Monday, May 28, 2007

End of an Era

While this has been one of the worst days of my MBA experience, it was also much less painful than I'd expected. Today Marco and George left Calatrava for good. And adding salt to the wound, we signed over the lease to three first years who will take over as of Friday. Ouch.

With George and Marco gone, I'm really looking forward to getting settled into my new place and then spending some time out of Barcelona, traveling around and visiting friends before work starts.

Fortunately my friend Roxana is visiting me from Romania (I worked with her at BBDO last summer) and kept me plenty busy today, keeping my mind off the two horribly empty rooms in the flat and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. We hit the aquarium and La Pedrera, a first time for both of us to each. We had a great lunch at the market off Laietana, and of course got some serious shopping in as well. There are more farewell fetes tonight (Matteo, Fede, Oriol, Kyoko) but I just can't bear it at the moment. And after a long day of sightseeing and wandering around town, I'm delighted to know that the second my head hits the pillow, I'll be dead asleep and not thinking about my best friends dispersing around the globe.

George and Marco, thank you for everything. I am so lucky to have met you, lived with you, laughed and cried and danced with you. And I'm even luckier because I can count you as my best friends for life, no matter where we are. CALATRAVA FOREVER!!!!

August 29, 2005... Days after the arrival of the original Calatrava Guapos

Friday, May 25, 2007

Done and Dusted. Signed, sealed, and delivered.

Yesterday I made it official. I signed with Havas Media to start in September as a project manager. So I will be based here in Barcelona, spending the first few months traveling around, learning the ropes and working on different projects, eventually settling back here.

Whew! Now that THAT'S out of the way... I'm also moving into a new apartment. Yes, sadly, the Calatrava days are over and it's time to move on. Marco is back from London in an hour for our final BBQs of IESE. George goes to Italy on Monday. And then it's off to Diagonal for this little lady. While my flatmates are moving to different countries, I'm moving to another whole zip code. Impressive, eh?

But in all seriousness... though I know it will never be the same without Marco and George and the rest of the IESE crew, I also know that I have friends to visit all over the world. And that Barcelona is one of the best weekend destinations around, so chances are that they'll be coming back to visit me too. And, quite honestly, I'm absolutely delighted to be staying right here in my adopted city. Sweet home Barcelona!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

First is worst, second is best, third is the one with the hairy chest!

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to just copy the email I sent to the school on Monday....

Dear friends,

Thank you and CONGRATULATIONS on our impressive 2nd place finish at the MBA Olympics.

With 140 participants, we were 40 fewer than last year, 80 fewer than Instituto Empresa (who, with 220 people, still didn't manage to finish in the top 3), and 110 fewer than LBS, who placed first by a very small margin.

Special thanks to:

- The captains of all sports, who worked hard to organize teams and shuffle players as last-minute schedule conflicts arose

- All of our athletes, most of whom played multiple sports, and several who suffered rather bloody injuries (but who looked very cool doing so), and who brought home several impressive trophies!

- Supportive fans and partners who cheered for all of our teams

- The IESE band, who helped open the weekend by kicking the LBS band's butt, and the fans who chanted "IESE!! IESE!!" after every song LBS played.

- Pablo Royo and Francesc Serras, who valiantly drove people all around campus and to and from the two Paris airports in the PepeVan

- Juha Koski and Roy Bacharach, who drove our beer all the way to Paris without drinking it all before arrival!

- The rest of the IESE Olympic Committee: Paul Mascaro, Roy Bacharach, Juha Koski, Lena Perepelova, Jordi Armenter, and Bertrand Blanc, without whom there would be no IESE participation at the Olympics

And finally, our tally of team trophies. Congratulations everyone, and thank you for making IESE proud!

Gold Medals:
Men's Football
Women's Football
Track & Field
Mountain Biking

Silver Medals:
Women's Rugby

Bronze Medals:
Cross Country
Men's Rugby
Table Tennis

Best of luck for next year!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Anatomy of a Wedding

Better late than never, I bring you... an Austrian wedding weekend. (Or, "One Wedding and Thankfully No Funerals")

Thursday, May 10
9:00am George and I take a taxi to Barcelona airport for our 11am Click Air (cheap-o Iberia spinoff that started back in February, just in time for our trip to Switzerland) flight to Vienna. After a flight, a train, and a taxi, we finally arrive at our hotel, which is right in city center. On our way to eat lunch, George is nearly decapitated by a worker carrying a large piece of lumber through a door. We notice later that nearly everyone in Vienna carries large objects around. During our lunch on a terrace, we are passed by another man carrying a large piece of plywood, two men carrying glass, and another man carrying a large table. We are obviously tourists. We are carrying nothing.

