Friday, May 30, 2014

Dinner at Kuleto's

Last night was the ILC dinner for my cohort, the UPenn group. The weather was perfect, but a little windy. The moms were wondering why they had bothered fixing their hair. We all met at BART at 5:15 and waited for our chaperone, John Hillyer to arrive.  On BART I sat next to Donna, one of the two other students who will be in the Physics Camp at UPenn, the same as me. I had never talked to her before.  She goes to Middle College, which I didn’t know about. We talked about the Clipper Cards Don had given us. I wondered how they could work, without a magnetic strip or bar code for the machine to read.  We couldn’t figure it out. (Later after I asked Don, and he said he didn’t know, he told me that I wasn’t allowed to take it apart. How did he know…?) 

Here I am talking to Donna Fang on BART
We got off BART at the Powell Street Station and walked past the cable cars to Union Square where the restaurant is, Kuleto’s.  Kuleto’s is a very nice place. We had a banquet room downstairs with mirrors and beautiful paintings on the walls.  Mr. Ramsey, from the School Board, put our name cards on the tables. I sat next to Beth Topor, who graduated from Penn in 1980 and now interviews students for Penn. She loves Penn. She talked about sitting on Locust Walk and seeing all the people go by, so many different types of people. She says one of the reasons she liked Penn was that it had such a casual, relaxed atmosphere—she said people would roll out of bed in the morning and throw on gym clothes, and just go to class like that.

Standing on Powell Street above the BART station

Talking with Beth at the dinner

A lot of people gave speeches, including Julia Mason, who will be in the Social Justice Program at Penn. She talked about the positive impact ILC has on the whole community, and how Julia Shebek, who was part of ILC last year, came back and started a drama club that performs in retirement homes.  I hope I’ll be able to make some kind of contribution from what I learn, too. Maybe teaching science to kids in interesting ways.

A man named Phil Schlein, a retired businessman who now owns a vineyard, told us all to do what we’re really passionate about, because when you’re passionate about something, chances are you’re really good at it, too.  I really believe that. He started as an engineer but his heart was never in it.  He also spoke about nature and how much he respects it and how much loves the old oak trees on his property—he names them and talks to them. One tree even gives him advice, he says! 

The food was really good!  We had hors d’oeuvres (beef and mushroom mini-skewers, salami and cheese canapés), then a romaine lettuce salad. Most people got the filet mignon, which was really tender and flavorful.  Dessert was Zabaglione (Italian cream) with strawberries.

We had no problems getting home on BART. Our train arrived at the platform at the same time we did. We all changed trains at 19th Street with no problem. The only hitch was at the very end. When we got off the train and piled onto the escalator, slowly descending, it suddenly STOPPED, throwing people forward.  Luckily no one was hurt, but the down escalator at the El Cerrito Plaza Station is now out of order.  I hope it wasn’t the ILC that broke it!

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