Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here Comes The Sun

Here it is, the last sunrise of 2005. I wish everyone a fantastic New Year's Eve and best wishes for 2006!

Also, just wanted to wish my grandmother a speedy recovery from her knee replacement. After just three days, she's already zooming around the hospital and astonishing her doctor and therapists, so she is heading home today. Congratulations, Amma! See you in Spain! What a way to start a new year - with a new knee.

GTA Revisited

As many of you know (and probably many more do not) I was a producer on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and, more recently, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Actually, even more recently than that, GTA: Liberty City Stories for the Sony PSP. But I digress.

The point is that today I found myself walking the streets of Vice City here in South Beach. The cars, the people, the art deco, the neon... Our artists at Rockstar North in Scotland did an awesome job on the game. Rock on, dudes. In fact, it's all so realistic that I nearly pulled someone out of a Bentley this morning when I didn't feel like walking anymore, but then I saw a taxi and took that instead, since you can make a few bucks driving a cab around town. By the way, if you haven't ever played GTA, or at least watched someone else play it, you're really missing out.

Anyway, without further ado, allow me to present Vice City:

And here I am with Dad and Nicole:

Friday, December 30, 2005

Love is...

... running on the beach with your shirt off as the sun comes up over the ocean and Van Halen's "Jump" blasts in your ears.

For a kid from California who has only seen the sun rise over the mountains, this is pretty spectacular first thing in the morning:

And also a little confusing. The sun is supposed to SET over the ocean, not rise over it! Or, in New York, it rises over Queens and sets over New Jersey, which is extremely romantic, let me tell you.

We are now in South Beach. The adventure continues. As do the attempts at a tan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wish You Were Here!

After four beautiful days in Key West, I'm heading to Key Largo today with my dad and Nicole. My mom left for Ft Myers with my grandparents on Monday and my grandmother's knee surgery starts in about one hour. So if you're reading this today, please send her good knee replacement vibes!

We three remaining vacationers have spent the past two days working on our tans, wandering around Key West, eating key lime pie in various incarnations, and even learning a little. Yesterday we went to the "Little White House," where President Truman vacationed during and after his time in office. Did you know that he was ranked by historians as one of the top five all-time presidents? I didn't even know there was a presidential all-star team, but good old Harry Truman made the short list. Go Harry!

Last night we went sailing on a sweet 60 foot boat. I showed off my mad sailing skills:

We took in another unbelievable sunset, and called it a day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

CVS I missed you!

I have been on American soil for a full four days now and it was only this afternoon that I realized what has been missing from my life for four long, empty months...

Good old American drug stores!

Today I pried open the "automatic" doors at CVS in Key West and, hearing angels singing the Halelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, feasted my eyes on row after glorious row of beauty products, batteries, cleaning products, candy, and greeting cards. Not to mention other useful sundries such as Silly String (tm) and tennis balls. I have SEEN the light! Amen!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Props to my Great Aunt Lou

My Aunt Lou died tonight, as I was in the middle of dinner with my parents. She had cancer for 25 years and it had gone into remission 6 times. Aunt Lou was a fighter, in every sense of the word. Yesterday her son Mark visited her in the hospital and, even though she was barely able to speak on the phone beforehand, she managed to tell him when he arrived that his shirt was really ugly and he should get rid of it. Aunt Lou was awesome. And while I'm sad she is gone, I'm happy for her because her 57th wedding anniverary is tomorrow and my uncle Doug died last year so now they can celebrate together.

Aunt Lou was a big fan of the blog, always reading it from her webmail, so hopefully she'll be able to check this out from the big WebTV in the sky.

Merry Christmas, Aunt Lou, and happy anniversary!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cuba... and Cuba... and more Cuba

I am sitting in Laguardia airport, partway through Noelle's Airport Tour 2005. It has been a busy couple of days.

