Ok, so I took a little hiatus- but don't get me wrong, just because the MBA is over- “I Bet Elephants Taste Like Mushrooms” lives on. I began the blog before the MBA and although I never aimed to be labeled an “MBA blogger,” my writing took its natural course and I did, in fact, become the ESADE MBA blogger- or one of them at least.
Now, however- and to my own chagrin- I am no longer an ESADE MBA student. I am not a student at all…I am unemployed. It’s quite a fine line, actually, between playing an active role in the academic system and unemployment.
I do have an MBA though- which is more than what I could have said for myself two years ago. And I plan to forge on in the world, as the same person I have always been- with the same goals and the same dreams and desires…only this time with all the knowledge that the MBA has brought me, somewhere in this brain of mine. Not so bad, right?
So as I sit on my couch in my new home in Rome (yes, I moved to Italy…more on that later)- I am sorting through the millions of emotions whirling around in my heart, while my weary head is working on grasping the fact that my life in Barcelona is actually over. The MBA is over. Everything I lived for the last two years is just a memory- but an amazing memory at that.
As for the time between the actual graduation and now- it’s been a frenzied whirlwind. I spent another few days in Barcelona- doing everything I should have done while I lived there but I was too busy “living there,” like visiting the Picasso museum and taking the two-hour trip out to Montserrat. And then I occupied myself doing everything I loved doing when I was living there “just one last time.” This time though, I dragged my sister along with me. We ate Maoz falafel in Plaça Reial, drank Cava Sangria at Cervezeria Catalana, and spent hours window-shopping while sipping Starbucks on Passeig De Grácia.
And in between doing everything either for the first time or the last time, I ended my memberships, closed my accounts and gave back my keys. I made numerous trips out to the recycling bin and disposed of finance books, old exams and term papers that took months to write but only moments to throw away. I packed my life into my dusty suitcases and donated whatever didn't fit to whoever would take it. I went to dinners and goodbye drinks. I sang karaoke once again with the same group that sang karaoke with me in Beijing last summer. I drank my favorite German beer with my favorite Germans and ate my favorite Indian food at the home of the best cook of the MBA, Saurabh.
I ran around for four days saying goodbye to everything and everyone that I have taken for granted over the last year and a half. Then, on my final night in Barcelona, outside of a bar at about 3:00 a.m., I couldn't take it any longer. The realization that the end had come and gone and it was finally time to move on- hit me like a ton of bricks. The knot in my stomach tightened, my throat closed off mid-sentence and my eyes started burning. While saying not “adios,” but “hasta luego” to a number of friends, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a street challenging my tears, in vain, to stay within their ducts. It could have been the alcohol or possibly the emotional exhaustion- or maybe it simply happened to be the moment that life decided to hit me with the truth- but I couldn't bear it any longer. I couldn't take any more pictures pretending to smile; I couldn't give any more hugs without feeling my body heaving with tears. I couldn't look into the eyes of any more familiar faces, not knowing when the next time we are together would be, and say goodbye. I just couldn't. So my sister put me in a taxi, I went home, finished packing and ineffectively attempted to sleep. A few hours later- I turned the lights off, took the Spanish SIM card out of my phone- and left Barcelona for one last time. And that was it.
It was a slightly bitter and exceptionally sweet end to one of the best chapters of my life. And even now- contentedly sitting in my beautiful apartment in Rome- commencing a veritable “vita bella”- I am filled with excitement, a bit of sadness and enough nostalgia to last a lifetime.
And as I mentally close one chapter, I am realizing, above all else, that I am ready for the next.