Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snow Daze

This past weekend was the annual ESADE “Snow Daze” ski trip to Andorra.

Andorra is, in fact, a small country located in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, and about a three-hour drive from the center of Barcelona- which makes it quite convenient in terms of logistics. As for the country itself: its tiny- with great skiing- and a tax haven. As far as I can tell, that's about it.

Last year, I missed out on the ski trip due to the fact that it was planned over Valentine’s Day weekend- and as much as I love my fellow classmates, the ski trip debauchery wasn't my ideal way to spend V-Day. Luckily this year, I had the occasion to enjoy both- Seperately.

It was my first (and probably my last) Business School trip with over 100 students to a location outside of Spain. It began with two busses leaving from school Friday afternoon and ended with the same busses dropping us off at about 10 p.m. on Sunday evening. We left fresh faced and bushy tailed and came back sore, sick and hung-over. It was perfect.

The two days in Andorra were passed on the slopes, getting to know the students we have not yet bonded with, and of course- getting drunk. Within the madness, were mixed a few inspiring conversations about future plans to make a real difference in the world. It was in these exchanges that I took note of the fact that I was not just amongst a random group of 20-somethings on a weekend vacation…but I was on vacation with amidst my MBA classmates – a group of individuals comprised of great minds and future leaders- who know how to drink.

After speaking with a number of students, I have decided to highlight the highlights of the Snow Daze experience and share a few photos.

The weekend, of course, demonstrates one of the best parts of being an MBA student. That is- comprising part of a group of people who have been through life-altering experiences together and in the end, can all go on holiday and truly enjoy each passing moment. It was as if ESADE took over the mountain. Every lift line had a representative in it- every run had an MBA skier- and at the end of the day- the bar was filled with students from every race, religion, professional background, educational background, culture, and age- the one thing we had in common was the ESADE name on our CV’s.

My personal favorite moments, and the things I will probably never get to experience again are:

-A two-o-clock- a.m. Michael Jackson dance-off followed by a group of 50 MBAs swinging their arms and curled fingers to “Thriller” in the middle of the dance floor. (I think my biggest regret in the past two years, thus far, is not filming it. But I was too busy dancing…)

-Sunday’s blizzard where all of a sudden- each student stumbled into the mid-mountain café frozen and exhausted…too cold to get back on the slopes and too ambitious to call it a day. Therefore, about 30 of us sat staring at each other- red nosed and short of breath, drinking mulled wine and hot chocolate. It was so cold, even the Swiss and Germans had to turn back.

-Bus ride card games- specifically: noting that no matter where we went to university- on what continent, we all new how to play “asshole.” The only problem: the rules were different. For everyone. You can imagine how that turned out.

-20 guys in bathing caps crammed into the tiny jacuzzi in the hotel’s spa. Admittedly, I did have intentions to partake in the spa situation: until I walked in (flip flops, bathing cap and bikini in tow), and felt more like a lamb in a lions den than anything else.

-Learning that (unsurprisingly) Spanish law states that the bus driver had to take a 45-minute break after 2 hours of driving. Only in Spain… It was then that I was told the lifts would close for two hours for “siesta” in the middle of the day…and I believed it.

-The 4 a.m. poker tournament in the hotel's hallways between myself, three students and our "Andorra" guide.

-Amidst racing down one slope or another, après-ski celebrations, sweating in line in the ski rental shop and stuffing our faces at the hotel’s breakfast and dinner buffets- sitting down at the bar, speaking to a student I have never met, and realizing that he has intentions to change the world (in the good sense)…and moreover, I think he will.

-And of course, “King Bong Carlos” made an appearance. Bong Carlos is our resident beer-bong-and the cause of a bit of upheaval, but I won’t get into that. Nevertheless, I just have to share the information I received from the roommates of King Bong’s owner the morning after he made his appearance. Apparently, this student (who shall remain unnamed for everyone’s sake), made it back to his room- quite inebriated- and although he failed to change his clothes, brush his teeth, or wash his face- he DID thoroughly wash, rinse and delicately hang the beer bong up to dry over the shower rod in the bathroom. Now that’s love. (and a testament to the fact that this individual will one day, make a great father…)

-Below are a few pics…enjoy:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There...I said it.

Today- as an exercise in explicit narration – I have decided to express only very specific thoughts, views and incidents. Don’t take this lightly- it’s quite hard for me. At the same time, I know that oftentimes, I write too generally about life. I make observations and then I somewhat skirt the main issues and rather, take a broad view of this world and my experiences in it. Basically, I’m trying to broaden my skills. Allow me to indulge.

