Atlanta Trip

Hey, sports fans, sorry I haven’t been blogging lately. I am sick! More about that later, but first, let me tell you about the fabulous time we had in the ATL.

Our plane was supposed to leave Friday morning at 6 am. Due to the possibility of bad weather, our flight was cancelled the night before. We managed to get on a 5:20 flight through Charlotte. So, we were supposed to get to Atlanta at 7:30, it was 11:30 before we made it to our hotel. Christopher missed a bunch of the morning introductory in-office activities, but I think he caught up later. I took a quick shower and ate lunch at noon with 2 b-school wives (one from Duke, and one from Chicago), and 3 Bain spouses (2 women, 1 man). We had a great time. Everyone I met the entire weekend was so nice and fun to be with. And the food… don’t even get me started. The lunch was at a trendy Buckhead restaurant in the same plaza as the Bain offices, which are on the 24th and 25th floors of the amazing Terminus tower. After lunch we took the elevator up and walked around the offices. Everything was very sleek and trendy, one of the wives even called the offices “sexy”. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so there wasn’t much of a view. Floor-to-ceiling windows surrounded the entire office, so I’m excited to see the view on a sunny day.

After our little tour we headed back to the hotel and I took a nap. Christopher came in a few hours later and joined me. There weren’t any king beds available when we checked in, so we ended up with two doubles. We had the option to switch later, but we decided to stay in the room with two beds, and it worked out great! We love having our own beds! The hotel, by the way, was incredible. We stayed at the Intercontinental just down the street from the Terminus building. It was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in, with gorgeous furniture, a luxurious bathroom, and fancy French soaps. The hotel restaurant is one of the top ten hotel restaurants in the world. We also got to see the famous boxer Floyd Mayweather and his entourage. He was staying in the hotel for a big fight, and we passed him in the lobby a few times.

After our nap, we got dressed and met everyone in the lobby where a stretch SUV limo awaited us. The driver took us to the Murer Art Gallery, where we had dinner with the Bain partners. Both dinners were three-hour affairs, starting with drinks and cocktails, followed by a gourmet sit-down dinner. The food was incredible; the kind of meal you see in a magazine. We really enjoyed the evening, and at our table were two partners and their wives. Both had children; one, a young manager, had 18-month-old twins, and the other, an established partner, had two kids in college. They were both exceptionally friendly and their wives helped me understand the lifestyle of a consulting family. Bain seems very conscious of making sure that their consultants maintain a work-life balance, making time for their families and other activities while working a very rigorous and demanding job.

Saturday we headed to the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games facility, where we got to race go-karts and play arcade games. Despite being a very intelligent and high-performance group, I must say that the Bain people know how to have fun. We had a blast go-karting with fellow b-schoolers, their SO’s (significant others) and Bain consultants.

After another afternoon nap (yeah, it was a great weekend), we headed out to dinner, in the limo again. We ate at the Horseradish Grill, an upscale Southern restaurant. After more drinks and appetizers, we sat down to fried green tomatoes, the best fried okra I’ve ever had, more Southern veggies, trout, chicken, and Kentucky oatmeal spice cake. We sat next to several Bain couples, one with two small children, one with three small children, and one without kids yet. They were great to talk with. At the other end of the table were the couple from the U. of Chicago b-school, who also happen to be LDS. There were 9 offerees in attendance: three from Darden, three from Duke, two from Harvard, and one from Chicago. Many had already accepted Bain or made their minds up, but some people, like the other Mormon guy, had other great offers. We tried to convince Scott and Caroline to join us at Bain, but he had offers from the other two firms in the “big three” (BCG & McKinsey), so who knows where they’ll go.

After dinner we had the option of attending a comedy club where a guy from SNL was performing from 11 pm to 1 am. It was well past my bedtime, even on an evening when I wasn’t fighting a nasty cold (yeah, I was sick all weekend), so we opted out. As two Harvard, one Chicago, and two Duke students and their SO’s exited the limo, they were encouraging the third Duke girl to join them, but she decided to go back to the hotel. We looked around, and she was surrounded by five people– three Darden students and their SO’s! Apparently, Dardenites don’t appreciate a late-night comedy club, and would rather go to bed.

Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and took a cab to church. We decided to attend the Atlanta ward at an LDS church building near the airport. Wow. First, the church was in the hood. And I’m not talking about a pansy Utah hood or even the Long Beach hood. This was the heart of the ATL. But walking into this church building was like an oasis. It felt so nice and peaceful inside. We made it just in time to take the Sacrament and find some seats on the front row. The first thing that struck me was the racial makeup of the ward. It was about 2/3 black. The bishop was black (think Catholic priest, but with a gorgeous wife and two beautiful little boys), the stake president (think Catholic bishop) was black, the high priest group leader was black. It was fabulous. And then, since it happened to be ward conference, all the leaders spoke.

I have not felt the spirit so strongly in sacrament meeting in a while. These men spoke plainly and powerfully about the need for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening in our homes. They challenged us to work together with members of other faiths to do good in the community. They complimented the youth on their steadfastness. “These kids are going to seminary. They are praying. They want to go to college,” the stake president said. The meeting was so charged, and the spirit was so strong, I was holding my breath waiting for an “Amen!” Now, for those of you who aren’t Mormon, our meetings are generally quite solemn, with reverent singing, speakers, and prayer. We don’t even applaud after musical numbers. But, for those lucky enough to attend an LDS service in the deep South, with a good number of black people in the congregation, you can often hear some good ole verbal worship.

We got to hear again from the stake president during Sunday school, where he talked simply again about the parts of a testimony. But I think the best part of the day was during the last ten minutes, when the stake president invited the group of adults only to ask “any question that might be bothering them.” An older lady started a rousing discussion about women wearing pants to church. Apparently, the church handbook says nothing about a church dress code other than women should dress “modestly and reverently.” Some young professional black women talked about how they liked to wear suits with pants to church and the older women were arguing with them about how that’s blasphemy because of Deuteronomy 22:5. In the end, the stake president told everyone that we should welcome everyone to church no matter what they wear. They just want people to come and feel the Spirit. (Plus, the scripture is hilarious… I don’t think that men wore pants back in the Old Testament.)

After church we flew home without incident and found our children in excellent condition. My dad and 13-year-old brother Ethan kept them for the entire weekend and did a great job! I know my dad was absolutely exhausted after the weekend, but I think they had fun. Thanks again, guys!

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