Archives by Month: December 2012

Merry (belated) Christmas and (early) Happy New Year!

So, the semester was over.


Yes, I know I am a little late, but I was a little drunk in the holiday atmosphere. It is bizarre that this year is only my third white Christmas, yet I felt like I have been showered in lights and snowflakes for my whole life.

Just like every other end of semester, the holidays were marked by a lot of exciting things, like parties and dancing and feasts. I also slept a lot and had crazy Doctor Who marathons.

Bigelow officially celebrated the grand opening of the East Boothbay campus, and it was great fun to be part of the grand opening. To me, the old campus is cozy, with a sort of unique charm; walking around the buildings gives me the thrill of exploring a mad scientist’s lab or adventuring in an old museum. The new building is dashing; the beautiful wooden panels, the polished metal and the gleaming glass just gives the impression of an advanced and modern laboratory.


I tried my hands as an assistant to the caterer and it had to be one of my favorite experiences. As a girl one of my secret wishes was to become a wedding planner. It was interesting to understand the workings of a party instead of just being in the party. The creativity that goes behind every fountain of cheese and golden apples is simply amazing. I love the rush of dancing among the crowds with drinks in hand, and I got to sample all the delicious food before everyone else.


Also, there was fireworks!

photo@ Kimberly Reed 2012

For me, the cheery holiday atmosphere is always sprinkled with a fine dust of panic. Being an international student means that you have to find a place to spend your holidays. I have always been very, very blessed. A lot of people always offered help and this year I am cat sitting for Nicole, a scientist from Bigelow. I guess if you asked me what I loved most about Bigelow, it is the people. Friendly people whom are always a delight, to chat with in the corridors, to have a cup of tea.


Anyways, Happy New Year! I will post very, very soon. Consider this the appetizer to my 3-course meal of Bigelow musings and reviews.

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The Countdown is On

3 days until I leave!

That means 3 days to get everything ready for five months of living overseas. Needless to say, this post is going to be relatively short… I still have tons to do!

Anyways, I spent most of yesterday and today running around, attempting to get everything together. After a day spent shopping for supplies and several “To Do” lists later, I think I finally have everything I need. I hope I thought of pretty much everything I need to bring… pants, shirts, a raincoat (I am going to London, after all), socks, shoes, a clothes line, tape, sewing kit, bandaids, and a lot of other random stuff. Somehow I managed to fit it all in one suitcase (weighs 47 pounds… the max is 50!), a carry-on, and a laptop bag.

My kitten wants to go with me I guess!

All kinds of stuff crammed into one suitcase. I had to bring my Colby pennant, of course!

All packed and ready to go!

I can’t believe it’s already time to go, but tomorrow’s my last day at home. It’s so difficult to believe that when I wake up in 4 days, I’ll be waking up in London. The adventure of a lifetime is right around the corner!


Until next time,



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A Moral Case Against Fossil Fuel Investment

A group of students at Colby is working with the administration to divest the endowment from fossil fuels. The administration has asked us to develop a moral case for divestment, and I think that we have a bomb-proof argument.

Let’s start at the basics: climate change is not only a concern for the environmentally-conscious type, but a concern for all those who plan to live on planet earth from here on out.

Hurricane Sandy this past fall was not a freak, inexplicable event. It was part of a pattern of more frequent and more intense storms due to a warmer climate. If we continue to ignore climate change, we had better get used to seeing New York City under water. NYC is not the only place in danger of being destroyed – the Maldives, an entire nation, looses ground each year to the rising sea levels.  Global food prices spiked this past summer due to the severe crop-killing drought in the American Midwest. Like hurricanes, the scorched summer is something that we can expect to occur again and to intensify. The climate we are setting ourselves up for simply does not support the growth of crops.

Those who will get hit the hardest by climate change are those who do not contribute to it – kids my age and younger who were born in the midst of an already-altered climate, subsistence farmers on the edges of expanding deserts, fishermen in the Caribbean whose homes are destroyed in moments by tropical storms.

Currently, Colby invests in companies that are the root cause of climate change. The endowment pays for our education, but it pays for our education at the expense of our climate. Those of us who are involved in divestment at Colby see a great irony in this. Climate change, in my eyes, is the biggest moral concern of our time. If we do nothing, we are setting powerless people all over the world, and ourselves, up for a rough time.

Today’s Colby students were born when climate change was an already known threat. Somehow, the situation has progressively grown worse. I am part of a growing group at Colby who will not stand for this.We ask for divestment for everyone’s sake. Never has there been a greater moral case for immediate action.

