From the C-House to Portland Avenue

By Liz Scholz

(Left to right in photo) Daniel Soto (English, Fort Worth, Tx.), Monna Wong (American Studies, New York, N.Y.), Elise Dempsey (American Studies, Window Rock, Navajo Nation), Linda Nguyen (Women’s Gender and Sexuality, American Studies, Las Vegas, Nev.), Amia Jackson (American Studies, Philadelphia, Penn.), Reed Boskey (American Studies, Champaign, Ill.), and Neha Mashooqulla (Political Science, Karachi, Pakistan) first met living in the Cultural House. Now five of them reside in the West half of a Portland Avenue duplex, where their neighbor’s cat, Sean Thomas, or as they know him, Mrs. Wilson, harasses them. At the time of this photo, he was lurking in the bushes, rolling in the dirt.

TMW: So I know Elyse doesn’t live with you and Amia lives in GCA, but how did the rest of you decide to live together?

Monna Wong: All of us lived in the Cultural House our sophomore year and then last year, three or four of us ending up living in the same apartment and it just made sense.

Neha Mashooqulla: Yeah I moved in this year.

TMW: What things do you guys like to do together?

Reed Boskey: It’s just finding time usually.

Linda Nguyen: There’s trivia.

NM: We go to trivia at Green Mill. Once.
MW: I’m not sure if I’d do it again. Linda here gets a little crazy.

MW: We celebrate birthdays.

NM: Yes, we take birthdays very, very seriously.

LN: We still have our happy birthday sign up.

RB: It just stays up.

LN: It’s almost through one whole year rotation.

NM: And we’ve actually got a whole bunch of traditions for birthdays. We try to do a couple of shady surprises that every kind of knows about.

Elyse Dempsey: Amia and I usually make a cake for someone.This last one was in the shape of California. And some other ones we’ve done are a dinosaur, an ice cream cone.

NM: They made me a dinosaur for my birthday. It’s really kind of amazing.

ED: It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

NM: We had an epic Thanksgiving.

ED: Well Amia, myself and Linda coordinated Thanksgiving in the Cultural House, which is a yearly thing, but it’s usually seniors or rising seniors who take care of it.
MW: There were 14 desserts. There were a lot of pies that were all different. And two puddings.

ED: And a cake. It was really intense.

RB: We do secret snowflakes. It’s a gift exchange.

ED: It started in the C-House.

Amia Jackson: It was, but Linda and Monna always know who has everyone, and it makes it less fun for everybody else.

MW: I just like to know-I get curious.
AJ: And for Linda, it’s a competition.

TMW: What is one change that you’ve seen at Macalester? For the better, and for the worse?

NM: I don’t think stuff has changed, more like our relationship to stuff has changed.

MW: Because living off campus changes things a lot. And part of the reason why I don’t even know how to answer that is because I feel a little disconnected from campus because I just don’t spend that much time there. I don’t know.

LN: No more all-nighters!
NM: Yes! Upgrade!
RB: I can’t do them anymore.

MW: As for the worse.

LN: There’s a lot.

NM: Is there?
MW: I just feel like. This is just on my mind because I was looking at my e-mail just like 20 minutes ago, but what’s with all these hate incidents that are happening? I’m sick of getting e-mails from Jim Hoppe about people doing stupid shit. I feel like maybe I was either not paying enough attention the other three years, but it just seems like there’s been a lot more of that going on, or at least this semester.

NM: Also some good professors have gone.

Daniel Soto: There are a lot of athletic first-years. Huge difference. The MARC, the Leonard Center.

LN: Yeah, different buildings.

NM: The MARC’s great!
LN: I really do like the MARC.

TMW: What are some things you’re looking forward to after next semester, in the near and not-so-distant future?

MW: A source of income.

RB: Having kids.

MW: Oh my god, you went there.

RB: Well, not so distant. Maybe like 10 or 15 years.

LN: You could have babies in 5 to 10 years.

NM: We do have dreams of graduating and maybe moving to Minneapolis.

MW: We’re all potentially staying at least through the summer, until the lease is up. But I don’t know, because November was kind of warm, it hasn’t been cold enough for me to decide to stay for another winter.

LN: I’m staying.

RB: Yeah I think I’m going to stay.

MW: He’s having babies.

NM: I’m just going to try and extend my visa. Beyond that it doesn’t really matter, I just need to stay.

TMW: What is the one thing that you’ll miss the most about being here now?

DS: There’s just a lot more freedom to fuck up and do that with impunity. So I’m going to really miss that.

MW: I feel like I’m never going to be able to fuck around as much as I have in the last three and a half years.

NM: And you get by, too, that’s the thing!
MW: I don’t know. I think for me being at Macalester, going to college was the first time I was away from my parents for an extended period of time, it was the first time that I’d lived outside of New York so this is just like a whole new scene for me. So much growth happened here that sometimes going home feels weird because like I’m a completely different person now than I was when I was in New York.

TMW: Do you still keep in touch with your friends from home? Do you feel like your friendships are getting further apart or closer together?

RB: Some. A choice few.

NM: I think it varies. Because you come here and you get socialized into the Mac way of looking at things and everyone has their own interpretation of it, but sometimes you do go back home, and it’s understandable because everyone has had these different experiences, so reconnecting can get a bit awkward, and feel forced when it’s not something that happens organically because you don’t grow together.

MW: You have to create a new language.

NM: But I’ve found that my relationships from home have been really worth holding onto. I’ve had the same group of friends since elementary school, so it’d just feel weird. I’m on Skype a lot.

MW: I feel like it’s made me a lot more deliberate about who I choose to stay friends with and the people I’m still friends with, I think for the most part, my group of friends at home, we’ve done a pretty good job of staying updated on each other’s lives but it just means putting in that extra effort which has made it that much more worth it. But for the people that I have lost touch with, it was just time to let go.

TMW: If you could go back and tell your freshman self something, what would you tell him or her?

AJ: Don’t try so hard.

NM: Don’t spend so much time on the grate.

MW: What? The grate time was great!
AJ: You guys kind of slept there.

NH: We had a grate blanket.

LN: That was back when Domino’s was still around.

NH: That’s true, Domino’s-I miss that!
LN: It’s better for my health.

RB: I don’t know if I could’ve said anything that would’ve mattered. You know, like, if I would’ve understood it. I might’ve said, like, do American Studies and start first semester instead of half way through. Now it’s like a rush to get my credits.

MW: I would’ve told myself not to get my math and science requirements out of the way my first year because one, Con Con really is not that easy. Daniel helped me pass Con Con! And lastly, I would tell myself not to pull all-nighters just because I could.

AJ: Now I can’t, though, I’m too old for that.

DS: I think I would just tell myself to not be so quiet, and follow more of my impulses.

ED: I would probably tell myself to not apologize so much.

LN: I would tell myself not to eat so much Ramen and get more sleep. Get more sunshine.

AJ: I mean, we can’t really control that.

LN: Exercise.

RB: I don’t do it now, but I would’ve told myself to start early!

TMW: What are your plans for next year?

AJ: We don’t have plans, we have hopes and ambitions. And dreams.