After our last exam on Wednesday, I spent several hours gleefully clearing my room of 1st term cases before going shopping for my first-ever pair of fishnet stockings. This was about as close to a Cuban "costume" as I was gonna get. Sorry, folks. The roommates and I all got dressed up (more photos on George's blog, and more to come when I get back to Barca and can get a hold of Marco's camera) and headed off to the annual IESE Christmas Ball. It was at Mare Magnum, right on the port, and all I know is that my feet are still hurting, 2 days later, from all that dancing. The "Havana Nights" theme prompted some very interesting looks.

I got home around 6am and proceeded to throw way too much stuff into a bag, then took a shower and headed to the airport. Max and I managed to stay awake for the 2 hours before our flight and as soon as I was on the plane I fell asleep. We stopped in Madrid, but I missed that part. Good thing I didn't have to change planes, or who knows where I would've ended up.

The transit strike in NYC ended a few hours before my flight arrived, but the traffic was still insane as a result of so many people driving into Manhattan in the morning. Regardless, after exactly four months away, the Manhattan skyline was a beautiful sight. And the traffic allowed me to take some sweet shots as we crossed the Williamsburg bridge:

Had sushi (FINALLY!!!!!!!) with my sister and her boyfriend and my friend Michael and then passed out again, after watching a few minutes of Miami Vice. (You see, the Cuban theme continues.) This morning I went to one of my old breakfast haunts and saw my favorite Argentinian waitress, Carolina. Got back in a car with a paper cup of coffee - AWESOME!!! I really missed coffee to go! - and that brings me here, to Laguardia airport, waiting to continue my Cuban adventure with a flight to Miami. A week on the beach in the sunny Florida Keys is exactly what this sleep-deprived white girl needs right about now.

Happy holidays to all!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

That's all, folks!

Well the first term is officially over. Incredible. There were so many times I just wanted to pack it all in and go back to New York. Don't get me wrong... there are still times when I want to do that, but it's much less likely now. I mean, there were a few times back in October when I literally would've walked from the school to the airport, put a plane ticket on my credit card, and headed outta here. I wouldn't even have bothered to stop at my apartment to pick up my stuff.

But now... well at least I'd get a few things from my apartment first. Like my powerbook. And then that would give me time to think a little. And then George or Marco or Alex (or all of the above) would remind me that being a Calatrava Guapo ain't too shabby. And then I'd probably think about reading a marketing case. And then I'd go for a run and feel better. So yeah, I guess the my probability of impulsive airline ticket buying has decreased considerably in the past month.

Wow, now that I've returned from THAT tangent... FINALS ARE OVER!!!! Today we had our fourth and last exam - marketing. We were given a case about this weird thermometer device called the FeverTest that you slap on your forehead to see if you have a fever. Lamberto said his mom used it on him when he was kid. Italians are so weird.

Anyway, three hours later, it was all over and everyone was gathered in the bar singing and laughing and looking very relieved. Four months later, many shades whiter, with eyes that are much baggier, we have survived the first term. Here are some happy post-exam faces:

Tonight is the annual Xmas ball. The theme is "Havana Nights," and many of us are having trouble figuring out what to wear. I mean, I couldn't look anything even close to Cuban if I tried, so I figure I'll just go with the basic black dress. It'll be great to see how many people have actually managed to go all out and find costumes. I'm sure I'll be disappointed that too much of my creativity was wasted on accounting and not enough on costuming.

The party officially ends at 5am. My flight to NYC is at 10:30, so I have to be at the airport by about 8:30. My plan is to avoid sleeping tonight, because I always feel worse after an hour of sleep than I do after none at all. Max is on my flight, so he can keep me awake till we get on the plane and can pass out.

One special surprise was waiting for us in our mailboxes today. Or should I say eight special surprises? That's right. Next term we have EIGHT COURSES. Not six. EIGHT!! Which means 8 casebooks:

Okay it's now 4:11 and I have to pack!

"Marketing Exam Review Session"

Take three exams. Add one more. Add two exhausted roomates who invite a couple of friends over.

Throw in some cava and some hair product and stir.

