Sunday, October 31, 2004

Hong Kong, baby

I'm not sure any more that I will be able to live happily in China. I went to Hong Kong this weekend with four other chickees from INSEAD, joined later by some other friends also coming from Singapore. It was an amazing time, but I do think I've been spoiled by New York, which I miss terribly every time a tall building comes into view (this is every microsecond or so in HK). Anywho, starting on Friday I happily missed three classes in order to wander up and down hilly paths, zoom around beneath skyscraper shadows in crazy red cabs, and of course, to eat and drink and make merry.

The trip started off inauspiciously, with a hazy ride to the airport after only three hours of sleep. There was a huge Chinese tour group also on the same flight, and I quietly almost lost it after being unceremoniously cut in line for the twentieth time. I have a very strong sense of social politeness, and it drives me batty when people just do not queue. Hence the reservations about moving to Shanghai-- I think it's even worse than in HK. I' so damned passive, I always end up last.

A few hours later, however, coasting on the highway and gazing out over emerald hills and aquamarine water and gleaming buildings, I thought maybe not, this wasn't so bad. A good philosophy to keep in mind-- you don't need to be rich to be happy, but you should always have cab money. We stayed at a friend of a friend's of one of the girls. He had this gorgeous apartment in the Midlevels, in a place called Bamboo Grove, and we had it all to ourselves to toss around clothing and makeup and underwear and such, which was lovely.

The first day we walked through the zoological gardens (a real live jaguar! Maybe they swapped with some zoo in south america for a panda), ate Thai (the best dessert I can remember . . . Mango with toasted coconut curls on purple sticky rice in a bed of coconut milk . . . like someone making slow love to your tastebuds), rode the city escalator, got giddy and giggly on wine, and went out to Lan Kwai Fong for Mexican and margaritas, then a bar (Jewel), then a club (Backroom). I had a good time, what I can remember of it. As I recall the mushroom quesadillas were slightly crunchy on the outside, some random HK guy grabbed my wrist and wouldn't let go at Jewel, and there was a stripper pole (uh oh, not disclosing . . . ) at Backroom.

Next day woke up on the couch with the sun in my face, a mouthfull of cotton and a splitting headache. Took an hour long shower, then met up with the rest of the girls and my other friends at the Kowloon markets to search for a dim sum place. I briefly got to use my Chinese, but it's shocking how little Mandarin is used and understood there. As I have absolutely no Cantonese skills, I really wasn't any more useful this weekend than the Russian or Indian or Canadians. After stuffing ourselves, we went to see the sunset in the peak tram-- I swear we were at a 45 degree angle-- felt like a roller coaster ride! Bought postcards, got a bit wistful at the splendid sunset over the hills and the water, and then admired the sea of lights and buildings on our way down in the dark. Then it was more primping and prepping, sharing of outfits and hair dryers and such, and we were off to dinner. Some went to steak, while I went to meet my other friends for Korean (Kalbi, Japchae, Bibimbap, mmm. . . ) at Times Square. How quaint! Hong Kong at night is brighter than during the day, what with the blaze of lights from all the stores that stay open until 10pm. I think I like being able to buy a pair of shoes after dinner. Then it was off to Soho (South of Hollywood road), to an awesome little bar/club called Drop-- so high energy! Through the evening, we went to Alibi and Backroom again, but after some people pooped out two of us girls found ourselves back at Drop with my Singapore friends. We met an adorable boy from London who kindly bought us martinis (he missed the "lychee" in front, yick) and also let me have a bite of his hot dog (this will earn you everlasting affection, I love hot dogs, particularly late at night ;). When did it end? I have no idea. Sometime before the place closed down and after this German started to take liberties with the concept of "dancing" together.

