The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: January 2017 Page 1 of 4

President Spencer’s Response to Open Letter Regarding Undocumented Students

In early December, The Bates Student printed an open letter asking the Bates administration to announce the measures we will take to protect the rights and status of undocumented students and seek “official status as a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants living at Bates and in Lewiston.” Although the letter referenced a petition to be delivered, I have not yet received it. Because the open letter was published in the Student, however, I want to take advantage of the first issue of the new term to respond.

I appreciate the initiative taken by students in surfacing issues relating to undocumented students, and I fully support the call for a vigorous defense of our fundamental values of inclusion and equality and for specific actions to protect the safety and security of all members of the Bates community. I also applaud the solidarity expressed throughout the letter with the refugee communities in Lewiston and Auburn.

I am pleased to clarify once again how our policies and practices with respect to DACA and undocumented students unequivocally support the goals set forth in the open letter. And, as I stated in my November 30 message to the community, I will continue to speak out against any present or potential encroachment on the rights of any individuals—including, but not limited to, undocumented students—in our community.

With respect to undocumented students, some of whom currently enjoy the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, we do offer, and will continue to offer, the follow actions and protections:

  • We will continue to welcome applications from all students without regard to their immigration status, and applications for admission from DACA and undocumented students will be treated the same as those from domestic students.
  • We will continue to offer DACA and undocumented students institutional, need-based financial aid, and, as with all students, we will meet the full demonstrated financial need of any admitted student.
  • We will not release any information about students’ citizenship or immigration status to any third party or government agency unless legally compelled to do so.
  • We will not take any voluntary action that would put any student at risk solely because of their immigration status.
  • We will continue to work with colleges and universities across the nation in collective action aimed at upholding, continuing, and expanding DACA and its associated protections.
  • We will continue to work with our state and local communities to support, and counter discrimination against, local residents who are immigrants to our community.
  • We will continue to operate by the following protocol with respect to our Department of Security and Campus Safety: our officers do not and will not inquire about any student’s citizenship or immigration status. This is a long-standing policy that will continue in force.

With respect to the request that we declare Bates a “sanctuary campus,” I feel strongly that the college should take a nuanced approach. As noted above, I fully endorse the concerns that lie behind the sanctuary campus request, and we will continue to address these concerns in our actions and policies. I do not, however, think that it is wise of prudent to declare Bates a “sanctuary campus” in explicit terms.

Having carefully studied this issue and consulted with legal counsel, I am mindful that the term “sanctuary campus” has no legal definition or standing and may in fact provide false assurances to members of the campus community. On one hand, the term may suggest that we are willing to act without regard for our legal obligations, which we are not empowered as an institution to do. On the other hand, it may suggest to individuals on our campus or in our local communities that the Bates campus, as a physical space, has a special protective status apart from the law. This is not true, and to suggest otherwise could potentially cause adverse attention and harm to the very individuals we wish to protect.

Accordingly, in my considered judgment, our community is better served at this time by a clear exposition—as outlined above—of specific policies and commitments than by the adoption of a symbolic designation that could be misleading to those who count on the college for meaningful action. That said, we will continue to monitor this set of issue closely, and adapt our stance, as appropriate, if there are relevant changes in law or policy that warrant further action.

Again, I want to thank the students, faculty, and staff who raised these very important concerns and make clear that I and other leaders in the college are always open to conversation. As the next weeks and months unfold, and the new Congress and administration begin to take action on a variety of fronts, we will pay close attention to developments that affect the work of colleges and universities, and we will continue vigorously to defend the rights of all members of our community.

Meanwhile, I encourage all of us on campus to be mindful of the values that define Bates and inform our discourse and to work every day to ensure that each and every one of us is able to find a respected and respectful place in both.



Clayton Spencer

Experiences abroad in Japan

When I was younger, I saw my first Hayao Miyazaki movie, Spirited Away. Ever since then, I knew that I someday wanted to travel to Japan. For the past two weeks, I have been living in Nagoya, Japan with a wonderful host family. Each day has been full of experiences, both terrifying and exciting, which have allowed me to explore the beauty and the depth of Japanese culture.