Voila! Marketing review session!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sleep Demons

In the past few weeks, I have often awakened with my heart racing and my pulse pounding, in what appears to be a state of panic. It has been happening less frequently lately, but nonetheless it's a terrible way to wake up, particularly when you should be relaxed during a nap after your two biggest finals. And, as the trails of the dream about CS that invariably caused the reaction dissipate and I realize I'm back in reality, I curse my subconscious. It's not fair to work so hard to stop thinking about someone, only to have him come visit you in your dreams, over which you have no control.

It's in these moments that I curse the guy who said, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." That guy is an idiot. Loving and losing sucks, plain and simple, and I would really prefer to go back to never knowing what any of it was like.

So if anyone knows of a doctor like the one in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" who erases your memories for you, please do let me know. I would love to pay him a visit over the holidays. Then again, in that movie, the guy just meets the girl again and it starts all over because it was destined to happen. Fate, baby. Gotta love it.

Hmmm it seems I'm just as intelligent in bed as I am in the bathroom! Perhaps I should spend more time in my pajamas, expounding on deep things like fate and love and percentages.

And another one bites the dust!

Sorry, I'm getting a little repetitive with my Queen references lately... I'll have to do something about that.

Point is, Decision Analysis is OVER! Yeah baby! And the weird thing is, it didn't seem that hard. Granted, in hindsight, I realize I may have invented a lot of stuff during the three hours I spent on the test, but it made sense, more or less. To me, anyway.

About 30 minutes into the test I hit a major stumbling block. Two, actually. I simply couldn't figure out how to represent as a percentage the fact that there is an equal chance of the demand for a particular book being any number between 1300 and 3300. Now to normal people, there are two possible reactions to this. 1) Are you an idiot?! That is SO EASY!! or 2) Who the hell cares?! And normally, I'd be in the #2 group.

And as it were, the second stumbling block was that, at or about that time, my stomach really started hurting and I really did end up in the #2 group! Or at least in the #2 room. And it was there, as I was sitting on the toilet, that I thought, "But of course! It's 0.05!" Next time I'll bring my laptop to the ladies' room with me and just run all my simulations from there.

Which again proves my point (which really didn't need proving, because it has happened so many times in my life) that I do my best thinking on the toilet. In fact, last week I found out the meaning of life while I was in the bathroom. Unfortunately I forgot it while I was brushing my teeth. I'll have to revisit it another day, I suppose.

Tomorrow I have a date with my marketing final at 9:30am. I think I've done pretty well in this class so far, so it's actually one grade I'm not so worried about. Then again, we could turn up to the test and have a 30 page case plopped down in front of us... sometimes it takes me 3 hours just to READ a marketing case, let alone analyze it! Well, whatever happens, it's all over by 12:30 tomorrow. HOORAY!!!!!

The face of exhaustion

... looks like this.

I am tired. But in 5 hours, Decision Analysis will be OVER!

And now for some green tea....

The perils of green tea

It's 12:35. I have been awake since 6:45. And I need to get up again in another 7 hours. The problem is that I am wide awake. Despite having slept too little last night (because I couldn't fall asleep, for the first time in YEARS!) and having taken two final exams today (ugh, don't ask), and then studying for tomorrow's exam for another six hours... I AM NOT TIRED!

And so my friends, I warn you... STAY AWAY FROM GREEN TEA! Please, if you ever want to sleep again, I implore you. Do not drink it. Actually, there is one situation in which you should drink it. If you notice a pod in your bathtub and you realize that people who fall asleep turn into zombies like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, then maybe green tea is a good idea. But if you want to sleep before a big exam... not so much.

Speaking of zombies, that's about how I felt after getting completely slapped by Tim Sutton's financial accounting final. After the first hour, I was very tempted to turn in an empty answer booklet because despite doing numerous calculations, I had nothing. After the second hour I had sort of come up with some strange (read: incorrect) answers for things here and there, but I was still ready to pack it in. And the last hour was a flurry of furious scribbling of what I suspect was complete and utter nonsense. I can't really remember now, thank goodness.

