Monday, June 21, 2004

There's a plant growing out of the back of one of our kitchen cabinets-- it's a healthy green thing, with waxen leaves springing up in pinnate abundance. I'm going to miss our funny looking chickens, the chunky geese, the waddling ducks and the doves under the eaves when I leave our farmhouse. Life's been hectic as usual, although I took time out to make myself a chinese breakfast of rice porridge and pickled bamboo shoots this morning. A few events of note--

A friend was in a horrible car accident. Fell asleep at the wheel while speeding back to Fontainebleau from Paris and managed to hit another car, flip his car over several times, and slam into the embankment without (miraculously) killing the other driver, any of the highway workers standing nearby, or himself! Unbelievable, but the guy walked out of his car without a scratch. Driving out at 2:30 in the morning to pick him up up where the police had dropped him off, I was so angry at his carelessness. It makes you think-- life is such a fragile thing, why do do we waste it sometimes by being so self-centered and useless? Yet another resolution for the future-- stop useless behavior in self whenever identified.

Went to a wedding shower today for a friend who's getting married over the summer. It was an appropriately girly event, with giggling and well-wishes and gifts of french lingerie for the bride-to-be. So many of the students here are at that age when they've just been married or are about to take the leap. This ain't college anymore, that's for sure. I wonder, if I were in some very remote place with nobody my own age against whom to set my life-clock, would I desire things like dating, sex, companionship, children, at different times? Earlier or later?

It's finals season again, and this one's a bitch. Papers as well as exams to worry about. Doesn't it seem like we're constantly in exam season here at INSEAD? Ugh, am looking to fail at least one of my classes-- have only attended about half of the sessions (I wish I were only exaggerating), and it doesn't look pretty.

This Friday was the Aussie/New Zealand week party, and it was a proper blast to party with the outgoing Septembers one last time. The boys and the music and the dancing podiums blur together, but I remember coming home and dropping my head into my pillow, then not being open even one eye until 4:00 the next afternoon (missed a sadistic 9:00 Saturday morning class, but we all could have predicted that).

Last week I met some exceptional people while preparing the American Week campaign. There are 7 groups vying for only 6 slots, so if American is the one cut out, I'd feel just horrible. What can you do when your president is the most unpopular guy in the world, and you attend an international MBA? I'll fight anyone who claims that there's no such thing as American culture. The US of A is an amazing place to be, and there's no mistaking when you're there. We all got so excited imagining all the awesome events we'd plan, the food, the music, the parties, the games . . . ai, never before in my life have I faced such a wall of unwillingness to believe. I should be grateful that all I have on the line is a recreational week, I suppose, and not my ideology or my global reputation. I'm a NYTimes girl, through and through. Spare me the Fox News, please. Eh, but politics is so depressing.

Speaking of which, it's time to get back to IPA studying. This class is going to kick my ass (and I wish it would get it over with already-- cannot wait until end of term and travelling!).

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ugh. Feeling singularly uninspired and bloated. P3 is vicious and not nearly as fun as P1 or 2 (doesn’t help that the Septembers are all carefree and partying every night in their P5, and that the sun’s started beating down, sapping all my energy and stilling the air). Stayed at school until 4:30am last night/this morning fixing up a final group paper for Innovations class (40 pages long, with no agreement on styling or how to source references). Have cancelled a trip to Milan this weekend to shop for Italian shoes (mmm- yummy) because there’s just too much work and anyway could probably buy another pair of shoes just as well with the money saved on airfare and hotel. So this weekend will be a shopping weekend in gay Paris.

Other bad news—have just heard that the professor (a passionate, large English gent who smells like a combination of dusty mothballs and rancid body odor) for IPA (International Political Analysis) fails students who miss more than three classes. Have missed about six. Ech, I guess I won’t miss class on Monday as previously planned. Had wanted to visit the Indian Embassy in Paris, which (perfectly logically) is only open from 9:30-10:30am. Have I mentioned I will be spending two weeks at the beginning of my summer at a wedding in Bombay, then touring India with about ten other INSEADs? Will be a blast, can’t wait. Also, the plan to go to Singapore campus for P4 and P5 has been amended to just P5, because my travel buddy has (ahem) found love here on the Fontainebleau campus. Ah, well, I had been toying with the idea of staying for another period anyway, with the weather so beautiful and all. Will have to move out of my beloved farm house with the geese and chickens and ducks and doves, but the good news is I’ll be moving into a proper Chateau closer to campus, with a living room of my own.

On the party front, nothing to share—don’t think I’ve been properly sloshed for over a week—absolutely unheard of at INSEAD (and for me). Planning on remedying this situation ASAP, but first, am off home to sleep . . . after an wicked week of working late nights and ordering Pizza Pazza to our cubicle, my sleeve of care feels rather unraveled. Ta!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Oy what a hectic couple of weeks. When I first got to INSEAD somebody joked that they could immediately tell who the new students were, because they were the bright-eyed and smiling ones without rings under their eyes. This was a shockingly true statement, as my drooping eyelids will attest to. Seems like life has been a series of devastating crises and exuberant highs lately, and while this may seem like business as usual to friends from high school and college, I’m honestly not up to it anymore. INSEAD living has destroyed the careful sense of equilibrium I built up with all the “maturing” I did at the most boring job on earth (read: i-banking) for the past couple of years.

