Tuesday, November 29, 2005

James Spader... Sadler... Spadler?

Today my friend David Miller looked at me in the cafe after class and said, "I finally figured out who you look like! James Spader in Less Than Zero!"

Awesome. Okay, the crazy thing is that this is NOT the first time I've heard this. The last time I had short hair (about 7 years ago) someone told me the same. I also heard Princess Diana. I think James Spader is actually better.

Considering I spent a year and a half dating an 80s movie actor, why not try looking like an 80s movie actor? Hey, what I can't find in someone else I'd better create in myself!

What do you think?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wherefore art thou Noellie?

For my legions of devoted fans who have been wondering what has happened to me, fear not. I have not foresaken you! Okay, maybe just a little. It has been a busy weekend. And I promise to provide all (or most) of the sordid details!

Let's see... going back to Friday, which was an incredibly long day... I can't really remember now what classes we had, and I don't particularly feel like looking it up, and anyway it's boring. But we all had to stay extra late at school Friday night because of this massive group project in which we are all participating for Organizational Behavior. We work on it in our teams, and each member of the team holds a management position in our "company." I ended up with HR manager. I think some teams took the selection of these roles back in early October very seriously. A little too seriously, perhaps. My team did quite the opposite, but I think it turned out the best possible way. No one got angry and no one was upset or jealous. We just picked our roles out of a hat. If anyone really disliked his or her role, it was open for discussion, but everyone was happy enough so we proceeded. Which brings me to the point. Yes, there is one.

Friday evening, our company CEO (the company is Fluxys, the Belgian gas supplier, which had a big explosion a few years back in which several people died - we are now responding to the crisis in our teams) Jan-Kees had to give a speech to section B, which was acting as the managers of Fluxys. All the section A CEOs (there are 8) had to do this, and all the Section B CEOs had to speak to our section as well. So from about 5:30 to 7:30 we listened to these speeches from the 8 section B CEOs. Everyone did reasonably well but the best was Stefano from Italy. At one point one of the people in our section asked him a question about other companies that may do work around our pipelines and damage our pipes, causing further accidents. The question was long and drawn out and overly complicated, and Stefano was a little confused and responded with, "So you mean they want to touch-a my pipe-a?!" Everyone burst into laughter and applause. Fortunately he was the 7th CEO because it was very difficult for anyone to concentrate afterward.

Finally it was time to go home. I could easily have gone to sleep by 8pm but there was dinner to be had! Francis and I had agreed to dinner to resolve our little midterm bet, and then I realized that rather than buying him dinner MYSELF.... mom and dad could take us out! Perfect! That's what parents are for, aren't they? To pay off their kids' debts and their bad bets and stuff? So not only did I not win my bet, I did not pay my bet because Mom and Dad did it for me. AND I got to have a sweet dinner at Torre d'Alta Mar, which sits atop the tram tower down on the port. The views are spectacular, and the food was fantastic. If you ever have anyone visiting Barcelona, I really recommend you take them here, if only for the "wow" factor. Plus they were playing Finding Nemo in the lounge. Bonus! I think I may have eaten Nemo later...

Here are some photos from my lost bet:

Mom and Francis
Dad and me
Ahh, Thanksgiving is SO special.
Winner and loser.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day - though very cold - and I went shopping with Mom and Dad for some early birthday presents. Birthdays rock. At six I went up to the school for the "17th Annual IESE Thanksgiving Dinner," which was a lot of fun. The food was good and then there were skits and songs afterward. I had to leave early though to go to dinner with mom and dad, so I think I missed the best part, which was an auction to raise money for various charities. Students and professors all put various things up for auction, and I heard the bidding process was very entertaining. Next time I'll be sure not to miss it.

After that dinner, I went to meet mom and dad and our friends Lali and Jose for tapas at La Flauta. (Two dinners in a row! I'm trying to put back on some of the weight I lost while I was sick. Heh heh.) Lali and Jose, natives of Barcelona, had never been there, and were pleased to be introduced to a new place by an out-of-towner. Here's a photo from that dinner.

After THAT, I met what seemed like half of IESE at Sutton Club. I finally got home, completely exhausted and reeking of cigarette smoke, at 5am. Sunday was another beautiful day, and in the afternoon Dad and I played tennis on one of the clay courts at the Polo Club. Afterward I started to read today's marketing case at mom and dad's hotel and fell asleep for 20 minutes. Woke up and finished reading before konking out again around 8:30. The next time I woke up, it was 2:30am. I went back to sleep and woke up again at 6:30 this morning as mom and dad were getting ready to go to the airport. My first 10-hour night of sleep in a while. I don't think it'll happen again until Christmas, since finals are coming up in just three weeks.

