Wednesday, December 27, 2006

24 Hours In Spain

After a fantastic, relaxing five days with my family, I arrived back in Barcelona this morning, surprisingly non-jetlagged. My flights were a bit screwy yesterday due to crazy weather all along the eastern US, but the craziest thing of the day was learning that somehow my Delta SkyMiles account had magically been transferred to my sister's name sometime in the last week. So all those thousands of miles I've flown with Delta, Continental, Alitalia in the last 18 months (and I think we're taking about 200,000 here, folks) have all been credited to my sister! Needless to say, she's psyched. I'm bummed. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be resolved in about 8-12 months.

Anyway it was a beautiful day in Barcelona today, though I spent most of it doing laundry and preparing for Phase II of my holiday travel plans: Operation Santa Claus. Yes, we are off to Lapland bright and early tomorrow morning. Twelve hours and three flights after departing Barcelona, Atsh, Marc, and I will arrive in Rovaniemi, Finland where we'll meet up with George and check into our hotel. The next day we meet up with the rest of the crew and take a long bus ride further north to Juha's house up in the Arctic Circle. I'm not joking. And I can't wait.

Not too sure about internet access up there, so my posts in the coming week will be sporadic at best, but I do promise plenty of cool photos and wild stories when I return. In the meantime... HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! All the best for 2007.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays!

For me, the holidays are all about family, so I feel extremely lucky to have been able spend the last few days here in Florida, where my grandparents spend half of the year. I flew in from Barcelona, my sister flew down from Philadelphia, and my parents flew from San Diego. So even though we're not at home and we don't have a big tree with lights or loads of wrapped presents, it still feels pretty darn Christmas-y. My cheesy Christmas playlist on iTunes certainly helps too.

Hoping you are all spending the holiday season with loved ones! Happy holidays from Flaaahrida.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

It wouldn't be the holidays without a crazy travel post... and anyway I realized this morning that I've done a lot of traveling in the past few months without a single bizarre story or photo of weinerschnitzel, and for that, my friends, I apologize.

One way I amuse myself during long trips, and particularly international ones, is by pretending I'm an international superspy, cruising around wearing a leather jacket and dark glasses, jetting off to strange and intriguing foreign locations like... Ft. Myers. Okay well that one doesn't work so much. But Lapland next week certainly will. Anyway, I notice that my senses seem to be heightened when I'm in airports and I really do feel like an intelligence officer. Or a counterintelligence officer. Or a pseudocounterintelligence officer. Or maybe just a counter officer. Maybe it's that weird cabin pressure, or maybe it's my overactive imagination. Either way, it keeps me entertained during those fleeting moments when I'm not passed out and drooling in my seat.

But I'm way ahead of myself already. Wednesday night brought the annual Christmas Ball and with it this year's theme: The Roaring 20s. While I can't say I wore anything particularly timely (do fishnets count?), some people really did go all out.

Like Ana...

And Rhijn...

And as always, there's nothing like the end of exams, an open bar, and a dance floor to really get people to let loose. And let loose we did. Somewhere along the way a tiara was put on my head (wow thanks everyone!) and, next thing I knew and against my better judgment, I was belting out "Danke Schoen" while dancing with King Tammy. (Which brings me to a very important point. Far too few people outside of the U.S. and A. have ever seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and this needs to be remedied, starting with a January screening at IESE.) When the lights came on at 3am, we all paraded down the block to Ribelino's in our ridiculous get-ups and partied like it was 1929.

With Monica, Ian, Cornelia, Nani, Juan, Sara, and a banana

With Ralph

All girls like tiaras. Even Francis!

But all good things must end and that includes Christmas Balls, unfortunately. I still had packing to do, which I proceeded to finish between getting home (whenever THAT was) and hopping into a taxi at 8. Mercifully for those who would sit near me on the plane, I managed a shower as well.

I slept in the taxi. Then I slept at the airport. Then I slept the entire 9 hours to Newark. We were an hour late so I ran through customs, rechecked my bags, ran to my next gate, got on the plane, and fell asleep again, all the way to Florida, despite being literally surrounded by screaming babies. I hung out with my family for a bit and then fell asleep again. I guess even superspies get tired.

