Saturday, September 25, 2004


The chill in the air is wending its way into my finger bones. The email system is not working and my mouth feels dry and sticky. Even after a shower and a change and a drive through the sparkling bright wheat fields I can still feel last night clinging to my pores. I need tea and pancakes and maple syrup. And a movie in a fluffy bed with just one other person, I think.

I awoke this morning to a naked Frenchman standing above me, looking down inquisitively at the very small blanket I lay beneath. I yelped, and my friend who was sharing the couch with me woke up, blearily looked around, barked a reprimand at Mr. Naked in French, and went back to sleep as if nothing had happened. The naked French boy shuffled confusedly back to his bedroom.

This was obviously not a good way to start the morning. I decided that it was a bad omen and that I should get out of this friend-of-a-friend's apartment while the going was still possible. So I left the flat with its steamy sleepy air, and stepped out into the milky Paris morning with my hair and clothes smelling of cigarettes. I found my way to the Metro (look mom, all by myself), then the train back to Fontainebleau. The rusty landscape flashed white around the edges and hazy purple hangover clouds swirled around my brain as I rested my forehead against the window.

Missed the KamaSutra party because dinner ran late and I had no ride back from Paris. Still, the dinner was lovely, and even lovelier was the gorgeous NYC-style loft apartment in the Bastille where it was held. Nothing like open space, shiny appliances, tall ceilings and no doors. Dinner, Louis Armstrong singing Moon River, caipirinhas, wine, grappa, polish vodka shots, cigarettes glowing red in the candleflames and silhouettes against the window, and we were off to the clubs. I got my first motorcycle ride behind Etienne, streaking through the tiny spaces between the cars while clinging on to my purse and his middle as tightly as I could without making him think I was scared. Then Doobie's, dancing on the banquettes and spilling cranberry vodka down my shirt . . .

I am so tired. I've had it with this week. It's just been far too much. And I've had it with boys. Why is INSEAD so damn full of boys? Boys in suits and interviews, boys who smile with their eyes, boys who check you out and don't care if you notice, boys who won't take no for an answer, boys who love their girlfriends, boys who give you compliments, boys who are so much fun to hang around that you can't help yourself, boys who are selfish bastards, boys with cute accents, boys who smell nice, boys who press their advantage, boys who get the wrong impression, boys who are more fragile than you think, boys who are not and will never be the boy.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Last night's dinner party was a "white trash" theme . . . let's just say that lots of Europeans seem to have no idea what white trash means. Some people came dressed all in white-- go figure. The American girls had lots of fun hooching it up-- nothing like combining heels, short shorts, a cutoff shirt . . . all in pink with thong peeking out of course. We have pictures, but I'm not sharing ;).

Tonight's the Kama Sutra party, but I don't know if I'll make it back from Paris in time (obligatory birthday dinner). Ugh. Am dead dead tired and so behind on everything. Bruises everywhere, eyelids dragging down . . . job stress, of course. And my apartment! Piles of laundry that I have every intention of getting to, right after I take that nap I've been promising myself . . .

Friday, September 10, 2004

Today I attended an optional lecture by a popular Psych professor here about “Balancing your personal and professional life,” mainly given for the benefit of those MBAs with partners. As sad as it was to attend alone in that amphi full of couples, I think the lessons he had to give were achingly relevant. Here’s what my sieve-like brain managed to take away from it all:
  • There is such a thing as too late. People die. Childhood has its expiration dates. Relationships end. Carpe diem—it’s proven that we can’t go back in time, so live your life in the present as richly and expressively as you can.
  • Being selfish is one of the dumbest things you can do, because you’ll die unhappy and alone. Be loving, and go forth and have children. You’ll never regret the children you have, just the ones you never had.
  • Taking care of babies makes you a better lover—you learn to pay attention to and read someone who does not talk.

Sad, sad to think of mistakes I've made, opportunities I've passed up. The parents get back tonight from Rome, and we’re scheduled to do more touristing--Versailles and Paris tomorrow, but my alternator seems to have died on me. The damned thing needs to be jumpstarted at every turn. Not having a car here is very very problematic. Tonight there are rumblings of dinner and Cabaret (a nightclub) in Paris. Will be eating with the parents at home, but methinks I will do some old fashioned slipping out after they go to bed, and see if I can't get some dancing in. This week certainly had its share of events, and I think I even got sloshed enough at one of them to produce some (more) incriminating photos. Will never learn-- can't seem to keep my hands and hips to myself once the alcohol level ticks above 0.05. Contrast that to last night-- at school until 2am to meet an application deadline for 6am this morning. Ugh.

Recruiting is really dragging everyone down. This afternoon I attended an informational session for Barclay's Capital, but was so offended by the pompous tone of the presenter ("Of course, we were very pleased with that deal. We just received another mandate this week") that I had to leave in the middle. No way am I going into another job run by asshole wankers who think they are God's gift to the world, no matter how much overpaying they are reputed to do.

Monday, September 06, 2004


My father has become one of those people who believes that if you repeat something in English more loudly, the French will start to understand. Please, someone hide me. The whole big Chinese family is in Fontainebleau-- father, mother, brother and all. For two of them, it's their first time in Europe, and for all of them, it's their first time in France. They arrived on Saturday, and after picking them up from de Gaulle, we spent much of our time navigating around Paris in order to buy the requisite Chinese groceries (the only form of sustenance that they can take, apparently), after which they came back to the castle and collapsed from jet lag. Of course the family only listened to the first part of my sentence when I told them, "It's been pretty chilly and rainy here, but it could get warmer, you should check online." They only brought pants and sweaters, so now with this wave of sunny weather we've resorted to having my mother wear my things (complaints about necklines, hemlines, etc.). Oh, the joy of family reunions.

Yesterday was an exhausting day (for everyone except dad, who has boundless energy when it comes to famous landmarks) jostling in line for the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel. Today after circling the right hours, times, locations on directories, maps, schedules, it was with many misgivings that I saw them off on the train to Paris again before driving back to school for a breath of normalcy. Tomorrow I get to send them off to Rome for the week before they descend on me again for the weekend-- I'm not a religious girl, but I'll be praying.

On other news, the job searching for P4s seems to have launched in full swing after the CMS kickoff meetings last Friday. It's all-out panic dressed down in black suits, walking around and nervously checking the bulletin board of company presentations, whispering about networks and contacts, surreptitiously flitting around the CMS website. It's damned depressing, actually, because there's little to do if you're avoiding all the consulting and banking presentations as a matter of principle, as I am. I keep telling people that I'm looking in Asia, but I get the feeling that this is just a sentence I've become attached to just so I have something to say when asked the 1-million times a day question. But meanwhile I'll keep filling my stomach, attending last-minute classes, and pretending that I'll never have to work again. Avoidance as a strategy works pretty well, up until the very end. The good news is that I can live in Beijing and waitress (or teach English, a comparable job) after graduation, so at least I won't starve.

Tonight is my second girl's rugby practice, which I've just joined in order to add to my avoid-a-job-search activities. It's also my would-be two-year anniversary with the (ex) boyfriend. You know, being a single girl at INSEAD isn't all that it's cracked up to be. You go to classes, lunch, parties, etc., and you act just as you did before, and the boys are just as flirtatious as they were before, but the difference is that now instead of coming home to a phone call, you just come home- more alone than before. Sigh. It's been a month since breaking up, perhaps it's time to break the ice-- famous last words . . .