Holidaze: A Season of Surprises

By Arianna Bernas, Opinion Editor

Thanksgiving was never a big deal to me. I always saw it as a very “American” holiday, much like Halloween. Even though my father did prepare Thanksgiving dinner and villages gave out candy on Halloween night, the trees stayed green and the air stayed hot and humid. To me, Halloween and Thanksgiving were temporary pauses within Christmas season.

Back home, the Christmas season starts in September. Restaurants start playing Christmas albums on repeat and Starbucks releases its Christmas drinks and Holiday Cards. Some families, mine included, skip Halloween altogether and put up lights and parols — Christmas lanterns — on our roofs. Shopping malls compete with one another to see who can erect the largest and most beautifully decorated Christmas trees. The air cools slightly, and families spend their free time planning Christmas feasts. Relatives fly in from all over the world to celebrate together. I may be biased in saying this, but no place does Christmas like the Philippines.

For a lot of us International Students, holidays like Thanksgiving or Halloween have always felt half-baked. Experiencing Halloween without pumpkins, or Thanksgiving without the fall leaves might have been special, but rather odd in the hot tropical sun.

Nevertheless, experiencing the holidays I never before this year paid much attention to has been interesting. It feels like there’s something new to celebrate every few weeks: from October break, to Halloween, and into Thanksgiving. It’s like receiving several small presents over time, as opposed to waiting a long time for a rather large one.

“It’s more exciting,” says Anna Landi, a first year at Bryn Mawr. Anna, a Korean-American born and raised in Thailand, had never celebrated Halloween. “It was just another day for us.” She continued, “It’s also really strange celebrating Christmas with palm trees and no snow. I never felt like I was fully experiencing that kind of Christmas.”

What’s particularly exciting about this holiday season, for us at least, is that part of it will feel completely new. Both Anna and I are spending Thanksgiving here and flying home for Christmas; she to Bangkok and I to Manila. We will both get a taste of the Thanksgiving we grew up hearing about; with the fall leaves and the week-long family and food fest. But then we get to return home to the familiarity of our own special types of Christmas. It’s a unique blend of tradition and discovery, of old and new.

At Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a tradition in my household to go around the table and pray about what you’re grateful for. In light of everything that’s happened this year, I think it’s important to remember all of the little things that help us to create a home away from home. I’m grateful for the new experiences I’ve had and the ones I look forward to experiencing. I am grateful for my friends who make this place feel more like home. I’m grateful for the Bi-Co community, for constantly teaching me something new.

What are you grateful for?



The Borromeo Quartet Showcases a New Side of the Old

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

You might expect a group that reads its music on sleek laptop computers to favor contemporary music over classical sonatas. And although the Borromeo Quartet featured the works of three classic composers in its concert at Haverford College on Friday, Nov. 11, the music was hardly business as usual.

Violinists Nicholas Kitchen and Kristopher Tong, violist Mai Motobuchi and cellist Yeesun Kim,  each having had experiences playing  with some of the world’s greatest musicians, came together on stage  for a night of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Of the three quartets performed, Haydn’s String Quartet No. 2 in F major was the most traditional. As the opening piece, it gave listeners a chance to acquaint themselves with the group. The first violin and cello carried the melody line, yet the whole group was actively engaged throughout. Kitchen and Tong were placed opposite each other, in a relatively uncommon arrangement for string quartets today, giving the audience a clear view of both violinists’ emotive body language as they played.

The group was not afraid of silence. Throughout the concert, they took full advantage of pauses in the music, refusing to rush forward into the next theme.

Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C major, aptly named “Dissonance,” brought to light a side of the composer you’ve likely never heard. Although certain parts conformed more closely to the classical master’s style, there was always the promise of a deviation to unexpected material. Rather than shying away from these surprising moments, the Borromeo Quartet dug in and emphasized Mozart’s use of new ideas.

The final piece, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, had some forward-thinking themes of its own. From the first movement, a dark fugue, to the final, racing allegro, the Borromeo maintained the high intensity of the piece. The quartet was written just a year before Beethoven’s death and is considered one of his most mature works.