So all in all, I'd say it was a capital trip, and I even have a few more girlfriends into the bargain. I slept the whole way on the ride back and am now trying to procrastinate the work I'll have to make up tomorrow. So far, though, P5 has been one party venue after another. I do worry abit that going out does not make you any smarter or more interesting. Honestly, if the point of going out is to meet interesting people, and in corollary, to have other people meet you and think that you are interesting, then how can you possibly go out 100% of the time? You'll have no time to develop your thoughts or your knowledge, and slowly you'll just become another bar whore-- empty and uninteresting, but unaware of it. Promise me you'll let me know if I turn into a bar whore.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Married Men

The older I get, the more often I meet interesting men who are taken and married. This might be the worst thing yet about aging. Went to Brix (Hyatt hotel) last night with my friend who works here and a bunch of his buddies. Turned out this guy that he knew from New York (whom I’d met once briefly) was in town for a conference, and it was his 32nd birthday, so I stayed all evening with these guys and didn’t meet up with INSEAD (I'm sad to announce that my going-out streak is over because I missed Monday night, but that's still 7 out of the last 8 nights). This birthday boy seemed depressed about turning older, something I'm not used to encountering in B-school, where birthdays are celebrated with good cheer. This guy had been a graphic designer before going to structuring bond deals. Super smart, pretty boy, well read, well spoken . . . you get the drift.

Oh, and did I mention he was married? Yeah, that was a surprise my friend dropped on me when I finally bothered to ask. For awhile I laid off, totally uninterested, but as the alcohol flowed, I was drawn like a moth, and soon we were yelling in each other’s ears, thoroughly engrossed. You know when you have a pretty good suspicion that somebody’s interested? I suspected. The naughtiness only heightened the flirting.

After lots and lots and lots of shots, we went to Orchard Tower when Brix closed down, just to get the full Singapore experience. For those who don't know, Orchard Tower is apparently nicknamed "Four Floors of Whores" around here. And Top Ten is, as per its name, on the top floor. My lord, what a place! So sleazy! I’m glad I’m not a prostitute-- it's tough competition out there. Lots of yucky, used looking women, but also plenty of gorgeous, young, really truly pretty girls too. All of them flocking to the awkward white guys flopping around on the dance floor. Sad, really. But hey, to each their own. We went, we watched, and then it was time to go home. A very pregnant cab ride, the kind you can only have when stone drunk and fitfully talking about absolutely nothing. As I exited my cab, I gave him a nice kiss on the cheek, wished him a happy birthday, and then traipsed off upstairs by myself—I was a good girl, on the surface.

But jeez, I could feel the trail of sinful thoughts behind me. Sometimes I can just feel the evil in me, clawing and slithering its way out my eyes! Why am I so unethical? I was thinking about, considering, secretly hoping to take home a guy I had just met once, who was MARRIED! All my categorical imperatives out the window. It’s evil to hurt people, even when you’re hurting people you don’t know, isn’t it? That is why you never, ever, ever mess around with somebody who is taken, because you know you are hurting the other people in their lives.

I need to examine my soul, I think. It needs some serious cleaning. If only I had more time in between scrambling for class, procrastinating my job search, sleeping off my hangovers, and going out until I’m stupid.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Here at INSEAD when you get rejected by a company, they call it a "ding." I think it might come from the sound that an elevator makes when the door closes and then you start to descend-- it leaves the same funny little feeling in my stomach, like it doesn't know exactly what to do. Eh, if only rejection weren't so damned personal. But by the time you get to final rounds, and have dragged yourself through the travel and the stress and the research and have come up with a halfway decent justification of why you and this company are like peas and carrots, made in heaven for one another and have repeated it twenty times, smiling until you look like an idiot, well, you've got yourself more than halfway convinced, and so it hurts all the more when they tell you that no, you're not good/smart/pretty/cool enough, so no soup for you. And then to make it worse, they hit you with feedback that you can't really deny, because it feels true. I was told that I scored well on all counts, except that for some reason, I didn't seem aggressive enough for a S&T environment. Can't say I disagree, so perhaps these people have done me a favor, huh?

I'm going to lick my wounds and take a nap, and try not to be a resentful baby.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I dreamed last night

I'm embarrassed, but I can't tell you the names of all the places I've been over the past couple of days! There's something about the combination of Singaporean accents and the thudding of eardrum-blowing techno that makes things absolutely indecipherable. So I'm going to do my best, but disclaimer--don't be surprised if you get blank stares as you use my references when you try to go out on this island.

