Saturday, December 29, 2007

Small but significant

Ok, so I already have a box filled with medicine, a box filled with books and DVD’s, and a box filled with kitchen stuff. Yep, that’s right : I've finally started packing (or I’m at least trying to !). My legs feel shaky while doing so, and I try to ignore the emotional turmoil going one somewhere in the hidden depths of my brain – but …I’m proud of the three boxes that are ready to go !
I’m still postponing the most hellish part of the entire move : clothes and shoes. And I know, thank you P, that that sounds « blond » - but girls will be girls. Especially when going to Paris, where everybody looks as if they just had an entire fashion-make over ! Come on, I can’t go to La Sorbonne twice a week wearing the same clothes !
But I’ll stop on the subject now, before P asks me to get a new, darker, haircolour.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jingle all the way!

Here we are again, it’s that time of the year in which
- It’s my birthday
- The entire family goes to the Ardennes to meet, greet and eat wild boars
- P is off to Mexico to celebrate with his family
- My stomach goes on strike because of all the mistreatments
- My hands are covered with red spots due to pine-needle allergy
- Each morning I open the curtains to see it has still not snowed
- I try to think of something special to do for New Year’s Eve, but we’ll once again end up watching the traditional fireworks in Brussels (which I very much enjoy, by the way!)

Melancholy is looming around the corner, and the fact that I’m moving in exactly one week, is not making things easier (mental note : never move again during the Christmas’ Season !). So the habitual reflex comes up : shop ! Alas…there are the 7 months without an income to think of…depriving me of my escape route into consumerism. I have enough to keep me busy though…
I should start packing all my stuff for France….but I just keep on postponing it (hell, I still have to unpack from the Ardennes). Nightmares about being shipped to France in a container (on a stormy sea) are not exactly improving my motivation (nor is the one about flying to France in an Airbus that keeps on crashing).
So « bar » shopping, « bar » packing,….. Nothing left to do but get into a cleaning frenzy ! I’ve thrown out 2 garbage bags full of stuff, and this finally gave me the closet space I desperately needed for the contents of my « office-box ».
Next to the cleaning frenzy, there’s the cooking frenzy ! I’ve made a small mountain of muffins for my birthday ; next came several oven dishes, experiments with soups, souffl├ęs, etc. Cakes and pies are still on the to-do list.
So for now, in the middle of these « changing times », these are my few certainties
1) my apartment will be clean when I move out
2) I’ll need to lose some pounds :-) !

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How a bad day finally came to an end

It’s almost an hour past midnight – and I’m just very glad this day is over and done with. Like I already said in the previous posting : it was my last day at work before my 7-month leave of absence – in itself weird enough.
And let me tell you this : it doesn’t get any better when
1) your boss forgets it’s your last day
2) everybody is too busy working to have a glass of the expensive champagne you bought especially for the occasion
3) one of the two friends who was supposed to take you out for dinner after work gets carjacked on her way to the restaurant, and you have to wait for the police to arrive in one of Brussels’ « neighbourhoods to avoid when possible, especially after dark »
Me and the remaining friend tried to make the best out of what was left of the evening (after our toes and fingers were frozen of, because we had to wait, walking around in sub-zero degrees, until there was a table free for us).
After all, I was very happy to have a nice dinner with K – I’m relieved E made it safely back home – and I’m just going to bed now. End of the day. Finally.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Last day at work

Here it is, it has finally arrived : my last day at work!
This morning I felt strangely like on a first schoolday : nervous, not knowing what to expect. And I still feel that way. Strangely stressed out. Lunch was limited to one forced slice of bread, and my last cookie out of the candy machine just didn’t taste as good as it should. On top of this, people are still not officially informed about my leave of absence – and I don’t think this will happen anytime today.

Meanwhile, P is celebrating the end of P2 in Fonty. And I feel lonely as hell (even more so since it seems almost nobody can attend my birthday party on Thursday). I would do anything to be there with him right now.

One little light on the horizon : two friends who have shared work, pleasure and sorrow with me, both inside and outside the company, have planned to take me out to dinner right after work. Thank God for them. And bring on the champagne!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mom going wireless

If there’s anyone preparing for my six-month stay in France, it’s my mom.

1)« I want a webcam ! »
This came about a few months ago – I didn’t even realize my mom (turning 60 in a few months) knew what a webcam was ! So I got her a webcam. But that was just the beginning of it….
2) « I want a laptop »
Ohhh-kaaayy. So suddenly my old desktop wasn’t good enough anymore. Nope, she wanted to walk around the house with here computer. Install herself to chat with me in the garden, in the kitchen, where ever….
Of course, this led to
3) « I want wireless internet ! »
She assumed she could just log on to some wireless network (like I do in Brussels) – only forgetting that she lives in the countryside, not surrounded by invisible networks, but by cows and trees.