One of the group’s strengths lay in the skillful interplay between parts. Though trading of melodies was at times limited to the first violin and the cello, in other instances Beethoven made sure each of the instruments was on equal footing, and the Borromeo Quartet allowed each of its members to shine.

The group’s dynamic range was also striking. From fortissimos fortified by the excitement of the players, to pianissimos softer than most quartets would dare to play, the quartet ventured to the extremes, and the result was a treat for the audience.

LGBT Comedy at Bryn Mawr with Lauren Faber

By Diana Pope, Staff Writer

[This article contains material that may be inappropriate for some audiences]

This past Thursday, Lauren Faber came to Bryn Mawr College to offer a stand-up comedy special filled with hilarious insights on dating, studying abroad, and bathroom laws. A Bryn Mawr alumnus, Faber has performed stand-up comedy across the country. In her time as a comedian, she has opened for Joe Zimmerman and, in 2016, won the title of North Carolina’s “Funniest Comic.” She currently coaches students who are interested in comedy as part of the DSI Standup Corps.

Faber’s show was comedic relief for Bryn Mawr students after an emotional week in the tumultuous election season. She commented on the dominance of male leaders in our political system, prompting cheers and laughs when she asked, “Do you ever feel like the world is being held at dick-point?”

Along with her sarcasm about this past election, she talked about her experience as a lesbian. She told stories about how multiple people have confused her for a male in public bathrooms, and laughed about all the reactions she had received from random individuals in these situations. She also discussed her experience coming out to her family members, and talked about how she dressed up as Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid for nine years in a row during Halloween to give a hint to her parents.

Faber also shared stories from her time as a student at Bryn Mawr College. During her time here, she studied abroad in Egypt. She was drugged by someone while she was in Cairo and got many laughs from the audience when she asked, “Have you ever gotten so drunk that you woke up on another continent?”

Faber stated that she chose to come to BMC over Columbia University because it “seemed like an incredibly happy, nurturing place”. After attending Bryn Mawr, she moved to North Carolina and started taking comedy classes as a side hobby. Eventually, Faber’s interest in comedy morphed into a full-time career. She loves comedy because she thinks that it is a “super therapeutic way of dealing with embarrassing things.”

This comedian has left her mark on Bryn Mawr, and her show was well worth the wait. The college is planning to feature more LGBT comedians in the future for a new comedy series. It is inspiring to know that Bryn Mawr is home to such witty and hilarious individuals as Faber.

Deconstructed: A Week of Afro-Caribbean Celebration

By Nina Inman, Staff Writer

Last week, the Bryn Mawr African & Caribbean Students Organization (BACaSo), organized a week devoted to Afro-Caribbean culture. The finale? A culture show called “Deconstructed.”

BACaSO faced various challenges putting the show and week together. Farida Ilboudo (’18) explained that much of the Bryn Mawr student body seems uninterested in BACaSO’s events.

“Afro-Carib week started on Monday and today is Wednesday and nobody knows. We had a film screening and nobody showed up… We do so much and we have so much fun with each other but no one comes.”

From a campus that claims to be culturally understanding and accepting, this was disheartening to members of BACaSO, who work hard to organize the event every year. Regardless, Ilboudo said, “We don’t care if people show up. It’s the reality we live in. This is for us.”

“Deconstructed” displayed elements of Afro-Caribbean culture through fashion shows of dance and singing, modern and traditional clothing and a drumming performance. The show attempted to deconstruct Afro-Caribbean culture in order to illustrate and celebrate its complexities. At the same time, it worked to bring together students and community members from a variety of countries.

After election night, the culture show took on an additional role: unifying and encouraging the student body against a president-elect that many have accused of blatant bigotry. “The road ahead is long and unpredictable but we will continue to fight for what we deserve, break stereotypes and have equal opportunity,” BACaSO posted on their Facebook page.

The event further attempted to unify the audience by giving a presentation on Black Lives Matter and the oppression of some elements of Afro-Caribbean culture. The crowd joined hands to represent how they would stand together against violence and hate. This was followed by an energetic performance by Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

BACaSO was happy with the turnout and audience’s response to the show. Aisha Soumaoro (‘20), a fashion model, said, “A lot of people came out to support the culture show. The crowd was very energetic. It felt like a supportive environment.”