Today was back to business as usual. Our 8:30 morning meeting, then Marketing (about capacitors... I really wanted to shout out 1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!!, but restrained myself), Decision Analysis, and Managerial Communications. At lunch I participated in the first Open Day of the school year, where prospective students visit the campus, sit in on classes, and meet with current students. Marcos from Section C and I sat with 7 others from around the world (one girl, Regan, is from Coronado!!!) and chatted with them about life at IESE. One of the students is a reader of the blog - Nice to finally meet you, Mohammad - and perhaps there will now soon be more. I think more people read this thing than I realize... geez, the pressure is on to keep it entertaining. Fortunately, I have no doubt that ridiculous things will continue to happen to me.

Which brings me to something that happened about 5 minutes ago... I was sitting quietly in the living room with Marco, both of us typing away on our laptops, when George came in and said (in his usual "George voice of shock,") "Wow! I am so strong I broke the knife!" He was holding a knife in two hands, one with the blade, the other with the handle. He said, "I was just cutting the cheese, and this is what happened!" I obviously burst out laughing and poor George was completely confused. I explained what "cutting the cheese" means (for those of you non-americans who read this, it means farting) and then George said, "You see! English is not a friendly language!" He went back into the kitchen and I said, "If you're going to cut the cheese please keep the door closed!" And then Marco said, "And could you please put a pizza in the Dutch oven for me?!"

Ahhh, I'm teaching my roommates all the beautiful nuances of the English language. Isn't it wonderful?

A few minutes later, George came back into the living room and said, "Have you seen my tomato?" I started laughing and Marco said, "What does THAT mean?" Sadly, nothing.... yet.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving, and this will be the first time ever I won't be having turkey today. It's also the first Thanksgiving Day I didn't have off. The American students were slightly disgruntled. :) In accounting class this morning, Tim Sutton asked, "And now I'd like to ask the Americans in the room... How would you account for this differently under US GAAP?" I said we wouldn't, because we wouldn't be in the office today.

Today has been, mas or menos, business as usual. Morning meeting, accounting, analysis of business problems, lunch, decision analysis, home. But mom and dad arrived yesterday and came to drop off a giant care package of random American goodies this afternoon. We hung out for a few hours and then they went off to do touristy stuff so I could read accounting. I'm so lucky! They'll be back any minute so we can go to a non-turkey dinner. I'm very very tired so I don't think I'll be doing much after that aside from a faceplant into my pillow.

Tomorrow will be a long day. The usual 7am start (it starts getting light later every morning... this week I keep thinking my alarm is set for 5am instead of 7!), then meeting, accounting, decision analysis, lunch (mmmm luuuuunch), managerial communications, Spanish. After Spanish we all have to stick around even longer for this "press conference" in which we are all participating for a big group project for Organizational Behavior. After THAT... a rest, I hope. Then dinner at a fancy restaurant with mom and dad and then hopefully some window shopping and wandering, as the Christmas decorations have started appearing all over Barcelona!

Another humpday bites the dust (cue Queen)

12:15 am and I'm just finishing up my accounting homework. Fortunately, it's the last of the three assignments I've been preparing for tomorrow.... and I also understand it! I've become very good at time management lately, which seems odd since I also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time annoying and being annoyed by people (in a good way, of course) on Messenger and Skype.

I'm still floating on the I-haven't-failed-anything-yet cloud, and I plan to stay on it as long as possible. I also haven't paid Francis yet, but we agreed today that I would take him out for 100 euro worth of fancy food and Cava rather than just dishing out cold hard cash. Since the whole 1st year has heard of our bet either through him or me or this blog, everyone has been coming up to us asking when I'm paying up. I'M STILL HAPPY I LOST!

And finally, I went to my first Barcelona match at Camp Nou last night with David. Really, the guy couldn't have crappier seats. I mean we were all the way back in like the FIFTH row. And a full 6 feet away from the halfway line. I was appalled. I'm really a 3rd row, exactly at the halfway line kinda girl. I think at one point some of Ronaldinho's sweat landed on me. (Oh and Barcelona won. "Of course," to quote David.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Best Bet I Ever Lost

I'd better go to the bank because it seems I owe Francis 100 euro.

Somehow I have managed to not fail my Decision Analysis midterm. I'm not sure if I got a B or a B- (more likely the latter) but the main this is that it isn't a C, and that's good enough for me! I really felt like crap after this particular test, more so than after the accounting midterm, so it's such a relief to know I wasn't nearly the worst. This will be the best 100 euro I've ever paid.