Indochine, Carnegie's, Attica on Wednesday
A very chill evening spent sitting down, talking and sharing at a mile a minute, and sipping constantly, which always makes for the drunkest rides home, head so sodden that even my blankets seemed to buzz back at me as I fell sideways across the bed at 4 or 5 or whenever it was that I stumbled my way back to into silently gleaming apartment.

House drinks then Velvet on Thursday
The evening started in an INSEAD-familiar fashion, with many Fonty faces congregating at a nearby apartment, lots of cigarettes, wine, beer, and vodka mixers. At about 1 or 2, we finally got our butts in gear and headed over to Velvet, one of four dance clubs that are all connected to each other. Apparently Velvet's the hoity-toity one that all the snooty kids frequent. Dunno, it was alright, a little bit small, but reminded me of your typical nightclub. Layout wasn't terribly creative, but easy enough to figure out. Had the unsettling but by now expected experience of being out with about eight or nine men. On one hand, I worry about cramping the game or inhibiting their ability to go out and meet women, but on the other hand, I feel like I'm obligated to spread myself as thin as possible. Anywho, eventually our group thinned, and it was just me and a friend dancing away, laughing and weaving, and we finished the evening off capitally as the lights turned on with six shots between us (who knew that when you ask for a shot at Velvet, they give you two?! Buyer beware).

Zouk, Attica, Wisspa on Friday
Attended some sort of promo party for a new radio station at Zouk, which is also in the same complex as Velvet. It apparently is supposed to be the youngest, most energetic place. Wasn't really feeling it through the first band, led by an angry lead singer with a strange, sexy, scary use-me-and-abuse-me appeal and bandaids on her nipples outside her shirt. My friend said that he could imagine bringing her home to find himself in the hospital the next day, with her stiletto stuck in his mouth and out the back of his head. Too punk for me. The next band was large, and gangsta. Their lead female singer was awesome, a ghetto girl in sunglasses and cropped pants who could belt it out like a diva, or rap with the rest. The eight-person ensemble put on this great song called "She's ready to blow." Have to figure out their name (again, comprehension issues)- they apparently opened for Black-Eyed Peas. But the person I was really entranced by was their smiling, oft-shy, oft-bored keyboardist, an Asian (Korean?) girl with wavy brown hair and a perfect face in the background. Do you ever feel that way? Absolutely captivated by the smile of a stranger, simply based off of the curve of their lips, the flicker of a lash? It's gender neutral. Somehow I wished I could get to know her, she seemed so cool.

We left for Attica to meet up with some INSEAD people, and ran through the tropical rain to enter the steam of an unbelievably overcrowded bar. I was furious because one of our party had been allowed to drive his car to meet us (with two girls in the back) after proving himself so drunk that he literally puked as soon as he walked out of Zouk. Apparently the social condemnation of drunk driving is not as developped here as it is in some places in the west. I literally shook with righteous indignation as his car door was jerked from my hands while I was in the midst of exhorting these stupid girls to at least have a care for their own lives. Ah, of course we all made it without incident, but these things make me so so mad! INSEAD has relaxed my stance a little, but nothing can ever convince me that being drunk or stupid means you're allowed to put others in danger.

Okay, enough of sermon. I drowned my hellfire in lychee martinis and dancing, dancing, dancing until I couldn't feel my feet anymore. Met so many people, everyone sticking and peeling off one another in the heat of the dance floor. My purse is the most disgusting thing ever now, because I left it for awhile on the floor, swimming in broken glass and drink remnants.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, we decided that it was time to afterparty, and at 4 we gamely cabbed it to Wisspa, the late-night place since Lola closed. I singlehandedly (singletonguedly?) tied two cherry stems from my Singapore sling, and ate most of a finger food plate for four. And then, and then, they started to play hip hop. There are many things about myself over which I have absolutely no control, and one of these things is my need to dance whenever that sexy, suggestive, insistent beat starts to vibrate in the pit of my stomach. So my sore, sandal-clad feet found themselves coaxed onto the mostly empty dance floor, and I started all over again until I literally could not stand up any more. I think I got home by 6, showered and cleaned and eyes closed soon after, but by then who's to tell, yes?