Japan is filled with many unique opportunities. Within the first four days, I went on an orientation trip to the prefecture of Nagoya, called Inuyama. Inuyama is most known for the Inuyama Castle, once inhabited by samurai. The castle is placed on a hill, overlooking the city, surrounded by mountains and a beautiful river. While in Inuyama, I had access to an onsen, also known as a hot spring. People go to the onsen to relax and reflect; the only catch is that you must go in naked, quite the liberating experience!

After leaving Inuyama, I met my host family and they have been the highlight of my experience in Japan. Going to sing karaoke is something that is a huge activity in Japan. On a snowy weekend day, my host parents brought me to karaoke and it was a ton of fun! It was a great way to bond and we shared a lot of laughs.

Nagoya is not a city one usually hears about, but there always seems to be a wide variety of things to do and places to see. One place in particular is called Sakae. Sakae is a large subway station filled with various unique places to buy omiyage (souvenirs) and an assortment of delicious food stores. The most incredible store there, in my opinion, is the Studio Ghibli store where I was able to fan-girl and appreciate the movies that initially sparked my interest in Japan. There is also a Pokémon center a few minutes away from the station, for all of you Pokémon fans out there. As a Pokémon fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Overall, the first two weeks of my semester abroad in Japan have been very enriching and I am extremely grateful to be here. Although I am finding communicating in Japanese pretty difficult, I am viewing it as an opportunity to get to know myself when put in interesting situations.

I have been noticing that often when someone asks me a question in Japanese, I tend to respond with “arigatou,” which means “thank you” instead of answering the question just out of the mere panic of not being able to understand what was asked. I have been learning that it is okay to not always have the answer. Despite feeling somewhat lost most of the time, looking at the bright side of things has really helped me overcome the challenges of living in a foreign country. I look forward to what the rest of the semester will bring and continuing my quest for knowledge about both the Japanese language and the Japanese culture.


Women’s, men’s track and field impress at Bates Invitational

A track and field meet is quite a hectic scene for any newcomer to the sport like me. Athletes of all different sizes and skill sets are constantly competing in a myriad of events. Long and skinny runners run the 5k, broad shouldered men and women compete in the hammer throw, and explosive sprinters run the 60 meter dash, just to name a few. This spectacle is certainly overwhelming at first, but quickly becomes an incredible display of camaraderie, competition, and breathtaking athleticism.

Head coach of the men’s track and field team Al Fereshetian echoed this sentiment. “It’s basically a three ring circus out there.,” the 22 year Bates veteran said in a phone call on Monday morning. “Track is unique, because there is so much diversity and variety in the sport. You have everything from the long distance runners to the throwers and vaulters. I enjoy every element of it, the hard part is trying to be present at all events!”

This past week’s spectacle took place here on campus in the Merrill Gymnasium, as the Bates men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Bates Invitational over the weekend. The meet included Division III teams, Keene State, St. Joseph’s, UMF, and Southern Maine, as well as two Division I teams, University of Maine and Bryant University. All athletes competed against each other, but scoring was broken up according to division.

In both men’s and women’s competition, Bates easily won the team scoring for Division III. The women’s team scored 252 points, effectively distancing themselves from runner up Husson, who tallied 119. On the men’s side, the Bobcats scored 264 points, while Keene State came in second place with just 74 points.

A testament to the talent of Bates’ athletes and the NESCAC as a whole, many Bobcats finished near the top of their respective events even while facing Division I foes.

Allison Hill ‘17 was a particularly impressive performer. She left the competition in her dust in the 60 meter hurdles with a season best time of 8.90 and a first place finish. It wasn’t even close. She also ran a career best time of 8.08 seconds in the 60 meter dash, which is third all time in Bates history, according to the Sports and Information Office.