Have to get some studying done now, as I’m going to watch Barcelona play at Camp Nou tonight. More later!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Killer weekend!

Just home from seeing Coldplay in concert with Huy. Fantastic! But I'll get back to that... first the weekend wrap-up.

When we last saw our fearless heroine (ahem) she was getting ready to play soccer with the boys on Saturday morning. Actually, this was one of the funnier games we've played this year. I'm not sure why exactly, but everyone was just so funny. We all played kind of sloppily but no one got frustrated and there was actually one point when I was rolling on the turf laughing. It was exactly what I needed!

In the afternoon I had big plans to read cases, but after reading a marketing technical note and half a marketing case, my eyes were closing and the bed was calling to me. No offense to marketing. So I took a nap for a couple of hours, which I haven't done since I arrived here, aside from when I was sick, and then studied for a couple of hours before heading to Edi's house to watch the Barcelona / Real Madrid game.

Barcelona won 3-0, and after that, the city went nuts. We all headed from Edi's place down to Placa Real and the club Trece for the big birthday bash, but we couldn't get down La Rambla because there were too many people in the streets, cheering and singing, and waving Barca flags. Drivers were honking their horns, our taxi driver was swearing up and down, and we ended up having to walk part of the way to the club, but it was worth it because we got to enjoy the revelry that much more.

The party itself was outrageous... actually it was quite normal until the very end, when we all were singing the Barcelona song or chanting other songs and the names of all the birthday people. I'm sure that, under normal circumstances, we would have been quite annoying to everyone around us, but the beautiful thing was that EVERYONE was singing and acting silly because of the game, so no one paid much attention to us.... other than to join in and sing along.

I spent most of the day today preparing cases for the week. In Decision Analysis we are going to start a new module tomorrow using something called "Crystal Ball" in order to do a "Monte Carlo Simulation." Now I have no idea what any of this means, but I'm really hoping it's a method for looking into the future so that when I go to gamble in Monte Carlo I will know where the ball will land on the roulette wheel! I downloaded it this morning... I have high hopes for my new gambling program! :)

So that brings me to Coldplay... Huy and I were talking just last week about how cool it would've been to have gotten tickets. I've tried to see Coldplay in New York so many times but they always sell out so fast. But yesterday evening as I was studying, I saw an email from another first year student, Andre, who had to give up his tickets. Since I happened to be on my computer right then, I was able to respond first and got them. So Huy and I went tonight. The concert was in Montjuic, where I hadn't been since the Youth Symphony trip 10 years ago. Goldfrapp opened for them and put on a decent show, and then Coldplay was... awesome. They are so great live. What an awesome band. And Huy and I were SO CLOSE to the front. I think I'm going to have to go to concerts every week or I'll start to suffer withdrawal! Oh man it's late. I need to sleep... Hopefully tomorrow I'll have pictures from the party and the concert.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday morning

Ahhhh a long night's sleep at last! Thursday night I went to my first BOW since classes started. I met Huy at his place and then we went to La Bolsa, which felt a lot like a bar I know in the East Village. They have a system there (hence the name of the bar) where the drink prices go up or down depending on how many people are buying a certain drink. So if everyone is buying Corona, the price goes up. I wonder how Pabst Blue Ribbon would do there.... Anyway, after La Bolsa we went to Sutton Club, where I'd sworn I'd never go because they always make everyone wait in a stupid queue outside and I hate waiting, but I broke down and went anyway.

I slept about 3 hours on Thursday night, but I had done all my work before going out so I was able to fully participate in class yesterday. We got our Spanish midterm quizzes back and I think Andreas and I got the highest score, at 85. Monday I have to give another Spanish presentation... anyone have any topic suggestions?

Yesterday was Madhur's 30th birthday AND Jan-Kees and his wife Maggie found out that they are definitely having a second baby and they can now officially share the news with everyone. Definitely a day to celebrate. Our team went to JK's house for a little while, and then we all went on to dinner at a Cuban place to celebrate with Madhur. I thought I wouldn't get plantains till I got back to NYC, so I was psyched when a plate of them was set down on the table. After dinner everyone went to other parties but I was just too tired to stay out any longer and went to bed. Tonight there's a big party to celebrate Madhur, Juha, and Ali's birthdays and tomorrow I'm going to see Coldplay because someone from our class had to give up his tickets. Sweet!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Accounting for Being Home Alone

Just two things at the moment because I´m too shocked for much more:

1. I somehow seem to have gotten a B on my accounting midterm.

2. This weekend I will run around the house screaming at the top of my lungs, then eat ice cream while watching old gangster movies, rock out to Christmas songs with mannequins, and set up booby traps for potential intruders BECAUSE I WILL BE HOME ALONE!!!!! That´s right. The boys are all going to London tonight for this big banking weekend and I can do... um... WHATEVER I WANT! Mwahahahahaha. Starting with some really exciting accounting exercises, perhaps.

