My afternoon started out fairly normal for a Tuesday and I was feeling a bit nervous about speaking in front of everyone at dinner tonight. Even so, I kept calm and figured that there was absolutely no reason to be nervous because I knew that everyone who was attending dinner was on my side already. Nonetheless, I had a jittery feeling throughout the day and was anxious for school to be over so that I could take BART over to San Francisco with the UPENN cohort.
Yesterday afternoon I bought an outfit that I felt would be appropriate for the ILC dinner and the fact that I felt comfortable in my ensemble gave me one less thing to fret over. I told my mom that we needed to be at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station at 5:00 PM so that we would have 15 minutes of leeway time in case we needed it. Turns out, we we arrived at the meeting site just after 5:00 PM and were greeted by Don and a few of the students and their parents. So far, the technicalities were settled smoothly.
While on BART, I had the chance to talk with Mariko's mom for a bit and listened to the conversation between she and my mom. I was not sitting close to anyone else in the group besides the two of them so I was not able to mingle with the others but instead Clara and I made funny faces at each other from across the train car. I was also trying to figure out what else I should say in my speech for, even though I tried not to be, I was still a little nervous.
After we had arrived at the Civic Center BART station and walked up a couple blocks, the slight challenge was to flag down enough taxis to drive us to the restaurant, La Folie. We split up into groups of four and I rode with my mom, Cameron, and Alex. Our cab driver was very entertaining with his great British accent and cab quizzes. In that short little ride I learned that there are approximately 1500 cabs running in San Francisco and a whopping 16,000 in New York! This made my home town of San Francisco seem relatively cozy and small. When we arrived at Polk and Green, I paid with money given to us by Don, and all was right until I forgot to get a receipt from the cab driver! This is something that Don had asked us specifically to do and I felt really bad about this silly mistake, but I promised never to do it again so Don nicely let me off this one time.
The restaurant itself was an elegant French place with beautiful paintings and cordial staff. Our large group assembled in a separate room for dinner, however we did not begin to eat for a little while. As the waitress explained to us in further detail the items on the menu, I was not sure whether to be adventurous or safe. I kept on feeling that I should order the most interesting dish because I knew I was not going to be back at La Folie any time soon. In the end I decided to keep it safe and order the salmon plate, knowing that it would be delicious anyway. When everyone's orders had finally arrived later on I had a feeling of regret for not ordering the quail, lamb, or beef dishes. While my salmon was indeed satisfying, I got to try a bit of my mom's quail dish and it was absolutely scrumptious. At that moment I really wished that I had ordered the same as her. As for my appetizer, I ordered the crab salad which was a bit different than what I am used to. My desert on the other hand was the strawberry and lemon-mint granite (I believe it was called), and this was an excellent way to finish off my courses. The strawberry sorbet was the perfect sweetness and I savored every last drop.
Despite the yummy food, I had a great time talking to the people at my table when I found a good place to jump into the conversation. I was seated next to Cameron so we naturally conversed more but I tried to listen in on the entertaining conversations around us when there was not a main speaker up front.
The speeches made were interesting and engaging and I appreciated the fact that some alums, sponsers, and future UPENN students took the time to come out to the dinner and speak to and with us. Rather than writing up a speech myself I used some talking points that I had previously thought about and spoke from the heart. I hope that my speech was as fun as I meant for it to be. I wanted to convey my excitement and joy in regard to this entire process and hopefully I was able to do so.
Overall, I had a wonderful night and felt ready to snuggle up in my warm bed back home. As we were taking the BART back to El Cerrito however, I caught sight of a friend of mine from school. We were both playing this long-term game with a bunch of other students and basically he was my target so I had to spray him with water in order to get him out. I just so happened to have a vase of flowers full of water so I tried to sneak towards him in the hope that he would not see me and try to run. On the way, I tripped over the woman's bag and almost fell myself! But, I saved my fall and surprised him with a water attack. Quite a fun way to end the night.