Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Appetizer Before My Summer at Penn

About a month ago, I told my dad we would be dining at La Folie in San Fransisco and his jaw dropped to the floor. Since then, I looked forward to this dinner with intense excitement.  We arrived at the Bart station 15 minutes early, or for Ivy League standards, right on time.  We were soon joined by the rest of our group, and I finally got the chance to meet the other students that will become my travel companions in two short months. After a harrowing train ride, where I learned that riding Bart in heels is not as easy as people make it look, a windy walk, and a short cab ride we arrived at the restaurant. 

My appetizer
I know this is not a blog for food reviews, but I must take a moment to relay that the meal I had last night  consisted of some of the best food I have ever eaten.  Every dish was plated spectacularly and the look of the food was only topped by its taste.  Before our meal, we enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, my favorite being the mini bacon and cheese tarts.  Then came the amuse bouche, two bite-sized starters that set the tone for the meal perfectly. I chose a goat cheese tatin for my appetizer, the squab and mushroom stuffed quail for my entree, and the chocolate cake for dessert.  My life-long love for chocolate reached a whole new level when I bit into the cake and the hot chocolate filling gushed out.  Even my father, who worked in restaurants for 17 years, was rendered speechless by everything he ate.

Ms. Kronenberg gives her opening remarks.

Food aside, the speakers and social aspects of dinner were also very enjoyable.  Ms. Kronenberg welcomed us and I learned a little bit about each of my dinner companions as we all stood to introduce ourselves.  The dining room contained many fascinating people, including Penn alums,   ILC sponsors, district members, future Penn students who also did the ILC, the other students in my cohort and their family members.  After our welcome, Mr. Schlein, a Penn alum, spoke about the amazing opportunity ahead of us and his thoughts on the Ivy League Connection.  Next up were the two student speakers, David Barba for Physics, and my fellow Gaucho Chloe Alston for Social Justice.  Both shared their excitement and thanks for the great summer the ILC has provided for us, and I agreed with every word they spoke.  Alex Elms, a two-time ILCer and member of Penn Class of 2016 talked about his journey with the ILC.  His speech was rich with passion and it reminded me how lucky and honored I feel to be a part of this wonderful program.  Finally, Mr. Ramsey gave his closing remarks and we started to eat and talk amongst ourselves. 

At my table, I spoke to Beth, a Penn alum.  She shared her experience at Penn, where she transferred after two years at UMass Amherst, my older brother's school.  We talked about the different aspects to consider in choosing a college and the many things that make Penn a great school.  I also spoke with Dyana So, a past ILC participant and future Penn student.  She talked about her high school experience and the decision of joining Penn's incoming freshman class.  Alysa and I compared our different high schools and discovered that we have several years of trumpet playing in common.  

Mariko, Chloe, and I outside the restaurant
The dinner was delicious, the people were amazing, and meeting the students I will soon spend a month with was great.  Even though I already know Chloe and Mariko from school, I know it wont be long before I am just as close with Alysa, Cameron, Ivette, and David.  If this dinner was just the appetizer, my summer at Penn will have to be the greatest summer of my life. 

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