Friday, December 22, 2006

School's Out For Winter

I am sitting in a hotel in Florida spending "quality time" with my parents while we wait for my sister's flight to arrive. Quality time in this family means... "wow, free wireless!" So we are all on our respective laptops messing around. Ahhh Christmas.

But now, after flying all day (and sleeping most of that time) I am ready to crash. This time in to a real bed instead of an airplane seat. How exciting.

Tomorrow hopefully I will have more energy to tell tall tales of last night's Christmas Ball...

Woo hoo! Vacation!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Exams over!

Or actually, I should say "exam's over" since I only had one. What a nice change from last year when we had 6 over three days. Of course, exams are replaced by papers and projects in the second year, but as a person who isn't the best test-taker in the world, I'd give a presentation or write a paper any day, given the choice. I studied quite a bit for this exam (applied international economics) and still I'm totally confused because it always seems that everything can be argued any way you want. Maybe that's the point...

So now all that remains of the term is to finalize a paper I'm writing with two other people for a marketing class, have a farewell lunch with the exchange students, take some photos, do a bit of Christmas shopping, and attend the Christmas Ball. Oh and clean up the masses of paper I've accumulated in the form of cases thrown around my room. Last year I was much more organized...

Congrats to the first year students who now have the Decision Analysis exam out of the way. Now you only have accounting and marketing to get through and the toughest term will be behind you!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday Night Special

So classes are officially over. I've been trying to think back on this term and what I did and whether I got as much out of it as I could have, and at first I couldn't remember anything. So I got annoyed at myself, thinking I should have done more. Then I remembered... oh yeah, there was the Bar Crawl. And the Random Dinner. I went to Amsterdam. And New York. And Milan. My sister was here. And my parents. And I saw my uncle, too. I read every case and I even remember a few of them. I climbed a mountain. I played in a band. MC'd the Thanksgiving dinner. I played soccer and rugby. I admitted to my parents that I'm having a torrid love affair with Lola, my scooter. They were understanding.

I learned how to write a business plan and how to put together an advertising campaign. I came up with a business idea of my own and plan to get it rolling in the new year. I spent quality time with old friends and with others that I hadn't had the opportunity to know before. I did pretty well in some interviews and was asked back for more. I learned more than I currently realize.

And I kept writing the blog. All in all, not a bad three months.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Countdown to the last term

At this time last year, I was preparing for three final exams (Accounting, Decision Analysis, and Marketing) and wondering if I'd survive the last week of the first term. My head was spinning because I'd filled it with too much information and yet I felt like I didn't know anything at all. But I made it through (more or less), went on vacation, and really didn't feel like coming back to IESE. In fact, there was a moment (okay, several moments) where I thought it would be great to just stay in the US and pretend IESE had never existed.

But I'm really bad at giving up on things, so I came back to Barcelona, refreshed and ready for more overwhelming case studies. It's funny how that first term seemed as long as the next two combined. The next six months flew by and suddenly it was summer. I remember thinking then, wow a whole summer in Romania... this will never end! But it did. And fast.

And now, here I am, about to have my last two classes of the first term of the second year. Today I finished five courses: Entrepreneurship, Applied Economics, Marketing of Media and Ideas, Logistics, and New Product Development. I've already completed the course requirements for three of those five. And tomorrow and Friday I have only Brands and Advertising and Personalidad del Executivo. I've already completed my final project for both of those as well. So now I have only three more classes to attend, a paper to write, and a final exam to take. By Monday at noon, I'll be done and on my way to my last term of the MBA. How strange. My professors were really fantastic this term, so thank you to Julia, Jose Luis, Josep, Pedro, Fede, Victor, Joan, and Xavier.

Plans for the next term? Get as much out of it as I possibly can. Enjoy every moment. And I won't waste a second on things that don't really matter. Life is just too short, and so is the MBA.

(By the way, I'm glad I came back after Christmas! Good thing I don't like to throw in the towel!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Non Sequitor

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be at JFK waiting for my flight to Barcelona while CBS was broadcasting the game between the Denver Broncos and my team, the San Diego Chargers. This was the first football game I've had the opportunity to watch this season, and it was a good one because we won 48-20 (bringing our record to 11-2!!!!), clinched the division, AND our running back LaDainian Tomlinson broke the single-season NFL touchdown record.

LT runs for the record. (Photo courtesy ESPN.)