Lunch was spent commiserating with classmates, and I realized that maybe it wasn't so bad after all. Because, the thing is, it's all relative. Don't get me wrong... I'm not thinking I did well on the thing. But chances are that even though I may have gotten nearly everything wrong, there are other people who may have fared even worse. What's really frustrating about it, though, is that I spent so much time studying for the damn thing. I really worked hard. And I felt good about it! But then I saw the test and realized that even though the stuff I studied was there, it was in a completely different, twisted form and I couldn't make anything of it. Oh well. Another one bites the dust.

After lunch we had a second exam. Now, at first I thought it was really crappy to have the organizational behavior final right after accounting. But in reality, it was a blessing because it meant I forgot all about the first exam! No matter how bummed I was about how this morning went, it didn't manage to seep through into what I had to do this afternoon. It was good to focus on something else, even if it was another final.

The OB test went well enough, I guess. It's really hard to know how you did on a subject that is so non-quantitative. And anyway, I'd rather not think about results for a while. A looooong while. Like maybe never.

This evening has been spent reviewing for tomorrow's Decision Analysis final. I have reupped my bet with Francis and now we're going double-or-nothing on my 2 C's. Same as before, he thinks I'll get 2 Bs or better and I think 2 Cs. Of course, since I did okay on the midterms, no one believes me when I'm concerned... all the better to win a bet!

Okay now I will read some decision analysis technical notes in bed. That ought to put me to sleep.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Lost Weekend

And no, I'm not talking about a booze-fueled-odyssey-turned-black-out. I'm talking about losing two days of my life, my soul, my YOUTH... to accounting. Never to be reclaimed! Oh the horror of it all.

I know there are some readers of this blog who are contemplating an MBA. Be warned! Financial accounting is in your future! Spend as much time outside in the SUNSHINE (I repeat, SUNSHINE) as you possibly can! Quick! Go for a bike ride or watch a sunset. Anything. Because once accounting starts, there's no stopping it, baby. You're just a small being caught up in the big number crunching machine, and the accounting machine stops for no man.

Okay so maybe I'm being a little dramatic. But that's what happens when you spend 2 full days cooped up in a room doing accounting problems until your eyes water and your ears are ringing. Really, I swear, there's a buzzing in my head right now, and I'm sure it's the pressure building from that one extra piece of information about financing leases I tried to cram in there without releasing another piece of information, like my name or address.

The beautiful thing is that by tomorrow at 12:30pm, all of this will be over. Of course, then we just have lunch and another exam (organizational behavior) but at least I will be done with accounting for three full weeks. There's a word for that, and the word is AWESOME.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Last day of classes!

It's hard to believe that the first term is over. All that remains are ... Three. Horrid. Days. Of. Finals. Someone kill me please.

But seriously, I can't believe how fast the term has passed. And particularly the time since midterms. I feel like the last 6 weeks have passed in a few days, and one week from now I'll be back in the States. It's really incredible.

Even though finals are looming, there was a sense of festivity in the air. Maybe because the holidays are approaching (even though I've had no time for Christmas shopping or even window shopping) or maybe it's just that feeling that I haven't had since NYU... when it's finals time and you know you can only smoosh so much more into your already overworked brain, so you can only do your best. And then you can rest and relax! I'm really not looking forward to the actual exercise of sitting for three hours in four final exams, but I do know that it'll feel so awesome when it's over that it won't even really matter how I think I did.

Today was our last accounting class with Tim Sutton. Everyone is very fond of Tim because even he, an accounting lifer, often admits that the whole process is "boring" and "ridiculous." And he says everything so politely, even when he's telling you that your answer is complete rubbish. Tim rocks, and he got a lengthy round of applause at the end of class today.

Here's a view of accounting class, from my vantage point in the middle of the back row. Yes, folks, this is how I've spent the greater part of the fall. In a basement classroom sitting in a seat that locks you in like a high chair. And I've loved every minute! I swear!

And here is Cedric, who sits next to me ... the one who often shouts things out in a falsetto voice:

We often beat each other up, you know... just because:

Anyway, after accounting we had our final Analysis of Business Problems class. George has a few good photos from that class, which I think he has put on his blog.

