Archive for August, 2010

Fresh Meat: 2014
August 31, 2010

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

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Middlebury’s Own Chocolat
August 21, 2010

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

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

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: http://middmedia.middlebury.edu/media/atolbert/VivSpeech.mp3″

And a rousing rendition of Gamaliel Painter’s Cane (led by François Clemmons, tenor): http://middmedia.middlebury.edu/media/atolbert/GamalielPainter.mp3″

Ciao/Adios/Au Revoir,

Cody

Eggs, Eggs…and More Eggs
August 12, 2010

(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

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

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

Credit: Abigail Borah

Oh the days when we were loved.

Nostagically,

Audrey

Let It Be
August 4, 2010

Guess I wasn’t pretty enough to make it into the shot…

Audrey

Summer Bucket List Update
August 3, 2010

Things have been pretty busy up here in Vermont as you can tell by Cody’s post on our whirlwind week of music. But don’t think that some hipster musicians made us stray from our quest to complete our Summer Bucket List.

In fact in the past two weeks, we have managed to knock out two of our summer goals: cliff jumping at Bristol Falls and singing at the Middlebury Farmer’s Market.

Cliff Jumping

Bristol Falls, VT

Two Saturdays ago, to beat the sweltering heat, Ryan, Syd, Olivia and I made our way out to Bristol Falls, to enjoy some natural refreshment. Bristol Falls is one of the best swimming holes in Vermont, as evidenced by the crowd of people there last weekend. Not only is it gorgeous, but there is more to do there than just sit in the water. There is cliff jumping (which only I participated in – pansies…), a shallow wading area, and you are also able to go behind the waterfall. This was especially fun, and comical, as we battled our way upstream and over slippery rocks in order to enjoy the peacefulness behind the raging water.

But Bristol Falls is not the only place to go cliff jumping in Vermont. Earlier this summer on one of the summer worker “Dunmore Days”, a group of us made the hike up to Falls of Lana. Falls of Lana is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall located just up the road from Lake Dunmore. The cliff jumping here is a bit more treacherous. I was pretty proud of myself for mustering up enough courage to make the plunge. But with encouragement like: “This’ll make a sweet profile picture!” – Dan Khan; how could I not jump?

I was actually terrified.

Audrey and the Uke

This past Saturday, Cody and I had our debut performance as Audrey and the Uke at the Farmer’s Market. So it was probably our first and last performance, but we certainly had a blast singing for everyone who came out (even if we were upstaged by a little blond boy selling hugs for 25 cents). Missed it? No worries, check out the video of us singing Wagon Wheel, the Midd Kid anthem before there was a Midd Kid anthem (cause we’ve all driven 18-wheelers down the East Coast?)

As we enter August, expect us to be cramming in more Bucket List updates in the near future (as soon as Cody gets his wisdom teeth out…),

Audrey

A Week of Music
August 1, 2010

There is nothing I love more than music.

I’ve been singing ever since I first discovered the movie Sister Act as an impressionable 5 year old and have since dabbled at playing the piano, the french horn, and the ukulele (now if that doesn’t sound like the makings for a fantastic band, I’m not sure what does), so whenever there is a chance to experience live music, I’m always game, so you can imagine my joy when this past week, in both expected and unexpected ways, I found myself surrounded by musicians in all of their zany and talented glory.

These experiences included getting to see performances by Low Anthem, Swell Season, and The Jubilee Family Band and getting to perform myself (with Audrey, of course) at the Farmer’s Market.

The Low Anthem & Swell Season Concert

This past Wednesday, Olivia, Syd, Ryan, Audrey and I went to the Flynn theater in Burlington to see Swell Season (a band which is made up of the groovy stars of the movie Once and assorted other people). And let me tell you..

It was amazing.

Not just in the, “oh..that was worth $35! What a pleasant experience” but in a “oh my GOD WHAT WAS THAT DON’T STOP DON’T STOP DON’T STOP” sort of way that makes you remember why you love music- especially live music. There is something raw and unpretentious about both groups, which makes the experience all the more genuine. Having entered the theater not knowing who The Low Anthem was and having only watched the movie Once once (pretty proud of that word play), I left a devoted fan, nay, a devout follower of both groups.

As my friend Olivia put it, “They [Swell Season] are just so… AHHHH”

The Jubilee Family Band

This pretty much sums up what The Jubilee Family Band is all about. A group of students from Bennington College singing and traveling together throughout the New England area, The Jubilee Family Band, with each performance, attempted to bring together a collective of shared experiences, art, performances, stories, etc. in an effort to make all of their shows a collaboration between the audience and themselves.

And I will be the first to admit that I was more than a bit skeptical about what their show would be like. Bennington has the reputation for being just a tad hippy/crunchy, so I had no idea what to expect.

But it turned out to be really awesome.

There is something really refreshing about a group of kids performing not just because they enjoy performing, but because they really want to share their music and have it impact others. The intimate setting (an apartment in Middlebury) made it all the more fun, and by the end I wanted to join the family! Not to mention that two of the group members stumbled upon two famous German hip hop artists that the German School flew here for a concert on the streets of Middlebury and proceeded to invite them to perform with the Jubilee Family Band.

Also, you can go to this link to hear some of the music performed by members of the Jubilee Family Band.

Audrey & The Uke

This past Saturday Audrey and I performed at the Farmer’s Market in town. More to come on this later, including videos and photos!

All in all, it was a week full of joy, saw-playing band members, crazy hippies, and sweet melodious music.

Until the next concert,

Cody