Updates from September, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Adrienne Frank 7:12 pm on September 20, 2013 Permalink  

    passed with flying colors 

    Untitled-2Congratulations to Christopher Byrne, SIS/MA ’91, winner of this issue’s “final exam.” The Montreal resident will receive a six-month subscription to Politics and Proses Bookstore’s Book-a-Month Gift Program.

    Like Christine Lawrence’s students, most people aced this issue’s questions:

    1. How did American advertising contribute to major social changes in the twentieth century?

    It influence the transition from a producer-directed to a consumer-driven culture.

    2. Why is American filmmaker Edwin S. Porter, who made The Great Train Robbery, considered the first narrative filmmaker?

    He shot scenes out of order and then used editing techniques to create a story arc.

    3. Newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer in the 1880s were criticized for their practice of:

    yellow journalism

    Check out our November issue for a question from SIS professor Rachel Robinson.

  • Adrienne Frank 5:20 pm on September 6, 2013 Permalink  

    the ultimate souvenir 

    Congratulations to Laura Hockensmith, Kogod/SIS ’06, winner of our travel essay contest! Laura, pictured with her boyfriend Ruben, will receive Hannah Lloyd’s cover illustration from the August issue of American magazine.

    DSCF7206Like the Shubbucks, my friend, Steph, and I (both AU alums) traveled around the world for a year.  Halfway through our trip, we arrived in South Africa and after exploring some of the national parks in the north, we flew to Durban and rented a car.  We planned to drive from Durban to Cape Town, but apart from those plans, we had none.  A girl at our hostel in Durban mentioned that she was heading to a place called Coffee Bay.  We had seen the location highlighted in our free backpacker guidebook, so we quickly decided to also head there for one night before moving on.

    Our first day on the road started out serene.  With no definite plans, we drove in a leisurely fashion, stopping at a random coffee bean plantation for a tour and at some roadside vistas of the ocean.  The coast south of Durban is called the Wild Coast, before it turns into the more populated coastline called the Garden Route.  At some point in the afternoon, perhaps where the road turned inland after having following the coast, it did turn wild.  The inland roads were not well-kept.  As we were winding up a mountain road, the sparse traffic slowed and turned into one lane as we passed a white object on the road.  Steph turned to me and said, “What was that?”  I responded, “I think that was a dead body covered in a sheet…”

    The afternoon turned into evening and we started to get worried as we did not see any signs for Coffee Bay.  Given that it was a popular destination, I had assumed that there would be many signs.  After asking three different people, a doctor gave us clear directions.  The directions, although vague, proved to be accurate and we finally saw one sign for Coffee Bay just as night fell.  We had underestimated the time it would take to get to our destination (tourists are advised to avoid driving after the dark).  We continued for almost 40 kilometers without seeing another sign, hoping that the doctor was right. That stretch of road was the most harrowing road I have encountered while driving (Egypt and India are in a league of their own and I personally would never drive in either of those countries).  Deep potholes covered the road, so my driving became very much like a video game as I swerved to avoid the obstacles.  To make matters worse, locals hitchhiked along the dark roads, children played games of chicken in the road, and livestock crossed the road at their leisure.  I was in my own personal version of Grand Theft Auto, while Steph sat white-knuckled beside me.

    We finally made it to Coffee Bay and the hostel without incident, although later than we expected.  After meeting back up with the girl from our Durban hostel and finding out that the hostel offered $6 surfing lessons, we decided to stay two nights at the hostel so we would not have to get back into the car right away!  In addition to Coffee Bay’s stunning landscape along the coast, the hostel offered fun, cheap activities, meant to encourage socializing.  All the backpackers were so nice and very open to talking to new people, more so than any hostel we had previously encountered…and we had stayed at a lot of hostels.

    On the second night, Steph and I found ourselves talking to two Belgian travelers, Jan and Ruben.  Something about Ruben peaked my interest – perhaps the fact that he had just spent a semester in Michigan (and was planning to return in a month), as well as the fact that he was on crutches (due to a strained muscle from a run on the beach) made me take a harder look.  He also happened to be an adrenaline-junkie like me.

    Two nights turned into three nights.  More surfing was the official reason that Steph and I stayed longer.  Meanwhile, Ruben and I bonded over free mussels from the hostel and stories of our harrowing, yet exciting, drives into Coffee Bay.  He had already bungee jumped from Bloukrans Bridge and I was excited to do the same.  Our conversation started out with other people, but they slowly faded into the background in the midst of our little fog of attraction.  Steph and I planned on leaving early in the morning, so as we said goodnight, Ruben and I exchanged email addresses and talked about meeting in Cape Town in two weeks when our travel plans once again overlapped.

    The next two weeks were just as memorable as Coffee Bay.  In a serendipitous string of events, Steph and I kept running into Ruben and Jan.  First, we realized through email that we were both in Jeffreys Bay at the same time, so we met for drinks.  Ruben was fresh off crutches and he taught me to drive his manual-transmission rental car.  Then, in Oudtshoorn, we randomly found ourselves at the same restaurant that specialized in ostrich meat.  If I had not been so attracted to Ruben and happy to see him in each town, I would have considered these random meetings to be quite creepy.  After the unintentional run-ins, we decided to actually make plans to meet up in Stellenbosch and tour a few wineries for two days before both groups headed to Cape Town.  In Cape Town, we hung out for a few more days before Jan and Ruben left to go back to Belgium.

    Somewhere around Stellenbosch, Ruben and I became a quasi-couple, as much as you could say that about two travelers ultimately headed in different directions.  He left Cape Town on my 27th birthday and he promised to email when he got back to Belgium.  We did not really talk about meeting up in the U.S. when I returned in five months, but the ability to meet up with relative ease (a 10 hour drive, rather than a pricey trans-Atlantic flight) made it a real option.

    By the end of my year-long trip, we were chatting almost every day.  He gladly shared my highs and lows of traveling – major food poisoning at an Indian orphanage, the beauty of India despite the poverty and constant feeling of being ripped off, fights with Steph, my scuba diving program on a Thai island, the dreariness of northern China, and the brilliant beauty of southern China’s nature.  When I stepped onto U.S. soil, we had already decided to meet up the following week.

    Two years and seven months after meeting in Coffee Bay, we are still together.  We weathered five months apart while I finished my travels and then, more long-distance while he finished his thesis in Michigan and I worked in Washington, D.C.  In February, I moved to the Netherlands where he started working after graduation.  When someone asks how we met, I usually start out with a smile and remark “Well, he stalked me in South Africa” to which he replies, “No, you were stalking me!”

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