After ABP and before lunch, we had our final COW presentation of the year. You may recall that the COW is the Comment of the Week, which has been passed down through the classes. Rafa presented today because he won with a comment from last week, and he took it on himself to present not only the COW but the COQ (comment of the quarter!)

Rafa prepares his COW powerpoint presentation:

A calming presence, pre-COQ:

Vlad the Romanian accountant, whose favorite phrase is "Shut up, punks!" won this week with the very original comment, "Shut up, punks!"

George, meanhile, has been nominated 5 times, more than anyone else in the class. (I was nominated only twice - not very impressive for a blonde. I'll have to keep working on it. Anyone have a bottle of peroxide I could use?) As a result, George won the honorary COW award:

George receives a gift - a dancing cow:

I need to take a moment here to share one of George's greatest comments. We were in marketing class, talking about Kodak Gold film. Our professor, Carlos, said to the class, "When do you use Kodak Gold? You use it for Special Moments! What is a special moment?" And someone (I think Jan-Kees) answered, "When you become a father." Carlos replied, "Exactly. Any other special moments?" George's response, "When you find out you're NOT the father!" A truly brilliant mind.

Anyway, after lunch Dean Jordi Canals made a speech and toast to wish us all well over the holidays, and then the IESE Theater Club put on a presentation of "An IESE Christmas Carol" in the auditorium. We laughed, we cried, we realized we hadn't had time for lunch...

Our last Organizational Behavior class consisted of a partial screening of the film "Startup.Com" which I had never seen. It's about a couple of old friends who decide to start a business together, specifically, which hits a high and then goes bust over the course of the movie. Their relationship goes bust as well, unfortunately. I'm looking forward to seeing the film in its entirety because my dream has always been to start up a company of my own with some close friends, and the last thing I would ever want to have happen would be to have not only the company but, even worse, our friendships fall completely apart. The other thing about the film is that it takes place mostly in Manhattan, and I was shocked by how excited I felt to get back to the city that never sleeps after seeing footage of the skyline and the bustling streets. When I left four months ago I really thought I'd had enough of NYC forever. Now, with less than a week to go, I'm chomping at the bit and ready to see the skyscrapers again.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Friends in high cases

Yesterday I was reading a case about the president of BMG for Organizational Behavior and found that someone I worked with at Rockstar was one of the key players in the case. This is the second time someone I know appeared in a case here at IESE. (The other being in the Sony EyeToy case for Marketing.) Certainly makes class participation a bit easier.

Last night I was preparing for today's accounting class by reading about the fraud at WorldCom and thought, I hope I don't recognize anyone here! Then I saw the name David Myers... he was instrumental in the fraudulent behavior that brought down the company and ruined the lives of thousands of employees. Fortunately, he's about 20 years too old to be the David Myers I dated in high school. Whew!

Today was extremely busy. After accounting and WorldCom this morning we had our penultimate ABP class. The case we're discussing (about a Spanish company producing ceramic tiles) is so massive we're taking two days to cover it. So more ceramics tomorrow. Woo hoo. During lunch I went with Huy to a study room to review for this afternoon's final Organizational Behavior quiz. We couldn't find the room for a while because we couldn't figure out where the A building was... finally we realized it's the main building in the campus, with the ivy and stuff, where the dean's office is. The room had a chandelier. Sweet! And draperies featuring hunting scenes. Double bonus!

After lunch was OB and our quiz, which I think was fine, and now I'm just back from my walk home from school. It's a beautiful day out, even if it's pretty chilly, and I'd love to get out on my bike, but the accounting and decision analysis finals are on the brain so I think I'd better buckle down and study. Which means I had also better stop procrastinating by blogging!

Tonight we are having our Calatrava house dinner, so Marco, George, Alex and I are going around the corner to Contraluz to gorge ourselves before the last day of class in 2005! I'm sure there will be pictures to follow.

Ho hum.... YAWN!

So I haven't written anything in two days because I haven't done anything in the last two days other than study. How boring! Finals are looming and the sense of impending doom is growing. Though, in my own defense, I have gotten extremely good at combatting the doomsday feelings with a sense of denial... as in, "Finals? What finals?" Oh geez.

