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It was awesome. We both loved that about it. One thing that really surprised me on that trip Justin is gay, and very openly so. And we hadn't really thought a lot about that element in China, and I remember, concert after concert, after the concerts, all these girls would line up outside of his dressing room to say hi to him. I always thought that was sweet and cute, and I watched the way he navigated those conversations so beautifully, so openly, and with this huge smile on his face, like, "No, I'm actually married, but I'd love to go shopping with you guys if you wanna go tomorrow!

It was really kind of interesting to see the reaction I look at the lineage of American artists who have been at the heart of cultural diplomacy and I feel so proud of my country for what they've done to promote that and of the opportunities that I've had to follow in their footsteps. I think specifically about folks like Carmen Miranda or, of course, Louis Armstrong. The list goes on and on. Not just the work that they did as artists, but the results of that work. I see those results every day and that when I travel, I do feel like American culture is certainly up there as one of its greatest exports.

That is a huge gift, but it's also a big responsibility, to not just impose our style and our music but to really try to learn from the other style, the other countries, as much as possible. I think that's the most important part is the exchange. What I've learned the most in my travels is that it really isn't about the technical perfection, and it's not even about the Western classical standard. It's about truth and authenticity, and those moments of authenticity are the ones I think that pull at my heartstrings, anyway, more than anything else, and I've seen that certainly in folk music, in traditional music, in the courage that it might take a young artist or a non-trained artist to come forward and say, "I want to share this song with you," or, "I want to play this piece for you.

I think it really has made me rethink my own life. I had spent hours and hours and hours working on raising my soft palate in a certain way to get the perfect "aah" vowel, and a high note to fill an opera house. I realized at a certain point, "Okay, I can spend two or three hours today in the practice room doing that, or I could take those two or three hours and go into a disadvantaged community and just sing some songs," and it doesn't matter if the soft palate is perfect.

What's going to matter is the open heart and the connection. I would say even, to a step further, as much as I adore the craft of opera and still am enthralled by that magic that happens, I realized too that in order to connect with people, it's important to accept other styles of singing and I've now become very curious about other styles: pop, Broadway, I guess you could say more casual styles of singing, and have tried to grow my own vocal training in those ways, partially for curiosity, but mostly out of a desire to connect to people in a way that might be more authentic, and I really find that there's so much to be learned from artists that have done that from the beginning, certainly many of whom I've admired who are American, like Bob Dylan or Patti Smith, or I'll throw in a Canadian, Leonard Cohen.

For me, when I listen to their music, it's very much about connecting on a human level and it doesn't have any operatic elements. Having an openness about other ways of communicating is super important and I've learned to value that very much on my travels. One of the interesting things for me has been this journey that I've gotten to go on through the character of Carmen, and as I mentioned, it was my dream as a little girl to sing this role, and I used to steal my mother's skirts and put them on as a four or five year-old and I would dress one brother up as a bull and the other was a bullfighter and I would just run around playing Carmen.

When I got to do it, it was such a dream come true, but it's interesting because I think that that character sort of stayed as a vehicle for me in many other ways. More recently, I was doing a Carmen production, worked with a director, and he kept saying to me, [Spanish ]. He was a Spanish director, and I thought, "What is this word, 'duende? It's all about soul and authenticity and facing your fears and just giving it your whole body heart, everything that's in your guts, and putting it there on the stage. And this has led me into a whole nother area, but essentially the man who introduced this word, Spanish playwright Lorca, influenced Patti Smith very much, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan.

His fascination was folk music, and he said, "That's where you find it. You find it in the flamenco singer who's singing at AM at the bar. I've seen that duende, that Spanish word, all over the word now, and ultimately it's a human concept. It's not a Spanish one. So that's the thing, much more than opera or technical perfection, it's the duende. I've seen certain threads, and certainly more so in the last few years, some of which are very painful. I've seen in underserved communities consistently, and throughout the world, a lot of pain and a sense of hopelessness and lack of being heard.

It's an interesting juxtaposition because while I sense this and I've seen it, I also see that within those communities, there's such love and comradery and kinship but I'd say a general lack of faith in the system and institutions, and that can result certainly from my coming in as an outsider, in some trepidation, in some fear, and I can understand that from their perspective. Why would they want to come in here, a Western trained opera singer? That would make no sense. This is just a small, specific way of looking at a much bigger problem, which is how can we at large connect with communities that feel like they have been failed by the system, by government, by larger institutions?

And it's something I think about a lot, because again, my training is sort of, "I'm going to stand here and sing and you're going to listen, and there's times you're going to clap," and there's this structure. I think we need to break the structure, first and foremost, and it's not so much about having folks sit and listen, whether it's, again, to politicians or to an artist.

It's about a dialogue. It's about exchange, and first and foremost, it's about my role coming in and hopefully going to those communities and saying, "I want to listen to you. You matter. I want to learn from you. A lot of my colleagues do that, I've been trained to do that, and I have done it.

But I think I realized at a certain moment that I'm not really interested in what has been done before. I want to get out there and really use my life to make a difference in the world, and it sounds aspirational, but hopefully to make the world a better place. And I think the way that I can best do that with the skills I have right now is to help and facilitate these connections.

If I have the opportunity to go into a community, be it in the US or abroad, that is a lesser-served community, a lower income community, I come from a community like that. I understand that. It's my responsibility first and foremost to listen and to try to somehow create trust. Trust is not given. I often think of trust as a currency. There's no reason someone should come and hear me sing and there's trust and it's done. Why, because I have credentials of places I've sung? Trust is earned, and I think there's that thing that we can't quite put into words, but you feel when someone comes onstage or when someone goes into the room, and you feel an openness.

You feel like they care. For me, if I can use my position to go into the communities, to listen, to carry their stories with me, that's the work I can do to help, and I take that, first and foremost, as my biggest job, my biggest responsibility. I have a tremendous amount of hope in humanity.

At the end of the day, I think people are good, I think people want to be good. I see that, I see that every single day in people helping each other, people being willing to open their hearts, their homes, their resources to helping one another, and I've seen extraordinary examples of that, certainly first and foremost, on my travels as an arts envoy.

Countless, hundreds of instances where people in these remote communities where I've gotten to go and sing will give me literally the jewelry they're wearing, the scarf they have on. They'll try to give me these things as a token of thanks, which of course, I can't accept, but it's this point of generosity and ultimately of love. I think that that's the biggest thing is we have to remove the stigma, the taboo associated with that word, and start to think of that as the most powerful tool that we ultimately have as human beings.

I'm always really touched that it just seems like any time I've gotten to go anywhere, people are so excited and happy to host me or to meet me or to hear a concert, and I think there is an innate curiosity that exists abroad about a new experience, a new possibility, and that's what I mean about the hope. If we can encourage that and embody that more and live our lives more that way, that's powerful, and I never take that for granted. I think following up on that with conversations and just really trying to take that to the next level, I've stayed in touch with so many of the people that I've gotten to meet, seen many of them go off to college or have children, and been able to help many of them along the way also, and certainly, they've helped me grow as an artist.

