Saturday, May 31, 2008

My famous words

This morning I was thrilled to see the email "Official pictures of the summer ball" had finally arrived in P's mailbox. I opened it immediately...only to read my-very-own-words!! That's right, if you want to know the content of the mail, just re-read my posting describing the ball.
Now I know that whatever you put online becomes public property, still : at this moment, I don't know if I have to feel flattered, cheated, flabbergasted, robbed, excited, amused (or not).
My private investigator-instincts are already at work while writing is, so guilty one : beware ;-) !!

Friday, May 30, 2008

One week, all-inclusive

What a crazy week this has been….All the best of INSEAD, packed into a few days. It started with the Summer Ball, followed by « Latin week » on campus (including a mexican dinner for 160 people, a tropical beach party along the Seine, a dinner party at our place for 14 people, and today as a gran’ finale : brazilian carnival). And while writing this piece, I’m sitting on our sunny terace, eating strawberries the French way (with lots of whipped cream :-)
So it has truly been a holiday for me. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it – and even with a sleep-average of 5 hours per night, I feel the batteries are fully reloaded.

Tomorrow I’m going back home, Monday I’m bringing my mom to hospital for another chemo-treatment. I realize this may sound as if I’m living in two very different worlds. But I'm not. It’s just life – a very rich one at the moment, with lots of love and friendship, and lots of very intense feelings. I just hope everything keeps fitting into one tiny head...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Summer Ball

Before I start writing anything, let me be very clear on this : words (no matter how many) fail to describe the INSEAD Summer Ball of last night. But I’ll give it a try :-)

A colorfully illuminated chateau (a really big one. Yes, like in the movies). Some thousand INSEAD students and alumni in tuxedos and gorgeous ball gowns. Three different « party-area’s » : 1 huge transparent tent on the main courtyard of the castle, with a central bar (non-stop champagne and cocktails), and different food stands with cooks preparing delicious munchies. With a really good DJ, who was helped by a live (and very funky) trumpet- and bongo player. 1 ball room inside the castle, with a salsa band playing very hot sounds. Another very large room in the castle, with lounge chairs and a live jazz band playing.
Nope, I’m not finished yet.
Around midnight, breathtaking fireworks over the pond in the castle’s gardens, accompanied by classical music. Around five AM, breakfast served. And last but not least : all the friends we have made this year, present to dance the night away!

So dancing ‘till dawn is what we did. The ball ended at 6.00 AM. A « survivors’ picture » was taken on the stairs of the main entrance of the castle. And as the sky turned light blue, and the birds began to sing, hundreds of people walked out of the castle, all smiling, more than one with her shoes in her hands.
It was a magic night.
Thanks for making me go.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have hated it at times. I have wondered why in the hell I went to France. I have felt guilty for moving abroad, for not being here with my family, those last « healthy months » of my mom. For not being here when she heard the news.
And now, I don’t know how this whole situation would look like without INSEAD.

Without it, there would probably be no blog. And I wouldn’t get support and feelings of sympathy from all over the world, from people I barely or don’t know, or from people I never realized were reading my blog. Without INSEAD, I wouldn’t have a big handful of new friends, who were very present these last 2 weeks, if not physically. Strangely enough, what has happened has allowed me to give meaning to my whole Fonty-experience.

Next weekend I’m going back to France for a few days. It’s the big annual Summer Ball – and my mom has kept on pushing me to go, even when I refused to even think about it. So I bought a dress, and she bought me all the « accessories » : the outfit is completely ready !
I am looking so much forward to going back, and at the same time it frightens me a bit. It will be strange to step back into what feels like my « old life », before the « C-chapter » started. It will be emotional to see all my friends back. It will be difficult to go away from home again, for the first time, even if only for a few days. But I’ll be there…. in one hell of a smashing outfit ;-) !

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Keep on writing

After two weeks of loosing myself in grief and sleepless nights, life is slowly getting back to "normal". Yes, my mom has cancer, and is starting her first chemo tomorrow. Yes, the sadness and the fear are always there. But I can sleep again (most of the time). I can talk to people without bursting into tears every five minutes. I can read a book and listen to music. And I'll try to write again. Somehow, this big C-word, and all its implications, has found a place in my life - and I just have to deal with it. There are still times that I get very angry and very frustrated. Those are the worst. I prefer the tears over the anger.

A few things I've learned these past days:
- sadness can physically hurt. I told P that giving birth can't possibly hurt as much (I might have to change my mind on that one one day)
- even if you don't belief in God, you think of him when everything else seems hopeless
- strong emotions can make you very, very tired (I still feel like I just did four weeks of non-stop studying for exams at university)
- you can't understand how a sunset can still be so beautiful when your whole world seems to end
- when you feel hopeless, sad and very weak yourself, you can still manage to find the strenght to be there for other people
- "time" becomes a strange concept. It's your enemy and your friend at the same time. A day can last a week. But a week can fly by without you noticing it.
- friends try to find ways to help you. But their biggest help is just in showing that they're thinking of you. And luckily, that's what they did. In the toughest of times, their messages were like hands pulling me through.
- P is my hope, my love, my strenght. It's in his arms that I find some peace of mind.

So here we are: I managed to write more than a few lines again. Without crying. Without just staring at a white screen for half an hour. I did it. Pfew...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Waiting for P5

That's what we've been doing the past few months, when the weather was crap, when the workload at INSEAD remained heavier than expected. P5 would be : sunny weather, less courses, more quality time for P and me. Instead, my life changed from one day to another, and there is no P5 for me. I'm back home, P is in Barbizon. Or how "waiting" can become the biggest mistake you ever made. Waiting to get married. Waiting to have a baby. Waiting for better times. Take it from me: don't wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow your life as you know it can be over.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Searching for strength

Writing is tough right now, but I'll give it a try.
Over the past few days, I've received phone calls, emails, blog comments. All little stars in a pitchblack night. All wishing me strenght. And you know what? Sometimes I manage to find that strength. Like when I join my mom in hospital for another test, and I see her lying there in pain, suffering and completely helpless. Then I feel a force within me that somehow just takes over. Only to crash again when I come home again, late in the evening, all alone, surounded by pictures and memories.
I have no control whatsoever over how I feel. One moment I'm furious and so angry I could happily hit somebody. The next moment, it's like I took a box of tranquilizers. I go from hopeful to hopeless. From denial to raw reality.
Right now, I'm just going to sit outside in the sunny garden, with my mom, dad and our two cats. And try to just live in the moment, not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Daisies by the lake

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and I’m sitting in one of my favorite spots : the lake side in the park 5 min. from my doorstep in Brussels. (I’m scribbling this down in my notebook – will post it later on the blog).
For the first time in days, I manage to feel a bit at ease. The anxiety is still there, but instead of attacking me, it’s making me numb. They’ve found « bad cells » while examining my mom in hospital. There, I’ve written it down – it’s real now. We’ll know more on Tuesday, after more tests.
How I feel ? Like this : a little boat, drifting in a huge ocean, without a harbor in sight, without a safe haven to go to, without any anchor. No job to go to, no money to earn, no securities, no place I can call home for the coming years, no mom to take care of it all. And P at INSEAD .
I’m staying in Brussels for the coming two weeks. I’ve rented a car with my saving money . It may sound stupid, but having a car again gives me the impression that, at least, I have a bit of a life of my own again. I don’t know how that life will look like after Tuesday. For now, there are daisies and green grass around me, someone playing the guitar in the distance, the bubbling sound of the lake fountain, and the warmth of the sun on my face. This moment is ok. The first one in four days and three nights.