Three for three, my first three nights in this place, not too bad, eh? Only about forty more to go-- we'll see if we can establish a record.

Seriously, though, alcohol has a drastically depressing effect on my mood the day after, and I woke up this afternoon from a desperately vivid dream-induced nostalgia too unmotivated to even dress properly, much less to make my way across the street for something to eat. It's amost evening, and I'm still sitting here in my underwear. Maybe I'll write a letter, or go back to my novel. Who needs food, right? Mmm . . . although the memory of last night's sushi is starting to make me wake up a little.

The air feels sweaty, looks like it's going to rain. I wonder what's in store tonight.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I realized only yesterday that since I've graduated college and started working, my somewhat hedonistic approach to life has been missing a basic component. For the longest time, if you'd asked me what the most important drivers of my behavior and happiness were, I'd have told you, without hesitation, "Food and Sex." And I really truly believe it. Food encompasses comfort, nourishment, safety, security, animal satiety. Sex encompasses relationships, physical pleasure, love, ambition, and excitement. But yesterday, as I finally learned how to adjust the snorkel correctly and heard the whoosh of my own breath whispering in and out of my breathing tube, as I stuck my head underwater and felt a shiver on my thigh as I kicked my flippers gently to avoid a mass of living breathing, waving coral just twelve inches below me, I realized that for almost three years I'd forgotten about Wonder. So many fish, so many fishes! Red ones, blue ones, zebra ones, rainbow ones. Ones that stayed still, ones that sparkled in schools, ones that zipped this way and that. Frightening sea slugs, enormous sea mushrooms, a mass of colors that only cartoons can properly render when above water. The way the suns created mysterious speckles in the water and on the sea floor. My timidity when it came to touching anything. My shy, secret little desire to go back again and again, for longer and longer each time, to see what I could see even if I was a scaredy cat.

Oh, but do you still remember your childhood, when no day was ever like another, when wonder didn't have to get up and hit you in the head for you to remember that it's a basic reason for being? I think I remember mine now. So, a new retort now when people ask me the meaning of life. "Food and Sex and Wonder."

But for now, I've left the perfect beach behind me, in a trail of white foam and a swell of open wind on water with tropical birds flapping in its wake. When I want to be reminded of the breezy nights when the clouds would light up with flashes of pink but no thunder could be heard to follow, or the fifteen thousand shades of light blue as the sand faded into the tide faded into the sea faded into the islands faded into the hills faded into the skies faded into the clouds, I just have to pull out my clumsy little sketches, and I can smell the salt.

Last night was my first proper night in Singapore, and I spent it with an old friend from New York who, by some stroke of fortune, happened to relocate on this little slice of earth. He seemed hellbent on introducing me to just about every NYC-esque bar on the island. Strange to be wandering around a city again. Kitchy sedans, pillowed settees, blaring R&B, fancy faucets, slinky skirts and heels galore, circling cabs, manicured lawns and well-lit bridges. Almost like home except that all the girls are Asian (strangely, the men are not). But I didn't care, because I have to admit, these Singaporean bartenders make a mean lychee martini (4 or 5) and a delicious cosmopolitan (2, I think). Toto, I don't think we're in Fonty any more. Oh, but I'm paying for them now. Woke up at 9:30 completely woozy, and fell back abed until 14:30, when the dizziness (but not the dullness between the earlobes) had passed.

Time to get showered, I think, and to unpack my bags before heading to campus for the first time. Welcome to south east Asia, la!

