[Introductory note about my absence: I've spent the last week moving out of my house to a new condo with my mum, being sick, settling into the new condo, getting sicker, sleeping in, and getting more...sicker. I don't mean to neglect this blog; I just have other things on my mind right now, like the sensation of my brain being suffocated by a moutain of snot. Hopefully this will change soon.]
"What's this table for?" I looked towards the table in the living room of my friend Amy's terrace apartment strewn with many mostly empty bottles of alcohol, shot glasses, a few bags of bagels, a bowl of potato chips, an open jar of peanut butter and a foil take-out container full of Cheerios.
"Oh, that was for our brunch," she replied.
Ah, the Vassar diet, fueling the brains of our brightest young adults! Maybe this is why I didn't feel cut out to go to school there.
Alllllright, I'm not portraying Vassar correctly. I visited during the weekend of Founder's Day, or the day when Vassar students and alumni are invited to party and drink a lot, all day long, to commemorate the birthday of founder Matthew Vassar. I took the opportunity to visit my friends at Vassar—the school that gave me my not too horrifying freshman college experience—before they graduated and possibly would never see me again. Although the college organizes many major activities, students also do plenty of fun stuffs on their own that they may not usually do. Like throw an alcohol-enhanced morning brunch! (^__^)!!
Actually, every meal is alcohol-enhanced on Founder's Day. Matthew Vassar was a brewer. Of course, alcohol would still play an integral role in the Vassar college experience even if he weren't a brewer, but it's kind of a funny thing to know. Maybe.
One of the most exciting things about Founder's Day (for some people, at least) is the truck full of free beer. Blessed by an inflatable purple unicorn. How does it work?
If you're deemed legal, you obtain this lovely red plastic mug decorated with a walking broomstick, keeping in with the Fantasia theme of the day. This cup belongs to Dante, who used to live in the same dorm as me, I think in the room right below mine. He may have tested this by once knocking on his ceiling with a giant stick. Unless that was just a weird dream I had. HE IS COOL.
Mosey onto the line for the beer truck and peruse the menu as you wait. Six possibilities lie in your future! HOWEVER WILL YOU CHOOSE?!?!?! I dunno—I don't drink beer.
Hand your cup to a purple shirted staff member, tell them what they want, and watch them pull the magic lever that frees golden alcoholic joy from the truck into your plastic beer receptacle.
And then you consume. I must apologize to my good friend Jason for taking such a bad photo of him that kinda makes him look drunk even though he had only taken a sip or two of his cider. Instead of finishing off the cup, he opted to donate the remains to his underaged friends.
If you've had one too many and forget where the beer truck is, at least try to remember that THERE IS NO BEER IN THE GYM. I don't know if they put that sign up every year or if so many people had mistakenly gone into the gym that morning in a search of beer that someone found it easier to declare the lack of beer with giant hastily torn signs taped to the gym's outside walls. It's a mystery. And it's kind of funny.
OH dear god, COLLEGE KIDS! ...Wait, am I one of those? Oh. All the fresh, young, happy faces just freaked me out. I don't think they exist in NYC.
Actually, it was really cool to just roam around the grounds while trying not to step on anyone. Due to Jason's inborn "friend of Robyn" seeking power, I ended up running into a bunch of people I knew. Like MEGAN! My friend from Japanese class Who I hadn't seen since SOPHOMORE YEAR! She was just SITTING THERE! And it was like "OMG IT'S YOU HI HUH WHAT'S UP?!" Not too awkward, I think. I brought a cookie from Birdbath Bakery for her with the hope that we would run into each other. Also, while walking down the hill I ran into Kathryn, my freshman roommate. OMG, PEOPLE I KNOW, EVERYWHERE?!
A few walking broomsticks were set up in the middle of the field as some kind of attempt at keeping up the Fantasia theme. Maybe it would've been more effective if there had been more than three.
After leaving the Founder's Day field, Jason and I went to one of Amy's friends' apartments for a little grillin'. Jason does not usually look as confused as he does in that photo. We were at the wrong door; the right one was behind us.
You can't have a barbecue without PLENTY OF ALCOHOL! Actually, you can't do anything without plenty of alcohol. So plenty of alcohol there was. Plus a water bottle.
Per Amy's and Jason's request, I tried Irish Cream for the first time. And by "try" I mean I let about an eighth's teaspoon's worth suffocate my tongue and slither down my throat. The texture was like thick melted ice cream and the taste was like...ice cream with 90% alcohol content. The official ice cream flavor of Hades. Euh. Eeeuuuh. Now that I've tried it, I never have to try it again! Sweet!