Currently, I don't have the concentration to focus- nor do I have the desire to muse over an exact and meticulous description of my day-to-day life- as a woman, a dreamer, an expatriate- and an individual about to close one major chapter and begin a new one. But what I can do is share the exact thoughts that pass through my mind on a daily basis.

I’m sorry in advance if I offend anyone, but as always, I am open to discussion regarding any of the following issues.

Below is a list of the most significant, painful, judgmental and candid opinions that I happen to have of life today:

-There’s no such thing as a perfect job, or a perfect path. We take what is thrown at us and then try to make it ours- try to make it fit into what we want out of life- and try to make ourselves fit into the roles that we think we should be playing. Furthermore, 99% of the people who came to the MBA “knowing” what they wanted to do- and those who truly believe that they have a path- are just fooling themselves. Ignorance is bliss.

-Life isn’t about how smart you are, or how hard you work. Success comes from luck, who you know and how bad you want it. But mostly luck.

-I’m tired of being a vegetarian- it’s exhausting. It’s so bad, I’ve found myself uninterested in the whole hunting, gathering and consuming process. If I’m not wasting my time trying to find something appealing to eat, I’m busy defending my eating habits to the incessant probing of carnivorous individuals.  People are expecting a fight- at least a healthy debate. They want me to come out with a statement like, “meat is murder” or some kind of ethical declaration- an eternal oath to Mother Nature and her creatures. I’m learning that people, in general, love to argue. My answer? Look down…my shoes are leather. Not just regular leather- but soft as hell baby calf leather. (Although I do feel kind of bad about the baby thing…)

-Which camera brand you ask? Nikon or Canon? NIKON!!! I spent over a year deliberating a digital SLR camera. It’s something I have desired and coveted for years. I’ve hesitated purchasing one due to its bulk- and the cost…but I figured that its really now or never, and I’ve already missed so many opportunities- I will forever regret going on Safari in Africa with a small point and shoot, Angkor Wat, the floating markets in Vietnam, and so on and so forth. Therefore, for my 29th birthday- I asked for an SLR. I did my research, I talked to about a million people and in the end- it was between Canon and Nikon. Solely due to the fact that I have used Canon for years- I chose Canon. BIG MISTAKE. I got my camera, opened it, shed a few tears of joy, went to turn it on- and nothing. NOTHING! The fucking thing is a dud. I brought it to Canon in Spain, and they wanted over 200 Euros to fix it- being that it was bought and is under warranty in the U.S. I have now sent it back home. Between FedEx and DSL- my mother and I have spent $300 on shipping and insuring the shipping. And now? I don't have a camera. Just heartbreak. So my advice? Nikon. 100% Nikon.

-It is possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time. (just ask this season’s Bachelor…yes, I watched it. It was either that or American Idol.) Often times, the problem is not finding love- it’s about which love to choose. And the choice has so much more to do than with just hormones…although someone (mean and cynical) once told me that love is just hormones. Anyways…hormones aside, choosing someone to love entails a great deal more than straightforward desire and emotion- its geographic location, its network, its possibility, its prospects and opportunity. I hate myself for saying this- I hate myself even more for believing it. But it’s the truth.

-Maybe happiness doesn't really exist at all…anywhere- we mistake hedonism and self-indulgence for joy. (This is by no means an assertion- merely a speculation.)

-I saw the movie “Paranormal Activity.” Bad idea. It’s been over two weeks and I’m still sleeping with the lights on.

-I miss listening to the The Indigo Girls. Sometimes I sit on my bed in my pajamas, open my worn-out and tattered journal and put the Indigo Girls on repeat. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine- like chocolate. I cant seem to figure out why I feel so wrong- like I’m too old to like chick rock, or too straight to like lesbian rock- or maybe that it actually does make me feel old, being that my favorite album of theirs was released in 1992. I may as well just admit it- as I’m getting up there. And while I’m at it- I’d also like to add that I listen to Bette Midler, Jewel and Alanis on a regular basis. (My cool rating probably just went down about 10 points…but I’m old…so I don't shouldn't care).

-Some students keep updating their facebook statuses with the number of days left of the MBA- as if its something to actually count down to…like New Years- or birthdays- but seriously…I’m trying not to think about the impending end of life as I currently know it. I wish they would stop.