Last week started off with losing my car keys on Monday night. Spent half an hour with a helpful but not so hapful student-cum-carthief and succeeded only in denting the frame of my car window. Got a ride home with a friend, and as we turned off our bright lights for an oncoming car, a fox materialized out of nowhere right in front of us. Like an old black and white movie the scene flickered and we were past, barely a bump felt or heard, and horrified, I saw the scared eyes of two or three fuzzy baby foxes peeping out from the grass by the roadside as we sailed by. There was a car on our tail, and I spent the rest of the trip home agonizing about whether to stop, and then agonizing that it was too late and pointless anyway. Then I got home, and found out that the boyfriend was swamped at work and could not come for the week-long vacation as previously planned, that the trip might be cut to 24 hours. When it rains, it pours, so I closed my brain to the static and focused on the paper that was due the next day.

Spent all night on the thing, falling in and out of sleep, and at school the next morning, as I was gloomily polishing off the last section a few hours before the deadline, my screen flickered and told me my computer was going to shut down in 1 minute. Hmm. Not a problem—until it didn’t turn back on again. Was informed by the IT office that my computer had been infected by a virus (surprising, they said, everyone’s had this one already. You must not bring your computer in very often- oh, c'est humoureux, non?), there was nothing they could recover, and my hard drive was officially 0 megabytes. It’s official, there is a God, and he’s punishing me for not believing in him.

The teacher gives me an extension, for which I’m grateful, but the aggravation meter is still, as you may imagine, quite high. That evening, I find my keys on the main help desk, and discover that the boyfriend can come for a little longer than expected—about 48 hours. So things are looking, if not up, at least not deathly. That night, after an exhausting negotiation assignment with two shifty and unpleasant counterparties, I have the dubious pleasure of being the last person on campus at 3:45am while I finish a paper (another one), and take the long drive home. No foxes this time (or on the way to school for that matter—hopefully it didn’t go under the wheels and was not seriously injured?).

The next day, I rewrite the first paper in a foul mood, but as soon as I hit the send button, my life has miraculously improved. The evening is spent drowned in tequila shots and vodka tonics at the “playboy mansion” party, and I receive multiple mysterious bruises on my shins and knees—am told later that this must be from dirty dancing on the marble tabletop. The next night is effectively Friday, since there are no scheduled classes due to private equity day (bleh). Attend a “temptation island” themed party wearing a bathing suit and a sarong—wonderfully versatile article of clothing, the sarong is—as conservative or revealing as you like, depending on how you tie it. The party started quite early and ended quite late, and overall was an absolute blast—everybody dressed all in white, quick dips into the river (I didn’t go in beyond my stomach, was too cold), and lots and lots of hot dogs (have I mentioned that I love hot dogs?). As the night wore on, the sarong wore off.

Friday was spent sleeping and recuperating, fixing the hem on my dress for the summer ball, waiting for evening to come so that I could go to sleep so that I could pick up the boyfriend early in the morning. But that would be too idyllic, wouldn’t it? I get a phone call at midnight, and apparently the boy has missed his flight, next flight out is oversold, who knows if he’ll get here? Heart attack? No. Ominous stillness buzzing in the back of my head? Quite.

But you’ve got to give the guy points for effort. He books another flight with British Airways, hops over to Heathrow, and then takes the Eurostar to Paris by 3:00pm the next day. His luggage didn’t have time to be transferred, so his tuxedo is still in Newark. We rush around Paris and find a tuxedo rental place that just happened to have something available in his size. We sit down for an appetizer of oysters in the spring sunlight before we train it back home.

And oh dear, but summerball was wonderful. Overcrowded and underfooded, but the castle and the dresses and the fireworks! I couldn’t complain. I had my honey and I had my friends, and my dress was sparkly—I was completely happy all night, even if at 5:30 my feet were in rebellion.

But then, but then, all good things come to an end. Sunday flew by, and today it’s Monday again. Another round of classes and catch-up, of papers and scheduling. No warm body in my bed, no visit to look forward to. Sigh. But hey, it’s not so bad. After a few rather low-key Monday night dinners, we’ve decided to turn it up a notch, so tonight’s affair should be exciting. The last period before summer break seems to be drawing to a close rather quickly, and I still honestly have no idea what’s going on in any of my classes (can kiss goodbye to dean’s list if I don’t start attending 8:30 classes soon, and as one of two honorary females on the list, I feel a certain estrogenous oblige to continue the fluke).

That’s the report this semaine. Time to go buy wine again-- is it summer yet?