Today's blog is a full on joint effort. None of us could be bothered to write the entire thing so as we split up for the days activities, we split up for writing the blog. Enjoy the unique switches in writing styles!
I awoke in what my foggy, post-slumber brain perceived to be an impressively-decorated prison. Lying on what was more like an IKEA shelving unit than a bed (provided by the new love of my life, Scott from The Yellow Jackets), I looked to my right to see my unfortunate bedmate clinging onto the mattress for dear life, perilously close to falling four feet to the floor. If this trip has taught me anything, it is that sharing a bed with me is much like The Lion King; I, shamelessly, am Scar, and do not hesitate to sacrifice my beloved Mufasas/Suspensions in order to get few more inches of mattress. Hakuna Matat-ress.
After receiving the largest amount of sleep since the trip began (7.5 hours! Wow!), I scuttled down the archetypal dormitory hallways, covered in bulletin boards advertising things like 'FRAT RUSH' and 'YEARBOOK COMMITTEE' and 'OTHER THINGS I LEGITIMATELY CANNOT BELIEVE EXIST OUTSIDE OF THE AMERICAN PIE FRANCHISE'. As I stepped into the communal shower, I began quietly singing David Guetta's 'Titanium' under my breath in the hopes that I would become Anna Kendrick and fully live out the Pitch Perfect dream. Alas, a naked Brittany Snow did not appear and woo me into an a cappella group, but instead I was greeted by a girl staring at my feet, openly revolted by my lack of shower shoes.
My fears of contracting leprosy immediately subsided upon laying my eyes on the breakfast buffet. After bitterly scoffing at the $10 fee, I very un-bitterly scoffed everything in sight. There was a nacho bar, a porridge bar, a cereal bar, an omelette bar, a meat bar, a yoghurt bar (???), and despite eating as much as my waistband could hold, I stuffed my bag full of bagels and peanut butter sachets, and lived off buffet food for the rest of the day. The best $10 I ever spent.
NOW IGNORE EVERYTHING I JUST SAID; it soon became the weakest investment of the trip, as we ventured down to The Yellow Jackets gig where there was yet another buffet, but this one was FREE. My bloated fury quickly subsided upon listening to les garçons en jaune perform, as their energy was enough to make me forget about the existence of food entirely, which is no mean feat. After what must have been my eighth helping of food in 2 hours, I rolled myself into a patch of grass and lay in the sun in hopes that the calories I'd consumed would evaporate.
After we had the Yellow Jackets grace us with their very Treblemakers-esque performance- they even have their very own Bumper?!- some of us decided to explore more of the city of Rochester and headed down to Park Avenue- a really beautiful residential area. It was a relatively chilled out day but I'll quickly revisit some highlights:
An encounter with the Goddess of CVS make-up knowledge, also known as the woman behind El, Yaz and I in the queue who introduced herself as 'Oh honey that shade is all wrong, come with me', leading us to a long winded but honestly life changing conversation about spitting in cups to find your ancestry whilst we left 6 totally understanding suspensions outside waiting for 30 minutes!! (I should also note that they weren't bitter about this whatsoever and I feel so lucky to have such incredibly patient and non sarcastic friends in my life❤️) Quote from Lottie: 'No offence but we should go.' A tiger of few but effective words.
A trip to the frozen custard shop- which I personally like to call FroCuss- where we had a grand tournament of The Best of British slang, making our American hosts guess what phrases such as 'That is bare scran, but it looks minging. Peak.' and 'That geezer is an utter melt, I wanted to nosh on a lad tonight.' mean, making me finally realise how proud I am to come from such a beautiful dialect. Top quote: 'He put it in my mingmong'- El
Breaking into Eastman School of Music theatre hall (update: it's majestic!), and almost singing with the acoustics before quickly deciding we probably didn't want to bring even more attention to ourselves, as we were being dirty criminals.
My personal favourite activity: going to Harts where we actually found some food containing some kind of nutrition other than 'fat-free!'... I almost couldn't believe it. My jaw dropped to the floor as I began to suspect my contact lenses were defying me, but then a long awaited tear rolled down my hot cheeks as my nose sniffed out an actual fresh salad bar under a strong white light. As if that wasn't enough, I looked to the side to find a barrel of fresh soup. The gods of sweet, sweet vegan grub had come together to rescue my health. Day. Made.
Followed by a trip to a handmade candy shop where I ironically then bought a bag of sour balls expertly made with the one ingredient of most American food. Despite what the boys sing in their Stripper Medley, I've come to the conclusion I don't any longer want anyone to 'pour some sugar on me'.
Whilst the others headed to town, several of us decided to go to Ontario Beach Park, along with our baes, James and Kevin, from the YJs. The half hour uber ride proved very fruitful for the Benedict Piers Rowan Harwood flag count. In true British style, we stripped to our swimwear (boxers for some) upon arrival at the beach and ran straight into the cold water, while the small number of other people on the beach passed by in their winter coats (it was 17C).