Piece of Cake

Wow. I just got home a little while ago from seeing Cake at La Paloma. If you have never heard this band, PLEASE check them out. I've been a fan for several years now, but this was my first opportunity to see them live and it ROCKED!

In fact, I forgot - for about 2 hours - about the day that lies ahead: Accounting, Analysis of Business Problems, and Decision Analysis! Wow. I can hardly wait to get up in 5 hours and tackle it all! AWESOME! Wait. Only 4 hours and 42 minutes! Damn!

Okay now I'm very tired, but fortunately tomorrow I'm done at 3:30 and can take a nap before doing more homework and then.... seeing another concert! I'm definitely going into A&R after the MBA. Oh and then I guess I have class on Friday again.

Thanks to Marco who made a delicious dinner earlier and made sure there were some leftovers for me when I got home. I love my roommates!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


No wonder I can't ever sleep in... Even when the sun isn't shining through my window yet, the moon is! This was the view out my window this morning.

Monday, November 14, 2005

From Shinguards to Business Suits

Ahhhh what a difference a weekend away can make...

I am now far more exhausted than I was even during the midterms, but it was so worth it! Friday night I took a cab to Barcelona airport with Joanne and Blathin, both from Ireland. Within one second of passing through security, Joanne was shopping in duty free and I was eating chocolate. Good start. The flight to Milan was pretty uneventful since everyone was so pooped from the week. We landed, got to our hotel, showered up, and headed out on the town.

Ready for pizza: Rodolfo (Mexico), Shun (Japan), Shadenn (Mexico), Jubin (NYC), Joanne (Ireland), Vidar (Norway), Carol (Chicago), moi, Blaithin (Ireland), and Rick (Netherlands)

A big group of us when for pizza (mmmmm!) and then I ended up in a very strange bar called Loolapalooza with Carol and four second-year guys, Diederik, Jubin (our coach), Rick, and Vidar. We agreed to just go for a few minutes... There were random girls dancing on the bar, the bartenders were flinging the hanging lamps around and nearly knocking people out, and the music would switch from Italian pop songs to the "Grease" medley to eminem in a matter of minutes. Carol and I ended up dancing on the bar to Grease... Ahh, I travel all the way to Milan to end up in a bar playing music from a cheezy American movie from the 70s. It doesn't get better than that. We got back to the hotel at 5am.

Rick with legs (not mine or Carol's!!!!)

At 9:30 the next morning - er, the same morning - we dragged ourselves to breakfast and to the soccer field to play our first match. Milan is FREEZING and cloudy and depressing. But no matter, it was nice to get away from Barcelona and midterms and school and have a change of scenery. We played two matches against Bocconi's two womens teams, and won 3-1 and 10-0. (No, that's not a typo.) The guys team played against London Business School and then Bocconi and won both easily. They proceeded to win both of their games Sunday - against INSEAD and LBS - as well (the girls didn't have any Sunday matches) so IESE swept the tournament. As planned!

Victorious IESE ladies: Fay (US), Joanne, Carol, Blaithin, me, Gemma (Valencia), Shadenn

Shadenn waiting for something... ANYTHING... to happen:

Some of the victorious IESE guys: Roberto (Mexico), Tomas (Portugal), Chris (US), Keith (US), David (Spain), Jon (Spain), Paul (UK), Diederik (Germany), Milko (Bulgaria)

After our Saturday matches we all headed back to the hotel. Some people went straight back out to watch some international soccer matches, but I took a much-needed nap. All the nappers went to dinner together at a great restaurant in the city center and then we went to a very cheesy (and yet fun) club called Casablanca, where Bocconi had set everyone up with free entrance and free drinks. The rest of the night turned into the kind of trip you go on when you're in high school and up to no good. Pranks in the hotel, people falling asleep in the wrong rooms (by accident or on purpose) and too little sleep.

Sunday morning the guys had to play more soccer, but we ladies were able to take our time getting out of the hotel. We went out to lunch near the Duomo and then I met up with Elodie and we spent the afternoon catching up. We realized we hadn't seen each other in two years... that's scary.