“Save My Seoul” Shares Stories, Highlights Concerns over Prostitution in South Korea

By Vidya Ramaswamy, Staff Writer

On Friday, Nov. 11th, the Jubilee Project documentary film “Save My Seoul” screened in Thomas, with a chance to hear from the directory afterward. The film focuses on the problems, often hidden to locals, of sex trafficking in South Korea.

In 2012, the Jubilee Project released a fictional short film on sex trafficking, called “Back to Innocence,” which can be found on YouTube. After seeing this film, a Korean church pastor reached out to the group and persuaded them to make a film on the hidden but widespread sex trafficking culture in South Korea – one that wasn’t fictional. After talking to the pastor, Jubilee Project Founder and Film Director Jason Lee traveled with his brother Eddie to South Korea, where they spent three years researching, interviewing, and gathering content for the film.

While there, they asked a number of South Korean civilians about their opinions of prostitution. Many of those interviewed did not think it was a significant problem.

“As long as there are men and women in the world, it cannot be avoided,” one of the interviewed men said.

When asked why they thought women chose to become prostitutes, most said that it was simply to make money. When asked if they ever thought of prostitutes as victims, most said that they did not because the prostitutes voluntarily chose to become prostitutes.

When Jason and Eddie tried to find sex workers to interview, most refused to be shown on camera. Then they found Crystal and Esther.

Although Crystal and Esther’s faces were not revealed, they spoke openly about their experiences as sex workers. They were both forced into the sex industry after running away from home and having no other way to earn money or make a living. In fact, more than 80% of minors in the Korean sex trade industry are runaways. Around 200,000 young people run away from home annually, and most end up as sex workers. Crystal and Esther revealed that prostitutes in Korea endure lots of physical and verbal abuse. They also often find themselves in lots of debt, as they end up owing their pimps large sums of money.

“After ten years, I checked my bank account,” one interviewee said. “I had no money, but I owed my pimp thousands of dollars.”

Unfortunately, the Korean sex trade industry does not lack customers: although most of the civilians interviewed expressed negative sentiments about sex workers, five out of ten Korean men admit to having paid for sex at least once in their lifetime.

There are NGOs dedicated to helping sex workers escape the industry and put an end to the cycle. At the same time, Korea does not want to draw attention to the issue. Fortunately, the end of the film revealed that Crystal and Esther were saved by an NGO. Esther is currently in college studying to help former and current sex workers.

Jason Lee was present for the screening and held a Q&A session after the film. During this time, he told the audience that Crystal passed away about three months ago. Although they are unsure of the cause, they suspect suicide. When asked how people can help the cause, Lee advised men to think about how they treat women, and women to think about how they should be treated. He also encouraged everyone to go to www.savemyseoul.com and join the movement.

November Book Review: “Seraphina”

By Kate Hawthorne, Staff Writer

If you like the “Eragon” series by Christopher Paolini and “The Naming” by Alison Croggon, then you should read Rachel Hartman’s “Seraphina,” a young adult fantasy including magic, dragons – and autism.

Despite having made it onto the New York Times Best Seller list a few times, this book is not very well-known (which is truly a tragedy). For any fan of dragons, this is a must-read novel. However, Hartman also draws on the real world, specifically on the autism spectrum. One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is the fact that the dragons have characteristics similar to those of humans who fall on the autism spectrum: they work logically and are extremely bright in whichever field they choose (which, in this book, is most frequently music), yet they struggle with understanding  emotions. This has proven to be a very controversial topic among readers, some of whom view it as “an unflattering caricature” of those on the autism spectrum. Personally, I found this to be a wonderful way to include learning differences – a topic often left untouched – in fantasy literature. While the characteristics of the dragons cannot perfectly depict everyone’s experiences with autism, the autism spectrum is a wide one, encompassing diverse personalities and individuals.