Sally Ceesay ‘18 placed first in the triple jump, and was 0.01 seconds behind Allison Hill in the 60 meter dash, which puts her 4th all time in the event in Bates history, marking Saturday as an historic meet for Bates’ female sprinters.

In addition, Jessica Wilson ‘17 won the 1,000 meter run, Olivia LaMarche ‘20 won the 5,000 meter run, Claire Markonic ‘17 won the 400-meter dash, and Katie Barker ‘19 won the mile.

For the men, Adedire “Dire” Fakorede ‘18 dominated the weight throw, beating out the runner-up by six feet. Although this was one of the best throws in the country so far this season, Coach Fereshetian believes Dire is just getting started. “He’s still got a lot more in him as he works out his timing. This was a great way to start, but his ultimate goal is to be the best in the country,” the Bates coach said proudly.

Fereshetian was also very happy with the milers. Joe Doyle ‘17 won the event with a time of 4:24.84. Meanwhile, Olin Carty ‘17 battled from fourth place to second in the last lap and finished in 4:25.31.

In other events, Michael Somma ‘19 won the 400-meter dash, and Frank Fusco ‘19 won the 600 meter run.

This was the lone home meet of the season for the Bobcats as they hit the road for the remainder of the season. Next week, the team will be split between a meet at Boston University and a meet at USM in Gorham, Maine.


An alphabetical journey into the English Premier League: E

Everton (The Toffees)

Overview: Everton was founded in 1878 and was one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888. They have won the League Championship nine times and the FA Cup five. They won the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1985, their only European Trophy. They were also one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992. Liverpool is their biggest rival, and they compete in the Merseyside Derby. Their last trophy was the FA Cup in 1995. Their current manager is Ronald Koeman.

Stadium: Goodison Park

Notable players:

Romelu Lukaku, F (Present)

Neville Southall, GK (1981-1998)

Brian Labone, D (1958-1971)

Bob Latchford, F (1974-1981)

Dixie Dean, F (1925-1937)

Fun facts:

Competed in the top English division for a record 114 seasons

Record transfer fee: 28mil euros Romelu Lukaku (2014)

They are known as the Toffees because of a local toffee shop called Mother Noblett’s, leading to the Toffee Lady tradition where a girl walks around the field throwing candy before a home game

Club’s badge has a reproduction of Prince Rupert’s Tower, located in Everton district

The final fight season from Creed (2015) was filmed in Goodison Park

Their club motto, “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum,” means “Nothing but the best is good enough”


An alphabetical journey into the English Premier League: H

Hull City (The Tigers)

Overview: From September 27, 2008, the day I happened to flip to Hull City vs. Arsenal and was transfixed by an improbable, epic, life-affirming 2-1 away win by the Tigers, I have supported Hull City. Since then, I’ve watched two relegations, two promotions, and one nearly miraculous FA Cup Final performance. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a fan during some of the club’s best years since their founding in 1904. The 2008-2009 season was the club’s very first in the Premier League, after a run of three promotions in the past five seasons. As you might expect, Hull City has a few less major trophies than most teams in the Premier League. That FA Cup Final appearance (a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in extra time after seizing a 2-0 lead within the first eight minutes) is the only time the club has been in a major cup final, and a semifinal showing in this year’s League Cup (Hull City need to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the second leg to beat Manchester United) is the best they’ve ever performed in that competition. Hull City currently sits 19th in the Premier League, three points from safety. I’m praying that new Portuguese manager Marco Silva can save us from relegation.

Stadium: The KCOM Stadium. I actually was fortunate enough to visit in 2009 with my mom, back in the old days when it was known as the KC Stadium. Back then, the capacity was a little under 20,000; now, with the attraction of Premier League football, the club has added around 6,000 seats. It’s no Old Trafford or Anfield (Manchester United and Liverpool’s famous homes, respectively), but it’s a nice home for Hull City.

