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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

A New Hobby

It would be an understatement to say that the transition from my stressful prep school to the Indonesian culture of santai saja (just relax) was (is) difficult. During our first month in Indonesia especially, our lives were pretty sedentary. Aside from our occasional bike ride or hike, most of our time was spent sitting- discussing, journaling, or just staring out with our rural homestay families. Though we now go to NGOs and have other daily activities, I still find that I have a lot more free time than I ever did in high school (especially since Indonesia has banned Netflix). To fill this time, I have taken up reading.

I started out a bit ambitious, beginning with Anna Karenina. It took me a while to finish the book, but since then I’ve been consistently reading and starting new books.  I bring my kindle everywhere with me because Indonesian events are notorious for starting late, so I always have entertainment. Inspired by this new hobby, I decided to make a list of all of the book passages I’ve highlighted while on Bridge Year. I don’t know if this final compilation will reveal any truths about my personality or how Bridge Year has “transformed” me, but I figured it would be fun to look back on nonetheless. Here are a few of them…


From A Visit from the Goon Squad  by Jennifer Egan

“Even smiling, there’s no hope for Marty’s face. But I’m worried he might think the same of me, so I don’t smile back.”

“One key ingredient of so-called experience is the delusional faith that it is unique and special, that those included in it are privileged and those excluded from it are missing out.”


From Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

“Sometimes he would rock her to sleep in his arms, and read her left to right and know everything he needed to know about the world. If it wasn’t written on her, it wasn’t important to him.”

“As with Father, there are only so many times that you can utter ‘it does not hurt” before it begins to hurt even more than the hurt. You become enlightened of the feeling of feeling hurt, which is worse, I am certain, than the existent hurt.”

“With writing, we have second chances.”

“When this map was made, I thought, you could live without knowing where you were not living.”


From Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

“‘We’re no better. What’s our excuse for not fighting?’

Our brilliant minds. With any luck, we can kill far more people by thinking over here than by fighting over there.’”