In this novel, the protagonist, Seraphina, is a uniquely gifted musician who is drawn into the investigation of the murder of a member of the royal family of Goredd. The investigation shows the dangers that lie beneath the surface of the seeming peace between the humans and the dragons that hide in human form amongst them. Throughout the book, Seraphina must work hard to protect a secret that she keeps close to her chest while dealing with the strange visions that plague her sleep.

Ask Me Another Features Trivia, Celebrities, Music – and Haverford Students

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-In-Chief

How often do you see the inventor of the Choco Taco and the comedian who voices Gene Belcher in Bob’s Burgers on the same stage within minutes of each other? If you were at the recording of NPR’s game show Ask Me Another on Friday, Nov. 4, you saw just that – and much, much more.

The show featured Host Ophira Eisenberg, In-House Musician Jonathan Coulton and Puzzle Guru Art Chung and included a variety of short wordplay- and- trivia-based quizzes. Haverford College students chosen to participate answered questions that ranged from naming breakfast cereals (with a twist) to guessing the beach item described by Coulton to the tune of DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean.”

Though the show has been around since 2012, this episode was its first collegiate recording.

“Everybody in New York is ‘too cool for school,’” Coulton told The Bi-College News. He noted that it was nice to get out of the city and be reminded that the shows are not just live performances, but are also aired on national radio.

“It’s always really thrilling just to see that people come out and enjoy the show.”

And come out they did. An hour or so before the act began, a line was already forming in front of Marshall Auditorium.

It wasn’t just the contestants testing their smarts onstage. The hosts were up against a challenge of their own when they had to determine the identity of mystery guest Alan Drazen, inventor of the Choco Taco, by asking only yes or no questions. After they correctly guessed his identity, Drazen shared his experience with unlimited Choco Tacos for life and told the audience to look out for a new frozen treat, which will hit the aisles in 2018.

Minutes later, Eisenberg interviewed a second special guest: Eugene Mirman, the comedian who voices Gene in the television series Bob’s Burgers. He spoke about his latest album, a nine-volume work, which may not be exactly what you think. Although it includes stand-up comedy, Mirman emphasized that it also contains much more, like the sounds almost 200 orgasms and “over 45 minutes of crying.”

The experience was unlike that of most events at Haverford. Students see their fair share of comedy on campus, but the combination of trivia, interviews and music – not to mention the prospect of ending up on national radio – made this a unique experience.

There’s no telling if, or when, Haverford will get the chance to bring this kind of event to campus again. But, hey, at least we can look forward to that new ice cream novelty.


Peace, Justice and Human Rights Department Sponsors First “Ethics Lunch”

By Sophie Webb, Features Editor

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Haverford College hosted the very first Ethics Lunch, located in the Pendle Hill Room at Haverford’s Dining Center.

The lunch brought together a small group of bi-co community members, including students, professors, and faculty. The focus for the inaugural gathering was “the ethics of service and volunteerism.” Haverford student María Padrón ’19 and Executive Director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Eric Hartman, led the discussion, both beginning with a brief commentary on their personal expertise and experience.

The Ethics Lunch is an initiative created by Adam Rosenblatt, professor and Coordinator for the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Department at Haverford, that utilizes funds given to the college to “sponsor ethical engagement and leadership.” Rosenblatt explained that he was inspired to create the ethics lunch because he sees it as an opportunity for students and faculty to interact outside of the classroom environment. He believes that “there is not enough space for people to just talk to each other,” and through the ethics lunch, hopes to create a casual environment that will foster conversation.

Padrón spoke about her experiences during a ten-week summer internship at a residential care center in San Marcos, Nicaragua. She was quick to discuss some of the aspects of her internship that she felt were problematic, explaining that it took more than half of her time in Nicaragua before she felt like she knew the children and the community well enough to actually engage and be involved. She also talked about the more general difficulties of short-term volunteerism and how she sometimes felt unqualified to do anything useful.

Hartman followed Padrón and spoke more broadly about some of the issues that arise when students from elite and privileged colleges, such as Haverford, venture into the global community to do service or rights work. He explained the importance of helping students create opportunities in which they can engage with the world in the most effective and respectful ways possible.

After Padrón and Hartman spoke, the conversation was opened to the larger group, giving people the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences and reasons for attending the ethics lunch. The goal of the ethics lunch is for it to be a recurring event, so keep your eyes peeled for news of further gatherings.