Friday, October 15, 2004

I hate airports

I'm obviously in a race against myself to see how many flights I can miss before I finish INSEAD. Yesterday I chalked up two for the team, which is why I am painfully typing away on a French keyboard in the Sofitel Charles de Gaulle right now, and not sitting in the sun in a little white bikini sipping cocktails on a boat. But let me start from the beginning of yesterday . . . .

4:35 finally finish packing, and go to sleep
5:20 rush off to Gare du Nord, driven by a friend
7:16 take off on the Eurostar for London with baggage and interview pre-reading in tow
8:56 arrive at London Waterloo station, inquire about early luggage check-in for British Airways Heathrow, am told to go to Paddington, which I haplessly do, only to find that BA no longer has in-town check-in at Paddington.
10:40 leave luggage at Paddington station, head off to Canary Wharf
11:30 interviews start
13:20 end interviews early, rush off to tube
13:58 arrive at Paddington to get luggage and miss Heathrow Express by just 3 minutes
14:10 take off on next Heathrow Express
14:37 Express experiences delays, finally get to Terminal 4, running like a tail-heavy chicken for the lines
14:40 Admit to self that I've missed my 14:50 flight, head crying over to the help desk
15:00 Am told miraculously by wonderful British man that I can get on the 16:14, and my luggage can be automatically transferred, and I just might make my 19:25 to Singapore
16:14 Get on plane, after finally eating something
18:40 we land late, I'm sweating as I rush out
18:46 Nice French man at the correspondences (transfer) desk says he'll do his best, but suddenly there's a problem with my ticket, it's been issued incorrectly
19:05 says there's nothing he can do, walks an almost weeping shell-shocked me to the exit
19:20 He chases me down at the baggage claim to say it's AirFrance's mistake, that my ticket was actually fine
19:21 But I've already missed my flight
19:50 I cry, but get over it, and wait for them to make arrangements for me to fly out the next day, making painful phone calls
21:00 After waiting in vain for my luggage, I give up and take the shuttle to the airport hotel they provided
22:00 Room service, more phone calls, lonely plane takeoffs and landings blinking outside my windows
23:00 sleep, finally

This morning was more of the same. It's so strange, but I can't remember the last time I spent such a long time by myself, completely unproductively. Feels eerily like Lost in Translation. I made condensation pictures with my breath against the window, and thought about how I used to leave messages in the steam against the bathroom mirror. There's really only so much one can do when by oneself. I don't think I'm my own favorite company at all. Probably not even 7th or 8th on my list. But now it's time to go and catch (??) another flight (they never found my luggage last night, and supposedly it'll be in Singapore when I get there, even though it's not going to be on my flight . . . hmm) , then to purchase another connection to Lankawi. Wish me luck, for I'm sure I'll need it!

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Oh what an odd end of the period day it has been. Somehow slept off the stress of "Am I socially inept?" panic that set in during my sleepless from Turkey state last night after I attended a mostly Januaries party where most of the people were friends I only knew of, but didn't know. Strange, you know, you think you're so comfortable and have such great friends, but then you realize that there's a veritable sea of unexplored friendships out there, and you're off to Singapore, not to be back for more than a week. What if? Who knows? This morning was significantly calmer as I set foot into school with only the three tasks of a) migrating my emails because INSEAD somehow won't allow you to keep the same address between campuses, b) reading over my little brother's early application essay for college, and c) doing a bit of research for the final round interviews with a bank in London tomorrow (S&T! I'm a traitor, but not completely, right?). Strange only got stranger, as I read through two emails from a company that I'd met with over a month ago, from whom I hadn't heard a peep and had assumed was a write-off since other friends have been back repeatedly to headquarters to find their fit. The first email was a typical-- we're impressed, we're happy, blah blah, but there isn't anything available for you and we're not pursuing your application further. The second one, just a few hours later, said, hey, something's come up, ignore our earlier email, "we are delighted to offer you a position in China." Could have knocked me over with a feather. Who knew you could get an offer from a global company after just half an hour of chatting on campus? We'll pursue this further when in Asia, but just goes to prove that life happens in mysterious ways. So, to a creative but poorly paid and potentially dead-end job in Shanghai, the wild wild East, or back to an investment banking house with an astromical salary in London, structuring derivatives and similar such ephemeral money generators until I waste away into a pale, lifeless blob?