We had fun splashing around, doing handstands, riding the enormous waves and Stanford rather fittingly found a KFC chicken wing in the sea! We took the obligatory ‘sea selfie’ and had some debate about what our combined group name should be- contenders were 'The Yellow Suspensions', 'The Brochester Suspackets', 'The Bristol Jackets' and 'The Brellow Jaspensions'.The lads had a game of Frisbee while Alice and I ‘sunbathed’ looking up at the perfectly blue sky. We had a wander along the pier before heading back to town.
With the two activity squads completing their chosen ventures (beach fun and town tedium respectively) it was time to begin preparation for the evening's festivities!
Whisking our way back to college town, Squad Beach were faced with a heart wrenching choice between Chipotle Mexican Grill and McDonald's for din-dins. Personally my willingness to try new things was defeated by my loyalty to the Big Mac, which was rewarded with an accidental doubling of my portions on their part. Score.
As for other exciting moments, Alice's happy meal contained an extremely informative book called 'Amelia Bedelia's first day at school', and it's safe to say that learning the value of education has been the pinnacle of our trip so far. Unfortunately we were all having so much McFun™ that half of us missed the bus and were forced to walk back to the campus. Subjected to an appalling three-person cover of Little Mix's 'Move', our trip was rescued by Alice's excitement at finally learning the rap section. The sunsets in Rochester are also great mood-improvers, and were well worth our effectively being two hours late for the 'pre-game'.
This little warm up party was blessed by another kitchen game of a cappella tennis, in which we traded songs with the incredible Rochester Yellow Jackets. Highlights included a personalised performance of the Stripper Medley for one of our hosts, Kamilah, and the boys in yellow borrowing both our beatboxers to absolutely smash a cover of Imagine Dragons' 'Believer'! With a satisfactory level of boom boom reached, we collected the two groups together for some more... fraternising...
It was finally time for the main event, one of the biggest highlights of tour: the frat party. We felt well prepared for what to expect, as we'd been told by some of the guys that what you see in the movies is actually pretty accurate. Red solo cups, beer pong and punch rooms (the alcoholic kind not the violent kind) were all expected, and boy oh boy the party did not disappoint!
We arrived outside the humongous frat house (apparently like 50 guys live there) and were met by a huge rabble of people waiting to get in. I defied my British queueing instincts and after a little bit of light pushing and shoving had made it nearer the front of the crowd, although not before hearing some unfamiliar British accents. I was drawn to these people via some magical Brit magnet, and it turns out that they were students at Bristol! After a lot of 'oh my God that's so weird!'ing, we were at the front door about to step foot inside.
It turns out these frat parties are full on logistical operations. Every frat guy has their role, including members of the cleaning team and the risk team! There was a guy on the door checking people's student IDs and for a second I panicked, thinking my dreams of frat party fun had been dashed. It turns out, though, that entry was for Rochester students only, plus the visiting a cappella group (us!!!). Woah, VIP access? I'll snobbily take it.
I walked in with my new Bristol friends (shout out to Georgia and Louise) and took a step back to admire what my life had become.
From here onwards, my mission to fool as many Americans with my half-passable American accent had begun. It turns out that speaking in a fake accent actually gives you another level of confidence in talking to strangers - I was no longer Dan from The Bristol Suspensions, I was Daan from Michigan. I was from the East side of Lake Ontario, about a 3 hour drive from Chicago. Sounds legit, right? Halfway through the night, however, I discovered that I had severely overestimated my trust in my knowledge of American geography. After checking a map, it turns out that Lake Ontario isn't even near Michigan, and it certainly isn't a 3 hour drive from Chicago. I would like to point out here that it wasn't any of the Americans that I spoke to that told me this, it was actually another of the Brits. Education systems 👍
Many different experiences were had by each suspension on this night. Raf and Matt spent a while in a bedroom playing some of the Americans our music, Kathryn was on a mission to wingman her apparent new best friend she met that night and help him find a boyfriend, whilst I spent the latter half of the night accidentally in a frat-guys only private sub-party. It was a knock on the door, get let in if you're a frat-brother situation, but for some reason I was accepted as one of their own. No word yet as to when my initiation will be, but I'm sure they'll get back to me soon?
This blog post can't forego a mention as to why the party was shut down at around 1:30am. In true British fashion, one member got a little too drunk, and in true American fashion, someone at the party called an Ambulance. Said member ended up spending a few hours in the hospital, but don't worry! Said member may have been rather drunk for a US college party, but it was standard level intoxication for a Brit. In our opinion, the ambulance ride and hospital trip was a hilarious overreaction and of course after checking they were OK (they weren't on their own!), it's now gone down as possibly the best thing that has happened on tour. We shut down a frat party because we went too hard, guys.
Take your guesses in the comment section as to who this member was!!
We all stumbled back to our respective sleeping quarters and most of us ended the night with food, before sleeping at the modest time of 3am.
We catch a bus to Ithaca tomorrow, where Cornell University is based! Whilst we're excited to journey on we're super bummed to be leaving the Yellowjackets 😢
The Benedict Piers Rowan Harwood Flag Count: 567