Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Comeback Story of a Lifetime

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By sophieheard

Crowds took to the streets of Boston, not in protest but celebration, as the New England Patriots celebrated their fifth Super Bowl win. A pinnacle of American culture, the Super Bowl is an event not to be missed. Last year I spent the Super Bowl in a NY hotel room, eating pizza and wondering what on earth was going on. This Sunday was not a lot different. There was a lot of eating and a lot of confusion. Once we had established the difference between ‘football football’ and ‘american football’ we could enjoy the Super Bowl for the spectacle that it is. Something of this scale could only exist in the United States. Like so many other events in America, the Super Bowl is a performance from start to finish.

We headed uptown to a restaurant on 14th street where we made ourselves comfortable for the next three hours. The game seemed over in the first five minutes as the Falcons had scored two touchdowns, eventually leaving the Patriots trailing by 25 points. Never before in Super Bowl history had a team recovered from a lead that great. Assuming that the sports portion of the evening was over, we left the football on in the background and dug into several rounds of sliders. Whilst I am not a big sports fan, any excuse to celebrate with friends over food and beverages is okay with me.

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Halftime is when things got interesting. Lady Gaga was perhaps the greatest performance of the night. She flung herself off of the roof of the stadium and then proceeded to sing a medley of her greatest hits. Her performance was not as overtly political as people were expecting. However, it possessed a general message of inclusion in response to recent events as she performed ‘This Land is Your Land’ and ‘Born This Way’.

The Patriots went into the game as one of the most successful and most widely loathed teams in the league. With the exception of Pats fans, public support was for the underdogs – the Atlanta Falcons. However, the roles remained reversed for the majority of the game and the Patriots entered the final quarter with an impossible win as they were still 19 points behind. Just as the game was about to end the Patriots had achieved a two-point play, tying the game and making it the first overtime in Super Bowl history.

No team had ever come back from a three-touchdown deficit in the history of the Super Bowl and now everything came down to the next few moments. Although I did not fully understand what had happened, after three hours I was invested. New England won the overtime coin toss and suddenly everything looked bleak for the Falcons. After a few quick plays, the Patriots had scored the final touchdown and won yet another Super Bowl title. A group of foreigners, unaware of the exact specifics, erupted in celebration as another moment of history was witnessed.

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Another Week, Another Protest

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By sophieheard

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Based on my experiences of the past two weeks I get the impression that a protest is going to be part of my weekly routine. Ten days into the new administration, Trump has already taken action to repeal Obamacare, withdrawn from the TPP, reinstated the Mexico City policy, reopened the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipeline construction projects, proposed plans to build the wall, and denied entry to refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. In response to the decisions made this week, protests have erupted across the country and across the globe. It is exciting to live in the city that makes these decisions and watch how the people react so quickly against them. On Friday, Trump implemented the ‘Muslim ban’. By Sunday, thousands had gathered outside the White House in protest.

 

 

 

I attended the protest both in support and observation. Unlike the Women’s March, the protest was spontaneous with so little time to garner support or numbers. Not expecting a huge turnout and living so close to the White House I left shortly before the event. When I arrived, people were beginning to gather around the Marquis de Lafayette Statue. As time passed, people filled up the Square to the point where we were standing shoulder to shoulder and I was unable to see beyond the sign in front of me. Even without anyone choreographing the protest, the crowd began to chant ‘no hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here’, ‘hey hey, ho ho, the Muslim ban has got to go’, and my personal favourite ‘hands too small to build the wall’.

 

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An hour later and ten blocks away, there was a completely different kind of gathering. I left the protest to head over to Chinatown to check out the Chinese New Year parade. Hundreds of Taiwanese flags went hand in hand with the Stars and Stripes. Instead of protesting against divisive policies people were celebrating cultural diversity and unity. For me, the protest and the parade embody what is great about American culture.

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Prior to the inauguration, people were willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt as he had not yet had the opportunity to do anything of serious measure. One week in and people are beginning to have a different opinion. Trump has followed through on his promises and done exactly what he said he would do. It’s scary to think that this is only the beginning. However, based on the response he has so far received I wonder how far he will be able to go. Sunday’s experience proves that with every action he takes there will be an even greater reaction.

Sleepless in Seattle

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By audrey

While DC has been loads of fun, with the excitement of inauguration and protest marches still lingering in the air, I decided to make use of my long weekend to travel to Seattle for the Lunar New Year.

This would be my fourth time here, and yet it never ceases to amaze. Seattle is a seaport city and is the largest city in Washington state. People often get confused between Washington DC and Washington state — the former, also the nation’s capital, is on the east coast while the latter is in the west. Upon exiting SeaTac International Airport, I was greeted by a rush of crisp, fresh air and the omnipresent rainy weather. Definitely Seattle, alright.

It’s unexpected, but my favourite part of Seattle has got to be food. I religiously go to Pike Place market, a public market that overlooks the Elliott Bay waterfront. It is one of the oldest farmers’ markets in America and you can always expect to find ultra fresh groceries and handmade crafts. My favorite shops would have to be the Piroshky Bakery and Ellenos yoghurt – 2 homegrown brands that are simply phenomenal in taste and price. For the former, I usually go for the salmon one, and the Marionberry flavoured yoghurt for the latter. Oh, and the market is also home to the very first Starbucks! (Heads up though, there’s always a long line, even during off-peak hours).

 

 

It was Chinese New Year’s Eve the day after I arrived. On this day, families get together to have a reunion dinner. Being the typical Chinese and lazy college students that we are, my friends and I decided to have hotpot, which is basically a huge pot of soup with raw stuff like fish cakes and meat thrown in and cooked to a boil. The post dinner food coma was just magnificent.

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On my last day, we drove 3 hours to Mount Baker. Alas, the picturesque view was short-lived as a snow storm hit soon after we started hiking. Thus, we didn’t have a good picture of the summit. We were, however, lucky to be able to rent snow shoes on short notice as it was a popular weekend destination for the residents of Seattle, with its dual identity as a popular ski and hiking resort in the region. I honestly thought my ears/nose would fall off due to the biting wind, but thankfully, they were still intact when we trekked back to the car. Note to self: DEFINITELY BRING A BEANIE NEXT TIME.

 

Catching a flight back to DC tomorrow – in light of the recent immigration bans, I do hope my boarding process at SeaTac goes smoothly.

Adios!