A tray of buttered and herbed grilled corn eventually appeared in the kitchen for us hungry and perhaps partially drunk college students. Weeee! Grilled corn is so freakin' awesome. Like a party in your mouth where all the attendees are sweet juicy bubbles of starch and butter and as host of the party you MASH ALL THE ATTENDEES TO DEATH WITH YOUR POWERFUL MOLARS! And no one can complain cos they're all dead! It's so good.
As we left the apartment, a guy uncomfortably hunched over (as through there's a comfortable way to hunch over) standing on the sidewalk caught my eye. Because. He was tossing his cookies. And by that I mean his digestive system was going through the act of reverse peristalsis. And by that I mean he was puking. Oh dear. Could you believe that that was my first time seeing a college student throw up? 'Twas! And in broad daylight in the afternoon. I hope that guy ended up being okay, although he probably knew what he was getting into. Amy told me that some/many people started drinking in the wee hours of the morning.
Jason and I walked around Sunset Lake on the way to his house in South Commons (a part of campus that's kinda far from...other stuff). Giant body of water! I don't see those very often.
Here's a little taste of the South Commons from the inside of Jason's house. I thought the facing house had some interesting decor. ...Is that a ginormous Vassar beer mug? Do I even want to know what that was for?
One of Jason's housemates had a pet bunny. Oh my god. Bun. CUTE BUN BUN! I don't remember his real name since all I could do was excitedly exclaim, "BUN BUN BUN BUN!!!" in his presence. Because I only use 1% of my brain. It's a good thing bunnies are so damn cute or else it wouldn't be worth it having to deal with all their little poop balls.
After Jason some stuff from his room, we roamed around the backwoods of the campus (or a part that had very few humans)...
...And past the golf course that looked very underused.
We went off-campus to eat, passing this new, odd looking house in the process. It looks like they were going for some kind of castle look, but...failed.
We soon arrived at Miss Saigon. It looks like most of the other houses on the block, but you can't miss it because the other houses don't have neon signs declaring the presence of beer nor are they decorate with three signs that say "Miss Saigon". YOU CANNOT MISS IT, EVER.
Jason ordered a spicy noodly thing. (That probably wasn't the real name of the dish.)
I ordered bun with pork. Or some kind of meat. Bun is like a salad made of noodles, meaning it's not really like a salad, but there is salady matter atop the pile of delicious rice vermicelli which you must mix together to make sure all the yumminess of fresh vegetables and herbs is evenly dispersed. It was alright; not life changing, not disappointing. I feel like bun is one of those things that must always taste good.
Not far from Miss Saigon is another Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Cafe. I was going to take a photo of it from across the street but decided to get closer when a man walking his dog started to enter the frame.
"Isn't that Ken?" pointed out Jason.
...[blink] Yes, yes it was! My unobservant-ness caused me to totally overlook that the man walking his dog was my old work supervisor who I hadn't seen since the summer after freshman year. (Ken hired me partially because I had a vague knowledge of how to use Movable Type, meaning that my blogging ways actually got me my first non-sucky job! Blogging is good, you guyz.) I wasn't expecting to see him since he had left Vassar to take a job at Columbia, but he returned for Founder's Day like many other alumni. He was getting take-out from Saigon Cafe and semi-recognized me from across the street! Once again, Jason's "friend of Robyn" radar freaked me out. Ken's dog was ridiculously adorable and obedient, but I didn't take a picture of him (or her?) so you unfortunately cannot share the joy with me.
Jason and I returned to Amy's house to join up with her and her friends for the fireworks show over Sunset Lake. I took a photo of the drying shot glasses in the kitchen because...you know, I just had to.
The Barefoot Monkeys—Vassar's circus performance group—gave a fire throwing show before the fireworks. I've seen them perform a few times but have never seen anyone catch on fire. Which is probably a good thing. But I kind of want to see it happen. Because I am a sick, sick person.
And then YAY EXCESSIVE FIREWORKS SHOW! I'm not hugely fascinated by fireworks, but it's a lot more fun to watch when you're with your friends. Like everything else in the world. Being attacked by bees would be better with friends! Yes! And watching fireworks is infinitely more fun than being attacked by bees. Some photos came out better than others, like...
And this one, which I like because it actually has humans in it! Humans!
This photo gives me the impression that we were about to be killed by a massive flying ball of fire, but thankfully there was no ball of fire and we did not die.
After the fireworks show Jason and I met up with Megan, who gave me some very adorable food-themed goods she got from her study abroad in Japan! THANK YOU MEGAN, YOU ARE AWESOME! ...AWESOME DESU NEEEE. (I don't really know Japanese, if you couldn't tell.) Her gift made me thankful for a few things I had never though about before.
I am so thankful that the person who designed these pins didn't know how to spell "scone".
And I am also thankful that "It can use happily! It is dear even if it takes!" I think.