Just came from my last dinner at le Boar au Broc in Bourron Marlotte, had pied de cochon for entree. Lovely. All my bestest bestest friends around me-- no problems with feeling socially inept tonight. It was nice enough to make me shed a tear that these wonderful folks wouldn't be with me for the next six weeks. But who am I to complain, right? I'm such a damn lucky girl. Singapore sunshine and Lankawi beaches, here I come . . . Paris, London, Singapore, Lankawi, what next?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Turkish Delight

Crazily enough, I got everything on my list checked off. The dinners were eaten, the interviews muddled through, the parties attended, the projects churned out (quality not controlled, but I suppose that's my own fault-- am wincing at the idea of what my grades might look like), the problem sets pawned off, and even Istanbul visited! Whew, now onto the next crisis.

Last Friday I was not a happy camper. Had gotten nothing done the night before because the entire INSEAD computer system was down-- even excel could not be opened. Shameful, the state of our infrastructure at this place-- not what I'd expect from a top tier business school, but I suppose that's what happens when you locate it in the boonies of France. What's a girl to do? She rents a movie from the 24-hour kiosk in Fontainebleau and wastes the evening away, that's what. Early morning rise, driving in the dewy wet, slowly lifting darkness to my interviews-- hotel rooms, glass-paneled coffee tables, three great connections, one not-so-great goof (you have one call at strike 90 selling for 85, the spot is 80, the forward is 100, what's the intrinsic value of the call, and what's the volatility component that you need to reflect on your balance sheet? Durrrrr . . . . ), but what the heck. Que sera, sera.

Then, running running running around, no time to attend class, just desperately plugging away at this and that final project. By 22:00, my eyes bloodshot and my fingers shaky, I triumphantly deleted all of the extra French week ticket request bids from my email inbox and sent off my projects in care of my groupmates for the weekend, and stumbled blearily toward the car. Chug home, only to find that the electricity is (of course), out at the chateau. Use the light of my phone to pack the bare minimum in my lunch-box sized suitcase, slip on my best Moulin Rouge black transparent number and a slinky blazer, and off are me and my little blue Peugeot for gay Paris. Onto the peripherique, out over the Quai d'ivry, and into Paris centre, toward the lights of the Eiffel. Something so calming about driving along the Seine, seeing the water peek at you every now and then. I think that even if I had seen twenty times more of the City this year, I would still be missing it already. Parked, and waited shivering in the chilly night straight below the belly of the Eiffel. Did you know that every hour at night it starts to sparkle like a gigantic Christmas tree? Magic. Well, maybe it would have been slightly more magical without the creepy keychain hawkers trying to ask me what part of the world I'm from (Please! Some originality, gentlemen!), but my saviors apearred en masse and we were off to the boat party. A good time and nasty over-alcoholic drinks were had by all. Lots of steamy dancing and enthusiastic goodbyes, lots of "who am I going to dance with now!" and "but you can't leave!" Still, I think it has yet to hit me.

At some point, I found myself stumbling back to my car, feet complaining loudly. Munched on doritos as we drove to some hotel that a few friends had booked in the area. I took a shower and stepped gingerly over three soundly sleeping boys to sneak out in the wee hours and drive sleepily to CDG to catch my 7:30 flight. Anyone who has ever waited in line at a French airport on no sleep will understand the true misery of my predicament. But wait, it gets better! I must look like a helpful young thing, because I was singled out by an interesting lady from Cameroon to aid her in carrying an extremely heavy trash bag full of odds and ends wrapped in what looked like masking tape. Hm. But what could I do? She was so effusively grateful, and she was wearing strange bedroom slippers (the kind with feathers sticking out) in a bright shade of green. Would have been fine if the thing weren't so damned heavy (and she didn't help, either).

