Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend my first, and IESE's 18th annual Thanksgiving dinner. I had my reservations when I learnt that the tickets were a bit on the higher side than I expected, but eventually bowed down to peer pressure and bought one, so naturally my expectations were high.
We started at around 1830h, with a word of welcome from our Dean Jordi Canals, followed by a quick Thanksgiving prayer - and knowing that people from different countries and cultures were present, the priest was careful enough not to inadvertently hurt any feelings, so kept the prayer fairly generic. Not wanting to keep the guests (us) waiting too long, our MCs (one of which was fellow blogger Noelle!) got us started on some extremely delicious fare - soups, turkey, the works.
Not so fast. Just as we were about to start the main course, our MCs called for all the first year students, and asked for 3 volunteers to take part in the turkey carving competition. Not having carved a turkey ever, I busied myself by pointing at other people, only to hear "Ashwin.. get over here!" by none other than Noelle. So not only did I end up having my first Thanksgiving dinner, I also carved my very first turkey!!
The rest of the night passed in a blur, partly due to the wine and partly due to this heady feeling of being a part of a tradition, a community. I was stunned by the quality of the talent show, which was far from the amateurish acts I've been used to seeing at work - the skit, the poems, the music bands galore. The icing on the cake was without doubt the IESE Auction, where students, professors and staff offered their services, bearing in mind that all the proceeds of the auction would go to charity. Being my first IESE auction, I was ready with my 50 euro bill ready to donate money for a cause. But with items such as A hiking trip in the Pyrenees with our Decision Analysis professor going for close to 1000 euros, and a dinner organised by some of the loveliest first year girls fetching 4000 euros, I realised how completely out of league I was - we ended up collecting over 18000 euros in one night, and mind you, this was a bunch of MBA students heavily in debt! Hopefully by next year, I should have a job in hand in order to up my bid...
So I guess there's an ounce of truth in what they say - you never forget your first time!