Notable players:

George Maddison, GK (1924-1938)

Billy Bly, GK (1938-1960)

Andy Davidson, D (1952-1968)

Chris Chilton, F (1960-1972)

Ian Ashbee, MF (2002-2011)

Andy Dawson, D (2003-2013)

Dean Windass (1991-1995, 2007-2009)

Michael Dawson, D (Andy’s brother) (2014-present)

Fun facts:

Andy Davidson leads the club with 579 appearances. He broke his leg three times during his 16 years with the Tigers.

It’s an annual tradition for Hull City to play local non-league club North Ferriby United in their first pre-season fixture of the season, to contest the Billy Bly Memorial Trophy, named in honor of the club’s legendary former goalkeeper. The match is played at North Ferriby’s home ground, which only holds about 2,000 people, so it’s a great opportunity to get an intimate look at Premier League players. I was lucky to have that privilege, and to snag a couple autographs, on my 2009 visit.

Dean Windass, a Hull City native, returned to the club after a 12-year hiatus in 2007. He nailed a sumptuous volley to score the only goal of the 2007-2008 Playoff Final at Wembley Stadium, sending his hometown team to the Premier League for the first time.

Though it’s not exactly “fun,” it’s worth noting that the club’s ownership situation is messy at the moment. Assem and Ehab Allam have angered many fans for a number of reasons, the most egregious being their (failed) attempt to change the club’s name to “Hull Tigers.” There have been rumors that they’re looking to sell, but at the time of writing they’re still in charge.


Mission IMPROVable saves the day

Last Friday January 20, Bates College was filled with the unexpected. The comedy team Mission IMPROVable presented their Always Original show in Memorial Commons. The show is constantly new because it is created on the spot based on audience participation – the audience gives ideas for places, objects, and characters and the “mission” starts. The show was created by four actors: Agent Pepperjack, Agent Sugarbear, Agent Binary, and Agent X. Mission IMPROVable had the incredible capacity of creating laughter out of anything, from “riding a miniature giraffe” to having a fictitious breakfast with Zac Efron.

There is one thing Mission IMPROVable did impressively well: creating comedy out of participation. It is typical of improvisation comedy to call on their audience, simultaneously drawing inspiration and laughter out of embarrassment. Different from typical comedy, the spectator is far from passive. Mission IMPROVable drew constantly from audience participation, soliciting input and choosing assistant “agents.” The audience could provide any setting, characters, and imaginary props of a scene, and then the actors would create the scene impromptu. As good improvisation often does, Mission IMPROVable also drew from the specifics of the place that they presented, in this case Bates, by mentioning Newman’s Day and Puddle Jump, traditions of our college. Personally, I felt always on the verge of being called on stage (and I was, at one point). It is this excitement and surprise that makes improvisation comedy a unique experience.

When I was called to a surprise “mission,” I realized that I was not supposed to be the passive spectator I usually am. In the “mission” I was called onto stage for, the agents were speaking statues. They developed the scene as they performed, but their bodies remained still unless my other audience partner or I decided to move the actors. We were free to move them however we wished, challenging the “agents” to create meaning out of the unexpected poses. Improvisation comedy involves a sense of wonder: how to make sense out of their nearly random poses? How to create everything out of nothing? More often than not, I found that there is always something profound behind laughter – and improvisation comedy has a unique way to make something wonderful out of playfulness.

Mission IMPROVable was able to turn randomness into humor. From experience, I have noted that comedy is often overlooked as an art form, despite being one of the hardest and most complex genres: transforming what is seemingly absurd into something meaningful seems easy when watching a show by experienced performers – Agent Pepperjack has been performing for over ten years!

Comedy has a relaxed atmosphere that can overshadow copious amounts of practice. The perfect example is the last “mission” of the show. These last short performances involved creating complex, coordinated scenes using only gibberish words and body language. Three actors had to explain to the fourth actor an entire scene in gibberish. I cannot describe how convincing their gibberish was. It is not easy to explain someone that they are “wearing Donald J. Trump” without using actual words! Now imagine explaining “you are having breakfast with Zac Efron, but your eggs are rocks and your toast is cyanide.” Believe it or not, they did it nearly perfectly.