Our flight back would have been uneventful except that half our group nearly missed it. Other than that, it was pretty quiet. Please note, certain details have been left out... "to protect the innocent." As we all agreed on the way to Italy, what happens in Milan stays in Milan. Just like Vegas, baby.

Today we were back to reality. Actually, altered reality. Because today Section A had our Mock Interview day. So that meant business suits. Ugh. In the rain! Double ugh. But we didn't have to start till 10:30. Hooray! We had an interview seminar thing from 10:30 to 1:30, which was run really well, and then most peoples' mock interviews started at 3pm. I was interviewing with Google, and our interviewer was supposed to arrive from Madrid at 5pm. So I had 4 hours to kill, preparing for the interview and brushing up on my Google knowledge. Then his flight was delayed, so we didn't actually start until 6:30, but he was really nice and the session was quite helpful and informative. We were all interviewed in a group, which was a really bizarre experience. I was interviewed third, so I was able to capitalize on the mistakes of the first two people and I knew what to expect, more or less. And one of the questions the guy asked me was why the ipod nano isn't doing as well as Apple expected. Awesome. That's a question I can answer! Who knows if this will lead to an internship in Madrid or London next summer... regardless, it was a good experience overall, even though I didn't get home till nearly 9pm.

We still haven't received our midterm results, so I don't know yet if I'm 100 euro richer... I hope I am though because we spent a fortune on taxis in Milan!

Friday, November 11, 2005

A quickie

Just a brief update for those of you who are GAGGING to know how my accounting midterm went today. Um, I'm not sure. I think I got everything wrong! But hey at least I answered them all. And Tim Sutton will be amused when he reads my note for one of the answers that went something like this: (We were supposed to make cash flow statements for four months and I couldn't make them work, but had created T-accounts that seemed to make sense)

"Tim, I am aware that these are not CFS's, but I couldn't seem to make them look right so I've just done some T-accounts here and at least you can see what my thought process is, and then I can practice cash flow statements more this weekend."

Hm. Partial credit? Perhaps not, but it was worth a shot. And the actual numbers seemed to be correct.... Then again, this was in hour three, so maybe I was just delirious.

Now I'm trying to finish packing up for Milan. To be honest I'm really tired and would rather just go to bed than get on a plane, but I'm sure all that will change once we're on our way. Six girls and 20 or so guys on the same flight. Many of us having just completed midterms.... should be interesting!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bad things happen in threes?

Hey I have found the silver lining! You see, I know (or have been told) that bad things happen in threes, and I was wondering when and what the third would be. 1. Dumped. 2. Hospital. 3. ???

NOW I KNOW! Complete and utter midterm failure!

You may think this is a bad thing and I should be sad or disappointed or depressed. But I'm not at all, because finally the third bad thing will be completely over tomorrow and I can have some fun! See? The eternal optimist still exists.

Last night I studied for the Decision Analysis midterm at school until about 9 and then attempted to study more at home, but I was pretty burnt so I ended up doing a whole lot of nothing for about an hour. At 11, George and Marco went to bed and I tried to go back to studying. And suddenly I couldn't do anything. I called Francis, who agreed to come by and help me out (he's very good at explaining DA, even though I'm very bad at remembering it later.).

We went through a couple of the review exercises in last year's midterm and then went out on the terrace for a break and some fresh air. It was pouring and very cold and after a few minutes we were ready to head back in. Unfortunately, I never realized that the door locks automatically when you close it. No one has ever gone out on that terrace and closed the door without lots of other people around. I kept trying the door and Francis thought I was joking. I could see our mobile phones sitting on the dining room table, mocking us. Finally I tried the other side of the sliding door... which is broken! Thank god, because that's the only reason we got back in. I can only imagine how much better my exam would've gone today after spending the night outside on the terrace in the freezing cold rain. Afterward, Alex said it was a good omen that we'd managed to get back inside and I'd do really well on the exam. Hmmm.... I think my omen machine isn't working.

Anyway, Francis was a big help as usual and I was asleep by 1. Got up bright and early this morning, had a nice hot (finally!) shower, and headed to school. The test was HARD. I read through it all first and started with the easiest stuff, which happened to be on the last page. So I know I got at least a couple of points. I didn't answer about half of the questions because I just couldn't figure them out, and the other half... well who knows. I prepared so much for the test and managed to get through all of the practice exercises and the midterm from last year, and the test turned out to be ten times harder than all of that. I was expecting the worst, and I was still surprised!