Sign our petition:

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From Waterville to Worcester

I’ve been spending my Christmas break watching period dramas—Downton Abbey, the Bleak House series, etc.—and researching life at Oxford. Why? Well, I think it finally hit me yesterday—yes, on Christmas—that I’ll be flying to England to study abroad in about a week. As I probably mentioned in earlier blogs, I’ll be spending the equivalent of a semester at Colby (which is two trimesters in England) studying English at Oxford University.

I’m going to be traveling with the Butler study abroad group while in England. I received an email a few days ago summarizing some of the things that I should expect academically while there. I’m to take two tutorials per semester. This was not a surprise to me because part of Oxford’s application process required that I create my own tutorials (aka classes). I was asked to design 8 tutorials, and I’ll be assigned four on the basis of what the tutors have experience teaching. These are one-on-one classes on the subject of my choice, and they meet once each week. Students are to prepare a research paper on the assigned reading for each class meeting. I’m still waiting to here back regarding which tutorials I’ll be taking, but since I designed them myself, I’m not too worried! I’m hoping some of them will allow me to do intense work in the Special Collections at Oxford’s famous Bodleian Library. While I’m a little nervous about the intensity of the classes, I’m mostly excited. I expect to learn tons about the subject I love—literature—given that I’ll be the only student in the class!

I received a travel guide to the country in my stocking for Christmas, and I’ve been going through it ever since. I’m a huge fan of coffee, but since England is a country full of tea enthusiasts, I’m excited to learn more about tea by going to some of the tea houses. I’m also excited to tour London (which is surprisingly two hours away from Oxford) and other cities in England like Bath (which apparently has some awesome spas!), and to learn more about Victorian culture at the museums. My Spring break at Oxford is actually about a month long, so I’m hoping to travel to other countries like Spain and France during that time, as well.

Here are some pictures of the college within Oxford (Worcester College) where I’ll be studying next semester that I’ve found online:

A shot of Worcester College:

A Photo of the Lake at Worcester:

Another Cool Shot of the College:

I’ll be sure to post more photos once I actually arrive in England!


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My journey to Middle Earth

Today was Christmas, and I decided to take a break from my usual break routines of skiing, rewatching LOST for my fourth time, watching other Netflix shows, and eating a copious amount of very unhealthy food (this is actually a lie.. I definitely did not take a break from giving my future self a heart attack) to talk to a bunch of Colby friends and do some research. Not conventional research, but rather decided that I should get to know kiwi culture pretty well before I go abroad there in about a month. I know, I know, I totally should have done this ages ago.. before applying probably would have been a good idea. Although, I did know a little bit and from what I’d heard from pretty much everyone was that it was an awesome place so I wasn’t too concerned about just going in.

Today though, I sat by the fire for a few hours and just read some New Zealand Wikipedia pages and really got to know the place I’m going to. After having done that, I feel scores more excited than I did before, which is saying a lot. So, in a sort of an academic style, I thought I’d present you with the results of what I found.

General information about Wellington, New Zealand:

Located on the southern tip of North Island, Wellington has around 400,000 residents spread throughout the four cities that make it up (it’s like New York, except leagues smaller) and besides being the capital city also really connects the two islands – after a three hour ferry ride across some brutal water, you’re at South Island. On a clear day, you can see the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges across the straight, and to the north is the Kapiti Coast (I think it’s called the Gold Coast too). 


Looks pretty gross. No idea why I want to go here

LOTR! It looks a little bit like the dead marshes, where Smeagol tries to take Frodo and Sam in order to hide from the Nazgul and their ringwraiths.. but cooler than that.



I kept thinking LOTR was only on the South Island, and I was bummed, but actually the Shire is in the north… I LIVE IN THE FRICKEN SHIRE. How cool is that?!

Kapiti Island, right to the north of me!

Wellington has one of the best qualities of living in the world, is the most remote capital in the world, and its harbor has three islands.

Wellington Harbor:

Massey University is also in Wellington, and since it’s also a place that Butler goes I’m guessing I’m going to get to know people who go there as well! They’ll probably be in my orientation in Auckland.

Auckland’s only pretty chill


Can’t wait to catch some wind

There’s a huge percentage of young people, and the majority of the population is women. Victoria University of Wellington is mostly women too, being around 60-40, which will be interesting and pretty sweet. People in Wellington are also some of the worlds most in shape. I’ll definitely be looking for people to go on runs with!

