Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good Things are Just Around the Corner

After last night's dinner at La Folie in San Francisco, I can honestly say that the feelings I have toward the ILC and my trip to Columbia this summer have intensified even more if that's possible. I woke up early in the morning excited for the long day for many reasons. Firstly, I was taking my driver license test and then heading to a fancy dinner after school! Unfortunately, I failed my test, but I think everything happens for a reason. 

I arrived at the BART station a few minutes before 5:10, rushing out of the car (thanks for putting all the clocks ahead four minutes, mom) and heading to the ticket area of the station with the sun on my back and a slight breeze on my face. Don gave us students explicit instructions on our short travels and once all the alums, parents, and students were together, we headed off to San Francisco. On the way over, I chatted with alums and parents like Peter, a '09 Dartmouth alum, Malcom a '13 alum of Columbia and 3-year student of the ILC, and Ms. Leung, Emily's mom. Each person I talked to was so friendly, insightful, and easy to talk to. I was treated like an adult by them, but it did not feel forced which was new for me to experience.
My dad and I

We took cabs to La Folie on Polk Street and were graciously directed to a beautiful banquet room. I was in good spirits and came with a good appetite, but that could not prepare me for the amazing time I would have at La Folie.

The lovely centerpiece I was lucky enough to take home.
During dinner, Mr. Ramsey, Michelle, Justin, Ms. Kronenberg, Malcom, and Miguel Castro ('00 Columbia alum) gave speeches on Columbia University, the ILC, and this opportunity overall. It was inspiring to listen to their personal experiences. Miguel even mentioned that his freshman orientation consisted of a yacht party and a masquerade! Also, the program's sponsors introduced themselves. They were all very genuine in congratulating us and I could tell that they have a lot of faith in the ILC as well as the Columbia program. Everyone spoke from their heart and it meant a lot to me that everyone in that room was happy that my opportunity in New York this summer is making a difference in the community. I was particularly inspired by Malcom because he comes from this area and is now going into med school! He was very humble and I feel that I could relate to him well since he was a WCCUSD graduate.

Beautiful decor in the room where we ate
At the restaurant, we were served a lot of AMAZING food, but the best part of dinner was talking to the alumni and benafactors. Everyone who was present was happy for the Columbia cohort and played a part in my scholarship. I spoke a lot with Mitch Flax, a class of '09 Columbia alum and current Googler, Ilana Somasunderam a class of '09 alumna and current Environmental Media Specialist in Golden Gate Park, and Mary Morris, an architect and sponsor for the program. I had a lot of questions and they were all happy to talk to me about Columbia and college-life. By the end of dinner I had  a lot of new friends and some pretty impressive business cards to put in my purse! 

On the ride back home, three emotions were going through my mind: tiredness, happiness, and fullness. I am excited for my trip this summer and I know everyone at the dinner is excited for the Columbia cohort as well. Although a crazy taxi driver is allowed to drive and I am not, I didn't mind so much at the end of the long day. I headed home with a heavy stomach and a light heart, grateful for new experiences, people, food, and memories.

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