Thursday, June 1, 2017

There was Ranch on the Seat

The day Don has spent months talking about had finally arrived-- the ILC dinner. With nothing but finals on my mind, I could not have been more excited; however, little did I know that it would actually turn out to quite an enjoyable night.

My mother was going to be accompanying me that night, and so the two of us got ready and waited for the lovely Kendra to pick us up. We arrived at the BART station at around 5, and after greeting everyone I made my way towards more familiar faces. My cohort had introduced me to the alums they had been speaking to: Adrianne Ramsey and Hummd Ali Khan. Hummd? Yes, Hummd. That name rang a bell. A few seconds later, it clicked. It was the very Hummd that I went to Sunday School with once upon a time. We had not seen or spoken to each other in over 5 years. Seeing her all grown up to find out that not only was she an ILC alum, but is currently attending Cornell University was a lot to take in. She didn't recognize me at first, but within a few minutes she was just as taken back as I was. She decided that I was going to stick with her for the night, and I was perfectly fine with that. It was an interesting little reunion.

After waiting outside in the cold, Don handed us our clipper cards and we all headed towards into the BART train. Noor, Esmeralda, and I decided to stand, which was not necessarily the best idea considering we were all wearing heels, but oh well. We were then approached by Kevin Mendoza, who is currently a rising junior at Cornell as well. If I correctly recall, Kevin is a social policy major. He described how broad the major is and all the possible careers one can pursue with a social policy degree. Our conversation then drifted towards student life, and his personal experience throughout high school, college apps, and now over at Cornell. He genuinely enjoys Cornell emphasized to not stress too much about its location. It might be in the middle of nowhere, but it definitely is a wonderful school. 

We then spoke to Hummd, an IT major at Cornell about her experiences. After a little catching up she also emphasized to not worry too much about the location, as that was the initial thing that deterred here; however now she loves it. After all the conversation, we had finally made it to the city. We all followed Don towards Town Hall, located in the financial district. Once inside, we all got drinks, took a few photographs, and socialized for a bit before being seated. My cohort and I spent most of the time speaking with Alice Piniero, who was an alum of Brown. Coincidentally enough, she was a political science major and worked at a few law firms within her time. That being my field of interest, the conversation went on for quite some time.

Pineapple juice and politics
We had finally been seated and right when I sat down I knew there would be plenty of good conversation. I had been seated with Ms. Kronenberg, who I was already familiar with, Ms. Piniero, Esmeralda, as well as another Brown alum: Elizabeth Gonzalez. I absolutely loved her.

It was now time for the speeches! Ms. Kronenberg introduced everybody one by one. Bianche and Javaria both spoke beautifully, but as Don would prefer to say--they spoke from the heart. After the speeches, everyone was being served their appetizers and conversation continued. Esmeralda and I had many questions regarding Brown, and Elizabeth having graduated recently, was able to answer many of them. She had been incredibly easy to talk to, and was overall just a great person. The highlight of her college years had been Chicken Finger Fridays.  Jokes aside, she also talked to us about her high school and college experiences and gave us plenty of advice.

Speaking from the heart
The meals had finally arrived, and I was done eating within 15 minutes. After a long day, I was pretty hungry. Then came dessert, and shortly after--pictures! The students and alums all made their way outside into the very, very cold city air. We were all freezing except Don, Don was just fine. I think this is where the whole night became much more relaxed. We all huddled close together to stay warm for the duration outside, and the atmosphere had become much more laid back. As always, we took plenty of pictures and rushed inside for warmth. We made our way upstairs to some more pictures, said our goodbyes, and then called it a night.

Personally, I enjoyed the ride back much more. Sure I might have been exhausted, but just spending time with the other ILCers as well as Hummd who I hadn't seen in years, it was really refreshing. We both had physically changed so much but it felt as though we had been friends all along. I was expecting the BART to be relatively empty, but no, I was wrong. The heels left all of our feet exhausted but we stood for the time being. We made all sorts of plans to hang out before and after our trips and just caught up some more on things going on in our lives. Amidst all the conversation, a seat had finally become available, but the downside (there's always a downside)-- the seat had an actual pile of ranch on it. Was I surprised? Not really, it is BART after all. So I continued to stand, and next thing you know we were in El Cerrito all ready to go home. 

I ended up enjoying the night a lot more than I had initially thought. Maybe it was because I had been reunited with an old friend, maybe it was that the ILCers had become much closer than before, or maybe it was just the sugar from dessert, but I felt very refreshed after seeing new faces and new conversations. It definitely took my mind off finals, which as I am writing these very sentences am stressing over. I learned a lot of things that I really wouldn't have crossed my mind if it weren't for last night. The dinner was a success, and for that I am grateful.

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