Dinner & Ping-Pong with the Fairchilds

30 minutes till everyone arrives and I'm scrambling to get our apartment cleaned. Despite being in our late twenties, we still are very much college-students in both heart and habit. Today is our 2nd Faculty Dinner and we are excited to open up our place for an evening with a small group of EMDC students and Professor Fairchild and his family.

Dinner would consist of a trio of eggplant parmesan, a basked zucchini, squash and mushroom penne, and a spaghetti bolognese. We paired that with a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette and baked garlic bread. I can't overstate the magnitude of our achievement in saying that we did not provide pizza for dinner. I have many skills, but hosting is not one of them.

The conversation was slow to start, as these conversations often are. But slowly a comfortable candor emerges. The walls start to drop and all types of interesting conversation start to pop around the room. Someone is talking about education opportunities in China and in a different room a group of students and faculty are brainstorming the challenges an AirBNB business based in Brazilian favelas would face. Our youngest guests, Professor Fairchild's two boys have commandeered the ping-pong table and are engaged in a vigorous game with 2 Darden SY students.

We remembered to take one picture with a few guests at the end of the night.
I wonder what our guests got out of the evening. In some ways, the event was chaotic and meandering. There was no set topic of discussion, no format or clear time frame. It was simply a dinner, drinks and a game. It's tempting to set an agenda for such a meeting; to delineate the bounds of the engagement. But for those of us who have sat in Professor Fairchild's Business in Ethics class, or have met for group dinners to discuss our readings, we know that valuable conversation doesn't follow an agenda. It is about setting up the moment, mixing together the ingredients (a diverse set of people) and then letting go.

I wish we had taken a few more pictures, but hopefully for those who attended, the evening was enjoyable. We genuinely regret that we have to cap such events and I want to use this space to sincerely apologize to those who we were unable to host. We try to keep the meetings small and will hope to have more in the future.

Thanks to all who attended and thanks especially to the Fairchilds for sharing their evening with us.

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