Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

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.

Lost in Translation
July 2, 2010

As mentioned before, Cody and I have a good friend, Nial, who is currently studying at Middlebury’s Chinese Language School. He wanted to write a blog post for us, detailing his experience thus far with language schools. However, it had to be in Chinese. Therefore, I give you the Google-translated version of Nial’s saga:

You! My name is Cui Lexiong (English – Nial Rele), I am Matilda Chinese University of summer school a third grade student. Matilda I am a normal student, majored in environmental studies, my little professional as Chinese. I give you Matilda language schools inside the University of consumption. At first I should tell you – I let the Cody and sheen O Lee (Audrey) has been translated using Google the words I write, so if a little strange translation, not my fault, is Google. I also hope that this blog is good to the appropriate level. In addition, we called the Middlebury College “Matilda (MingDe) University” because it is the Chinese name of our university. I heard that using Google translate to English time, MingDe the English translation is the English name – “Matilda”. However, I give you take, Middlebury College’s Chinese name is really meant more beautiful. For those who are interested, Ming means “bright”, De means “morality.” So Matilda is a very bright university places, many of the moral. Yes! However, first of all, our weather has not so “bright”, and they tell you that the University’s language school Matilda could be your life’s most difficult learning experience, you’d better believe they. I am now waiting for lunch, and quite happy because we finished the week to do. But the terrible meaning, we still have six weeks. Three weeks, we have nearly finished a text, learning a lot of hundred words, many new syntax. On the other hand, on the road, my level of Chinese must have been raised, there are a lot of very interesting I know the Chinese students. I think the most interesting thing is, many people from all walks of life to learn a very mysterious yet very unique language. That gave birth to a very attractive situation, every conversation (of course with the Chinese) on the attractive special life story. I am now finally excited to Hangzhou next semester. Also, I found interest in calligraphy and tai chi. It is very fun! Those extra-curricular activities are school teachers of Chinese teaching. They are really quite convincing. Looked at a lot of people I do not know on my campus so I feel a little strange, but I am willing to share. I miss my English in the world, friends, family members, but the occurrence of language schools in the Matilda is really amazing.

The original text (in case you actually know Chinese):

你们好!我叫崔乐雄(英文- Nial Rele),我是明德大学的中文暑校的一个三年级的学生。我是一个正常的明德大学生,专业是环境学,我的小专业视中文。我要给你们明德大学的语言学校的内线消。开始的时候我应该告诉你们- 我让了Cody和妵澳李(Audrey)用Google一直翻译我写的话,所以如果翻译有一点奇怪,不是我的错,是Google的。我也希望这个博客是好的到合适的程度。另外,我们叫做Middlebury大学“明德(MingDe)大学”因为这是我们的大学的中文名字。我听说用Google翻译到英文的时候 ,MingDe的英文翻译就是那个英文名字-“Matilda”。但是,我给你们把握,Middlebury大学的中文名字的真的意思比较美丽。为了有兴趣的人,Ming的意思就是“光明”,De的意思就是“道德”。所以明德大学是一个很光明的地方,也有很多的道德。不错!然而,首先,我们的天气还没有那么“光明”,而且,他们告诉你明德大学的语言学校可能是你的生活的最难学习经历,你最好相信他们。我现在在等午饭,而相当高兴因为我们的星期来做完了。但是很可怕的意,我们还有六个星期。三个星期来,我们已经差不多做完了一本课文,学习了很多百生词,无数新的语法。另一方面,在路上,我的中文的水平一定已经提高了,还有我认识了很多很有意思的中文同学们。我觉得最有意思的事就是很多人从各行各业还来学习很神秘很别致的语言。那,生了一个很迷人的情况,每一个谈话(当然用中文的)关于诱人的特别的生活故事。我现在很兴奋下个学期终于去杭州。另外,发现了我对书法和太极拳有兴趣。那都是很好玩!那些课外活动都是中文的学校的老师们教的。他们真得很心悦诚服。看着很多我不认识的人在我的校园上让我有觉得有一点奇怪,可是我愿意共享。我很想念我的英文的世界,朋友们,家人,可是在明德语言学校的发生真的了不起。

O we do miss this guy.

Audrey

How now brown cow
June 7, 2010

This weekend, I attended the Strolling of the Heifers, an annual cow parade in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Many of you do not know who I am, so a brief introduction is necessary. My name is Olivia Noble (’13) and I am living in Middlebury this summer running a campaign with several other students called Race to Replace, promoting clean energy as a focus in the upcoming governor’s election in Vermont. And I too am speaking English.

Now in our meetings before the summer began, our group, Race to Replace, talked about all the awesome events we were going to attend, seeking out Vermonters and talking to them about clean energy. So not only would we be achieving our goals, we would be having a great time exploring and learning more about the state. It was under this guise that Abigail, Syd, and I drove 2 and a half hours out to Brattleboro Friday afternoon for a gallery walk event where many stores stay open late and street performances are abound. We got there, explored a bit, and set up shop outside of Maya’s parent’s shop (another member of the Race to Replace team). In our matching t-shirts, we began chatting with passer-by’s, pulling in the semi-interested onlookers with phrases such as “Do you care about clean energy?” “Do you want to hear about a campaign about clean energy in Vermont?” and my personal favorite: “Hey, do you want your picture taken?”  A lot of people passed us by, giving excuses that varied from “I’m going to see the theater troupe” to one very confused woman who clearly heard Abigail ask her a question, paused, and then just walked away. The people that did stop fell into 3 categories. One, they wanted to prove us wrong. Two, they wanted the free flyers we had lying on the table, and three, they were genuinely interested. Talking to the people of Brattleboro was both fascinating and enlightening as we learned what people responded to and what they were most concerned about. We saw and talked to some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

The next morning after staying the night at Maya’s house we found prime seats for the parade, eager to see some heifers. Clearly, others were just as excited as the streets slowly filled up with thousands of people. It was, as it was advertised, a cow parade, complete with a cleanup crew following behind the cows and scooping up their poop.  However, there were also girl scout troops, local businesses, high school bands, circus performers, and many other participants, filling the parade with character and a genuine taste of Vermont. At the end of the parade, everyone was encouraged to tag along and follow the cop car at the back. I realized then, as Syd, Abigail, and I joined the parade, that this wasn’t just a novelty event we had stumbled upon, but a portrait of a town where everyone was a character and outsiders such as ourselves were welcomed with open arms.

Here is a video I created about the event:

Eager to visit the next small Vermont town on the list,

Olivia

P.S. – If any of you readers are in Vermont this Tuesday the 8th, Race to Replace is hosting an event at the Skinny Pancake in Montpelier.  We’re paying for the first 50 drinks, so come on down!