Thursday, June 12, 2014

Easing Fears at Chipotle

Our Vanderbilt cohort had a small function at Chipotle, to quell any last fears and to answer any questions regarding the trip. We started planning this at least a month in advance, and our chaperone, Mr. Mannix, suggested that we have this function after the end of the school year so we could focus on other concerns until then. I agreed with him, because I was worrying about standardized testing (I just finished my last one this week!). We decided on Chipotle due to the convenience it offered: it was close, it accommodated for dietary restrictions, and it was relaxed.

My brother and I were the first to arrive, which surprised me a bit. We had arrived ten minutes early, and I would have thought that one of the other four in the group (including the chaperone!) would be the type to arrive extra early. My brother and I sat down to wait for the others, and shortly after, Chiamaka inadvertently surprised me from behind when she said hi. I believe she was waiting in the car until she saw me walk in, so I think it would be fair to say that she arrived before me.

While we waited, my brother asked me to describe my cohort. I told him that we were four students and a chaperone, and it would only be this cohort at this function, as opposed to the entire ILC. I told him, "Our chaperone has a beard. You'll know it when you see him." Lo and behold, my brother saw Mr. Mannix before I did, though he was facing towards the outside while I had my back to the door. Mr. Mannix was greeting some recent graduates from his high school (since he's a teacher). 

After everyone arrived, Mr. Mannix told us what to expect from tonight. He outlined how we were to order our food, and he told us that the purpose of the function was to deal with any last minute questions or fears about our upcoming trip. While we waited in line, we made some small talk about various things, and a few of us cracked quite a few jokes. I do enjoy the company of these people, since they have a great sense of humor.

After ordering our food, we found seats outside. I suggested that we not stay inside, because it was noisy and I was not in the mood to shout all night long. We began to dig in; I ordered a steak burrito bowl. I had brown rice, black beans, corn, cheese, lettuce, and again, steak, in my bowl, topped with a healthy coating of hot sauce. Although Chipotle is a departure from traditional Mexican cuisine, I do enjoy it quite a bit. I also ordered a side of chips with guacamole. Just last week, I had made my own guacamole; it seems that Chipotle enjoys a much heavier dose of salt.

But I digress. Shanti tried to throw in as many questions as possible about the trip, such as was it a good idea to bring a neck rest for the flight. I had very few questions of my own, since I am accustomed to traveling, and I have participated in the ILC before. My brother also told Mr. Mannix that our family did not have any questions, since it is not the first time that I have traveled without them. While we ate, we also chitchatted about random things; at one point, we reflected on the ILC interview many months ago.

I enjoyed my time tonight. Although neither my brother (on behalf of my family) nor I had any questions, others had a handful. These people do make for good company, too. 

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