Ellia Higuchi: Siestas and Brown

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Thursday, May 21, 2015
This article is part of the series Commencement Magazine 2015

When I studied abroad in Spain I marveled at their siestas — which some, but not all, take to eat lunch for around two hours in the middle of the day. Unburdened with the normal pace of Brown, I was able to simply walk around aimlessly and meet a few Catalan people. I found their treatment of food was totally different (“In America people eat while they walk, right? Ha”), as was their treatment of time (noon actually means 2:30 pm in Catalan). And life was just different. Granted, I had the privilege to simply attend class and enjoy the scenery. But still, something felt pleasantly different.

I was shocked to come back and find that I had to be “penciled in” to hang out with friends — to find everyone was so busy they could hardly breathe. My reactionary nature led me to drop out of those activities I didn’t feel really, really connected to, join Spoken Word for a hot semester and perform my first show at Brown. I took a class on jazz where I learned how to slow down and listen to the music. I took HISP 1700A: “Creative Writing for the New Digital Media” class where I was able to write a digital story in Spanish that incorporated pictures, screenplay and songs I created myself. I made new friends. Study abroad was great as its own experience, but it also disrupted what would otherwise be a robotic four years and forced a time of reflection and eventual acceptance of my wine-sipping, proudly not-e-board-member-self.

So what has Brown been for me before and since? A place to try (many) new things, love, stumble, fall, grow and live. Maybe not a place where I participated in everything — but a place where I observed a lot. I observed friends smile, cry, laugh and now am observing them graduate.

Ellia Higuchi just wants to say thank you to those who’ve shaped her experience here: friends, acquaintances and those folks you always see at the gym.