Friday, May 20, 2011

A Delicious and Entertaining Dinner in the City

Last night was the final dinner for this year’s Ivy League Connection group. It was finally Vanderbilt’s turn. As Julia Chang so nicely put it, “they saved the best for last.”

After meeting at BART, and reiterating the importance of punctuality, we embarked on our trip to San Francisco. It was interesting how we were all dressed up and fancy on BART. We got a lot of curious glances, but I just smiled.

Our group consisted of Ms. Yolanda Bulls, Don Gosney, Mr. Charles Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Mr. Don Ellis, Mr. Henry Ramsey, Mr. Herman Blackmon, and Ms. Linda Cohen, as well as we three Vandies and our parents. We reached Perbacco, where we met up with Vanderbilt alumni and School Board Trustee Ms. Elaine Meriweather.

I have never eaten at a fancy restaurant such as Perbacco. The most experience I’ve had with fancy feasts would be from watching shows on the Food Network. I brought a camera, not to take pictures of those who would attend the dinner, but to take pictures of the food. I knew that Don would be taking plenty of photos of the attendees anyway, so I didn’t feel too silly using my camera in order to preserve memories of food. My goodness, that food was delish. I was a bit wary of trying duck for the first time, and because I am a pollo-pescatarian, I could not eat the ribs. So, instead, I chose the vegetarian option which was a delectable dish called gnocchi, which is a sort of potato dumpling. Dessert was heavenly, or some members at the table called it “sinful”. It was an incredibly tasty, warm chocolate brownie/cake with meringue. I have decided to post the menu up on the blog so that I can finally stop describing the wonderful food to you readers, and focus on the actual importance of the event.
My image about how this whole event was going to play out was pretty incorrect. I thought I was going to be placed next to one or two adults at an extremely small table. I feared not being able to connect with my neighbor/s at the table, and worried about awkward silence. But boy, was I wrong. I sat next to two young and exciting alumni and my mother. I felt no awkwardness. We connected, and I learned so much from them.
I am really appreciative of those alumni. Out of the four that were at the restaurant with us, I had the opportunity to speak in depth to two of them. I discovered their experiences at the school, and how they made the best out of their college life. They informed me about their main decisions to choose Vanderbilt; since both of them were from the Midwest (Wisconsin and Illinois), I was interested in learning why they chose this school, and decided to go out of state.

Tyler Sanchez, a recent graduate, shared stories of his travels and work experiences while at college. I let him know that I wanted a school that offered a study abroad program, and he happily informed me that Vanderbilt has a great study abroad program. He talked about his experiences in London and how he could easily and affordably travel around Europe after classes. He talked about working in India and helping with sustainability and agriculture projects. With all this traveling, I was so shocked to learn that all of this did not affect his schedule at Vanderbilt or push back his planned graduation year. Tyler also pointed out how incredibly affordable Vanderbilt could be, thanks to scholarships. Both Tyler, and my neighbor John Tilsch, shared information on college life, and what they participated in while attending school. Though both John and Tyler had different experiences at Vanderbilt, both loved the school, and had a great time. I loved hearing about their varying experiences.
Because this is the first time the ILC is taking students to Vanderbilt, John and Tyler knew very little about the program. After doing my best to explain to them what the program is, what its intentions are, and how we got accepted into the program, I could tell that these two alumni were very interested in the ILC. They were impressed by all of us ILC members, and I hope that we all inspired them to continuously be involved in the Ivy League Connection.

Obviously, the Ivy League Connections is about connecting. We all came together and shared our memories, our experiences, our history, and our future. We’re all connected together one way or another, and if no connections are shared, new ones are created. This program grants us with countless opportunities. We get to meet new people and learn new information.

This evening was a night to remember. I had a fantastic time at the Vanderbilt dinner. I am extremely glad that this night was made possible. A blanket of thanks goes out to those who attended the dinner. Your time contribution is greatly appreciated. I hope we can all keep in touch and stay connected through the ILC.

1 comment:

  1. Aiyana,

    I have to respect your dietary regimen but at the same time I’m compelled to make you feel guilty for not trying the duck. It was REALLY good. (Isn’t duck a second cousin to the chicken? I mean, would it qualify under your pollo-pescatarian preferences?)

    Whether you had the duck or stuck with the vegetarian option we can all agree on that warm brownie thingy. That was awesome.

    Somehow, I just can’t imagine any of our Vanderbilt alums suffering from any awkward periods of silence even if you had been seated at a small table with strangers. We wouldn’t have selected you had that been the case.

    And from what I could see from my vantage point, all three of our Vandies were yakking it up pretty much nonstop with the alums. There seemed to be a lot of give and take between the young and the old here.

    You had the bonus of being seated close enough to two Vanderbilt alums and, as you wrote, heard multiple perspectives.

    We make sure that when we set up the seating arrangements that each of our ILCers is partnered up with a variety of adults that can provide them with insights they might not otherwise have access to. All too often, as we saw as we gathered waiting for the BART train and then again while on the BART train, our young cohorts tend to gather in their own group while the adults are left to gather amongst themselves. Unless forced to do so, we’re not sure any of you would voluntarily elect to walk up, introduce yourself to an adult stranger and initiate a conversation.

    I hope your mother enjoyed the evening as much as the rest of us did. She seemed to be soaking in what the others were saying.