Welcome to the Admissions Intern 2011 summer blog!
First things first- let’s get some formalities out of the way.
My name is Julie Keresztes and I’m from Buffalo, New York. My last name is Hungarian and (according to ancestry.com) means "crusader." Despite the common misconceptions about Buffalo-that 1) our economy is in shambles, 2) we foster political scandal (ahem, Spitzer, ahem), 3) our population is fleeing the city and 4) we assassinated President McKinley-it’s actually a really wonderful place to grow up. We have, for example, invented the Buffalo style chicken wing, hosted the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, and paved the way for one of the world’s most dumbfounding (yet still grammatically correct) sentences, “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” We are the city of good neighbors. We have the country’s second largest free outdoor Shakespeare in the Park organization. We prefer the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. In fact, we pretend to hate Niagara Falls because it's so close to us and therefore "isn't a big deal." Ironically around 97% of us will end up getting our wedding portraits taken there. And you can trust me on this because I've been the photographer.
Growing up in Buffalo led me directly to Amherst. The “good neighbor” feel that a true Buffalonian is accustomed to is not so easily shaken once he or she decides to fly the nest. When I was 13 I visited Amherst with my family, originally bent on sending my older sister (who now lives in Uppsala, Sweden) to Amherst and planning on worrying about my college plans once I left the angst-ridden 8th grade. When people ask me why I ended up choosing Amherst, I can really only give them one answer. I chose Amherst out of instinct. I felt that I belonged there ( which is certainly saying something, seeing as 13 year olds rarely feel that they belong anywhere). All of the things that made Amherst great on paper was just icing on the cake. That day, standing at the top of Memorial Hill, I made a decision (an early decision, bahaha) that would change my life in ways I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
I’ll be a senior in the fall, majoring in European history and beginning work for my honors thesis on Holocaust atrocity photography. Throughout the course of this blog I’ll be sharing as many things about Amherst College and the Pioneer Valley as humanly possible. Let me paint you a brief analogy as to the nature of the area. The Pioneer Valley is comparable with a candy bar. A gooey, succulent, chocolate candy bar filled with salted caramel and nougat. The Pioneer Valley is the chocolate. The town of Amherst, the caramel. Amherst College, the nougaty center. Apart from making your sweet tooth ache I also aim to make more tangible the extent to which this place has influenced my college experience.
The town of Amherst hosts some of the most friendly, warm and intellectually engaged people I have ever met. Many such folks can be found at Rao’s Coffee House, where I spend my Sundays during the year doing reading, writing papers, or the occasional mad lib. Apart from having scrumptious iced vanilla lattes (apparently Rao's has an abnormally high bean:portion ratio which makes the coffee particularly strong and dense), Rao’s attracts the kind of people you see in romantic comedy movies but secretly hope to meet in real life. You know, the ones who have the power to change a life after one encounter. Before going abroad to Paris I remember having a conversation with an elderly man who told me that if I choose to study anywhere it has to be Paris. Paris is addictive, he said. It will change your life. And clearly, exemplified by the authentic red Parisian beret hanging on my bedroom door, I listened to him.
This past weekend the town of Amherst hosted the annual Taste of Amherst, where various restaurants set up food and drink stands on the town green and sell samples from their general menu in smaller portions for a few dollars. Taste of Amherst for college students is like the World Series for baseball fans. We get pretty into it. I, for example, hovered by the House of Teriyaki stand because *fun fact* Amherst has really awesome Korean food. Actually, the Amherst area has some of the best food I've ever tasted. Chez Albert, Black Sheep, Amanouz Cafe, Osaka, Mi Tierra, to name a few, will rock your world.
I'm off to download the rest of LCD Soundsystem's entire discography. Assalamu alaikum!