On my way out of the performance, a friend told me: “I have never seen anyone speaking gibberish that well; there is no way!” I remember leaving the show trying to mimic gibberish to come to one conclusion – fluently speaking gibberish is more than child’s play.



Men’s basketball continues to skid, drop two NESCAC games

It was a tough weekend for the Men’s basketball team. Currently on a three-game losing streak, the men lost to Connecticut College this past Friday and Wesleyan the day after.

The Bobcats fell to the Camels 73-58. Malcolm Delpeche ‘17 led the team with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Jeff Spellman ‘20 tallied nine points, four assists, and five rebounds and fellow first-year Tom Coyne ‘20 also added 10 points, both coming off the bench. Tyler Rowe led all Camels with 19 points, Lee Messier added 17 points off the bench, and Zuri Pavlin pulled in nine rebounds to give Connecticut College the edge. Pavlin, a Connecticut senior, also knocked down a jumper in the second half to score his 1,000th point.

The game started out tight, but the Camels went on an 11-0 run to end the half. This gave the Camels a lot of momentum going into the second half. but Bates answered with a 11-2 run including eight consecutive points from Coyne ‘20 to cut the deficit 48-45 with 12:45 in the second half. However, the Camels would not be fazed, going on a 10-0 run over three long minutes. This sucked the momentum from Bates, who could only cut the deficit to nine.

Free throws also plagued the Bobcats, only making 44% while the Camels shot 84% from the stripe.

The next day the Bobcats took on Wesleyan University, where they would lose a tight one 67-64. Marcus Delpeche ‘17 lead the team with 16 points and added another double-double to the season tally with 11 rebounds. Jerome Darling ‘17 had a productive game, dropping 11 points and a team high five assists. Malcolm Delpeche ‘17 put up similar numbers to his brother, dropping 15 points, grabbing five boards and adding six blocks to his stats. Wesleyan’s Nathan Krill lead the way for the Cardinals, leading the team in points and rebounds with 20 and 10 respectively.

Bates came out swinging in the first half, going ahead by as much as 10. Darling and Marcus Delpeche led the way in the first half, both scoring eight points. Bates led by four at the half after Wesleyan mounted a comeback and hit a buzzer-beating three at the half.

In the second half both teams went back and forth taking the lead and going on runs. The game went down to the wire until the end. Malcolm put up a layup with 1:20 left to tie the game at 62. but the next play Wesleyan’s Harry Rafferty pulled up a three at the top of the key to put the Cardinals up 65-62. It would be too late as Rafferty made both his free throws after getting intentionally fouled to put the lead back to three.

The Bobcats look to stop their skid when they visit Salem State for a non-conference game this Wednesday.


Bates students Women’s March

The day after they took office following an election cycle fraught with racist, sexist, homophobic rhetoric, millions of women and allies gathered around the nation to demonstrate their resistance against the new government.  Among these demonstrators were numerous Bates students, who traveled to D.C, New York, Boston, and various towns around Maine to stand in solidarity with the women of our nation. Here are some snippets of their experiences:

It was empowering and beautiful to be surrounded by so many strong, loving and feisty woman after an incredibly bruising campaign. I hope that this marks the beginning of a movement and not a moment in time. The day was not only a rallying call for women, but an opportunity for everyone who believes in equality and democracy.

– Honor Moshay ‘17

I know that the march was not ever meant to be anti-Trump; rather an affirmation of belief in the worth of individuals who have been marginalized by patriarchal systems—women, men, LGBTQ+, Latino/a, Muslim, Black, refugee etc. Even so, I was marching because it I needed to physically demonstrate my contempt and resistance against everything that he and the people that support him believe in. I truly believe that good has come out of this election, if only to make people feel the need to mobilize against hatred on a scale I have never seen before in my lifetime. Do I think that it is enough? Absolutely not. However, I am hopeful after seeing the turnout at the march, and the love that I saw among protesters that had never met each other, that we could finally start seeing actual consistent activism from people that chose to be silent before.