I think that's it for today. I actually wrote more but was advised against my own judgment to “leave some stuff for the journal.” And after further consideration- this post has been edited to death so as not to make it appear that I have gone “over to the dark side,” as another one of my “blog consultants” mentioned.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


In life, it seems as though we are always planning for what comes next. We are taught to prepare for tomorrow- to organize, practice and ready ourselves for what is approaching- or the idea of what is approaching- because in the end, life never ends up the way we planned.

I’ve slowly begun to notice that everything around me is pointing me in the direction of the future- it’s preparing me- warning me- pushing me towards something that doesn't even exist yet. This utter exhaustion, born from relentlessly staring straight past what is right in front of me, struck me this morning when I realized that even the fashion industry is forgetting today and thrusting tomorrow upon its followers. Fashion, to me, has always been about immediate gratification- living the NOW aspect of things. i.e. spending money I don't have for a quick adrenaline rush- only to later find whatever it is I bought lying dusty and underused somewhere in the back of my closet. Fashion never had anything to do with the future- until I had the startling realization that as soon as I finally splurged on “this winter’s hottest boots,” I received an email from a fashion magazine advising me to, “get the top 10 must haves for Spring.” Screw the spring. It’s still cold out. Night continues to fall far too early and I still have yet to plan my winter ski trip. I’m not done with winter. I’m not ready for the future…not ready for it in so many ways.

Nevertheless, we work our asses off to save up in hopes of one day enjoying our overloaded bank accounts and at the very least, our 401k’s and pension plans. We hire lawyers and write out our wills so that should that day never come- and we can’t spend all that hard earned money- it’s left to make someone else’s future better. We cut butter out of our diets, eat less chocolate and drag ourselves to running clubs or gyms so that we can improve our chances of ageing gracefully- and living longer.

This whole MBA thing was about the future from the very beginning. I was working in New York, perfectly happy with my life and job- and then I began to muse about my own future. It was over four years ago when I decided that, one day, I may want to do an MBA. So I bought an MBA guide, hired a Kaplan tutor, and took the GMATs. Later, I changed careers and put the MBA guide back on the shelf- saving it “for the future.” Two long years after that, I figured that maybe I was ready to become a student again…so I started applying and was accepted. And in the time in between the moment I chose to come to ESADE and the moment I got here, I was preparing to be a business school student- even though, in retrospect, I really had no idea about what that implied.

I arrived- and from the very first day, we were told that we had to start planning, yet again, for the future. We weren’t given any time to just bask in the whole “I’m a student and nothing more” aspect of being once again a part of the academic system. We had to choose between industries and potential career paths from the first week. We have been bombarded with career fairs, internship searches, interviews, CV writing, interview workshops, career counseling, applications, and the like…I could go on forever.

Now, at the end of the day- at the end of the MBA, I find myself where I was when I began- not 100% sure about what I should do with my future- with about a million options- and a year and a half gone, filled with a bunch more planning that honestly- didn't really change the outcome of anything. I would probably be sitting in the same chair, in the same class, with the same job opportunities and the same disorderly thoughts and grave reservations- than if I had spent the last year and a half NOT planning- and just learning. But then again, I will never know that, will I?

So here I am, still unsure of where I will be going the day after graduation- with a blurry path ahead of me- and of course, still wearing last season’s boots.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Compleaños Feliz

Today I turn 29. Only one more year and then I’ll have reached my 30’s- something I truly believed would never happen. However, this is a topic that I don't even want to think about for another 364 days.

On the other hand, my blog turns two today. I would just like to quickly mention (before I go out and celebrate the depressing yet inevitable passage of time) that I would have never expected the amount of pleasure writing this blog would bring me, or the level of recognition it would receive with regards to my peers. I can only say that I am honored every single time I receive an e-mail from an old friend or a new acquaintance or someone who has never met me- letting me know that my words mean something to them.

An additional distressing fact is that I have two more months and I will no longer be an “MBA blog writer.” Nonetheless- I will unquestionably continue to religiously write my blog- hopefully with even more frequency. I can only hope that whatever it is I am doing- wherever I am doing it- will be as interesting to read about as the past two years have been.

So thank you to everyone who reads what I have to say- because without you, each time I write would simply be a means of procrastination and nothing more. And tonight at dinner, in lieu of toasting to the last year in my 20’s- I will be toasting to my blog and all the individuals who have found some kind of solace or entertainment or comfort in my posts…as disjointed and overemotional as they may sometimes be.

So…Thank You from the bottom of my heart.