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Entries for 'sophie in santa cruz'

We went to the beach

We went to the beach

We did our homework in the sun. We despaired over the rain: “Can I go out in my flip-flops today?” We despaired over the workload. We rejoiced when we got good grades.  We slunk off and got a Gingerbread Latte in the café across from the bookstore for comfort if our grades were not so good.  We wanted to join all the clubs ...

I found my professor on Professor Watchlist

I found my professor on Professor Watchlist

A couple years ago, David Horowitz wrote a book called The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. One of my professors at UC Santa Cruz is listed in it because of her attempt to introduce a feminist practice, which attempts to center women instead of men, into her teaching (she teaches in the Feminist Studies department). “At the time&rdquo...

What is a loofole?

What is a loofole?

The other day I had asked a friend of mine to proofread one of my essays. She’s from Spain, so English is not her native language but she has an excellent grasp of it nonetheless. At one point she looks up with a bewildered look on her face: “Sophie, what is a loofole?” I ask her to repeat it, believing I couldn’t possibl...

 (Half) a nation grieves

(Half) a nation grieves

Is there anything else I could have written about this week? Walking to class on Wednesday morning, the regular crowd of flip-flop-wearing students carrying binders and water bottles is dotted with black. Many people on campus are treating this day as a day of mourning. The dining hall, usually abuzz and a-clatter with hungry voices and tinkling si...

They just clapped

They just clapped

“Audiences here cheer and whoop and get really excited but when I toured Europe with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra our audiences weren’t as loud. They just clapped, but they would keep clapping for a really long time. In the United States people will get excited about classical music as a novelty but I feel like in Europe it’s...

First Rain (Contains Casual Nudity)

First Rain (Contains Casual Nudity)

People sure get worked up about rain here. I first wanted to illustrate this by writing about how everyone looks out of the window, the way European kids do at the first sign of snow, as soon as rain starts to fall or about how they suddenly panic about what to wear. But then the opportunity for an even better example presented itself – the U...

Are you proud to be an American?

Are you proud to be an American?

When I was about eight years old, I was convinced that I would be the first female president of the United States. In fact, whenever my grandmother called from California (on rare and exciting occasions in the days before Skype) I would invariable answer with: ‘The president speaking.’ When my ballot for the United States presidentia...

See-Food Diet

See-Food Diet

“Back home, I barely use any oil at all, but here the food is so greasy!”, says one of my roommates. She remembers that when she first started going to UC Santa Cruz, adapting to the food in the dining halls was one of the hardest parts simply because of the sheer amount of heavy food. Even though the cooks make a stab at diversity, at ...

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle

“Does anyone recognize these markings?” The bicycling instructor indicates a symbol that is a simple line drawing of a bike with two pointy brackets pointing upwards above it. It’s Friday night, and fifteen students are attending the Bicycle Safety Class that is mandatory for participants in the Bike Library, a program to encourag...

Would you like a violin with that privilege?

Would you like a violin with that privilege?

I have a violin! After regretting not bringing my violin from Maastricht I enquired in the music department about renting one. Rent? They were having none of that. After my audition on a friend’s violin I was whisked into a locked room full of instruments on hold for just such an occasion and presented with my (temporarily) very own violin fr...

Counter-culture culture

Counter-culture culture

“Back when I did Feminist Studies up at UCSC it wasn’t even a department yet. It was just run by a collective of women,” says the cashier as I pay for my textbook.  In downtown Santa Cruz, in the bookstore called The Literary Guillotine, I feel myself tipping headfirst into history. This small space is crammed floor to ceilin...

Talk American To Me

Talk American To Me

‘How’s it going?’ ‘I’m awesome!’ (accompanied by big thumbs up) ‘We should totally meet up sometime. Text me!’ And you never see them again. This is a typical round of American small talk, as acted out by our orientation leader during the ‘Understanding US Culture’ presentation...

Milestones

Milestones

Stuck between cultures, I’ve done adulthood all wrong. In Switzerland, where I grew up, drinking beer and wine is legal at sixteen. So for me, drinking was never a rebellious act to gain adult prestige. The big marker of adulthood was eighteen, the age I was allowed to vote and, in theory, drive. But driving held little symbolic value for me ...

American Pie

American Pie

During my road trip from San Francisco to New York, it quickly became clear that the United States of America are in fact not as unified as they might appear from a European perspective. This is a political reality that can be mapped with astonishing precision through food. Driving down California State Route 1 we encountered Mexican food that made...

Return to the mothership

Return to the mothership

‘They’ve all come to look for America’ sing Simon and Garfunkel wistfully. This is a feeling I could definitely get on board with, in this case even literally as I climbed the steps of the airplane bound for San Francisco. This summer I wanted to understand this country that supposedly makes up half my origin. Armed with my Americ...