That's really beautiful. I've also conversely seen instances that were really hard where I thought, "Hmm, I don't know if this is going to work out," and each and every single time, they've turned around, so I have a lot of hope in humanity. I talk about it all the time because, again, I think it's just the most special, important work I've gotten to do as an artist, and as much as it's brought me the most thought-provoking experiences and shaped what I do today and starting a not-for-profit because I wanted more experiences and I didn't want to always depend on the State Department, I wanted to enhance the work that y'all are doing, and find other ways to carry it forward in addition, too.

But on a very personal note, when I started my first trip in , just received my master's degree, and the truth is I was just starting to find my voice as a Mexican-Bulgarian-American. In all of these boxes that we're talking about now, I'd always check the "Other" box, and I didn't really know what my voice was. And over the course of these 14 years now, I feel like this experience is what's helped me not only to find my voice but to have the courage and the confidence to try to use my voice and use it loudly to explore these issues of identity and culture and to amplify the voices of so many who don't necessarily get heard, and really promote the positive social impact that I think all of us artists want to see in the world.

This would not have happened for me if it weren't for this opportunity, and I don't feel often like I've done much for others, I feel like the opportunity has done a lot for me, so I'm just incredibly grateful and feel a deep sense of commitment to spending the rest of my life working in the way that I have learned throughout my Arts Envoy experience. My name's Christopher Wurst, I'm the director of the Collaboratory. Our stories come from participants of US Government-funded international exchange programs. For more about ECA cultural and other programs, check out eca.

We also encourage you to subscribe to You can do so wherever you find your podcasts, leave us a review while you're at it, if you would be so kind, and we'd love to hear from you. You can write to us at ecacollaboratory state. Photos of each week's interviewee and complete episode transcripts can be found at our webpage, at eca. Special thanks this week to Carla for her time, her talent, and her passion to make this world a better place.

I did the interview and edited this segment. And the end credit music is "Two Pianos" by Tagirljus. Chris: A riddle for our listeners in other countries to ponder with this episode. What do you miss the most about America? Well, according to Alexey from Ukraine the answer is simple, Mexican food. Welcome, to our sixth bonus food episode. Remember, if you can't find Mexican, there's always jellied meat. Yeah, everyone when I came back to Ukraine, everyone asked me, "You ate a lot of hotdogs and not healthy food.

I didn't try even one hot dog. Chris: This week, missing Mexican food in America, the search for the best jollof rice, and tripping on the tongue of a goat. Join us on the journey around the world to tickle your taste buds. It's But e brought in a goat's head, and they had grilled the goat's tongue and goat eyeballs. They had fermented goat milk, which is a delicatessen liquor, but it's disgusting. Then, they had ginger beer. I tried all those. It's one of those moments where you really get pushed outside of your comfort zone, and you think "I'm not going to eat a goat's tongue.

This is below me, and I would never do this. So, if they can do it, I can do it. It wasn't that great, but you It's important to get outside of your comfort zone. I always say, "Half of traveling is finding out what you like. The other half is finding out what you don't like. It's part of their culture. It's very important to them. It's the way we cook hot dogs. If you went to one of them and probably said eat a, I don't want to pick on any company here, but "Eat an Oscar Mayer Wiener hot dog," they'd say, "No, it's bad plastic, get that thing away from me.

One really interesting thing about Jordan is that even though it is a small country, it actually has quite a diverse population. So there a number of Palestinians, or people of Palestinian heritage or origin, who live there as well and who came there in and afterwards. So, Palestinian cooking differs in some pretty fundamental ways from Jordanian cooking.

It was really neat to get exposure to Palestinian food as well. I also got exposure to Sudanese food through my students, and Iraqi food. Everybody hosted us. It was so, I mean, it was really incredible, especially with regards to the refugee families who hosted us. It was like folks were really, really struggling, I think, in their material circumstances, and yet they always made time and place for us, to serve us meals because that was such a key way of interacting with people or showing appreciation and stuff.

So, you better believe I was going to eat all that meat for a number of reasons. One of the foods, I think, that was most surprising to me was the Sudanese dish called asida. Asida translates as porridge. For weeks, my students would tell me about asida, "Teacher Grace, we're going to make you asida some day. I mean it's this traditional Sudanese dish. You're really going to love it. Porridge is so I'm thinking like oatmeal.

I don't know. This doesn't sound so very earth-shattering. So, towards the end of my time in Jordan, a couple of Sudanese families had us over and made asida for us. Porridge is just perhaps a misdirect or a mistranslation entirely. It's a meat. It's a meat and carb dish, but it was very It was really unusual and totally departed from what I thought it was going to be.

It was red meat of some kind, and kind of this thin sauce. Then the porridge part is this I mean, it's basically flour and water, and some other things in there, too. I really couldn't say, but it was by far one of the most perplexing dishes I had. I think one of the simpler dishes. Sudanese food is very different than Jordanian or Palestinian food, which takes hours and hours to prepare, and stuff like that. It's basically white rice that you cook within a, instead of water, you cook it in a spicy tomato stew, so the rice ends up being really this kind of rich, very spicy hot tomato stew.

For Nigerians, jollof rice is a go-to staple. You see it all the time. It's often a family Sunday dish. There's a very, very intense competition about who makes the best jollof rice, what is the real jollof rice. I'm doing air quotes for that. Also, many countries in West African have their own version of jollof rice. They all think that each other's is the worst and only theirs is the true best one. So, we spent some time in Ghana also, so they have their own jollof rice there that they think is the best. I don't mind going on the record here and saying that from my own personal perspective that I think Nigerian is the best one.

I always found it to be the most flavorful and spicy, which is, that's what I need. I need the heat in the jollof rice, and I found it in Nigeria. So, getting to learn about that was great. We had a friend of a friend was very excellent cook in Lagos, and we got her to come over one day and do a Nigerian cooking lesson. So I tried my hand at making jollof rice.

It turned out very well that time when I had the chef watching over my shoulder. I've tried to make it at home since then, and I feel like the texture is not quite right, so I'm still working on it. It's a learning process, but that was one. Now, I feel like I see jollof rice all the time now on Twitter, social media. It's a huge thing. That was a cultural insight that I wasn't really aware of before I went on this trip, but now I see that jollof is like this touchstone for It's like a key to unlocking a lot of West African culture.

Also, if you can go up to people on the street and tell them that their country's jollof is the best or the worst, depending on what kind of relationship you want to have with that person, then that's always an in. I remember one time I even went to I was in Ghana, and I was trying to go to get a visa to go to Togo next door. That we went into the Togolese Embassy, and some of the people working there were watching a cooking show on TV about jollof, and they were Togolese.

So, they have their own version of what it's supposed to look like, and the thing that was on the TV was Senegalese Jollof, which is like completely different. It has fish. It's a totally different thing. They were so shocked by what they were seeing and having this very heated conversation. I went in, and I was said, "You're watching the show about Jollof," and they're like "Yes, can you believe what you're seeing on this thing, it's crazy," and then I said something about how I prefer Nigerian Jollof, which then I thought they were going to reject my visa application because of that, but we ended up having a friendship in the end because of that.

That was really great. Whenever I come to the states it's all like Mexican breakfast, lunch, dinner. It's something that you cannot get in Ukraine. I've been trying Mexican restaurants here too many times and they're all dreadful. It's like it's food from the grocery store, it's bad, and it's too expensive.