– Anna Luiza Mendonça ‘18

I attended the Women’s March in Boston. One of the things that struck me about the experience was the ages of the marchers. The college-aged marchers were alongside young parents with children in strollers, alongside elementary age children with their handmade signs, next to older women telling stories of all the marches they have been to throughout their lives, among college aged marchers and elderly marchers and every age in between. Nobody was too young or too old to get out there and stand in solidarity of their beliefs. The atmosphere was serious but joyful, with people laughing with delight at each others signs and pointing out unique ones to their friends. At points there was underlying tension due to the extreme crowdedness during the speeches, but people were respectful and made sure friends and families did not get separated in the moving throngs. We had been warned there would be poor cell service, but we were shocked by just how real that was. At the march there was almost no cell service: calls were impossible, and only about every hour or so would texts come through, with very limited ability to send texts out. When my group first arrived to Boston Commons my friend saw two women with maybe 6 or 7 signs. She thought they might be selling them, so she went over and asked. They replied that they were not selling them, they had just made them for themselves and their friends, but they gave my friend one of their signs for free. It was such a powerful experience to be in the midst of the crowd on the backside of the hill in Boston Common, not even able to see the stage or the speakers but hearing Elizabeth Warren’s voice ring out over the crowds, which responded to her words with cheers and claps. The older women around me would shout “YES” when they particularly agreed with her, though the crowds were surprisingly quiet, all straining our ears to listen to someone we could not see.

– Chandler Ryan ‘17

I felt completely safe and supported. There was no violence. An older woman who was trying to march fainted and a little boy gave her his jacket as a pillow and waited with her until an Ambulance arrived. The atmosphere was one of mutual support for many voices and campaigns for social justice. I felt very calm even though crowds usually make me uncomfortable.

– Kate McNally ‘17

I went to the march in Augusta. While it would have been awesome to attend a march in a bigger city, I thought that at least some representation from many smaller cities across the US was just as important as one huge one in DC. I also think it is important to allow people who do not have the means to get to DC the opportunity to be able to participate in the March. The one in Augusta was very safe, I felt, but somewhat exclusive to white cis-norm females; “this pussy grabs back” signs, pictures of ovaries, and the pink pussy hats were dominating. I could not hear the speakers very well but I remember hearing many of their goals surrounded putting women in office and keeping abortions legal, which I very much believe in and respect, but these goals are not a priority for women of color or women of other marginalized groups. I think the speakers definitely knew they were speaking to a majority white community; however that could have altered what they chose their agenda to be. I would have liked to see and hear more signs and speeches that were POC, LGBTQ, immigrant, Trans/gender non-binary and (dis)abled inclusive (although I understand that is a lot to ask for). Protesting, I think, is important, not necessarily to change things but to evoke, energize, and encourage the desire for change. I know I at least felt stuck and helpless after election day and just knowing that this many women showed up made me feel less stuck. Although it is a tiny change, it is a change regardless.

– Monata Song ‘17

The Women’s March in DC was amazing: being in a majority female crowd listening to politicians, activists, celebrities and feminist icons express their anger and determination was incredibly inspiring. It was kind of like a group therapy session, where hundreds of thousands of people came together to scream to the world (and especially at the White House) that we will not allow bigotry and ignorance to divide us. The march created a really strong sense of community and passion that I hope only gets stronger over the next 4 years.

– Haley Crim ‘20

I have never heard the words pussy, cunt, or bitch used with such pride and positivity as I did on Saturday. The women’s march in D.C. was an experience like no other and demonstrated just how much strength and courage it takes to be a woman. My sisters and I were surrounded by women of all backgrounds and yet our message was the same. We were all honored to represent pussy power on Trump’s first day in office. The crowds took up what seemed to be the entirety of D.C. and the message we spread was loud and clear, women want change. Now.

