Sep 6th, 2017, 04:37 PM

Tattoos of AUP: Volume II

By Elizabeth Nguyen Son
Image credit: Savannah Hunter
"I got this tattoo partially because I was itching to get a new one..."

Name: Camila Villegas
Age: 21
Country: Colombia
Number of tattoos: one

"My tattoo is a small outline of a star in black. It is on the outside of my wrist on the side where the pinky finger is. The reason I got the tattoo is that one of my best friend Joe died in a car accident in October 2014. He had a star tattoo on his shoulder and he would always tell me to live life through the five points of a star: be kind, be generous, spread love, smile and laugh. After having a very uplifting conversation with his best friend from home, I decided to get this tattoo and he thought it would be a really nice idea. The day I went to get it, both my mom and my grandmother got the same tattoo to show their support for me. I got the tattoo at a small tattoo parlor in Medellin, Colombia, over spring break in 2015. I have not necessarily considered getting new, specific tattoos, although if another thing in my life matters as much to me, I would not be opposed to getting one. The next place I would get a tattoo would either be on my ribs or at the back of my neck."

Image credit: Camila Villegas

Name: Savannah Hunter
Age: 19
Country: United States
Number of tattoos: two

"On my upper right shoulder blade, I have the Scorpio constellation with the quote “What is coming is better than what is gone”. It was my first tattoo and I wanted it to be something I knew I’d always love. I had just graduated high school the day before and was impatient. Multiple of my family members have tattoos and are constantly worried about whether any of my body modifications will have a negative lasting impression on me. When I was younger I received “The Daring Book for Girls” which contained a section on constellations. It immediately sparked my interest into space, stars, horoscopes and more. As I got older and started finding out more about myself, I grew increasingly more interested into horoscopes. I know not everyone believes them, nor do I believe everything they say, but in a moment of feeling lost about who I am, it is nice to have something to remind me. As for the quote underneath, it’s just a mantra that I have had for a while to remind me that even though the difficult times are here right now, they won’t last. I got this tattoo right around the corner from my home in Mississippi in May of 2016. My mother and I were so worried about telling my grandparents, primarily my grandfather about it, that we did not tell them for almost a month. We went to China and Hong Kong in June so one night, bored in our hotel room, I sent them a picture saying “I got a tattoo while I was here! They said sterile, but maybe they meant me and not the needle? We’ll see!” They didn’t find it as funny as I did.

Image credit: Savannah Hunter

On my right arm, I have a rose tattoo. I got this tattoo partially because I was itching to get a new one and partially because it was something to commemorate my big move. I know a lot of AUP students have hopped from coast to coast, country to country and are more well-travelled than I am, but in my 19 years, I have lived in six states and now two countries. That is more than most people in Mississippi can say, for sure. Despite the state-hopping, I have always been close to my family in some way. The most time that I have spent apart are my summers in Trinidad or at Girl Scout camps. The rose is the official flower of America. Most people would love to denounce their American citizenship or hide that that is where they are from, especially because of the recent election, but it is my home. It holds a lot of memory for me so I wanted to eternalize a part of my life onto me. Despite that geographic correlation, it is a matching tattoo that I have with my grandmother and mother. These two women raised me into the woman that I am today. They mean the world to me and I would love to feel connected to them no matter where I am. I got it in the same tattoo shop as the last tattoo. This time, I got it six days before I moved to Paris, so August 26, 2016. I guess I have gotten into the habit of getting tattoos near big events for me.

Image credit: Savannah Hunter

I consider getting new tattoos all the time. I have two ideas currently, both about flowers on my arm. My first one, the one I’m more likely to get next, is of Larkspur (the flower of July). It’d be for my cousin, Alex, who died in May of 2015. His birthday is in late-July and I’d love to permanently memorialize him in the form of art. My next idea is to start a quarter-sleeve of flowers on my right arm. Each flower would represent a different place I lived (e.g. Magnolia for Mississippi, Iris for France, Orange Blossom for Florida and so on)."

Image credit: Rebecca Simor

Name: Rebecca Simor
Age: 20
Country: United States
Number of tattoos: one

"My tattoo is a quote: “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur”, on the inner side of my left wrist. I have overcome many personal battles in my life that have taken me to a breaking point, yet every time that I have felt that I’ve reached rock bottom, I have found the strength to keep going. I’m very hard on myself, constantly setting unrealistic expectations, that I tend to forget to remind myself of my own potential and the challenges I have already overcome. In my Firstbridge course at AUP, we learned “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” as the motto of Paris, a Latin phrase translating to “Tossed by the waves, but doesn't sink”, which instantly resonated with me. I found myself doodling it on my the margins of my notebook.


Image credit: Rebecca Simor

After the attacks, I was taking a walk around République, clearing my head and paying respects for the victims when “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” caught my attention as it was spray-painted into a mural dedicated to the solidarity of the city. I was planning to accompany my friend Lena to get her first tattoo the following day (coordinates to remind her of her time in Paris) and impulsively decided to permanently remind myself that while I have been tossed by the waves, I will not sink. We got our tattoos on November 16, 2015 on Rue Saint Denis in the 2ème arrondissement. For my body, I believe tattoos should have a significant meaning; a reminder of adversity I have overcome, people or places that have had an impact on me, or a pursuit in progress. So that is to be continued..."