Being a San Diego sports fan is a labor of love. Our baseball team, the Padres, have until recently been saddled with notoriously ugly uniforms (leading them to be nicknamed the Tacos) and an even more notoriously ugly win-loss record. During my second year in New York, they shockingly made it to the World Series, only to be shut out by the Yankees in four straight games. Ouch. Now we have a cool new baseball stadium and a slightly better record, but still managed to perform dismally in the playoffs. And still, I am a faithful supporter.

Our basketball team, the Clippers, left us for LA when I was a kid. I'm still bitter, even though I don't actually remember it happening.

Our football team, the Chargers, are often basement-dwellers, though the last couple of seasons have been a bit brighter. And this year we are boasting a team the likes of which San Diego hasn't seen since the Dan Fouts / Kellen Winslow days of the early 80s. If they make the Superbowl (heck, if they make the playoffs) I will gladly forgo Sunday night sleep to watch them play wherever it may be possible to see an American football game here in Barcelona. Have faith, will travel.

Friday, December 08, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's a beautiful, sunny, unbelievably cold December 8 in Manhattan. Very different from the San Diego weather I found 28 years ago when I decided to join the world. The wind is blowing (hard!), the sun is shining, the thermometers read 27 but it feels like 2, I just had breakfast with one of my best friends, and now I'm about to do some serious shopping with another. Fun little party planned on the Lower East Side, my sister is rolling into town from Philly, my old roommate is coming down from Rhode Island, the IESE boys from Columbia and NYU will be in effect... should be a great day all around!

And I just found out that Caio, a first year IESE student who has been a faithful reader of this blog and who was also a guest at our Random Dinner a few weeks back, is ALSO turning 28 today. So happy birthday Caio!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My New Toy

A birthday present, a few days early, from my parents. Aren't they the best?

My interviews went moderately okay today. Well, actually they were fine, but I'm used to walking out of an interview feeling totally confident and today I just didn't. But it's okay. If it's meant to work out, then it will, and either way I'll know by Friday.

Tomorrow I have another interview, this time over the phone, and Thursday a few more, just to make things fun and exciting. By the time Thursday night rolls around, I will be more than ready to hit my favorite 80s dance-till-you-drop spot, Don Hills, and ring in the start of my 28th (gasp!) birthday at midnight. The beat don't stop till the break o' dawn!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New York, New York

Back in the Big Apple, where the weather is frosty and the Christmas lights are in full effect! It's great to be back here, but it reminds me that the MBA will soon be over ... What happens if I move back to NYC? Will I go back to life as if I'd never left it? When I think about it that way, this seems like an awfully small island...

Anyway, my first interview is at 11:30 today so I'll spend the next four hours getting ready for that, and by 1pm I'll be back to normal clothes and off to buy a new camera. So if you happen to be reading this around 11:30 EST, send good interview vibes!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


If there's anything at all to be said for getting sick (and let's be honest, there really isn't much), it's the sheer joy that comes with finally feeling better. Whenever I'm sick, I always think, "wow, it will be SO AWESOME when I feel normal again." And it's true! Isn't life simple? All you need is a little barf to remind you that, really, things aren't so bad.

And waking up on a December morning to a day like this doesn't hurt either:

Tomorrow I'm off to New York for interviews. Fortunately, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are all holidays here so I will only miss two days of class. Unfortunately, this means I won't be throwing another massive birthday party here in BCN for 400 of my closest MBA friends. But hey, I spent 9 birthdays in NYC, so I'm sure I'll find a way to enjoy a 10th there just fine. Fuggheddaboudit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Nothing tops sickness when it comes to slowing down a headless chicken or ruining a good mood. Yesterday around 5, as Brand class was coming to a close and the presentations of our final projects were winding down, I started to feel extremely ill. My stomach had been acting a little funny early in the morning, but I just chalked that up to the late night gorging I'd done with Chris the night before, and anyway I was feeling fine by lunchtime.

Hmmm lunchtime. Maybe it was the chicken I had for lunch that did it. That's what I was blaming last night as I had to miss my last soccer match and various other entertaining activities for a date with my bathroom. But today, though at least I'm able to get out of bed and move around, I'm still not feeling well. My muscles ache and my stomach growls angrily at the mere thought of food. I think it's the flu.

Stupid flu. Why can't it ever come at a more appropriate time? Like.... NEVER.