Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife


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Posted by Lucille on September 5, 2011 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The other rush events included a taco night, frozen yogurt party, and capture the flag game. That night, two women came by the house to give me a sealed envelope and a hug, an invitation to apply to join GRL (a bid, in Greek lingo). I smiled and hugged them goodbye and then sat there staring at the slip of paper. Great, now I actually have to think about this.

       So I did.

       The truth is I didn't really hit it off with anyone in particular. I tend to take a long time to feel connected to people, and the very fast-paced (get it?) mingling in rush really wasn't enough time. However, I got into some great conversations with people, actually the most I've talked since I got here. And they were nothing like I would have expected. Gender based violence came up in conversation, and I shared some of my experiences from Africa, and someone said, "Yeah, I worked for the rape crisis clinic last year. It can be pretty scary, but of course, you can't show it, because you're their rock, you know? And most people don't want to talk about it." Except you. Want to go get lunch? Not all of the conversations were dark, either. There were a couple of people who shared my major, so I got to learn about the different classes and which teachers to sign up for. Two people were on the quidditch team, and one taught a Harry Potter deCal, which I could easily talk about for hours. 80% of the names I learned this week were people from the sorority. And I love passing them around campus, recognizing a few more people each day. Even if I can't remember a thing about them, there's just something reassuring about knowing someone's name and having them know mine. I'm learning, I'm making connections. I really can make a place for myself here.

       And in that I pretty much had my answer. I never intended to join a sorority. If you told me a year ago I was going to I would have thought you were crazy. But I've really enjoyed all the time I've spent with them, and in my experience, when you do things you enjoy it tends to turn out for the best.


Posted by Lucille on September 5, 2011 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

One of the exceptions to using this blog as a journal is that I will never write anything about someone that they wouldn't want a potential date to find by googling their name. So, long story short: I need a new roommate. Anybody know any takers?

Doula Training

Posted by Lucille on September 5, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

To try to get residency I may need to stay in Berkeley during the summer, so I decided that it could be fun to work as a doula during the summers (and would probably help me get into Yale's midwifery program). Plus it's something I enjoy learning about. So I downloaded the DONA certification requirements and the first book and I'm really excited about this. There's a training not far from here in a few weeks. The only down side is that this will be one more pursuit that's off campus, which means finding activities that connect me to school (like a sorority, the food collective) will be even more important.


Posted by Lucille on September 5, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

First, some information about this sorority:

       Gamma Rho Lambda is 'an all-inclusive sorority for the progressive womyn,' but if you ask someone, they're more likely to skip that rather catchy phrase and say, "Oh, that's the queer one, right?" If you prefer. There's also a queer fraternity on campus, and GRL has socials with them. No, you do not have to be queer to join. In fact a lot of the women aren't. As one member told me, "I'm not even gay, I just wanted a sorority that was welcoming, that didn't just care about conformity, somewhere I could speak freely where people celebrated each other's differences." The sorority was started last semester, so there's only about a dozen people (the alpha class, because they started it. I'd be in the beta class.)

       The first rush event was an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. Mostly people mingled. I made sure to ask about the things that concerned me. They were pretty adamant that hazing does not happen. There's an interview process, and then if you get in, a slumber party with ice cream. "Honestly, the scariest thing that could happen is if you're lactose intolerant, and mortally afraid of people offering you ice cream...I mean, that could be a little frightening." Next, I asked about partying. "We're not affiliated with that, so it won't happen at any of our events. If you like to party, that's cool. If you want to invite your sisters to go with you, that's cool, too. Just don't wear your letters." Later on I ended up talking to some of the other beta recruits.

       "So how are you liking Berkeley?"

       "It's good," I said, "Pretty crazy, but I'm enjoying it."

       "Crazy? How so?"

       "Well when I got here, I wasn't even registered as a student, so the first few days were really busy, running around trying to get everything done. But things are starting to settle down now."

       "Wow, yeah, that sounds crazy! So why weren't you registered?"

       Don't ask me this.

       "I was in Africa during the summer, working in a hospital..."

       Please don't walk away. Please. I'm not scary, I promise.

       "Oh, man. I bet that was quite an experience. I was teaching English in Peru this summer, sort of similar. It's weird coming back, don't you think? Little things keep seeming so weird to me, like the screens..."

       Yep, I'm going back.


Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1)

In EEP today, we talked about how the economic system is an illusion. Why is that organic, locally grown food is more expensive? Energy is a good, so shouldn't the products that use the least input energy be less expensive? The teacher proposed that they just depends on which price you're looking at. Industrialized food, often shipped in from out of state (or even country), that requires pesticides and fertilizers to grow, which also have to be shipped in, only appear less expensive because not all of the price is reflected in the label. Some of it comes from government subsidies (read: taxes), some from exporting labor, and some from omitting resources used to make the product, for example, the water in the stream used as waste disposal. "The state of California uses 40 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Hypothetically, let's say you decide to tax it. No, let's say you decide to use a more accurate price. For example, when you use gas, you also use clean air, to dispose of the waste from your gas. You're not charged for it, but why not? It's a good, isn't it? You using it means it's not available for someone else. Of course figuring out the price of clean air would take all day and probably result in all of you that aren't philosophy majors leaving, so for the sake of the discussion let's say you increase the price of gas by a dollar a gallon. It's not a perfect price, but it's more accurate. The demand curve for gasoline is nearly straight, so the quantity purchased would not change very much, at least at first, because it requires system changes. The total budget of the state of California is $80 billion dollars. In one year, that change in price would produce a revenue of $40 billion dollars, half the budget of the entire state, enough to put together a lot of those greener system changes that would reduce the state's use of gas, and thus its carbon output."

       I was reading "The Naked Roommate, and 107 other things you might encounter in college" today and read that 33.4% of college students surveyed said their classes 'frequently' or 'occasionally' got them to think about things in new ways. "Well yeah," I thought, "I'm only taking French, Chem, and Econ, and although they're cool and all, I'm already familiar with most of the concepts. What do they expect?"

       And then I went to class and it blew my mind.

Let's Play With Bubbles

Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1)

For Chem today our teacher took a big pole with a flame on the end, hooked up an oxygen tank to a dish of bubble soap, and then tried to hit the bubbles with the flame as they rose. He almost lit his assistant's hair on fire. This year is going to be awesome.

Sage Femme

Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (1)

The term for midwife in French translates as 'wise woman'. We were going around sharing what we want to be, a dentist, a lawyer, etc. "I plan to be a wise woman." ...I felt cool.

Omelets & French Toast

Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I bussed over to my uncle's house today to hang out and learn how to make omelets and French toast. The next day I made an omelet in the morning, the first time I'd ever made one myself, and the people that were hanging out in the kitchen told me it was the best omelets they'd ever seen. I'm grateful to have a teacher with such expertise!

Care Package

Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

My mom, in her eternal awesomeness, sent me a package with all the things I forgot. It was on the table when I got home from school and everyone sitting nearby said, "Aww, that's so sweet! Your mom is awesome. I miss getting stuff from home."

       Thank you, Mom!

Nobody Panic

Posted by Lucille on September 1, 2011 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Okay, so I'm considering joining a sorority. Wait- before you say anything (or make faces at the computer) let me explain. I am taking three classes this term. French is interactive, but almost everyone else is a graduate student, so I hardly ever see them outside of class. Chem and EEP are lectures. And as nice as everyone is in the house I'm staying in, they're not freshmen they all already have their own circles of friends, so it's not comparable to a first year experience in the dorms. I've opted out of a lot of the ways that freshmen usually meet people, and since I'm not the best at making new friends to begin with, I feel like I need a little help. A sorority would be a way to spend social time on a regular basis with the same group of people, bursting the isolation bubble.

       I was dead set against being involved in greek life in any way (because it's known for partying and social drama, neither of which interests me), and then I went to an ice cream social where the Gamma Rho Lambda sorority was tabling and ended up talking with the women running it, and they were so friendly and welcoming that in two minutes they changed my mind from 'no way in-" to seriously considering it. I'm still feeling cautious. Luckily, there's this thing called rush (who knew?) where you hang out with them for a week before deciding. I'll let you all know how it goes.



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HIPAA Disclaimer

Sometimes I have the privilege of being a part of intimate, powerful moments in other people’s lives. I cannot and would not share these stories, because they are not mine to tell. However, they touch my life and become part of my own story. When I share these moments here, you can trust that I have not broken anyone’s confidentiality. The characters are invented. They are not real, but could be. I take creative license to communicate the essence of my experience while respecting the privacy of others.