I remember a time when a friend of mine, Serge, actually came to visit a couple of times, the guy that we co-founded the studio with. We ordered a couple of things. Suddenly, we had a table full of food. It was very delicious. It was awesome, and it was so cheap. I still recall that lunch. We could barely stand up. It was all great.

We could not stop, but also we could not continue. It was great. Whenever I come back to the States I love going to States for conferences and other stuff for a week or two, and yeah, it's Mexican. I remember I flew into New York in April last year for a training. My plane landed. They were like, "What do you want to eat? Also having a diversity in food. Whatever food you want to try, be it Afghan or Indian, or Thai, it's usually made by immigrants, who actually know how to do it, who are great at it.

I think they put a lot of passion into what they do. It's a very different experience. So, there wasn't too much that surprised me, but there is a special Oh, gosh, and now I'm forgetting what it's called. It's a special drink that's made out of smoked fruit. So it's like smoked apricots, and other dried fruits that are then soaked. The essence of them is derived into the water that they're soaked in and you drink that.

It's got a very, we would say in Russian [foreign language ] taste. It's very specific or strange. I really didn't like this. But when my husband came to visit me, I was like, "You got to try this, this drink. What do you think of this drink? So yeah, specific is the way to describe that particular beverage.

Other than that, no, nothing too crazy. I had been exposed to jellied meats and all manner of pickled meats and vegetables before I lived in Ukraine. So I was like, I had no cooking skills, but now I had to cook for 40 people. So I called my mom up and I was like, "What can I do? I had spent so much time, and I had a lot of help. I do remember, and finally coming out, I'm like "This isn't half bad. That's the first time that I've ever considered something like that because of the bacon and pork inside it. That's when I started thinking about other cultures more and getting a larger That was within the US.

So, something simple like that really opened my eyes. But I think my first moment of what they call a culture shock on exchange was my very first day. I was exhausted after around 48 hours of cumulative travel. I was getting my first doses of Indian mosquito bites, and the heat and the humidity.

I show up. I just come home from the airport with my host family, and it was lunchtime there. Back at home it was around AM. So I certainly was not hungry. But of course, my host family had taken me home. They were excited to show me the food, which is a huge part of Indian culture in my experience. So, we sat down to lunch. I just remember tasting my first bite and it being so incredibly spicy. It definitely was not used to the palette. Came to love it later on, but I remember sitting there, and in an Indian culture, where here in the US, we have a lot of direct communication, in India, it's very much indirect.

So, the communication style was very, very different on my first day. Certainly, hadn't gotten used to it. In India, it's customary, when you don't want more food to say [Foreign language ], which means the Hindi for enough. You have to be very, very firm with it. There's like a very specific way to do it. I, of course, was not so familiar with it, so I just was not able to express. All the food kept on coming, and I remember sitting there just trying new food after new food, and realizing wow, this is crazy, but also simultaneously, the greatest adventure I've ever taken on.

An initiative within the U. My name's Christopher Wurst. I'm the director of the Collaboratory. Code, the statute that created ECA. Our stories come from participants of U. We thank them for their stories and for their willingness to share and to try new things. For more about ECA exchanges, you can check out eca. For more about You can find the complete episode transcripts of every episode at our webpage, eca. Special thanks this week to everyone for trying new food and for sharing their stories about it. Featured music during this segment was Kentucky Oysters by George Russell.

The end credit music, as always, Two Pianos by Tagirljus. Until next time. As an orphan raised by her grandfather in rural South Africa, but pushed by her brilliant older brother, Lindiwe Matlali beat the odds and went to the best university in Africa. Now, as the leader of Teen Geeks, she is teaching the next generation to become tech-literate coders, simply by using knitting needles.

Her father, Sri, is a special invited guest and he talks about how her journey ended up being life-changing for him as well. It's one thing to hear stories from a year-old girl about her time in the Middle East living far away from home, immersing herself in Arabic lessons. That's sounds like a pretty typical Actually, my partner, I think had a marriage proposal in exchange for camels, but I didn't really experience any harassment of that sort, so I was lucky in that sense.

Join us on our journey from Huntsville, Alabama to Amman, Jordan, which is a long way for a father to send his year-old daughter. They are people very much like ourselves and I'm a current freshman student at Washington University in St. I studied abroad in Jordan three years ago and my dad and little sister took that opportunity for a one week trip to see a slice of the country I would be living in for six weeks.

I am a software engineer, but more importantly, I am the proud father of Meeno Bhooshanan. It was my first time traveling alone. At first, the first few weeks when school hadn't really kicked off yet, I remember being very, very homesick. I missed my family a lot and they also wanted to talk to me a lot because my mom was really worried about me being gone for six weeks without her. Little things like that, I found that to combat homesickness, I needed to speak to my parents less and I also needed to throw myself in my studies and as my bonds strengthened with my NSLI-Y peers and then later on with my host family.

At the end of the program, I definitely felt I didn't want to leave Jordan, so it was an interesting transformation over the six weeks. I was sorely disappointed, so when you came to us about filling your NSLI-Y application, your mom and I were cautiously supportive. We were a bit nervous about it, but didn't want to stand in the way of your accomplishment. Your mom and I had some discussions and the gist of it was that if we'd said no, we might regret it for the rest of our lives, and we figured since it was under the egest of the state department, you'd be okay. Quick geography lesson, Jordan is surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, countries that have seen their share of tumult, but we felt that this experience would ground you, not only as an American but as a citizen of the world.

The toughest part was not hearing from you for days on end. I remember mom once called you while you were in the middle of a presentation, and I guess the best part was when you did call. Although your calls were brief, they were a lifesaver for us. When you returned, and we asked you why you didn't call us, you said that in the beginning, you missed us so much that you didn't want us to hear you in that state.

I wasn't really sure if my gifts would work out, if there were kids. I was trying to buy generic things, so I had a little sister and two little brothers and a host mom. We were all living together and my host dad was in Dubai. On the first night, I remember that they had given us some berry juice and I spilled it on the carpet and I thought to myself, "Oh, my gosh. This is the first night. You completely messed this up. I'd be studying and they'd come and we take play breaks, but an image in my mind is every day when we'd be dropped off by the bus from school, I would see them in the apartment window watching us get down and waiting for us to come play after a long day at school.

That was definitely a fond memory of mine. I felt that people just hadn't met an Indian-American before. I think it was interesting maybe being their first face and I kind of was that for my host family. That was their first time hosting. It was interesting also talking to them about it, because years after I went, they continued hosting NSLI-Y kids and I think all of them have They've all come from diverse American backgrounds, Indian-American, Pakistani, and Mexican-Americans are different background.

It was interesting being people's first impression. It was being an ambassador for the U. It was like an international level of diplomacy and also a national level of diplomacy. As I reflect on that time, I can only say positive things about it. We had traveled together often as a family to various parts of the world, but this would be the first time you'd be traveling alone. You were only 15, so there was a definite trepidation about your safety in a foreign land, but on the flip side after you returned, you had gained confidence, a holistic world view which helped your journey into college and life in general.

