At 8:45 AM my alarm clock clicked on and soon I, too, clicked on.
I made my way to the bathroom, got ready, and awaited the arrival of Don Gosney. As he approached I thought to myself, "okay Matt, we're about to go over to the Claremont and meet the man who will make your summer dreams a reality."
We drove along Pinole Valley Road and up San Pablo Avenue to pick up a fellow ILC Yale cohort: Dyana So. From her house we made our trip across the freeway to Berkeley and finally to the Claremont.
My first impression of the Claremont Hotel and Resort was that it was a lot different on the inside from outside. From the outside it was like an old book, worn and old looking. However, on the inside that's where all the magic took place. It was my first time in an extravagant hotel such as the Claremont and each piece of furniture, each of the shiny items in the windows took my breath away.
Then we came to the place where we would be dining. I didn't expect that we would be given a gourmet buffet but nonetheless I wasn't disappointed either.
I followed Don to a breakfast line where a chef was preparing omelets and there I saw an Asian man along with what I assume to be a Caucasian lady. I soon found out that they were none other than Dr.Luong and his assistant and life long friend Jesse. We started to chat immediately with Dyana and I talking to Dr.Luong, Tom hadn't arrived yet. After about 10 or so minutes of this the rest of the gang arrived: Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, Ms. Kahn, Tom, Ms. Bulls, and Ms. Cohen.
We all went down to the table and we all sat down with Dr.Luong, Tom, Dyana, and I sitting in the middle so that we could enjoy conversations with one another. We talked for a bit, asking Dr.Luong about the program itself, some things about Yale, and we even learned a bit about himself.
We went up to get our food and continued to do more of the same. It was great hearing Dr. Luong talk to us about the program that we all so dearly wanted to get admitted into. He told us more specifics about the program, such as who spoke there, what we should expect, etc.
Soon Tom had to leave to attend a play, so it was just Dyana and I. We sort of switched the topic from Yale to more recreational activities, just friendly talk about sports, debate, and what we enjoy doing.
At about 1 o'clock Ms. Bulls had to leave and the rest of the gang, except for Don, Dyana, Dr. Luong, and I, soon followed. Then 3 more guests arrived Yohanna Pepa, and her parents. We exchanged salutations with them and Dr. Luong and Yohanna started to chit chat. Mrs.Pepa told Dyana and I about Yohanna's experience at Yale and what we should expect. After more conversations with everyone it was our turn to leave. We all exited the hotel as a group and said our goodbyes to one another as we turned towards our cars.
On the rainy car ride home, I thought to myself that this was a milestone in my life. I got to sit down with the director of the Grand Strategy program at Yale and exchange several conversations with him face to face. To answer Mr.Ramsey's question this brunch was extremely valuable to me. Now Dr.Luong knows who Tom, Dyana, and I are, we all know him. We got a chance to establish a good relationship that hopefully will last just as Yohanna's did. Now I firmly believe that all three of the ILC Yale candidates will get into this program, which was the point of the brunch, and the point of why we are all here.