Thursday, June 20, 2013

Moments Précieux

Since our shuttle ride from the airport, Rochelle has been wanting to visit a restaurant named Yolk. We finally went there this morning and she was like a kid in a candy shop. The restaurant featured egg-based foods such as omelettes and crepes. The portions were huge and no one could finish the plate! Rochelle took a lot of pictures and even though I thought it was funny that she loves eggs, I think it's cool that we've been able to appreciate even the little things.

To get rid of some of those calories, we walked to the train station. The train was pretty much empty and quiet. We arrived in Evanston and we were given cards to write our contact information and some pamphlets. The information session room was almost filled by the time we got there. An admissions officer and a Northwestern student gave us the PowerPoint presentation of what Northwestern has to offer. The admissions officer explained that Northwestern is comprised of six schools, one of them only for graduates. Everyone who applies must choose a school, but since it is a liberal arts college, it's extremely easy to switch majors! There's also a dual-major program that lets you earn two bachelors degrees in five years. The college has two beaches, one of them solely for Northwestern students. The student who spoke is graduating tomorrow! He majored in music playing the flute. 
The information session presentation
Six tour guides came in and introduced them after the presentation. They were really enthusiastic and we split up into groups outside. The good thing about having more available tour guides was that we got to talk to our guide more and the group was basically us ILC girls and two other students. Our guide, Carey, told us all about her different friend's achievements through Northwestern. One of her friends got an internship at the White House. He was later asked to take a twelve-year-old around Washington and it turns out his father was Rahm Manuel, the White House's former Chief of Staff. He was invited to dinner and later given a job of helping in Mr. Manuel's campaign for Mayor of Chicago. Of course, Mr. Manuel is now the mayor. There were also friends who had professors willing to skype them at midnight and friends who interned at Time Magazine. She pointed out different buildings and explained the rock tradition. Northwestern has this big rock covered in spray paint. Apparently it's so normal to paint the rock that the paint is six-inches thick. At this point, I thought that Northwestern and UChicago were very similar in the opportunities they give their students. The main differences are that you have to apply to a school at Northwestern and the locations are different. Both of them are top notch schools. The tour ended and it was time for lunch!
A library at Northwestern
The famous rock painted by a fraternity

Originally, we wanted to have lunch at Au Cheval, a restaurant that offers the country's best hamburger. Sadly, we were still full from breakfast and it would have taken us a total of three hours to get there. Our dinner was at seven too, so time restrained us from going. We decided to just buy some refreshments on campus and say goodbye to the brick buildings of Northwestern. In two of our train rides, we met people who claimed we were the first Asians they've ever seen in the area! Little did they know we were from California too.

A full cohort picture with our guide! 
Since there was a little bit of spare time, we got to shop a little. We visited Best Buy, Forever 21, TopShop, and H&M. A lot of the stores claim to have sales, but most of them are so high end that even their sales are expensive! We only found a few things, but most of us barely have room in our suitcases anyways! 

And finally the highlight of the day, dinner. We walked to Les Nomades where a Hercules High alumni, Stephanie, was already there with her friends. The ambiance was relaxing and elegant. It may sound silly, but it's true! We couldn't even use flash for photos because the atmosphere had to be preserved! A long rectangular table was set up for us and only three other small tables were in sight. The service was outstanding from the moment we set foot into the restaurant until our departure. They pulled our chairs, constantly cleaned the table, and explained every little thing about what we were eating. At first I sat next to Andrew, a rising senior majoring in biology, but I was later moved next to Montae, a rising senior in Sociology. I mostly talked to Montae about personal topics in relation to college. He's changed his major four times, but his family really wanted him to be a doctor. He was also admitted to Columbia, but he chose Northwestern because he thought the city life in New York was too overwhelming. I never thought about how much the location of a school may affect you. His roommate Veril sat across from me. She told us about the "landfill" which is a piece of land separating Lake Michigan from a lagoon. 

The menu offered an impressive selection of French food. I ordered lobster ravioli for my appetizer, arctic char for my main course, and an apple tart for dessert. With no doubt, this was the best restaurant I have ever been to. The chef also gave us complimentary Vietnamese spring rolls. They were the size of three stacked nickels, which didn't matter because they were still delicious. The main course was interesting because I had one pea, one carrot, and one of several different vegetables. No one has been able to get me to eat some of these vegetables on my own will, but I ate them this time! The fish had a crisp layer on the outside and the meat inside was moist! The tart was displayed beautifully over chocolate syrup and under fresh berries. The apple was sliced into paper thin pieces and the apple melted right into your mouth. I insisted that Montae try a piece and his response was "it tastes like angel tears" Tonight was filled with shared laughs, delicious food, and knowledge learned. Before we left, the chef came out to greet us too! We all wished that we could somehow meet again next year or after that, but all of the students were rising seniors. We say our good-byes and walked back to the hotel. 

I told myself  I'd avoid taking pictures of  food, but this tart and sorbet were irresistible!

While writing my blog, I met some people who spoke Portuguese. There was also live music playing in a room near the lobby. It reminded me of Pinole Valley's jazz band.  Today just reminded me of how precious every moment is. I mean, how many people are actually given the opportunity to dine with college admissions officers or learn interesting stories related to political leaders? I've met so many people and my three days in Chicago were phenomenal. Walking in Chicago was great because we got to do a lot of sight seeing and the bus rides were special because we were becoming closer to the places that may one day take us further than we ever imagined. It was mind boggling how great the food has been too. The chefs have me convinced that I've been eating art. Before heading off to bed, I need to start packing my bags because we're leaving for Ithaca tomorrow! Au revoir Chicago! Don't worry, we'll meet again. Our precious moments will become unforgettable memories from this point on.  

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