There wasn't any English there and so I really did actually appreciate that, because I learned a lot of words from my host sister and she's very assertive. It was good to learn some new Arabic words from her. After you returned, one of your favorite words was khalas, which means enough or stop in Arabic. Every time we'd nag you to clean the room or come to dinner, your response was, "Khalas Ama," or, "Khalas Daddy. There was this falafel shop right across the street from class that we started going to after Ramadan. I would go there pretty much every day and I had my order down path and I wanted to tell them how much I loved their falafel sandwiches.

On the last day, I told them that, "You have the best falafels in all of Amman. It was interesting being Indian-American in Jordan in terms of most people looked at me and they didn't see an American. A lot of the times, it was actually a great conversation starter so people would ask me if I'm Indian or [foreign language ], "Are you from India?

A lot of people didn't know about Alabama. I remember speaking to one shopkeeper and I think he thought I was from California, because he was saying, "Oh, that's where the big movies are. Not so much in Alabama, but I explained it as we're near Florida and most people had heard of Disney World. That was what I used as a frame of reference. Where I'm from, I'm near Huntsville, Alabama.

I feel like in my familial interactions before NSLI-Y, it was kind of my parents doing the talking and I watch my dad make connections with people abroad and I always thought that was a very useful skill to have those people skills and connect with people, but I found myself putting myself out there and trying to just talk with everybody. I feel like those interactions, I was definitely I felt like I wish my parents were there to see it. You've kept in touch with your host family. You've been very active in high school and the Huntsville community.


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I've always said that life is about making relationships and maintaining the good ones and learning from the bad ones. These things are incalculable, but they count. You are also more in tune with foreign affairs and current events and you have continued to sharpen your Arabic skills in college. A few people have asked me, "Why you chose Arabic? It's one of the toughest to read, speak, or write.

If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. You make us proud each and every day as you navigate through life and I think your NSLI-Y experience was a catalyst for your growth into young adulthood. I felt more faith in my ability to form connections with human people through various things.

Even though at times it was kind of tough being the sole representative of Indian-Americans, I was still able to form meaningful connections and I tried to, I guess, dig something special or leave people with impressions. I think that was definitely the most profound. As a teenager finding the power of my voice, I definitely felt that that was a big thing that happened to me over that summer.

As a student, that was really the first time That was the most rigor I had focused on one subject. I feel like it's a lot of sentences at once and the classroom instruction in tandem with the everyday events was a lot for a high school student. Coming back, that really did change my work ethic and it made me really excited for college, especially seeing my NSLI-Y peers going on to college that year.

We didn't have the same anxiety when you went off to college at Washington University in St. Your flexibility and adaptability to new situations and generally making smart decisions, these skills had been honed during your time in Jordan and I know you roll your eyes when I say this, but I'm at an age where I reflect back on my sour days and someday you will look back at the NSLI-Y experience as one of the most formative ones. I'm certain of it. I remember going to Wadi Rum because it was The Martian was actually shot there, so it looks like this extraterrestrial landscape.

What really struck me is the lack of light pollution. At night, were also staying with a Bedouin tribe, and so the way they cook their food is under the earth and so they have these meats and different vegetables grilling. Louise decided to approach Brooke's school about the bullying: "But the moment I tried to do something about it, it got much worse. The school raised it with some of the parents but they insisted their children weren't bullies. Eventually the whole class turned against Brooke. Having had no luck with the school, Louise decided to tackle the issue herself in a bid to help her daughter.

Reading newspaper reports about bullying, she discovered that around 20 children per year under the age of 16 commit suicide because of bullying. She started questioning children and found that it was far more prevalent than she had thought. What the children told her made her realise that bullying is increasingly of an insidious, psychological nature, which is difficult for teachers to detect.

This is devastating because all children want to be accepted by their peer group. Louise recognises that this might just sound like the cruel behaviour all children occasionally inflict upon one another. Bullying is a prolonged campaign to cause distress and to deliberately undermine and isolate over a period of time. It's not just a tiff but a structured campaign as happened to my daughter. Louise decided to turn the children's experiences into dramatic monologues that can be acted out in schools with the aim of nipping incipient bullying in the bud.

The scripts, published in , highlight classroom situations that can lead to bullying. For example, one child might make up stories or say rude things about another to embarrass them; or a child might hide another's belongings. Sadly, the monologues were not published in time to help Brooke, who was bullied until she left the school at age Louise continued to send Brooke to the same school, even after she realised she was being bullied, because she did not believe the problem would be solved by running away from it.

Also, Brooke was studying for the entrance exam for her current school and Louise did not want to allow the bullies to ruin her daughter's future. But to Louise's delight Brooke's former prep school has bought the monologues.

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The scripts proved a hit and Louise started giving talks and researching the causes of bullying. Tips include developing a quick tongue, because bullies hate being humiliated. Louise's younger daughter Arabella is a quick-witted and fearless year-old who has never been bullied: "A girl asked Arabella why she didn't wear make-up. But you obviously do. Brooke, now 15, has learned to stand up for herself and is settled happily, though she still refuses to visit her old school. Louise believes that part of the reason that bullying is getting worse because children are fed bullies as role models: "Children see celebrities promoting a 'me' society in which you must demoralise and isolate other people in order to get ahead.

Deliberately humiliating people, vulgarity and lack of manners are seen as normal behaviour. These are all the wrong values. Louise teaches children that you can succeed without resorting to such behaviour, citing Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham as role models. But she disagrees with the theory that schools themselves are perpetuating the problem by bullying children into doing things under threat of punishment:. In fact, parents I speak to say bullying among children is rife because teachers have lost the ability to control the classes. They're not allowed to discipline the children, and pupils even bully and humiliate the teachers now.

With her total commitment to her cause, Louise is confident that she can achieve what she set out to do. Right before they have sex, Rachel says that she's not ready and that it would feel like she's betraying her team and "sleeping with the enemy. Finn also fibs and says that on his date with Santana he didn't have sex, although he really did.

This is the first episode of the series where Rachel doesn't really have much of a storyline. When Mercedes starves herself and gets hungry, she sees Rachel and Jesse St. James walk past together as a couple, Rachel as a cupcake. Rachel is also seen supporting Mercedes when she sings Beautiful and also with New Directions when they sing back up Home with April leading. After realizing she obtained the lowest score in the "Glist," -5, Rachel asks Artie and Puck to assist her in their Glee assignment, in order to achieve a "bad reputation" creating a video to Run Joey Run.

Unbeknownst to each of them until the video is completed, she also has Finn and Jesse triple-cast in the role of her boyfriend, Joey. They are offended to see they were all playing the same role and were edited in at different points during the video. Puck and Finn become angry, and Jesse breaks up with Rachel as a result. The episode closes with Rachel singing Total Eclipse of the Heart as the club members leave the classroom. She tells Will, complaining that she is doing most of the work, exhausting herself and getting ill in the process.

Will gathers the students and gives them a new task for the week - each Glee club member will have to do solos, and each must choose a song that best represents their feelings. Rachel then confronts the "lazy" glee members and insults them, leading her to sing The Climb , whose lyrics she claims to be about them.

