Friday, October 31, 2008

N on her owN

Yes, it’s yet another night I’m spending on my own here in Brussels, because if it isn’t a late night meeting, a recruiting event, a late plane back, or a presentation for the client that has to be finished, it’s a stag party.
So I’ve decided to spoil myself - big time.
After work, I went to that gorgeous (but too expensive) boutique around the corner, and let myself go wild. With my bag full of clothes (and credit card maxed out), I went to the local deli for wine (the best) and take-out Italian. And I’ve rented a movie (“Michael Clayton”). There, the ultimate girl-night!
So please excuse me now - the microwave is beeping and George Clooney is waiting !

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Barbizon Blues

What’s going on? Is it the ending of Daylight Saving Time? Is it the trees and their autumn colours? Is it the reinstalled routine of going back to work? Is it all the other emotions, that have finally settled a bit, and left room for others? Or is it just plain nostalgia?
Whatever the reason(s) : I’m missing Fonty, Barbizon, INSEAD, the forest, the huge Carrefour, the local bakery, the train to Paris, the library, the cafeteria, Pizza Pazza, our little apartment...well, simply all of it! Googling Fontainebleau while sitting at my desk at work doesn’t exactly help. Neither does looking at all the pictures taken last year. Or leafing through my dairy, and realizing that, exactly one year ago, I was celebrating Halloween in Disneyland Paris.
When I come home, and step out of my car, I smell the city...and I can only sigh, and long for the smell of the forest after it rained, mixed with the smoky smell of wood fires.
It got so bad over the last few days, that I even went to the INSEAD website, and had a look at their current job offers.
I’m not idealizing my 6 months in France – I still feel bitter about certain things, and I still vividly remember times I felt so useless and lonely, I would’ve jumped on the first train back to Brussels. But right now, I would give anything to be
- hanging around in the bar with a few other partners, waiting for our men, and all go out for dinner afterwards (obviously drinking too much wine)
- walking around in that huge supermarket, taking 30 minutes only to pick out a few cheeses for yet another French Evening.
- teaching English to M, and trying to convince her once more that she’s doing great
- drinking a coffee in the Starbucks on the Boulevard de l’OpĂ©ra
- dancing on a stage at 3.00 AM in the morning

Hmm, instead, I’m still sitting at my desk, and getting not any work done....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

To Ylva

Ylva wrote a comment on my latest post. She's a partner on her way to Fontainebleau, just like I was one year ago. And of course, after reading my blog, she's getting second thoughts. Ylva, I can't really give you my email here, as this is still an "anonymous" blog (well, sort of anyway). So please consider this posting as my answer.

Following your partner or not is a tough decision to make...and it took me several months to make up my mind. We were not married, had no children, had never lived together...and finally, I decided to go because I thought this would be the quality-time for our relationship we had been needing for a very long time. I know now this was a very wrong reason to go. I went to be with him, but INSEAD took up 99% of his time: a lot of classes, a lot of groupwork, a lot of night-time studying,...
I was fortunate that, very quickly, I got to know some other partners, who became wonderful friends. Thanks to them, I have a lot of very nice memories of my time in France, and I can look back smiling.
Do I regret I went to France? No, not one minute.
Would I do it again? No, definitely not.

Please realize that this is just my story. We each have our own reasons to go or not go, we each have our hopes, dreams, experiences, and expectations. And last but not least: we each have, of course, also different boyfriends/husbands.

So if you want to have some real quality time for just yourself (read all the books you want, finally follow that cooking course, learn how to speak French, visit Paris every week, and make friends from all over the world) : I would say "Go!"
If you choose to be stupidly naive like me, just hoping for days filled with romance in the French countryside and a marriage proposal on the Eiffel tower : don't go.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two girls

I’m just back from a dinner in good company, with slightly too much wine. In other words : the perfect writing mode :-) (minus the spelling mistakes)
The wine was Italian, can’t remember the year nor the name, but it was good.
The company was my best friend in high school. We saw eachother one year ago, after a « pause » of more than ten years, right before I was heading to France. And now that I’m back, it was time to, once again, pick up where we had left. We talked non-stop for more than two hours, about our deepest feelings, about our dreams, about random stuff, as if we were still seeing eachother every day at school. It was great to realize that, no matter what, we still connected – just as we did when we were sixteen, putting on too much make-up and getting ready for our first party.
I can’t say we’ve changed either. For some reason, we’re the only two of our « band » left unmarried and without any kids. Like years ago, when we were the only two who had a love life that could now be perfect for any reality-show. We still have fits of laughter drawing stares from the other people in the restaurant, and we still both think that we were stupid to go for the cool guys in high school, instead of for the smart guys (who, allas, all had too many pimples back then). We had our share of break-ups, we had our smacks in the face (she lost her dad, my mom has cancer), and we still think that getting overweight is simply not done (even if this means you have to starve yourself from time to time). And…our biological clock has started ticking harder than ever.
In other words : I had a great time tonight, laughing ‘bout old memories, sharing present-day dreams, and spending time with someone who, even though I rarely see her, was and still is, a soulmate.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One of those days

- waking up at an ungodly hour of the morning, ‘cause P had to catch a plane to Prague
- missing the high way exit to the office, and because of that, being stuck in morning traffic for 30 more minutes
- Having IT problems for the first two hours of the morning, not being able to do all the planned work.
- Being called in the director’s office for a stupid mistake I made yesterday, because my head was already in hospital, with my mom (who's more sick than ever because of the second chemo that started)
- Realizing it was my collegue who informed the director of the mistake behind my back
- Rain pouring down non-stop

Thank God, I'm home
(without causing any car accidents)