November Madness: Preview of NCAA Men’s Soccer Regional

By Staff Writer Pat O’Shea

Who’s next? That is the very question that the Haverford men’s soccer team was asking after winning their second consecutive Centennial Conference title last Sunday.

Their question was answered this past Monday when the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament field of 64 teams was announced. Haverford was named a host for the fegional round for the second year in a row. Haverford will play against the US Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday at 11AM, and, if they win, will play the winner of the other game, UMass-Boston vs. Kean.

While the men’s soccer team was given the answer to who they are set to play, you may be wondering about the teams they have drawn in their regional. Let’s take a look at the other three teams in the regional and who I predict will come out on top this weekend.


In the first game, the Fords will face the Merchant Marine Mariners, hailing from the Skyline Conference. The Mariners finished 13-3-3 and 10-1 in their conference this season. Senior forward Gavin Yingling, who scored 20 goals on the season, and junior Jon Tarbox, who compiled 13 assists, led the team this season. The Haverford defense will undergo the tough task of containing these two when the teams square off on Saturday morning at 11AM.

Prediction: Haverford 2, USMMA 0. The Haverford defense has proved to be tough enough to stifle excellent offensive teams all season. Expect to see the Haverford offense come through in some big moments on Saturday.


In the second game on Saturday, the UMass-Boston Beacons, of the Little East Conference, face off against the Kean Cougars, who received an at-large bid out of the New Jersey Athletic Conference. UMass-Boston is currently ranked #15 in the nation, two spots behind #13 Haverford, and went 17-1-2 this season. Their lone loss this season was early on to Western Connecticut State, and they have since been on a tear. Look for UMass-Boston to attack Kean (14-5-1) early and often, led by the combination of Sophomore Mohamed Kenawy (16 goals) and Freshman Ocane Williamson (17 goals).

Prediction: UMass-Boston 4, Kean 1. The explosive offense of UMass-Boston will ultimately be too much for Kean to contend with.


If these predictions of Saturday’s action are true, Sunday’s match-up will be an incredible contest between #13 Haverford and #15 UMass-Boston. While UMass-Boston has demonstrated their offensive firepower, they have not been tested by the likes of the Fords. UMass-Boston has not played any ranked teams this season, while the Fords have played three ranked teams throughout the year. This potential regional championship game looks to be a fun game to watch with two elite offenses going head to head.

Prediction: Haverford 5, UMass-Boston 4 OT. There is a reason that UMass-Boston is ranked #15 in the nation, but ultimately I believe that Haverford has too much depth for the Beacons to overcome. Expect a high scoring affair at Historic Walton Field, which will not be decided within the 90 minutes of regulation.


Whichever team ends the weekend with two wins will then face the winner of the Rowan regional, consisting of Rowan, Lehman, Tufts, and Springfield.

Photos by Ethan Lyne

Grave Matters: Discovering Bryn Mawr’s History in the Graveyard Behind English House

By Rachel Hertzberg, Staff Writer

Bryn Mawr pulses with creation myths. Myths exist for a reasonthey offer explanation when we dont have the facts, or when we are interested in something more than just facts. There is the story of Rockefellers niece, on whose behalf John D. Rockefeller supposedly donated the money to build his namesake dorm. There is the story of Katherine Hepburn pioneering the tradition of skinny dipping in the cloisters, and the legends about the statue of Athena  in Thomas Great Hall. After a quick walk around campus, any visitor can tell that this is a place steeped in history, where the  traditions of the past continue to inform the present. The stories that students tell one another about our campus create a sense of continuity with past generations and codify our values.

Just beyond the edge of Bryn Mawrs campus, however, lies a fascinating site with few, if any, popular stories attached to it: The Harriton graveyard in Morris Woods, also known as the graveyard behind English House. At night, this graveyard can be found while stumbling over haphazard fallen logs and dry ravines, the grave markers looming shadows. On a bright autumn morning when golden light filters through the trees, the graveyard is a pleasant place to enjoy some solitude and a Halloween aesthetic. Although many students know of its location, few know about the burial grounds occupants and significance.