But during the song she starts losing her voice, so she goes to the doctor's. Later, an examination is revealed that she suffers from tonsillitis and may need to have her tonsils removed. She is afraid to have the surgery fearing it will affect her voice and believing that her singing prowess is her only asset. Finn, who accompanies Rachel to her doctor's appointment, tries to convince her that he loves everything about her and that there's more to her than her voice. He tells her that if she lost her ability to sing then Jesse would no longer find her attractive. Rachel tells Finn that she still cares about Jesse and that he needs to move on.

To put her fear into perspective, Finn introduces her to his friend Sean, who was paralyzed from the upper chest down during a football game. At first, Rachel is nervous and overwhelmed by the meeting - but Finn forces her to stay as Sean tells her about his grueling experiences with his disability and how he realized that a person is not just one single thing. She then begins to understand why Finn brought her and thanks Sean as she leaves. Rachel eventually recovers her voice after taking the antibiotics her doctor prescribed.

She goes back to Sean's house to thank him again, and offers to give him singing lessons. They start singing One and the image and music switch between her duet with Sean and the rest of the Glee club's own rendition of the song in a stage rehearsal. The episode ends with a tearful Rachel holding Sean's hand while they sing the last lines. Rachel gets back together with Jesse and confides in him of her lifelong dream to discover the identity of her biological mother. While they are searching through boxes of records from her basement, Jesse takes a tape from his jacket and pretends that it came from a box.

The tape is labeled "From mother to daughter. Jesse later meets with Shelby in her car, where she reveals that she is Rachel's mother, but a contractual agreement prevents her from meeting with Rachel, instead Rachel having to find her herself. She implores Jesse to convince Rachel to listen to the tape, stating that not being able to meet Rachel is her one regret. Shelby sings I Dreamed a Dream on the tape, leading to a duet with Rachel singing in a fantasy sequence. Rachel finds out Shelby is her mother when she recognizes her voice after Shelby sings Funny Girl at Carmel High's auditorium while spying a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal.

Shelby later meets with Rachel and says they should "be grateful for one another from afar," saying she is Rachel's mother, but not her mom also stating that she regrets not meeting her after she was born.

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Later, however, Rachel asks Shelby to help make her a Lady GaGa costume and shows her the one that she put together and says it's from the childhood she never had. By the end of the episode, she asks Shelby to sing with her, and they sing Poker Face together, accompanied by Brad on the piano. Near the end of the episode, Jesse calls her asking to meet in the parking lot.

As she runs towards him, the rest of the Vocal Adrenaline members emerge from behind their Range Rovers and throw eggs at her. Jesse tells her he loved her and breaks the last egg on her forehead. The rest of New Directions are furious at them when they find out and respond by singing Give up the Funk in front of Vocal Adrenaline to make them afraid. Rachel, along with most of the club, lose all hope of even placing in Regionals after learning that Sue Sylvester is part of the panel of judges. Finn later confronts her and encourages her to be more motivating as co-captain of the team, but she interrupts him with a kiss.

Right before their opening song, Finn confesses his love for Rachel and this adds to the emotional depth of their duet, Faithfully. After performing a Journey medley, Rachel and New Directions are convinced that they will place or even win Regionals. Sadly, however, they end up coming in third despite the fact that Sue secretly voted them for first place.

Because of this, it is decided that New Directions will be disbanded as it was part of Mr. Schuester and Principal Figgins's deal to place at Regionals in order to keep the program. Rachel, along with the club, perform the number, To Sir, With Love , to show their appreciation for Mr. Schuester's devotion and to show that no matter what the judges said, they still won because they had him.

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Sue Sylvester sees their performance and later convinces Figgins to give the program another year. When Will gives them the good news, Rachel is ecstatic and wants to start rehearsing for next year's Sectionals. Will then performs Over the Rainbow and she is seen being affectionate with Finn, hinting that they are back together. Rachel and Sunshine have a sing-off to Telephone in the bathroom.

Finn accidentally blurts something that makes Rachel slightly annoyed. Later everybody gathers together and performs Empire State of Mind , where Rachel watches Sunshine Corazon , the Filipino exchange student, seem interested in the glee club's performance. From there she meets Sunshine again in the bathroom trying to convince her to join glee club, and when Sunshine starts to sing along to Telephone , Rachel sees her as competition and it turns into a bit of a showdown.

This is suddenly ended when Sue yells "Shut up! She is next seen talking to Mercedes and Kurt, trying to convince them to be slushied brutally by Azimio and Karofsky, after being paid by Rachel in front of Sunshine so she doesn't join glee club. They say no to her idea and she says she'll be nice, but instead tells Sunshine that the auditions were in a former crack house where they use Sunshine's sheet music as toilet paper.

Mike and Tina find out and tell Mr. Schue, and Rachel excuses herself saying that she loves them and doesn't want to break what they have. After recognizing she was wrong, Rachel apologizes to Sunshine and offers to buy her a new set of sheet music if she comes to the auditorium for a real audition, where Sunshine sings Listen. While listening, Rachel gets squirmish hearing how amazing Sunshine's voice is. When Sunshine is snatched up by Vocal Adrenaline , the glee club blames Rachel for Sunshine not choosing to stay.

Finn tells her that it would be best if she apologized to the glee club, and she agrees that she will, and reveals that she was rude to Sunshine because she loves her spotlight and didn't want to lose it. He says he is not mad at her and they both agree to never break up. We find out that Rachel has bad tooth hygiene so Carl cleans them.

The following day, she appears at school wearing an extremely inappropriate outfit, drawing all guys' attention to her. Santana congratulates her on finally dressing better. She soon gives up on her new image, realizing that's not her, and asks Finn to choose between her and the football team. Finn says that when he scores a touchdown, he will look to the crowd and point to her, which Rachel thinks is romantic. Still insecure, Rachel sends Quinn to ask him out, and is pleased when he turns her down.

At the end, she apologizes to Finn for giving him an ultimatum, and sings The Only Exception. Rachel tells Finn about how his belief in Jesus is affecting their relationship since she's Jewish. She asks him that when they have children, they raise them in the Jewish faith.

Finn agrees, so she lets Finn touch the sides of her breasts. Rachel and Finn sing Don't Go Breaking My Heart , after what she admits that she doesn't feel like a very nice person and that her relationship with Finn has inspired her to become a better person. She then decides that she and Finn should throw the competition and allow Sam to win in hopes that this will give him the confidence boost, as well as the increased confidence from his team members, needed to strengthen himself and the team. Therefore, Finn and Rachel spend the majority of the episode brainstorming on how to lose without being too obvious that they are trying to throw the competition and convince Sam to remain partners with Quinn.

Their duet, With You I'm Born Again , is met with overwhelmingly negative criticism thus costing them the competition exactly as they had hoped. Rachel then decides to talk with Kurt and tells him that they are more alike than he would believe. She then tells him she believes they will win Nationals because they have him on their team. The Rocky Horror Glee Show. After Mr. Schue reveals that the group will do The Rocky Horror Picture Show as the Spring Musical, Rachel is concerned about doing a show that has such a racy and adult premise, which Will assures her he'll edit.

Rachel then volunteers Finn and herself to play the main roles of "Brad" and "Janet. Rachel doesn't have much of a storyline in this episode. As always, she is seen in the Glee Club rehearsals and also in a flashback with Finn, and later getting ready for the mash-up competition with the girls. During Will's fantasy, Rachel is seen as a younger version of herself requesting that they honor Bernadette Peters with their Sectionals setlist.