So for tomorrow, I will expect the hardest accounting test ever. And then maybe it won't be so bad. And after that, who cares? I'll be 100 euro richer and on my way to Milan to play soccer. By this time tomorrow I'll be getting off the plane in Italy!

Here goes nothing!

First midterm in 2 hours. Decision Analysis. Much luck needed! If you happen to read this between 9:30am and 12:30pm, Spanish time, send good decision tree and compound probability vibes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cue "Jaws" Music...

I have made a bet with Francis. 100 Euro says I'll fail both of my midterms this week. "C" means failing, by the way. And 10% of our class of 70 will automatically get a C because everything is graded on a curve. So chances are good that I'll fail not only accounting but decision analysis.

So if I fail both, I get 100 euro. If I get 2 B's or better, Francis gets 100 euro. If I get one of each, no one gets anything. If I get A's I think I get a heart attack. Fortunately that is unlikely. If I were to make a decision tree, I'd have to give the A's a .00000000000000989% chance of happening. Or less. So I wouldn't go with that option.

Aside from studying for exams I'm inevitably going to fail, today was a rather good day. I woke up from a nightmare at 6am and decided that I might as well get up. I got in the shower, which turned freezing cold after no more than 2 minutes, as I was covered in soap. The hot water never came back on. I took the bus to school and smiled as we crossed Via Augusta, because that is the best part of the trip to school. The sun is always just coming up and the bus gets filled with a rosy glow. Our morning meeting was fine as usual.

In marketing we had a pop quiz. I guess it wasn't so "pop" because we'd all been speculating about it. The case was about Marvel Entertainment and whether they should venture into the film biz or other media. I didn't have enough time to write what I wanted on the quiz, but fortunately I managed to talk a lot in class. After that we had decision analysis, which was unusually boring today because it was just a lecture and not very interactive. For a class I really thought I'd despise, decision analysis is actually quite fun. Okay maybe not "fun" but... not so bad. At one point, the teacher was talking about how people get really bummed out in anticipation of a bad event, and then during the event they feel worse then okay, then bad, then ok, and then afterward they look back on the event and lose sight of how awful it actually was. I'm looking forward to getting to that point in my own event! Lunch brought the first meeting of the Marketing Club, and after that we had managerial communications. We watched a clip from "Other Peoples' Money." That was two classes in one day with movie stuff. Cha ching.

I have spent the rest of my time today studying. How futile!

Tomorrow is our last day of normal classes this week. Thursday morning is the decision analysis exam for 3 hours, and then accounting is Friday morning. And then I'm off to Milan to play soccer against Bocconi. Man I'm so ready for this week to be OVER!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ups and Downs... and Photos

As promised, here are some photos from Saturday night's Team A6 dinner at Taberna Maitea.

The whole team, minus Jan-Kees, unfortunately. From left to right: Marcus, Gabriel, Juanra, Noshaba, Diego, moi, Matteo, Madhur

With Diego, doing his "Zoolander" face

With Matteo and Madhur:

Gabriel, Noshaba, Madhur, me, Juanra:

Matteo and I spend ALL day together since we're on the same team and in the same Spanish group, and look we're still friends!

In other news... Midterms are looming. People are stressing. And I am trying to focus on studying, but unfortunately there is always someone on my mind. First thing in the morning, last thing at night... many times in between. I'm trying to keep up my sense of humor through these difficult weeks, but I occasionally falter. Tonight being no exception. I think it's the result of studying too much. Which reminds me... I have to get back to that...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Last weekend before ... MIDTERMS!

Everyone is studying like crazy, trying to prepare for our midterms in Decision Analysis and Financial Accounting. I am doing the best I can to prepare, but I know that there are just some things that will make me draw a blank come test day. Hopefully not EVERYTHING will look like a foreign language when I open up my test booklet!

Last night team A6 went for dinner at a Basque tapas restaurant. Noshaba took photos, but I haven't managed to get my hands on them yet. When I do, I'll be sure to add some here. After dinner, we went out to a bar nearby, which happened to be the same one where we played Twister during the Bar Crawl a month ago. It made me miss my purple mohawk.

The rest of the team stayed out quite late, but I knew I had a full day of studying ahead of me, so I left there pretty early and went home to bed. I woke up way to early (now it's bright out by 7:30 thanks to the time change) and got started with studying. First over at Jan-Kees's house with Noshaba - where we first had to spend some time playing with his little son Jonas - and then back here at my place with Francis, who helped me out a ton with Decision Analysis. I'm still not really sure what I'm doing though...

