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Story by Nicholas Lua, Features Editor | Photo credit to Eun Jung Min
Upon entering, I notice the stylized city skyline, done in artistic green tape on the white suite walls. The tape forms Marina Bay Sands on one wall, extends around the room and across doors, even, to form what I suspect is the Eiffel Tower on the opposite side. Jamie Buitelaar ’18 offers me a jar of her homemade chocolate cookie butter: thick, rich-smelling and delicious. In quick succession, she introduces me to the suite’s soft toys. The pink suite alpaca, Flynn the gender fluid bear, and Penny and Gwen. “These are the lesbian penguins: Penny and Gwen. Penny-Gwen, get it?” she says.
But where’s the jigsaw puzzle? It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to feature Cendana #18-502 in this – the last installment of The Octant’s suite profiles. A couple of months ago, Spandana Bhattacharya ’17 cut short one of our coffee dates because she had to finish a jigsaw puzzle with her suite. “If I don’t get back on time, they’ll kick me out,” she said.
Three other personalities share the space with Jamie: Anya Evtushenko ’17, Jessica Lee ’18 and Spandana. As Evtushenko is spending her semester abroad at Yale University, Jamie, Spandana and Jessica currently live here. In the last installment this semester of our suite profiles, The Octant talks to Jamie about alcohol, stilettos, jigsaw puzzles and other elements of her suite life. Excerpts from the interview follow:
How did you guys come together as a suite?
Well, Jess and I were really slow on the uptake for the room draw last year, and we wanted to room together. We were neighbors last year [in RC4]. (laughs) So we had each other and no suite! We were thinking of putting together for a random draw but the same thing happened to Anya and Spandana. And of course someone had to mention: “Aren’t there four-man suites in the new buildings?” We did a deal, the four of us. We liked each other pretty solidly, but I didn’t know Anya or Spandana super well, and then we all ended up in the same suite. I guess we’re really lucky ’cause we get along really well. It could have been terrible, but it was great! (laughs)
What’s everyone like?
We’re all pretty different people, I’m not sure if you saw our names on the door. Anya’s was on there too, before it fell down. We’re each represented as one of the four seasons. My name has daisies on it. Jess has a beach. Spandana’s got red leaves, and Anya’s winter with the frozen trees. Funny thing is, the personalities all make sense and match the seasons, except that I should be autumn and Spandana should be spring. When she comes home into the suite, she’s like, “Hi, sweeties!” She’s always so bubbly.
We don’t have a boss, we get along nicely. There are three people! You don’t need anyone to keep anyone in line. We care for each other in different kinds of ways. Spandana will do the cool mom thing, like mention some guy, and she’ll go, “Oh, who is this? Who’s this guy?” It’s so cute. When you set Spandana free on the suite, the stuff that comes out of her mouth is quite impressive. Not because it’s bad or insulting, but the most random stuff. And she makes Jess laugh like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Jess did a tea party with us once, but she’s a badass. In one word, she’s a badass. She’s funny and gives great advice. If you need real talk, or no-holds-barred advice, she’s the one. She’ll give it to you like it is. If Spandana’s a cocktail, then Jess is a shot—a straight-up shot. I love getting to be privy to all that, you know? I don’t know where I fall on the alcohol spectrum though, maybe a glass of wine (laughs).
So where’s the jigsaw puzzle?
Oh my god, that puzzle! Yeah, we finished it, it’s Jess’ puzzle. One of our friends gave it to her for her birthday. It was one of those 1500-piece jigsaw puzzles. Massive, irritating, with pieces the size of your fingernail. We’re all in the suite, staring at like 30 pieces that all have the same color because they’re all part of the sky. It sounds horrible but it’s actually the most fun thing, ’cause all of you are pissed at the same thing together, it’s great.
What’s the character of your suite?
So, some suites are like party suites, where they have a lot of people in the suite because they’ll throw a party and everyone will all show. We’re not a party suite, we don’t need to—we have Adrian [Stymne ’17] upstairs, we can just walk up [when he hosts a party]. Adrian has a standing invitation to us for every single party, if his music comes down through the floor and we’re not invited… We’re always invited.
We’re more the dance party suite. There was this once, we had a stiletto dance party and it would be the weirdest thing to come in… the three of us just, like, in pajamas and stilettos and dancing! (laughs)
Our suite has people who come in and out. There are some people who show up regularly like Wei Jie [Koh Wei Jie ’17] and Liz [Elizabeth Thai ’17]. If you were to come in and see some random people in our suite, not a single person in this suite would be surprised.