– Julia Panepinto ‘20

The women’s march was more than just a 7 or 8 hour gathering in DC, it was also the travel to and from being surrounded with overwhelming positivity and love. On the drive down cars packed with people waved and honked at us with smiles plastered on everyone’s faces and rest stops were packed with march-goers in pussy hats. One of the most amazing sights was the metro that morning packed with people holding signs high and waves of chants and cheering spreading through the crowd. The crowd on the streets above were beyond anything I (or the organizers) had ever expected. The entire experience was an outpouring of support of people of all races, religions, genders, abilities, sexual orientation, and ages and a motivational force for future action.

– Ella Livesay ‘17

A walk with a Russian

Roger Williams at sunset as William interviews Lera Fedorova. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Roger Williams at sunset as William interviews Lera Fedorova.

Lera Fedorova is the devoted and deliberate Russian TA who graciously sat down with The Bates Student to give us her story.

Lera Fedorova:  I’m from Russia, I live in a city called Orel, ah yes it is not far from Moscow. So I studied at the university and I got a bachelor’s degree there, and now I am getting my master’s.

William Ebert: What did you do for fun as a kid?

LF: First I went to puppet theater, I was participating there with all the puppets and all these things. And then I decided to go to art school and I studied there for 6 years and I finished it quite early since most people there were 2 or 3 years older than me, than I was. Me and my friends usually, we just, we just went out for walk. I noticed here, that people don’t really walk, just to walk. So people usually go to some places to cinemas, to theaters, to park. But in Russia, it is a general thing, you always see kids outside, they are just walking, just in the streets. Once when I just arrived here in Lewiston, I decided to walk a little bit and I needed some stuff so I decided to go to Walmart, and I walked to Walmart. And I think 3 cars stopped and asked if everything is ok with me, do I need a ride or something? I was just walking! Yeah, so it was crazy a little bit for me.

WE: What was it like living in Russia? What was different than living here?

LF: I can’t say that I feel much difference, because I am here as adult, I am an adult here. But I can say that we had lots of freedom from our parents. I think, well as far as I can judge, here it is not that freedom. If I may say so again, because they let me go to the city center to meet my friends especially in the summer; I just had to be home at certain time, but everything was fine. Yeah, I think these moments that they give you freedom to grow up or to be with your friends or to somehow understanding to behave yourself and yeah.

WE: What is one defining moment in your life?

LF: I think this was the moment when I, um, moved out from my parents flat, because before that, the period before that was somehow defining and when I started living on my own was also one of those moments. So before that for five or six months, I was working hard, I was studying all the time, I almost didn’t show up at my parents place just to sleep, and not even every night, so I was real busy. I almost didn’t talk to my parents, they of course didn’t like they, they didn’t see their daughter in a while, she was supposed to be with them all the time. And there was one moment when I, some evening, I decided to talk to my father and he told me about his hunt, he’s a hunter, yes and I asked about his friend, something like ‘How is he?’ And he looked at me strangely and said that he died two months before. And this was horrible for me because he was one of my parents, my father’s best friends, and I didn’t know about it. Yes, at this moment, I realized I needed to change everything somehow, and my parents probably realized that we need to do something. And I think a month after it, I moved out to my apartment and I don’t know why, I separated from my parents and it was hard for all of us, but we became closer and uh, I realized the importance of talking to your close people to spending time with your close people, and finding this time. Because before I thought, come on I live with them, they see me; isn’t that enough? Haha, they sometimes see me. Yes, but after that, all this period, I realized this importance. I always talk with my mother, I call my father maybe once a week probably and we talk a few hours, so yes. This is very important thing.

WE: What do you think of the States?

LF: I like it a lot. I didn’t think that, States um, were going to be much different from Russia. Of course they are different, but I mean the mentality and all the things. But it is. It is very different, it very interesting to see how people here behave how people here communicate. And I really enjoyed being here while the elections. Yes, I realize that for you guys it is not that fun, but for me it was just interesting to see how everyone reacted to everything because in Russia for the last few years people don’t really care about the elections and just political things they don’t care. They like to discuss something, but they never understand anything and it can only be a couple of words. But here people are really into politics and people understand what it is, I don’t understand what politics at all or anything, it is just impossible for me to talk about it, so I was quite fascinated by this moment and I don’t know, just general mentalities of things.