Well anyway, let's just say that I'm going double-or-nothing on my bet with Francis. He hasn't accepted yet, which leads me to believe that this time he, too, thinks I will fail!

The last two days have been a whirlwind of classes and cases. We've wrapped up marketing for the term as of today, and DA Managerial Communications finished yesterday. Two more days of ABP, Accounting, and OB lie ahead and then... finals. (Gulp.) Oh and to add to the fun of it all, this week we are also doing final exams for Spanish! Monday afternoon was the listening comprehension and speaking portion and today we had the written part of the test. I think it all went fine, but it's certainly frustrating to study Spanish and take exams when you know you're completely lost in Accounting and should probably be focusing on that instead.

All that having been said (or complained), I have made sure to get exercise this week and I think it has really helped. I hadn't done much outdoor activity aside from playing soccer and walking to and from school (ok, so this is more outdoor activity than many people do in their whole lives, but I hold myself to a different standard) since my little visit to the hospital. But this week I've gotten back to running every day, and it has worked wonders for my ability to stay awake and study in the evenings. Today I went running for 40 minutes and George took a nap for 40 minutes. He felt worse afterward and had pillow marks on his face. I felt wide awake and ready to ... read cases! So I think I will continue to run rather than nap.

But now it is late and my eyes are closing, so I'd better go to bed. One more week and the first term is DONE!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Decision Analysis is Titillating!

This is what happens when you study too much for your finals. You start to "see things" in your decision anaylsis simulations!

I like to call this one the "Dolly Parton Distribution."

Many thanks to Francis, who helped me through the Decision Analysis midterm and is now valiantly assisting me once again in preparation for the final.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Finals, Dinners, Birthdays, oh my!

Last night, our section A representatives Freddy and Inigo organized a dinner for our section. About half of the section showed up and we had a great time chatting, laughing, and eating. Here are some photos from the event.

My fellow blogger Pradeep from Nepal:

With Lamberto from Italy:

One of our section representatives, Freddy from Germany, after collecting money for dinner. This random woman came out of the bathroom and wanted to pose with him... I'm SURE the cash had nothing to do with it!

George (mugging as always), David, Huy, and Juanra:

Vlad the invincible Romania accountant:

After dinner George and I raced to a bar in El Born in order to arrive before midnight to meet up with a gang of second year students to surprise 2nd year "Wild" Bill (from Montana) for his 30th. The poor guy had organized a party himself and then his roommates told everyone not to show up and to instead go to this other place so that when Bill arrived, depressed that no one loved him, he would be completely shocked. And it worked. I didn't stay very late because I knew I had a fabulous day of accounting review ahead, but it was a good, relaxed night out, and exactly what I needed after doing accounting all day yesterday!

This week is the last one before finals. I can't believe the first term has passed so quickly. A week from Thursday I'll be flying back to New York. It's amazing to think that just a few months ago, I was just arriving here and meeting everyone and getting settled in with Nicole's help, and now the first, hardest, scariest part is nearly behind us. In fact, I'll fly back to NYC exactly four months from the day I left! And somehow it simultaneously feels like only 4 days have passed... but also 4 years. What a wild ride it has been.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Study Study Study

Finals are fast approaching and I'm quickly realizing that, even though I read my all of my cases and prepared all of my assignments, my head is empty of information. I mean, I know there's something buzzing around in there, but it might just be a... Spanish fly.

Anyway, we have four finals the week after next. Accounting, Decision Analysis, Organizational Behavior, and Marketing. I'm ready to go double or nothing on my bet with Francis for the first two. I've read every single page of the assigned accounting reading and done every single problem, and I still feel like I have no clue. Or at least, I'd have no clue if a test were plopped in front of me right now. I guess I have to just remember that I still have a week and a half and that I'm not the only one feeling this way.

Next week I also have my module exams in order to proceed to the next level of Spanish. We have the listening and speaking portion on Monday and the written part on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to this term being over now that we're nearing the bitter end and final exams!

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Day After

Well it's official. I survived 26. Whew! And to celebrate, I did a lot of sleeping yesterday. That's what happens when you stay out till 5am, I guess.