After Will is off work, she tries to take over Glee Club, and asks everyone what songs they would like her to perform at Sectionals, leading to Santana trying to attack her. When Ms. Holliday comes to take over in Mr. Schue's absence, Rachel is opposed to the idea of free time and fun and wants to focus on preparing for the competition.

She goes to Mr. Schuester's and tells him what Ms. Holliday has been doing and how she is friends with Sue. Holliday comments that Rachel is a drag to her and asks her what song she would like to perform. Schue, Ms. Holliday and the rest of the club. Rachel convinces the glee girls to tell their boyfriends to make Karofsky back off Kurt. At the wedding, Rachel walks into when Finn is getting dressed and sees Santana in the room talking to him although she isn't aware of what they were talking about. Later, after Rachel gets Finn's mother's flowers, Finn gives a speech during which he reveals he and Rachel's nickname, "Finchel," and also mentions Puck and Rachel's nickname, which makes Rachel look slightly uncomfortable.

At the end they are seen dancing happily. When Kurt says he's leaving for Dalton Academy , the first thing she says is that he'll be competing against his friends. Rachel is outraged to find that Mr. Schuester has given the Sectionals ballad to Sam and Quinn who she calls Ken and Barbie and that Finn lied to her about having sex with Santana the previous year. She walks into Glee club with tape on her mouth, saying her talent is wasted there, getting Will to shout at her because of her immaturity.

After helping Kurt prepare the ballad Don't Cry for Me Argentina for his solo audition with the Warblers, she further supports him when both glee clubs meet at Sectionals. By the end of the episode, Rachel forgives Finn, but he breaks up with her for making out with Puck while they weren't speaking. A Very Glee Christmas. Rachel tries to get Finn back. Starting the episode, she asks Finn to meet her at the auditorium at the next day, to which he reluctantly agrees.

The following day, Rachel has made a winter wonderland from artificial trees, snow made by the AP Club and got the band together. When Finn gets there and realizes what she's trying to do, he turns her down and leaves. Later, when Sue Sylvester, dressed up as the "Grinch," destroys the glee club's Christmas tree and takes all the presents for the needy, Rachel approaches Finn and says that as co-captains they should do something about it. He takes her to go tree shopping for a new one.

When the song Last Christmas comes on Rachel, she says it's her favorite Christmas song and as they each go down different isles of trees, she starts singing and Finn joins in. At the end of the song they kiss, but Finn pulls back and says he still isn't ready to forgive her, resulting in they officially breaking up. After Sue is touched by the Glee club's song in the teacher's lounge, she gets the Glee kids to help Will celebrate Christmas, who otherwise would have spent it alone. While decorating the tree, Rachel offers Finn a tentative smile before looking away.

Finn then gives a small reluctant smile of his own as he watches her, hinting at forgiveness. The Sue Sylvester Shuffle. The glee club and the football team are forced to come together to perform at the half time show of the big football championship game. Rachel sings Need You Now with Puck to show the football players what they do in glee club. It is later revealed that Rachel only got Puck to sing the song to make Finn jealous. Rachel also gets the idea to join the football team when the jocks quit so that the team doesn't have to forfeit. The team wins the big game when the football team returns and play the rest of the time.

Silly Love Songs. When Finn sets up a kissing booth at McKinley in the hopes of getting Quinn to kiss him. Rachel reveals to Kurt and Mercedes, at a sleepover, that she plans to win Finn over at the kissing booth by paying him a dollar bill, forcing him to kiss her times and fall for her again. However, Mercedes tells her that she can be successful without a guy, and that she doesn't really need Finn. Still, Rachel presses on to go to the kissing booth, just with one dollar in hand. She tells Finn that she is over him, but when he kisses her on the cheek, she gets upset and admits she was lying.

Finn lets her know that he thinks she is the best person in the school and that just because they can't be together doesn't mean he doesn't believe in her. As a part of a plan to show that Quinn cheated on Sam with Finn, Santana kisses him, giving him mono. He becomes sick and Rachel takes care of him. Finn leads her to believe that she has no place with him, which he objects, but she tells him she has made up her mind. She sings Firework and moves on with the new belief in herself that she can be great with or without a guy.

Rachel gives Brittany money to dress like her, claiming she is done with relationships. Unexpectedly, the two end up laughing and remaining friends. She proposes to the club that they should perform original songs for Regionals. Nobody agrees, except Finn, who tells her he's happy to see the "old Rachel" back. Blame It on the Alcohol. Rachel is working on the song that she is writing for Regionals. Puck wants Rachel to have a party at her house over the weekend while her fathers are out of town, but her declines the offer and says that her dads left her at home because she is responsible.

Later, Rachel makes peace by hugging and him and saying that there shouldn't be any tension between them, before showing Finn the song she is working on: My Headband. During the song, however, Finn stops her and tactfully tells her the song is terrible. Rachel agrees and says that she needs to become a grown woman and "live," so she can write a good song. Because of this, Rachel decides to host a party at her house after all.

At first, she only wants everyone to have two wine coolers, but after noticing that people were starting to leave, she is persuaded by Puck to open her dads' liquor cabinet. Rachel and everyone else from New Directions , except for Finn gets drunk and starts acting wildly. Rachel starts hanging all over Finn and becomes a "needy-drunk. Rachel later calls Blaine and asks him on a date. He accepts, and their date is "lovely. At the school assembly, New Directions takes a shot of alcohol and during the song Tik Tok , Brittany throws up on Rachel, which causes Rachel to promise never to drinking again.

At the end of the episode, Rachel kisses Blaine sober to find out that there is zero chemistry. However, Rachel is happy that she was in a relationship with someone who turned out to be gay and decides to use this as her inspiration for her songwriting. Rachel is seen taking part in a celibacy club meeting with Quinn during which it's revealed that the last meeting was spent on Quinn being interviewed by Rachel on her relationship with Finn.

Unbeknownst to Emma, the song is about sex. Humiliated, Rachel confronts Emma who tells her that Afternoon Delight is about pie. Rachel then runs off the stage. Rachel is seen singing her original song to Finn, Only Child. Finn states that it is better than her previous one, but she still needs to access her deep pain and write a song about it.

Quinn is seen spying on them, worried over the fact that Finn might "stray away from her" because of Rachel's talent and the connection they've always had. She decides to make Rachel her best friend by keeping her "enemy" close. When the New Directions are deciding on what to sing at Regionals, Rachel again brings up the idea of writing original songs. Most of New Directions shoot her down, but Quinn supports her idea and offers to write a song with Rachel.

Rachel seems happy by this, oblivious to what Quinn's true motives are. In the hallway, Rachel overhears Quinn and Finn talking about their relationship, and later confronts Quinn in the auditorium. Quinn says she is in a relationship with Finn and that Rachel should give up on him. Rachel refuses, saying that it is not over between them. Quinn begins yelling at Rachel, and then the latter decides to write a song on her own. She later writes Get It Right , while crying. At Regionals, Finn tells Rachel "break a leg," and that he likes her song, to which she replies that the last time they were there he told her he loved her, and that he must listen to her song carefully "because she mean every word of it.