Anyway, after a day spent studying I'm ready to crash. We have a long week ahead. Three full days of class, then our DA exam for 3 hours on Thursday and our FA exam for 3 hours on Friday. Friday night I'm supposed to fly to Milan with a bunch of students because we are playing a soccer tournament against Bocconi, the Italian business school, but I'm worried that I won't be allowed back in the country because my student visa has now expired and I don't yet have my resident card. Maybe it's a good excuse to sneak out of the MBA!

Shopping Spree Gone Awry

I decided that our house needed a new TV. We have this cool pad, cool roommates, etc, but this dinky little tv that you can't even hook a DVD player up to. Granted, my own tv in New York never got used, but I figured it might be nice to play the occasional video game or watch a movie from time to time in the house. Plus, shopping for techie gadgets always cheers me up when I'm feeling low. And I'm still dragging myself out of the dumps. George agreed to drive, Francis wanted to come along to buy some speakers, and Huy as well, just for the vicarious factor.

So after spending the morning at school wrestling with the 2003 accounting midterm (we have our accounting midterm on Friday morning), I came back home and we all piled into George's car. Queen was going on the radio ("I Want To Break Free," of all songs), Francis and I were singing in the back seat, and George was doing his usual Italian racecar driving in the VW Golf when a moto cut sharply in front of the car ahead of us, which then had to break suddenly, and next thing we knew we had hit. Oops. Poor George. He was very bummed.

So after doing the paperwork exchange, we were again on our way to L'illa and the FNAC. I picked out a sweet flatscreen and got the invoice to bring to the cashier. And then... the strangest thing happened. I waffled. Me! The queen of big budget impulse shopping. The girl who dropped $3000 in 5 minutes on an Apple G4 Powerbook during a coffee break from work last August. (Hey, I had worked hard! I deserved it!) But there I was in the FNAC, surrounded by techie toys that make me drool, and I was gripped with buyer's remorse before even buying anything. I ripped up the invoice and suddenly felt much better. Then I bought some recordable CDs.

I'm not really sure what happened. I'm sure our little accident dampered my mood because I felt so badly for George... particularly since he agreed to drive for my tv shopping extravaganza. But I think it's also related to the impending doom the upcoming midterms. Chances are good that I'll fail them both, no matter how hard I study, so should I really be buying a cool European TV when I could easily be getting booted back to the States before I can say "Accrual Method of Accounting?" (Whatever THAT means!)

Mom and Dad are coming back in 3 weeks to spend Thanksgiving with me. So maybe by then, with midterms a distant memory and finals still far enough away (but my birthday very close!) we will find a way to soup up our living room with a cool tv and surround sound speaker system.

And anyway, even though I didn't really buy anything in the end, electronics stores still have a way of lifting a girl's spirits. Well, maybe just this girl.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A chapter closes

My sister Nicole got a package via UPS today from my evidently officially ex-boyfriend Casey. In it were my files with all my important documents I'd left at his house (thinking I'd be coming back there in December) and keys to my storage spaces, one in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. He wrote a note that said all my belongings that had been at his place were now in one of the two storage spaces. I haven't heard from him since Saturday night after my 2nd hospital trip. I'm gutted. That said, today is the last day I will comment on this matter. (Famous last words.)

Classes really took it out of me today. Shows how sick I've been. Even walking up a flight of stairs leaves me winded! We had our usual 8:30 team meeting, and then Marketing, Analysis of Business Problems, lunch (I ate some chicken!!! - I figure I already have bird flu, so why not?!), then Decision Analysis, and Spanish. After Spanish class I went to see Lali, my friend who is a dermatologist and who had set up my appointment with the other doctor at Hospital Clinic on Monday. She said that my throat is still a mess, as are my glands, but that I should hopefully be well enough to exercise this weekend. She invited me to go running Saturday morning if I'm up for it. She and her husband Jose had taken Casey and me out to dinner when he visited, and she was sorry to hear about the split.

In other news.... Let's see... Barcelona won their Champions League match handily. I couldn't play soccer with the girls team tonight because I'm still too sick, but hopefully I'll be well enough to play on Friday in the guys' league. Tomorrow's already Thursday. What a relief! I will need to rest and study a lot this weekend.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

End of the weekend, end of October, end of...?

It's November 1st. 5 weeks until I turn 27. I better make the most of it, since I've always thought I'd die at age 26!!!

Well, the long holiday weekend is over and I have to say I'm relieved. Being in class again will be very welcome. I'm looking forward to being around people and being busy again... too busy to think about other things. I haven't been in class in almost a week. No wonder I've felt so out of it!