So as of tomorrow, with the help of some IT-minded friends, my mom will be completely wireless, walking around with her laptop, connecting to France from everywhere in the house + garden, being able to see me, sitting in front of my own laptop.
On top of this, she just proudly announced that she got a special deal with the telephone company : she can call to France for free from now on, each day, after 17.00PM.

Hmmm..... moving to France was supposed to *increase* my independence...
But ...I'm happy as hell I'll be able to talk with her for free, chat while seeing her and my parental house (and the cats!) in the background :-)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Old friends and new friends

One very good friend sat until closing time at the Pizza Hut with me, several months ago.
Thanks to her, I was able to make the decision to go to France with P.
Another friend made a comment on how wives are always “following” their husbands. Thanks to her, I realized I was doing no such thing – but that I had made this decision in all freedom and as a conscious choice for what I want in my own life.
An old friend told me yesterday how he was proud of me, for taking such a decision. And I finally felt relieved, realizing now that people understood this has not been easy.
Alumni friends expressed their jealousy last week, envying the break I’m taking, the world of opportunities and new experiences I’m about to step into. Thanks to them, I can only smile and be even more determined to indeed enjoy every single minute of it!
Friends at work are always asking me how my weekend in France has been. By letting me talk about it, France has already become a little part of me.
Some new, possible friends, are asking me when I’ll finally be in Fontainebleau, wanting to get to know me better. Without realizing it, they make me feel very welcome.
My friend since birth, my mom, is doing her very best to be happy for me, joining me in my enthusiasm. While I know this is very difficult for her. She is trying to make this as easy as possible for me – and I thank her for her unconditional support, in whatever I do in life.
My friend-in-law, P’s mom, is thanking me for the good care and love I give to her son. Thanks to her, the past months were less lonely and P felt closer, even when he was 400 km away.

OK, sorry for getting swept away by the Christmas’ spirit and for getting more emotional than necessary. What I just wanted to say : thanks all you guys, for denying me a single evening to myself these days, for encouraging my caffeine-addiction to stay awake, for causing a small financial crisis due to all the restaurant visits, and for making sure I’m not in bed before 2.00 AM on week nights :-) !

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Winter Ball

Picture a castle in the French countryside, surrounded by a golf court. From outside, you see the orange glow of the candle light. You step inside, and are surrounded by a few hundred people in their finest tuxedo/ball gown. Welcome at the INSEAD Winter Ball !
It was like a fairy tale…and I was very glad to be there.

But like in every fairy tale, there were a few « cruelties »
-The tickets cost a small fortune. Luckily, we got sponsored, but I heard so many people who were not going just because of the price. And this just feels wrong. Everybody should be able to go to the Ball…I hope the organization of the Summer Ball will keep this in mind.
- It was the weekend before the start of the P2 exams ! As a result, glances at the clock were frequent, and a lot of people (including ourselves), went home just a little after the horses turned into pumpkins again.
- It was the last party for the Dec’07 class, and most of them somehow don’t feel ready to face the real world again, outside the INSEAD bubble. For them it’s almost « Once upon a time, I did an MBA… ».

While writing this, I’m already back in Brussels, and my gown is packed up for dry cleaning. This means my last weekend trip to Fonty is officially over ! And my own stay within The Bubble is about to begin…

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A daily dose of denial

Sooner or later it had to happen. I had to write the phrase that appears in almost every blog. So here it goes : “Sorry I haven’t written anything in a while”.
Maybe I wanted to forget the whole MBA thing for a few days. Or maybe I’m just in old, plain denial. Me, moving in a few weeks? Naaah…..Just going to France for a little longer than usual. Me, quitting my job for 7 months? Naah, …Just taking a Christmas Holiday (that will go on way beyond Easter).

I amaze myself by the utter calmness I *seem* to be in. Shouldn’t I suffer from sleepless nights and crying fits by now? I’m waiting for them to happen, but instead I remain cooooool.
Ok ,so I go running my head of for hours in the gym, I’m drinking a gallon of tranquilizing herbal tea every evening, I’m definitally overusing my credit card, and I’m filling my social agenda to the brim. Whatever it takes, right?

Anyway, if the postings on this blog remain slow for the days to come, please excuse me, and know it can mean three things :
a) I’m still in denial
b) I’m spending my evenings in some bar/restaurant for the umpteenth goodbye drink/dinner with friends or colleagues
c) I’ve totally crashed, and am in bed with an emotional breakdown.