Anywho, I finally make it to Turkey by the afternoon, and from then on, it was smooth sailing. Nothing like putting together comfortable friends and a new environment to decompress all the stupid pretenses out of people and really open the way for conversations that actually discover something. I must say, I got my fill of hummus and baklava. I have some Turkish delight in my car, which I'm very tempted not to share :)

Ai, and of course there's more, there's always more. There's the completely bizarre entertainment night that we signed up for, the gorgeous belly dancing and the ridiculous lounge act. The Turkish baths where I was scrubbed (hard) from head to arse to foot by a fleshy naked Turkish woman. The grand bazaar where I bought a white leather skirt (don't ask) with silver grommets. The last dinner, where we talked creationism, catholicism, agnosticism, and faith. And the flight back, of course, again at 7:30 in the morning.

Ah yawn. Am so so tired. Dinner tonight? Must, can't waste what short time I have with all these wonderful people I won't be seeing after Wednesday! Party tonight? Oh, I might be amenable, if the right pressure were applied. But then again, when I finally get my eyes closed, who knows what can get me up?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Know what I've fallen in love with? My options class. It's so satisfying in the midst of all this hustle and bustle to sit down and twist some numbers into a good hard right answer for once. These things we do to feel like we've done something. But I'm seriously considering derivatives as a career path-- I know, this from the girl who said she'd rather be drawn and quartered before going back to a bank. But pride is silly when it gets in the way of happiness, and I honestly think I might be happy structuring these nifty little products-- something appealing about how mathematical they are, how complex they can be, and how much money they make out of thin air. I know, I'm a nerd.

Last night was my last castle dinner. I forced everyone to come in black tie, and it was lovely to see silk and satin by candlelight. Still, it being the end of the term (again!), people left much earlier than last time. In the end it was a motley crew of six or so drinking ourselves sodden into the furniture until who knows when. Ugh, dragging myself out of bed this morning was a disorienting experience, as was getting to school and having to finish up a group presentation. So many last dinners and parties to attend, so little time! How is it possible to squeeze two final projects, two problem sets, four interviews and interview prep, one dinner party, one huge national week party and one weekend trip to Istanbul all into the next four days? I don't know, but I'm certainly going to try. Such is INSEAD, right?

Oh, one more piece of exciting news-- I received my absentee ballot today! Two months of waiting with bated breath. Just in the nick of time-- my vote will make a difference! Okay, now it's time to be good so that I can justify rewarding myself later. Am excited about the French week party-- they're going all out and hosting it on a riverboat on the Seine, starting at the Tour Eiffel. Demand was so good that they had to add a second boat at last minute. But catching that 7:30 flight to Istanbul the next day is not going to be pretty. Ah, well-- I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Can't believe I'm leaving for Singapore in two weeks. Can't believe I'm leaving France. Can't believe where my whimsy has taken me-- my eighteen year-old self never would have imagined this path. Life recently has been strange and scary. It hasn't been made any better by random selections and random rejections by random companies. It's hard not to feel raped by the on-campus recruitment process -- when else do your qualifications and your desires have so little to do with your results? It almost makes me wish I'd applied to consulting companies . . . but not really.

Am toying with a new business idea . . . one that actually turns me on. But am I too much of a mouse to go it on my own? Oh decisions. Remember Dead Poet's Society, when the professor asks, "what will be your contribution? What line will you add to the grand poem?" Reminder to self-- do not settle, and do not forget, and do not give up. Ai, but school is such a bore, and my procrastinating tendencies have gotten even worse.

Plus, I've turned the heater on, finally. In the car, too. There's something so cathartic about driving. I feel like I'm floating in a warm bubble of air as I drive past the fields and woods on the road to school. Bubbles are such delicate things . . . so I keep my fingers inside and my neck straight and I sit for awhile even after I've stopped the car, finishing that last song on the radio before I have to pop open the door and step outside into the real world.

But I'm going to put that out of my head for now. No more sulking for at least the next 12 hours. Tonight is la nuit blanche in Paris, and all of the museums and cultural institutions are open all night. Must go home and agonize over what to wear. Ah, the joys of being girly.