Around 1719, Richard Harrison, owner of the Harriton tobacco plantation (named for the Welsh town of Harriton), established a family burial ground. Harrison owned the 700 acres of farmland, and his property ended at what is now New Gulph Road. Harrison was the first person known to be buried in the graveyard, and after his death, the land was passed down to his son-in-law, Charles Thomson. Thomson was a little-known founding father,  secretary of the Continental Congress and designer of the United States seal, as well as a beekeeper, orchardist, and abolitionist. There are at least ten unmarked grave sites from the Harrison/Thomson period, including those of family members and other members of the local community. According to Quaker tradition, a stone was placed next to the spot where a body was buried, marking not the deceased, but the next available spot. This practice reflected the Quaker belief in equality and humility.

The most distinctive grave markers are those located at the back of the plot. They are Gothic-style tablets with carvings that resemble angels wings. These tablets do not belong to anyone in the Harrison or Thomson families; the Lower Merion Historical Society describes them as Strangers to the familybecause they mark the graves of a family whose surname is Cochran. Little is known about the Cochran family except that they must have had some claim to the land which allowed them to be buried there. Since the graves do have writing on them, the Cochrans were probably not Quakers.  

In the 19th century, a craze arose for grand public cemeteries, and Thomson and his wife Hannah were dug up and brought to the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, a resting place that seemed to better befit such distinguished citizens. Of course, considering the fact that  the Harriton graves were unmarked, and the transfer happened decades after the original burials, it is possible that the bodies resting under the obelisk in Laurel Hill  either are not the Thomsons, or include remains of multiple individuals. Macabre as this sounds, it reveals the obsession with death rituals that was common in the Victorian era, often referred to as a cult of mourning”. However, not all the deceased were afforded such convoluted rites. As a tobacco plantation, even a small-scale northern one, Harriton was also the home of enslaved people.

The grave markerslack of identification makes it difficult to know for sure how many slaves are buried here, but local historians believe that they would have been former house slaves, freed by Charles Thomson. It is disturbing that such a picturesque spot could be the resting place of slaves. Many people do not know that the Quakers didnt officially disavow slavery until 1758, and due to gradual emancipation laws, some people remained enslaved in Pennsylvania until the early nineteenth century. Although the Harriton slaves had no connection to Bryn Mawr College, their graves hint at the violent reality of this areas history, a reality that is often hidden behind the ideals of Quakerism and tolerance. The proximity of the graves to campus emphasizes the way that a legacy of racism has haunted Bryn Mawr throughout the colleges history.

As Charles and Hannah had no children, the property was inherited by the descendants of Hannahs brother Thomas Harrison. The 700 acres originally owned by the family were divided up and parceled out, both as inheritances and to be sold to developers. Through marriage, the property that included the graveyard came into the hands of the local Morris family, and then passed to the Vaux family. In the early twentieth century, George Vaux IX built a house for his family on his inherited land just on the border of the original property. This house remained in the family until 1958, when it was sold to Bryn Mawr College to be turned into English House. What is today Russian House was once the neighboring garage and apartment. The forested area called Morris Woods was also sold to Bryn Mawr College at this same time.

Trina Vaux, George Vaux IXs granddaughter, spent her childhood in what is today English House. She is now the current owner of the property that includes the graveyard. She recalls that students have always found their way to the cemetery.In fact, it was a popular destination and a favorite site of trysts back when her mother was a Bryn Mawr student in the 1930s. In the 1980s and 90s, Bryn Mawr students formed a coven of witches that met in the graveyard at the spring and fall equinox to read poetry. In later years the witches became an overtly feminist and political group, which did not go over well with some of the more traditional neighbors.  

Today, the graveyard offers a testament to the depth of history in this area, as well as a place for meditation and appreciating nature. After learning about the individuals who are buried there, and speaking with one of their descendants, Ive found it hard to visit without considering their stories. Knowing the history provides a more complete context for Bryn Mawr, but also a more complicated one. Those who are interested in local history might  like to visit the historic Harriton House, a fifteen-minute walk from campus.