Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The First Dinner

"I'm proud of you." They were words that I had not heard in a long time, but they made a special night even better. 

Yesterday evening, my fellow Vanderbilt cohorts and I attended a dinner at One Market restaurant with our parents, Don, Mr. Ramsey, and several other important people. We were the first party to arrive, so we waited until everybody arrived before we took our seats in the room that was reserved for us. As we waited, we were served some hor d'ourves, but I was too nervous to eat anything. My anxiety only grew as more people began to arrive and the hall in which we had gathered slowly grew more crowded. What should I say? How should I act? I asked myself, as I accepted a glass of water from a tray a waiter had offered me. I sipped the water and felt my anxiety dissipate as the icy water went down my throat. The sudden coldness made me shiver.

Soon it came time to enter the dining area and we were ushered to our seats. As I sat down next to my father, I scanned the room. It was small, yet it maintained a sense of elegance. I noticed how crowded the room had become and aware of the fact that all these people were here for Hannah, Yessenia, Chris, and myself. I felt like a celebrity. 

We ordered our food and listened to various people speak while we ate our salads. Our table was very crowded, so I tried to prevent myself from knocking anything down and making any noise with my glass and silverware. In the end, I decided to wait until everyone was done speaking to finish my salad. 

Once everyone had finished speaking, I began to converse with the people sitting at my table. I much about them: where they went to school, what they majored in, their experience at school and in the real world. I also learned from Casey, who is a Vanderbilt alumni, that Vanderbilt's English department has very small classes. That instantly appealed to me because I like smaller, more intimate classes rather than huge, distant classes. She also answered the one question that has been hovering in my mind since I found out I was going to Nashville: how culturally diverse is Vanderbilt? I was worried about being the only Middle Eastern person at Vanderbilt, but Casey assured me that there are many culturally diverse people at Vanderbilt. 

All in all, it was a great night. I learned a lot about Vanderbilt and about the people who are sponsoring my trip. However, the highlight of the night for me was after the dinner, and after the BART ride. My father and I were in our car heading home. I asked him if he had fun and he replied with a smile, and slightly teary eyes. "I had fun watching you speak to them, you sounded like such an intelligent young woman." I smiled and thanked him, not sure if he meant his word. But then he reached over and grabbed my hand and said"I'm proud of you", and I knew then that he meant what he said. 

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