The climate is pretty temperate, and when I go there in February it’s the end of summer for them, and I leave as winter is beginning. The average temperature when I get there is the upper 60s, spiking into the high 70s. When I leave, it’ll be in the 50s during the day and getting into the 40s at night. That’s pretty brutal for winter, I know, but being from Maine I think I’ll be able to take it.


Cool facts about Wellington:

*Earthquakes are a huge problem!

*Did you know the Cook Straight has one of the most extreme weather conditions in the country? Not in the harbor, thank god – I’ll be on a beach – but once you get out into the straight, things get crazy. In 1968, winds coming up from Antartica (how cool is it than I’m right near Antartica..) merged with some warmer winds and created a Pacific storm where wind speeds hit 275 km/hr. That’s .. 10x? faster than I can serve a tennis ball. Not that that’s saying much. The TEV Wahine was coming back from South Island and capsized near the entrance to the harbor, sank, and killed 50 something odd people. Basically, it wasn’t fun

*There’s a huge cafe culture! I was so excited when I saw this, because cafes are one of the coolest things ever. That mixed with a ton of young people = a great time. Wellington, a city of 395,000 people, to be exact, has more cafes per capita than all of New York City. And NYC has a fair amount of cafes.

*Sport is huge there, and I spent ages today looking up all the New Zealand olympic teams and other teams. I ran into a little bit of a problem searching for womens soccer, though. It’s not soccer.

*Wellington has a great nightlife – it’s a big city, but not too big

I think this is more morning in Wellington, not night. But whatever

*I looked up recent Wellington news happenings: some fisherman had a run in with a great white, and JBiebs had just visited. According to that news article, “New Zealand’s ears are only just recovering.”


North Island:

I looked up some other pictures of the North Island, which I’m sure I’ll be visiting! At first, I wasn’t sure if some of the stuff I read about North Island I would actually experience, since it would be pretty far away from Wellington. After doing some reasearch though, (it was Yahoo answers..) it doesn’t take more than 8 hours to go from Wellington to Auckland – and Auckland is wayy at the northernmost tip. So, I think I’ll be getting to know the whole island quite well! Here are some pictures that are never going to be more than 8, and probably less than 5 – hours away from me! Prepare to be mindblown.

Guys I’m going to live in Lord of the Rings for 5 months.. 

Fly fishing? Never done it before but if it means I get to go here, I’m so down

I could totally push that rock over

I don’t really know how, but somehow this is a “hot” bath.. on the beach? Sounds sick

Might go on a scuba trip! I’m certified so shouldn’t be too hard


I believe those are hot springs too


South Island

I’m guessing it costs a fair amount of money for the ferry ride to South Island, so I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending there. But, I bet I will a couple times so I looked into it a bit! The island is much less populated than the North Island, as is pretty nature-y. There’s a lot of mountains, nature, and not much human life. It’s where a lot of LOTR was filmed and there’s a bunch of hardcore skiing as well which is cool! Since it’s close to Antartica, it gets a lot colder than the North Island, but as you see from these pictures, it still looks pretty damn warm. In the mountains though, it can change pretty quickly and be true Antartica like weather, I think. Anyways, here are some pictures of Nelson.. pretty much right across the strait. So, a 3 hour ferry ride and then probably like an hour bus or car ride, I’d guess. 


Next to Nelson, and I think right where my ferry goes to are Picton and Blenheim, which are much smaller towns than Nelson but are, like I said, right near me on South Island.


I think this is my ferry to Picton

Pretty busy port here.


I think this may be outside the town

Okay, so everything you saw above was the very northernmost tip of South Island! That’s the stuff I’ll be near. Here is what it looks like if you go further towards.. Antartica.. holy crap


The REAL South Island

Your fellow blogger Morgan Rublee ’14 has so kindly informed me that this is where Narnia was filmed! It’s near Dunedin, where a lot of Colby kids go to the University of Otago. 

Totally could go for hittin some waves on the ole wakeboard


Whew, that was a long blog post. I’m sure I could do a ton more research in the future, and might be updating this page! And hopefully when I actually get to New Zealand, I’ll have even more amazing pictures to show to you guys (I’ll still be blogging and tweeting!)

Kia ora!


ALSO watch some of these!

