether they are refilling the salad bar, the hamburgers, or just wiping down the counters. It’s nice to hear that people appreciate what we do.

Emptiness

August 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

A common site to be seen around Battell these days:

Every Other Room

As summer workers start to go home, and Language Schools approach their end this weekend, Middlebury is starting to get cleaned out.

Literally.

And while Cody and I are here for the long haul till the beginning of school, we hope those of you traveling away from this college on the hill had a fantastic summer!

And if you get nostalgic (the sentiment of our generation), check out this awesome photo blog by Midd Kid Isaac Sadaqah ’11.

Hurry back,

Audrey

The Good Ol’ Days

August 9, 2010 - Leave a Response

Apparently they used to have pins for English speaking students on campus…

Credit: Abigail Borah

Oh the days when we were loved.

Nostagically,

Audrey

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