All-American Experiences

Having been back for almost four weeks now, the semester has well and truly started and I am well and truly settled back in, albeit a little freaked at how quickly the time is going. We’re over half way to spring break! What’s been going on?

1. Classes. Obv. Again, more about them another time. I am definitely enjoying the lighter workload this term, though.

2. Frat parties. Last Saturday night was Boys’ Bid Night. Now, in January all the fraternities and sororities have this thing called Rush, which is where you basically try out to join one and it’s a long and complicated process which for girls involves many special named functions with dress codes and decorated name badges and making small talk to about a billion people, and for boys involves a party every night and lots of beer. The girls received their sorority bids (an offer to join) the week before, and the boys got them on Saturday. Therefore in honour of their pledges (the new guys) every frat holds a party that night. So Annelie and I decided to go, along with some other friends, to fully experience the frat scene that we’d previously missed out on.

I don’t have any pictures from that night, so I’ll steal one from somewhere else. This is what your typical UVa frat houses look like:

(We went to both of these ones during the course of the night.)

Frat parties are a very interesting, very American piece of college culture. There’s not really a lot to it, it’s reasonably dark, one room  or area is a dancefloor with a DJ, somewhere there’s a bar (or maybe just a table) with red plastic cups and cheap beer, or, if you’re lucky, some other form of alcohol as well. The guys of the frat are everywhere and, since it’s their turf, can decide exactly who to let in (i.e. all the girls and very few of the boys) and have no inhibitions about going up to people (i.e. girls) and asking them to dance (i.e. hook up). Because it’s a party you do end up meeting more people than you would at a bar, but it’s also a very strange environment since you’re so much a visitor in the boys’ domain, whereas at a bar everyone’s on more equal footing.

I don’t think this is going to become a weekly thing for us, but I’m willing to go a couple more times, as it is a unique experience!

3. Basketball! A couple of weeks ago I went to my first basketball game with my roommates Sallie and Cassie. We were playing Boston College and it was a lot of fun, like a mini version of the football games, with all the same cheerleaders, chants and band but so much easier to follow and understand! Shorter, faster-paced, simpler… and I’m going to another one next Saturday.

4. Speaking of sports, Sunday was the Superbowl, possibly the most American thing since Thanksgiving. Obviously usually I wouldn’t care about who won, but my roommate Amelia is from Massachusetts and a die-hard fan of the New England Patriots, who were playing, making the whole event a very big deal in our apartment. We had a few friends over, ordered pizza and stocked up on other food (and two of Cassie and Sallie’s friends bought these things they’d made called Oreo Balls and they were the BEST THING I’VE EVER HAD) and watched the whole thing (first time I’ve actually sat through a whole football game). It was pretty close, but unfortunately the Patriots lost and it was a very sad evening in 832-4 Copeley.

Amelia, post-game, in our room, on the phone to her dad for consolation, with a very large glass of wine. Being a sports fan will only bring misery.

5. I’ve joined the crew for one of the shows in the Drama Department, Caryl Churchill’s ‘Vinegar Tom’, and we start teching tomorrow, meaning the end of almost any free evenings for me for the next two or three weeks. Still, it’s good to be busy.

Lots more to tell you. Next time.

Much love,

Natalia xxx

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