WE: What is the best thing and the worst thing about America?

LE: I really like that it is possible to bring your dog to every place. It is so amazing! And seeing dogs everywhere and even in planes, and during studies, some teachers bring their dogs, Roger Williams where I work, there is one teacher who bring her dog all the time. And this is amazing. It could never happen in Russia, I don’t think. I never saw this, and it is really hard to bring your dog to a restaurant or some place. Um to shop no, everywhere is no dogs, no dogs. And the worst thing…um…I had some moments, I dislike this American smile. Yeah, not the smile, the smile itself. It is very curious how people, when you’re just some person walking and the person smiles. But this is not the thing. The smile is in their face but then you never know what they really mean, what they really say, what is really on their mind. Yeah, we are cool, and you are cool, and everything is cool, but in reality they have something in their mind, something different.

WE: How did you end up at Bates?

LF: My university has some kind of collaboration with Bates. So every year or two uh teacher assistants from my university come to Bates, and students from Bates, sometimes, once in a few years, come to my city to study Russian studies, Russian culture and Ecology a little bit also so, yes two years ago was the last time they came, and I helped with the organization of everything with their coming and after that yes, the previous spring, my professor asked me if I want to go here. And I agree. Yes, I really like being here. Just the organization, and the students, I really love my students you know, choosing to study Russian. Is a very difficult decision to make since it is difficult, but I really enjoy it a lot.

Cafe LA: The best tasting hole-in-the-wall

Over winter break, I had the pleasure of experiencing a quaint, hidden cafe in Auburn. As an avid cafe lover, and lover of all things food, finding this cute small restaurant was the best thing that could have happened to me that Wednesday. Located on the bottom floor of the public library along Spring St., down a small ramp and (on that particular day) a few steps past a sheet of ice, the doors to Cafe LA invite you with an implication of hot roasted coffee and homemade bread just inside.

For some reason, I never know how to behave when walking into a new building – especially a restaurant. Do we seat ourselves? Where is the bathroom? Can we ask for a table by the window? These are the things I worry about. Since the cafe is so small, there was only one or two people working, and the waitress who approached us was very welcoming (and yeah, we got the window table). If I were to compare it to Bates’ favorite cafe, Forage, I would say Cafe LA has less of a homey, crunchy vibe to it but maintains the same great service. There were no homemade bagels or board games, but it was still a success. The exposed brick walls seemed to absorb the tables and countertops into one, giving the true sense of being almost underground while still keeping it contemporary.

Another stressor I endure in a new restaurant is the menu. I get so overwhelmed by menus that require me to flip multiple pages just to get to the section that offers entrees with fries on the side (because let us be real, no one considers food a meal unless there are some sort of fried potatoes on the side). Although Cafe LA’s menu was simple, it offered a diverse array of options. Everything from breakfast sandwiches and vegan wraps to grilled sandwiches and homemade soup was available; it was clear that this place cared about what they are putting on the tables and took the time to do it the right way.

I settled on the grilled chicken sandwich on homemade sourdough bread. The sandwich was made up of pulled chicken, mozzarella cheese, red onions, tomato, pesto, and chipotle mayo that ended up being a little too spicy for my sensitive taste buds. It was the perfect size for my brunch/early lunch appetite. That is probably what I liked most about my experience – I left feeling totally content, not too full, not still hungry and with no complaints. And the bathroom was super nice with a cool hand dryer but a pretty complicated door handle and lock.

Overall, I was very satisfied with my visit to Cafe LA and I know it will not be the last. The Lewiston-Auburn community has so many hidden treasures that offer culture, conversation, and experience. It is only a five-minute drive from campus if you hit all the red lights, so do not be a fool – go there. You will not regret it. Oh, they also cater.


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