She thanks all of New Directions for supporting and trusting her. She believes Sunshine is a spy and tries to warn the rest of the Glee Club, but they don't listen to her because they need her to earn enough money to go to Nationals. Finn and Quinn can't handle Mercedes and her 'diva fit' so they appoint Rachel 'Head of Talent Relations' which Rachel eventually accepts.

When Mercedes refuses to go on during the Benefit Concert, Rachel goes after her and convinces her to come back and perform. Mercedes asks why Rachel is a bigger star than her, and Rachel tells her that all she cares about is being a star and she doesn't care if people like her. Rachel tells her that nothing could top that, so she won't go on.

Finn accidentally hits Rachel in the nose whilst dancing and he goes with her to the doctor. She is told that her nose is broken, but it is a "clean break" and there is an opportunity to get a nose job. Rachel looks puzzled, but also as if she is considering it. Later, she informs the New Directions that her nose is broken, but she is considering getting a nose job. On her next doctor's appointment, Quinn accompanies her and she encourages Rachel to have the procedure.

When Rachel informs the Glee Club that she is going to have the procedure, they say they have thought about it and they are all against it. Rachel argues, and then Finn says that Rachel is beautiful and shouldn't get the nose job. She looks touched, but then says that she is going through with it. Later on in the girl's restroom Puck comes in and tells her he doesn't want her to have the nose job and asks her to give him an hour of her day. The next day, Rachel and Puck are shown at the mall where they meet Kurt, who expresses his disinterest in the procedure and claims that they're there to have a "Barbravention.

When the rest of New Directions are about to perform "Born this Way," she comes in and tells them she cancelled her appointment and is not going to have the nose job. They support her and she later joins in on Born This Way where her shirt is revealed to say "Nose. Rachel is found asking Sam to prom, however he turns her down. She is up to her old tricks in trying to get Finn back, being the one who brings to Finn's attention the rumor about Quinn cheating on him with Sam. Her and Finn then go on a stakeout to try to find out exactly what Sam and Quinn are up to, but stumble upon Kurt and Sam hugging; the two jump to conclusions and a new rumor soon spreads.

They later go on another stakeout and this time spot Sam with Quinn. Later, Rachel sings Go Your Own Way to Finn in the choir room, which leads to Sam telling everyone about the rough time he's been having lately at home. Rachel goes with Finn to the motel once again and they meet Sam's little brother and sister. They give Sam back the guitar that he had to sell and encourage him to stay in New Directions, for himself and for the team.

Rachel joins in with the group number of Don't Stop and is seen dancing with Sam's siblings. Rachel comforts Mercedes when she leaves the choir room and tells her that she also doesn't have a date to the prom. However, she comes up with a plan, and they meet Sam in the auditorium and they tell him about their proposition.

They both tell him they want to go to the prom with him and that they'll loan him money to take them. In the following scene, Rachel is seen at the auditorium preparing where she sings Rolling in the Deep , during which a surprising moment comes when Jesse shows up and sings with her. Afterwards he tells Rachel that he is sorry for how he treated her and asks if she's doing anything for prom.

As a show of respect, she tells him to get a simple corsage for Quinn with green ribbon to match her eyes. Rachel, Mercedes, Sam and Jesse all meet up at Breadstix before the prom and discuss their expectations for the night. Rachel agrees with everything Jesse says, which might be a sign that she still likes Jesse. At the Prom, Rachel sings Jar of Hearts whilst sharing some very telling glances with Finn, who is on the floor dancing with Quinn.

After a punch is thrown, Finn and Jesse are both thrown out. Later, Rachel follows Quinn into the bathroom after Principal Figgins announces that Kurt is prom queen. Quinn is very angry and blames Rachel for everything that happened, saying that no-one voted for her because they all knew that Finn would rather be with Rachel before slapping her in the face, although she quickly apologizes. After that, Quinn reveals that she's terrified of the future, and Rachel tells her she is the prettiest girl in the school, but she is "much more than that.

Rachel is the only member of glee club who is happy with Jesse's return as New Directions' show choir consultant. When Will announces that he is planning on doing one group number and one duet, Finn states that he and Rachel should sing the duet, which causes Rachel to look touched, but still agrees with Jesse when he suggests they use Vocal Adrenaline's method of focusing the performance around their best member.

Rachel later encounters Finn in the hallway and asks him why he hadn't signed up to be the lead performer at Nationals. He says he's 'Lima good' but not 'New York good,' and she tries to prove him wrong attempting to convince him to sign up, without success. At the auditorium, Rachel says she's singing My Man for her audition.

Before the performance, Jesse asks her if she's singing this song about anyone in particular, but she responds 'no,' however while she is singing Finn is shown, showing that it is actually about him. Jesse is impressed by the song and that, along with the fact he wants to be her boyfriend again, leads him to tell her that her performance was simply brilliant.

Kurt was also visibly emotional after Rachel's performance and remarks "She may be difficult, but boy can she sing! Schuester that choosing Rachel as their lead would be the only way for them to beat Vocal Adrenaline at Nationals. During Jean Sylvester 's funeral, Rachel, along with the rest of the club, is found very touched by the ceremony.

She later joins the rest of the New Directions to sing Pure Imagination. After the funeral, Finn breaks up with Quinn because he is still in love with Rachel, since he has a special connection "tether" with her that he doesn't have with Quinn. At McKinley, Jesse goes to inform Rachel of her success and tells her that she means more than anything to him before kissing her. Unbeknownst to them, Finn walks in on them kissing holding a tulip, seeming that he was going to reveal his feelings to Rachel. In the end Rachel loses her spot as soloist when Will decides that they will all perform together as a group, but she doesn't seem upset by this option.

Rachel is seen remarking "I made it" after New York City has been shown. She purchases tickets for Cats for all the New Directions, before finding out that Cats has finished a long ago. Shortly after, New Directions are assigned to write two new original songs, but Puck and Quinn believe they should go outside and let New York write the songs for them.

Back at the hotel, the New Directions girls and Kurt are having a pillow fight while Rachel is writing an original song. She receives a text message from Finn asking her to meet him in Central Park and to 'dress up. Rachel musters up the courage to talk to her "if not for her, then for Kurt" and in doing so, receives praise from Patti as she was also in a show choir when she was in high school. She also makes Rachel promise her she will never give up, which Rachel does.

She then tells Rachel that Finn is 'cute. Near the end, Finn tries to kiss Rachel, but she tells him that she can't. She then walks away leaving Finn heartbroken. Rachel and Kurt singing For Good.


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The next morning, she is woken up by Kurt to go have " Breakfast at Tiffany's,. Kurt reveals that Blaine would also join them. Rachel, however, is worried about Finn, but Kurt tells Rachel to bring him along too. Rachel isn't able to decide on what to do, so Kurt pulls Rachel to the Gershwin theater where Wicked is playing. Together they sneak inside and perform 'For Good' from Wicked together. At Nationals, Rachel sees Sunshine in the bathroom after hearing her throwing up.

She comments on it, but Sunshine reveals she's nervous and doesn't understand why Rachel is so mean to her. Rachel reveals that she feels threatened by Sunshine's talent. Sunshine tells Rachel she wants to leave Vocal Adrenaline , that she wants her green card revoked and to return home. But Rachel tells her to perform since she has a gift.