This morning I woke up bright and early at 7 to a blue sky and plenty of sunshine. I did some reading for tomorrow's marketing class and then made myself a FABULOUS breakfast of baby food. Yes, I haven't been able to consume solid food for days because of my sore throat. Mom picked up several jars of baby food and you can tell she's a mom because every time she "prepared" it (popped the jar into the microwave), it was perfect! Meanwhile, on my first effort, I sort of blew it up. Good thing I'd put a plate underneath! I'm going to be a terrible mother. Not only because of the baby food debacle, but because kids make me laugh too much so mine are sure to be completely out of control. I'll be cracking up as they swing from the rafters and break things.

But I digress. After consuming some fabulous Nestle Baby concoction, I ventured outside and went up to IESE, where I met my teammate Gabriel. Big props to Gabriel for helping me A LOT with accounting. We went through last year's midterm and, well, I will do just fine in my midterm next week as long as I'm allowed to sit next to and converse with Gabriel. I'll have to practice a lot on my own this week. Scary.

After a few hours, I walked home and met my friend Francis along the way. I didn't really feel like going home because it's kind of bumming me out lately (everyone always in their little rooms, nose glued to books) so he and I had a coffee outside and enjoyed some fresh air while it was still light out. Then we went to his house, which is always entertaining because he lives with five others... David from Oregon, Lena from Russia by way of the Netherlands, Christina from Spain, Alex and Benjamin from France. And it was just as I'd hoped. Alex and Benjamin put on some French music and were dancing around, and then I put on my favorite French song by George Brassens and the dancing continued. Francis showed me how to do the discounting problems for tomorrow's Decision Analysis class. Then he cooked dinner for everyone... and I ate my first solid meal in a long time! Spaghetti Bolognese. Fantastic. Did some more studying there and then came home.

Now I'm listening to Frank Sinatra because for some reason he's very comforting right now. I think because fall is coming... Then again, I like to listen to Frank at any time of the year! But now, it's time for bed. Tomorrow I have long day of classes again (till 5pm) and then I have to go back to the doctor for what will hopefully be my last visit. I'm hoping that by tomorrow I'll finally start to feel better!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hospital Tour 2005

Last night I stayed with Mom and Dad in their giant bed at the Hotel Palace downtown. I had to wake up at 4:30 to take medicine and then the alarm went off again at 6 to get them out of bed. At 7:30 Dad asked me if I wanted to stay there for a while, but I think I would've felt weirder if I did, so I jumped out of bed and got dressed.

They checked out and headed for the airport, and I went home. I think they took the sun with them to California. This morning was grey and drizzly... rather depressing. Good thing the nice weather lasted for their entire trip! Mom has most of the pictures from their visit on her camera, but I got this choice shot of them putting together my Ikea floor lamp. See what a lawyer and an MBA/PhD can do? I'm sure there's a joke in here somewhere...

Many thanks to them for helping get my room so spic-n-span and for getting shelves for me while I was at school and then sick!

Anyway, after mom and dad left I spoke to Lali the dermatologist again. Her husband Jose is also a doctor and he managed to get a hold of one of his colleagues who was working today at Hospital Clinic and she agreed to see me. So I showered up and headed down there. This wasn't as fancy and sparkly as Teknon, where I went Thursday and Saturday, but hey it was still nice. The doctor saw me almost immediately and told me to just keep taking medicine and resting, and that hopefully I would start to feel better soon. I'll see Lali or Jose when they're back from the holiday, probably on Wednesday (maybe this will mean seeing another new hospital!) and I'll be able to continue my streak of a hospital every other day for a week. Rock on!

I got back home around 11:30 and spent the afternoon studying. I went to Huy's for a change of pace around 5 because he had printed out the case for Organizational Behavior for me. We reviewed the case for a while and chatted and then I came back home and tried to study some more. George organized a pizza dinner for a bunch of people, but I opted not to go because I still can't eat solid food (hurts my throat too much) so I went to see Wedding Crashers in Spanish instead.

Tomorrow we have another day off from school, for the actual holiday... I don't remember which one. Today wasn't actually a holiday, but a "bridge" day between the weekend and the holiday, so a lot of stores were still open. Tomorrow everything will be closed. A good day to study, and maybe see another movie if I feel up to it. We'll see. I'm looking forward to being healthy again so I can go back to swimming at night and playing soccer. I'm even looking forward to going back to class!

Thanks again for a great week, Mom and Dad. Sorry I was sick for half of it, but I'm so glad you were here to take such good care of me!!