4pm, at the Cathedral

Which, sadly, doesn't allow ice cream or mobile phones. But Big Macs and ghetto blasters may be tolerated...

Francis joined us in the late afternoon and Tom arrived for dinner. Before dinner, we waited for Tom at a bar called Barbara's, which was filled with beautiful girls and photos of naked women and wine glasses. After speaking to a girl who happened to be the daughter of the bar owner, we learned that we had stumbled upon the opening night of this particular exhibition, and that all the models in the photos were in the room, along with the photographer.

George, after realizing he was surrounded by the women in the photos...

After a schnitzel fest dinner, we wandered through Vienna and then called it a night. Tom had an early interview and Francis realized that he only looked at the wedding invite the day before... so he had to locate a tuxedo first thing in the morning.

Friday, May 11

With Francis off tuxedo shopping and Tom interviewing, George and I wandered around in search of an internet cafe. Along the way, we bumped into this friendly zombie.

After an extended lunch at a terrace in the center of town (we lucked out with the weather!) George and Tom headed off to pick up our rental car and I helped Francis pick out a wedding gift. Soon we were off (in a Mercedes E-class! Choice!) to Burgau, about 150km south of Vienna.

7:00pm - The festivities begin. Dressed in "traditional attire" (for me that means jeans!) we all meet for a welcome dinner. Fantastic food (80kg worth of spit-roasted pork!) followed by traditional Austrian dancing, and then traditional international drunk dancing until 3am.


George & Jan-Erik


The happy couple, Kathi and Chris

Francis tearing it up
Blue Steel on the dance floor

An Austrian dancer explains that you just can't do this stuff if you're English... sorry Francis.

Marco decides he will ride a bicycle back to the hotel

And George decides to carry this sign

In a fit of German integrity, Marco drops Francis at the hotel and returns the bike where he found it. The sign remains in front of our hotel until we leave for good.

2:46am: We have to enter through the back door because the front of our B&B is locked. Imagine our excitement when we find a tractor... with the keys in the ignition! And bicycles!

Again, reasonable Marco prevented the tractor from leaving the garage. But we had fun anyway.

Saturday, May 12

By now, most of us have stumbled downstairs to breakfast and group consensus is that we go horseback riding. So off we go in a group of 12 to the stables nearby, only to find that the woman who would normally be able to take us out riding isn't around. So we head for this crazy spa.

With all of us feeling rather worse for the wear, a healthy place like a spa seems like just the ticket. Especially a spa that serves beer!

Sunglasses are key in times like these

On the way out, we found this sign, which means "Evacation Point." I guess in Austria, you're supposed to huddle in the midst of a huge field in case of any problems. But it does not explain what to do with your large objects...

3:45pm: We head back to the hotel to get cleaned up and ready for the wedding ceremony.

Alex and Tom: Tuxedo Model v. Sock Model

5:26pm: A quick stop at Crazy Girls on the way to the ceremony... which was unfortunately closed.

5:37pm: Just enough time for a quick beer before saying "I do." (Or, in this case, "Ja.")

5:48pm: Ian, Alex, and Bertrand looking dapper in the church

6:56pm: The newlyweds drive off in a sweet Mustang

7:15pm: The Reception, at the estate of Kathi's family

7:47pm: The tossing of the bouquet.... I missed it! Woo hoo!!!

7:58pm: Pre-dinner photo op with the IESE crew

10:38pm: After a fabulous dinner, time for dancing! Chris and Kathi get us started

10:41pm: And I continue

11:38pm: The crew still standing

12:02am: The castle by night

The path to the reception tent

12:21am: George strikes a pose

2:40am: The party still going strong

3:04am: Francis shows off his moves

3:42am: Tom's flying again!

4:26am: Alex, Francis, and George

5:45am: The house and tent... also still standing!

6:03am: On the way back to the car, we pass this swing set and have to have a go, of course

6:16am: Tom takes his swinging very seriously

6:35am: Sunrise on the way back to the hotel, with Tom screaming "GO FASTER!!!!"

Sunday, May 13

11:45am: George and I try to wake up Tom and Francis for brunch

Or, "why you shouldn't go to bed and leave your door open"

Francis is so posh he even wears his cufflinks to bed!

12:34pm Brunch.... because we hadn't yet had enough weiners!

Freddy definitely hadn't

1:45pm Tom opts for a liquid lunch

2:15pm: Francis and I harass a poor helpless dog that just wanted a weiner

3:35pm Tom finds one last chance to play in the sandbox before it's time to hit the road to Vienna

On the way back into Vienna, we stopped at a XXX video shop to "ask directions." I didn't take photos there....

Monday, May 14: Time to head back to Barcelona and prepare for the Olympics!!!