Hours after receiving his Bowdoin diploma in the spring of 1983, Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings boarded a flight to Swaziland, where he would spend the next two and a half years.
Born and raised in Boston, Hastings’ decision to attend Bowdoin was nothing out of the ordinary. After he was accepted, Hastings decided to defer for a year to continue working his summer job, selling vacuum cleaners door to door.
“I loved it, strange as that might sound,” said Hastings. “You get to meet a lot of different people.”
The New York Times on Susan Faludi’s desk was turned to the Business section, where a headline asked, “To address gender gap, is it enough to lean in?” The article—which featured a few of Faludi’s own annotations—referenced the fall-out from Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” the book that dominated the feminist news cycle over the summer.
Faludi—Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, celebrated feminist author, and visiting 2013-2014 Tallman Scholar—is not tired of talking about Sandberg’s controversial book.
“I’m of two minds,” she said. “I completely agree…that the absence of women at the top in corporate America is something that needs to be redressed.
When Robi Hutchinson left his job as a producer in Hollywood and moved home to Brunswick two years ago, he knew he had to find a good breakfast haunt.
"I got on the Internet and the only place that had any kind of ratings was Jen’s Place," he said. "This was the spot."
Jen’s Place is tucked inside a low one-level corrugated metal building on Brunswick’s Stanwood Street. It is neighbored by the Northern Chi Martial Arts Center, sidelined by the railroad tracks, and across the street from a fleet of lawnmowers parked on the grass outside of the Brunswick Home and Garden Shop. The restaurant serves breakfast seven days a week and opened its doors four years ago this month. It is frequented by Bowdoin students, but tucked just far enough from campus that most of them come via car or bike.
I arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, June 19, eleven days before the onset of nationwide protests that were to depose President Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. I moved into an apartment on 15 Bostan Street, a couple minutes walk from Tahrir Square. In true foreigner fashion, I found myself paying double-price for the taxi, dragging my suitcases into the lobby. Most apartment buildings in Cairo have a doorman—a bawab—and I spent our first conversation trying to explain that I was claustrophobic and was going to walk up eight flights of stairs to my apartment. He smiled and grabbed my suitcases as he stepped into the elevator. I started climbing.
The summer before, I had studied at Middlebury’s Arabic program with a friend who then recommended a language institute in Cairo. I took his advice, and this summer, I signed up for six weeks of an intensive language course and gave myself a week at the end to travel around the country.
In Egypt, like in every other Arabic-speaking country, people speak a local dialect of Arabic known as aamiyya. Aamiyya and fusha are like two languages that, while obviously related, are still noticeably different. I, like every other foreign language student, learned the latter—it is taught in schools, spoken in official capacities and used for all written Arabic. However, I soon learned that no one spoke it outside of a presidential address—ever. As I explored the streets near my apartment, I tried to pick up conversations with whoever was willing. Midway through one, the man I was speaking to paused, saying, “I can’t believe I’m speaking fusha right now”—obviously saying most of it in aamiyya. I was a Shakespearean character walking around twenty-first century London; all I was missing was the medieval outfit.