Especially, this one. I hardcore love Peter Jackson and the Hobbit cast for doing this. Here it is:


Some skiing:   and



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Looking back at the semester

Hey guys

So this week, the week after finals, has consisted of me getting everything organized and back together after having been the antithesis of that during finals week. This consisted of finishing up a bunch of small things at Colby on Monday, cleaning my room, getting a lot of emails sent and squared away, and doing abroad stuff as usual. It also consisted of cleaning up the 10k+ files on my desktop (but actually, there were more than 10,000), nursing my computer back to health, and more generally doing just a lot of small things that I’ve needed to do for a while. It felt good. One of those things I’ve been meaning to do is to post some pictures I’ve had on my phone that I took for the exclusive purpose of putting them in a blog, but never got around to doing so! Some of them I may have tweeted before, but there should be a good crop of pictures below that you haven’t seen before.

I’m already hardcore missing Colby and all my friends there, and I even miss one or two of my professors once in a while. Well. Maybe. I think if I was back in finals week I would be having very different sentiments. But still, I actually am pretty friendly with a bunch of them and miss some of our academic and many times non-academic chats. On the other hand, I’m guessing most of my professors aren’t missing my daily office visits too much. During JanPlan, I think, I’ll stop by their offices and just say hi to see what’s going on. Bug them a bit you know

Anyways, without further ado.. sum pix

Wayy back


Pulver, election night. Tweeted this. Nostalgic #obamawin


This is why I go for runs

Nature is awesome. Very few schools where you have this right outside your campus!


Symmetry and stuff


This is all near the river that runs near the athletic center, by the way


Bit OCD with taking pictures


My usual bench along the river


Sunday River! Me and Maggie




The sun thing is pretty sick


Yeah.. we go to school here.

^Johnson Pond by the way!

Preezy of the United Steezy










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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

It’s hard to believe my last final was a week ago today. Time seems to drag on during finals week, but the second finals are over, time speeds up again. Luckily for me, my finals week wasn’t too bad this semester. I had a couple of papers to write and one in-class final, but that was nothing compared to my science major friends who had numerous in-class finals. No, my papers and exams weren’t the hard part of finals week–saying goodbye to my friends who I won’t see until next fall was the hard part.

Our goodbyes lasted about an hour, since no one wanted to be the first one to leave.  We mostly sat around talking about how fast the semester went by–which it did. The semester flew by, probably because we were all looking forward to our study abroad adventures in the spring. The night ended with a giant group hug while listening to James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.”

Now, instead of spending my days writing and studying and saying goodbyes, I’m spending my days crafting and getting ready for Christmas!  It’s finally starting to look like Christmas up here, since we got a couple inches of snow last night. Here’s a couple pictures I took this morning of what Bangor looks like with snow…

My backyard after the snow!


Downtown Bangor

Downtown Walkway

Holiday Decorations 

Happy Holidays!

Until next time,





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Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with Professor Kerill O’Neill and another student to try to launch an undergraduate journal for the humanities at Colby; our hope is that this journal will give interested students an opportunity to become familiar with the publishing process by working with professors, student editors, and faculty editors to craft a publication-quality paper. Last spring, the Mellon Foundation approved Colby’s request for a humanities center, and this journal is one of the many new initiatives for the college’s Center for the Arts and Humanities. Because the Center is new, I’d like to write a little bit on its background and on what those affiliated with it hope to accomplish in the next few years.

I first became involved with Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities last year, when the professors who formed it were still in the process of applying for funding. During Jan Plan and over the course of part of spring semester, I participated in a roundtable discussion, along with four other students (two from English and two from anthropology/French), with postcolonial theorist Homi K. Bhabha from Harvard. The roundtable discussion was part of the college’s application for funding, and it is an example of the kind of opportunities that Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities is working to create for students on a regular basis. While all of us who participated in the roundtable had all been exposed to Bhabha’s writings in a class or two beforehand, the roundtable gave us an opportunity for extended engagement with his works and, most excitingly, allowed us to have a deep, intellectual conversation with this renowned scholar.

In order to prepare for the roundtable, over Christmas break, we all read two of his books (which most of us had only read excerpts from in class), The Location of Culture and Nation and Narration, and during Jan Plan we met with professors to discuss this material and to start writing possible questions that we could ask Bhabha on the day of the roundtable. During the month of February, we all met as a group and talked more about our questions, linked them thematically, applied these ideas to the contemporary moment, and practiced delivering them a few times. This experience was, as a whole, wonderful; it allowed me to understand topics like postcolonialism and hybridity from the perspective of disciplines besides English (my own home discipline, and the discipline that I was representing at the roundtable), to forge connections with students who were also enthusiastic about the humanities, and to learn from a famous scholar whose works I could previously only attempt to grasp from a distance.