I am also very thankful that my pastries aren't actually branded with innocent smiley faces or else it would be harder to devour them.
While Jason and I randomly walked through Main (a dorm and administrative building), we passed a bulletin board with what I thought was a photo-worthy flyer. Not that white identity and racial inequality are unimportant topics—perhaps I should've learn more about them during college—but one of the first things that popped into my head was a LOLcats-esque captions, "IN UR INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNIN', DECONSTRUKTIN UR WHITNESS". What does that say about me? Very little. Or perhaps...way too much. I'm a Twinkie, what do I know?
Jason and I passed some creepy looking trees (as most trees look in the dark) while walking back to his house. YAHOO.
After Jason picked up some stuff from his house, we waited for the shuttle to come by and take us to Amy's town house, which was on the other side of campus, instead of walking in the slightly chilly weather. Alas, we found out that the Vassar shuttles don't really work on a strict schedule.
Jason: A shuttle is supposed to come by in 5-10 minutes.
[15 minutes later]
Jason: Maybe if we start to walk away from this spot, the shuttle will appear!
[we walk away]
Jason: Yeah, that didn't work.
[a few minutes later]
Jason: It's cold out here.
Jason: I'm going to change into long pants then.
[we go back to the house]
[as I am standing in the kitchen, I hear a distressed...]
Jason: THE SHUTTLE JUST WENT PAST MY WINDOW!
[we go outside and watch the shuttle scoot off in the distance]
[we hug in mutual sadness]
I guess missing the shuttle made the evening a lot more interesting than if everything had gone as planned. Once again, another thing that is made much more fun with friends than without.
Mildly shivering, We walk back to Amy's house in defeat. After a long day of activities, most people had gone to sleep or were very close to passing out. I took a shower and then conked out on the sofa, making it one of the earliest bedtimes I had had in a long time.
How long is this entry? You're still reading this?
The next morning I woke up. If not, I guess I would have died in my sleep. Which wouldn't be a bad way to go...
Amy, Jason and I went to Babycakes for brunch, my favorite eatery near campus that makes the most awesome block of oatmeal to have ever graced my stomach.
They also make lots of baked goods like little cakes (hence the name of the place), tarts, scones, muffins, cookies, and croissants. Unfortunately, the selection was a little thin on that Sunday morning. When I went there three years ago I remember being blown away by their fresh mint tart. Because it tasted like FRESH MINT. I was hoping to get another one, but there was no mint tart to be found.
I went with an almond croissant to relive some of my Parisian happiness in sweetened wheat form. Its hard exterior and not so soft-n-fluffy innards showed that it may have suffered from overbaking, but it wasn't bad. It had a nice belly of almond paste and coating of crushed almonds. I would've liked it more if it had been soaked in syrup, thus filling every buttery pore with SUGAR, OHH GLORIOUS SUGAR! Really, no need to skimp on the sugar here.
For my non-sweet dish I ordered an avocado and cheddar sandwich with lemon vinaigrette on ciabatta bread. The soft, airy, slightly chewy bread that brought to the mind images of angelic clouds swarming with angel babies aglow with the love of Jeeesus made my heart weep with happiness. In other words, it was pretty awesome. There was plenty of avocado action—perhaps the sliced remains of one entire 'cado. The sandwich was delicious and relatively healthy. However, there was one problem.
Do you see any cheddar? I thought maybe it was hidden deep within the bowels of the avocado slices or the giant air pockets of the bread, but I think they forgot to put it in, unless it was a new breed of microscopic cheddar. Which is funny since cheddar is 50% of the sandwich's name. I honestly didn't mind that it was missing the cheddar—missing the avocado would've been a much bigger problem—but now I think I will never know what cheddar and avocado tastes like. Sadness. Why didn't I just send it back and demand me some cheddar? Cos...I didn't really care. It tasted good and I just wanted to eat the rest of it without interruption.
Amy's mound of stuffed banana cream cheese french toast (with a side 'o BACON) was rather awesome. I didn't try it, but I think I ate it a few years ago. French toast can do no wrong, especially when paired with bananas.
And Jason got a wrap of some sort! Looks like vegetables! Of some sort.
We left with happily full bellies. I took a photo of the neighboring House of Nutrition's emblem because...it was somewhat creepy. First thing I'll do when I get muscled up beyond what nature intended I will tie myself up with a bunch of chains and try to break free! But not without first shaving my head.
We roamed around some more. And then I went home. Sad. Thanks so much to Amy and Jason for being such good hosts for the weekend (I'm sure I annoyed them at some point—they just refused to show it) and giving me some of my most fun memories before graduation. Even if it wasn't at the school that I'm graduating from! Haha! Ha! Ha.