After my faux study session yesterday afternoon with Huy and Francis (they really did accounting, but I was answering birthday emails) I went to see The Constant Gardner with Paul, George, and Francis. If you're thinking you might like to go into Pharma, don't see this film. Doesn't really paint a nice picture of the big drug companies. But the film is incredible, with absolutely astounding photography... not surprising, since it's the same director who did "City of God." Most people stayed in the theater throughout the credits, which is always a sign.

This morning I had to go to the police station to register myself as an old person. Okay, not really... I went to pick up my Spanish residency card. I waited in a looooong line with a bunch of random people from all over the world and, though it was well organized, I still had to miss my morning meeting and have missed most of the first class of the day. That's what happens when you're in class from 8:30 to 5 and Spanish government offices (and banks) are only open from 9-2. I really hate missing class, but without my card I can't get back into the country in January, and I figure it's probably better to miss one class than the rest of the MBA!

Anyway, here are some photos from Wednesday's birthday festivities. I found out that 250 people showed up! Sweet!

Opening prezzies:

After dinner, an impromptu breakdancing session broke out in the living room, and David did a wicked back-spin:

After dinner, with Edi, David, Francis, Huy, Marco, Nora, George, Anna, Juanra and David:

In the elevator ... ready to party!

With Jan-Kees and Juanra at the party:

Last men standing - the group that went to Bikini bar after Cafe Noir closed. These are the real troopers:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

You Say It's Your Birthday!

When I was young, my mom told me a very special story. Twenty-seven years ago yesterday, she was due to deliver her first child, and she was so excited! Everything was ready. They had spent so much time getting the nursery ready, getting baby clothes, taking photos for my baby book before I even arrived... I was eagerly anticipated. And then someone said, "December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day! You can't have a baby on PEARL HARBOR DAY!!!!"

So I always imagined my poor mom, crossing her legs and waiting until December 8th. Thank you, Mom. I really would have hated to be named Pearl.

As it turns out, I was born on the day of the Immaculate Conception. How cool is that?! In the US, it means next to nothing, but here in holiday-loving Spain, it means no school. And THAT means....


We started out at our house, where Marco cooked a fantastic Thai dinner. Huy, Edi, Nora, Anna, 2 Davids, Juanra and Francis came by and after dinner we all headed for the party.

My friend Jubin helped me work out a deal at a club/bar place called Cafe Noir. He negotiated drink prices and I worked on the guest list. When all was said and done, we promised the owner we'd have at least 125 people. And to my surprise, we had twice that! It was incredible. Two second year students, Billy and Giovanni took turns in the DJ booth - thank you, guys! - and rotated with the in-house DJ.

I still just can't get over how many people were there.... A big thank you to everyone who showed up! It was amazing to be surrounded by so many friends on what turned out to be a really special night. It was definitely the best party I've ever thrown, aside from maybe the Halloween party I had in my old apartment in Greenwich Village where the cops came not once, not twice, but THREE times. (You know you're having a good party when the NYPD shows up!)

And now it's 4pm. Three hours from my official time of birth in California (11:01am). I am hiding out at IESE, studying (or pretending to study) with Francis and Huy, in an attempt to avoid any possible calamities that may occur in these next three hours. Because if I make it to officially 27, I'm going all the way, baby! Photos to come soon.

Mom and Dad, I miss you!!!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yes, another post!

And there may be more still before the day is over.....

The day continues to roll along. Just as we were all about to leave marketing class for lunch, our section leader came into the room and told us our afternoon class would be cancelled because our professor is ill. So George, Huy, and I decided to have lunch together and, since it's such a beautiful day we decided to eat up on the roof terrace. George rode his bike home, Huy rode his moto, and I walked. On the way home I saw this:

When I got home George was preparing some pasta and then we all went on the roof to have lunch:

Then Huy and I went for a ride on his moto to Tibidabo.

Look how beautiful Barcelona is today!

Now it's time for a nap before soccer at 7. Then some dinner at home before heading out to the par-TAY.