Since the student roundtable experience, I have felt inspired to work to create more opportunities for research and extended engagement with course materials at Colby. Now that Colby has its Center for the Arts and Humanities, I am proud to be a member of its Student Advisory Board. Besides the undergraduate journal that I mentioned we are working to launch, we are also striving to start other initiatives centered around the Center’s theme each year—this year, our theme is “Comedy, Seriously,” and next year, our theme will be censorship. Some of our ideas include offering research and travel grants, sponsoring video contents (like we recently did with the political satire film contest), funding Mellon student research fellows, sponsoring events that connect the arts and humanities with the student body and the public at large (including community readings, art displays, and music performances), and organizing lectures that the whole community will enjoy, such as last month’s lecture by Baratunde Thurston. We are always looking for new ways to facilitate student and community engagement with the humanities, so if you have any ideas, please do not hesitate to share them!

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More CS Stuff

Tonight, a chilly Sunday night, was my last final. It was Computer Science, and while generally I’m glad to be done with a class, I have to say I ‘m a little bummed that it’s over. Sometimes it’s like any other class, and work sucks, but sometimes it’s awesome and a lot of fun – I can’t believe I’m not going to be taking an intensive class like that until senior year! I’ll be doing video game design over JanPlan, which makes up for it, but it still isn’t the same.

On Monday, my last CS project was due – the task was to create a Wumpus hunt – basically, each time you played the game, a scenario was randomly generated. This scenario consisted of a bunch of caves in a random layout, and you, the hunter, started in one cave. You couldn’t see the other caves until you entered them, and once you did, you could see where the next caves might be but you had no idea of what the rest of the map would look like. The hunter was equipped with an arrow that the user is able to fire using the keyboard at the Wumpus – the thing we were hunting – and if you shot correctly you won. Like the last CS project I had, it doesn’t sound like much, but I definitely put way more time into this project than any other, which is saying a lot. I had a bunch of different files and with each one being pretty lengthy.






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Getting Through

I am between finals and such at the moment.  This morning at 9am I had sociology and this afternoon at 1:30pm I had Spanish.  I came back to my room after taking two and a half hours to write that exam and flopped down on my bed and Skyped my best friend in England, who just finished his school term and got home this afternoon.  Then one of my friends came in and we were all talking and she couldn’t stop laughing about his accent which was really amusing because I spent the entire year in England and said friend is coming to visit me over winter break.  We had a long dinner at Foss (we scored a booth which has never happened to me before) and talked and hung out which was SO nice because I haven’t had time for anything this week.  I do have an exam tomorrow, so I’m writing this and then running off to study some geology with my lab partner.

This week I created for myself a schedule which I could actually follow.  Which was good because sometimes during finals you have the tendency to say “I’m gonna do 23942943598 things today” and then you get overwhelmed and do none of those things.  I would wake up around 9/10, make my way over to the gym, workout while watching TV (such a nice break), have an early lunch at Bobs, shower, get myself together, and find a place to work.  The only flaw in this plan is that by 1/2pm once I was showered, all the study spots in Miller, Olin, etc. were all taken.  People were also claiming rooms in Lovejoy by hanging passive-aggressive signs on the door handles that say “TAKEN” and I’m assuming leaving them overnight and therefore claiming the rooms for themselves all week.

BUT I discovered the Alumni Center.  I had always been a little afraid to go over there plus I wasn’t sure how they felt about students studying there.  However I figured that during finals they might be more understanding.  Thankfully, they were quite welcoming about letting me commandeer a conference rooms upstairs.  Things got more complicated as the week went on because security started kicking us out which was fair enough because the building technically locks at 5pm so they don’t want people staying until 11pm (like I did…twice).  The library there is beautiful and has all these books about Colby or written by Colby grads (including some of the Gossip Girl books).  There’s all this awesome Colby memorabilia too.  And a fireplace!  Which made me so happy, except it also meant I couldn’t study in there because I would just fall asleep in the cozy leather chairs by the fire.  There was also a chocolate basket.  So shout out to the people in the Alumni Center – thanks for putting up with us all during finals week!

Yeah so now I’m finishing this up sat in pajama pants under my Christmas lights hanging out with a dorm friend until I go to study more geology.  This’ll be my last post until JanPlan so happy holidizzles and Happy New Year!

Funny vintage sign in the Alumni Center library


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