Sunshine wonders on Rachel's sudden change of heart, and she answers that girls like them should stick together. Then she and Finn perform Pretending. After their performance, Finn kisses her, and the audience is silent. She pulls away shocked and nervous before jumping back into their next song. After their performance, Rachel wonders with the rest of New Directions if they lost. They see the top ten for the final round and they place at 12th, and she is upset like the rest of the group.

When she goes back to Ohio, she finds Finn in the library, where they discuss about next year and her plans for college. Finn says that graduation is still a year away leading to a kiss, after which she agrees to be his girlfriend again. The Purple Piano Project. Schuester as he explains his plans for recruiting new members: purple pianos. Kurt and Rachel go to Emma's office and explain to her their plans for the future.

Emma informs them that Juilliard doesn't have a Musical Theatre department, offering them something closer to home like Kent State. Later, we learn of Quinn's new 'bad girl' look and Rachel confronts her, pleading that they were once friends and that the Glee Club needs her back. In the cafeteria, Rachel is the one who encourages the other members of New Directions to stay true to Mr.

Schuester's assignment and begins to sing We Got the Beat. Later, when Sugar Motta walks into the choir room, Rachel appears to be slightly intimidated, but that expression later turns into shock as she begins to sing. Rachel then convinces Will to not let her join the Glee Club because she would ruin their chances at Nationals.

When they attend the mixer for NYADA, they are confronted by a group that act and dress in a way that is almost identical to them and who happen to be extremely talented, causing them to come to the realization that even though they are hot stuff at McKinley, outside they aren't even "stuff.

This culminates in one of the most touching emotional scenes between the two divas where Rachel claims Kurt makes her want to be his boyfriend. Kurt also shows a vulnerable side to him with regards to his talent that he sees Rachel as "one of a kind. They offer each other encouragement and swear to never, ever give up on their dreams. Kurt and Rachel pinkie swear to each other and then do the "gay high five. Rachel voices her concern about the musical and Will brings in Emma and Coach Beiste who will direct the play in Will's place along with a student director: Artie.

She then proceeds to practice for her audition before her mother and suggests she audition with the most challenging song for Maria, Somewhere. Rachel practices the number alongside Shelby as the scene changes to Rachel's audition. Later, Rachel and Finn discuss the future of their lives as Rachel assists Finn with changing a tire.

They share a kiss. Rachel goes up against Mercedes for the lead role of Maria in the school production of West Side Story. This begins when Emma, Coach Beiste, and Artie get her and Mercedes in for a call back audition because they couldn't decide between the two. Before her second audition, Finn gives Rachel a small pep talk.

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Emma tosses a coin to decide who auditions first. Rachel wins and decides for Mercedes go first. Afterwards, Finn tells her that she did amazing, however Rachel responds that Mercedes was better than her. Kurt confronts her on this topic and the two are left in a rather tough situation. Later, Rachel and Mercedes are called back into Emma's office in order to find out which one of them landed the lead in the musical; the final decision was for the two to share the part, but after Mercedes complains about having to share the spotlight with Rachel and quits, Rachel is given the lead role of Maria by default.

Shortly after, Finn meets Rachel at the lockers and she tells him how she got role, but only because Mercedes quit, and Finn urges her to drop running for Senior Class president against his brother. He also tells her that he's not sure who he'll vote for yet. Schuester leading. Rachel is very upset that Sue cut the funding for her musical. She is seen later sitting with Finn during new member Rory Flanagan 's audition , calling him "magical.

Finn invites Rachel over to his house, thinking about having sex, as he believes they are ready. She agrees, and after they have dinner, they begin to kiss in front of the fire. When she says she wants to have sex with Finn, he asks her why, and she tells him that she needs to prepare for her role as the sexually awakened Maria in West Side Story.

Finn is hurt by this and walks out. Rachel later calls an emergency meeting with the Glee girls to get advice about whether she should wait to sleep with Finn or not, in which she learns that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having sex with someone you truly love and if you would have no regrets. After their first performance of West Side Story, Rachel goes over to Finn's house, to find that he is deeply upset about Cooter Menkins , the OSU football recruiter because he did not like him. Rachel comforts Finn, telling him that they can find new dreams together. She apologizes for what she did earlier, saying that she wanted to have sex with him for all the wrong reasons.

However, she realized that she was ready to lose her virginity because she is in love with him, and they finally make love to each other. This finally makes their relationship sexual, and shows they love each other. Rachel is continuing her campaigning for Senior Class President, which is still upsetting Kurt, to the point where he refuses to talk to her.

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Knowing that her NYADA application is due very soon, she asks Shelby to sign a letter of recommendation that she already wrote for herself, to which she agrees. Shelby tells Rachel that she is proud of her, and that she definitely has a good chance of getting into the school, because of all of her credits and impressive resume. Rachel then asks Shelby to write her own version of the letter of recommendation for her as well.

After thinking about what Shelby said to her about having credits on her resume, Rachel decides to withdraw from the Class President elections. She apologizes to Kurt, telling him that she should have withdrawn as soon as she got the lead in the musical, and he forgives her, saying it was awfully difficult being mad at her. She pledges her vote to Kurt and promises that she will do whatever it takes so that he is elected.

I Kissed a Girl. Kurt tells her that he sort of wished he could cheat and stuff the ballot box so that he could win, but he admits that it would go against his morals to do so. Putting her worries aside for a bit, Rachel defends Santana in the hallway along with all of the other girls, when someone is bullying her after the commercial that outed her ran. At the student elections, Rachel supports Kurt the best she can and tells him that he can still win. However, when Kurt wins the election by more votes than possible, Rachel confesses to Finn that she is responsible.

He tells her that she has to step forward and come clean or otherwise Kurt will be suspended. She realizes that it is only the right thing for her to do, so she tells the truth about stuffing the ballot box in Kurt's favor, and in turn she receives a suspension on her permanent record and she is banned from competing at Sectionals. Rachel comes to collect her books from her locker when she runs into Quinn.

She tells Rachel about her plan to get Shelby fired, and Rachel replies that even though what Puck and Shelby are doing is wrong, he is of age and what she will be doing if she gets her fired and they take Beth away which will be detrimental to the little girl's life. Rachel is upset when she watches with New Directions during Sectionals and is shocked to see Harmony as their competition. When Quinn leaves during the Troubletones performance, she reminds Quinn that revealing Shelby and Puck's relationship is going to hurt Beth, but it is also up to her whether she going to go through with it.

Outside Principal Figgins' office, Quinn tells Rachel she didn't tell Figgins about the issue and asks Rachel what she thinks about Yale, saying she isn't as talented as her or Kurt, but wants to study Drama. Rachel offers her to help her with her application and she asks if they're friends to which Quinn replies, "Yeah, we kind of are. Seeing Santana alone while the other girls are pulled back into the group, Rachel walks up to Santana and walks her forward holding hands.

Extraordinary Merry Christmas. Rachel gives Finn a list of fifteen things she wants for Christmas, telling him he only has to get her five of the things. Rachel is extremely excited when Mr.