BARCELONA, for the books and for the sun!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Valencia

About a week ago, I was going through all my social sites and then remembered that I created the blog 4 years ago when I started my MBA. From the post it seems like I only managed to be active for one year. (Considering how I am with this kind of stuff, 1 year is long.)

So, what happened during the 3 years since my last posting? Well, I finished MBA (surprise, surprise) and joined a Spanish consulting firm. My life now is quite boring. I mean, it's not a very interesting story to tell unless you want to know about how I cried in the middle of the night in my hotel room after going over my work with my PM. Or how another PM bought me a toy boxing "hand" so I can hit my colleagues whenever I feel like it. Or how I had dinner with my ex-colleagues at the same time I was having a conference call with my current colleagues. Life is full of small events and musings. I HAVE DECIDED. (I think I say that 3 words too often.) I am going to starting blogging again. Yes, I am.

And since where I am now (figuratively and literally) more or less has to do with my 2-year stay in Barcelona, I'm going to keep the web address and web title the same. (For now, before I figure out what I really want to do with this blog.)

Let's see how long this "new start" will last.

So, here is the first post: In Valencia, jet-lagged, moved into my host family's apartment. Turfa, the family dog (terrier) is barking. Too tired to type anymore. Signing off.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

In Hong Kong

This is not a good sign. I’m currently waiting for my last connecting flight to Taipei at the Hong Kong airport. When I got off the plane from Munich, the humid and warm breeze blew right into my face. Dios Mios. And I’m not even home yet. I know it will be hot, humid and unbearable. But, feeling it firsthand is different. The plane nearby that is boarding right now is heading to LA. Maybe I should hop onto that plane instead.

Another not-too-good sign. I cannot hold a conversation in total Mandarin. Seriously, I left Taiwan almost for a year and a half, hardly been speaking Mandarin. It’s going to be worse then when I was working. Great. Maybe now I can say that my English is better than my Mandarin. (Originally, my Mandarin is as bad as my English.) What can I do in work. Before at Deloitte, it was okay, we use English quite often. But, I don’t think that is going to be the same case with my summer job. I hope they forgive my Chinglish.

Yet, and another not-too-good sign recently discovered. While typing this blog right now, I can see my reflection on my monitor… and… I gained weight. I was suppose to loose weight during the past two weeks so I can pig out in Taipei for two weeks. I actually had a plan, to cook extremely healthy meals, which is not so hard for me. But, I had not considered the fact that we are all (almost all are) leaving, that means, a lot of farewell dinners. Mismanagement, failed projections, wrong model, inadequate analysis… I did better on my strategy midterm than this.

Didn’t I say before that I love Lufthansa. (Remember the incident where Lufthansa moved me to a private jet flying business class?) Add one more too it. Determined to eat as healthy as possible when possible, I ordered a special meal from Lufthansa, a low-sodium diet meal. And my god, wasn’t that good. Either my tongue has changed, or chefs nowadays can cook very delicious diet meals. I couldn’t even tell I was eating a special meal. (And yes, it was low in sodium and low in fat.) They actually have more than a dozen special meals that you can choose from 24 hours before the flight. They even have Indian vegetarian meals. I should try a different one on my return flight. Okay, one draw back of a diet meal on the plane. I AM HUNGRY NOW!!! I got a Twix bar I sneaked off the plane to Munich. Eat or not to eat. I’m not a sweets person.

Hey, I’m so old. My two connecting flight (BCN-MUN-HKG-TPE) is about the same as it was back in college (BOS-DET-OSK-TPE). But it wasn’t this long. I mean, it didn’t feel that long. But just now, on the longest leg (MUN-HKG), I felt so restless. Maybe I didn’t plan well. I didn’t even have a book. Well, I did. I had my Spanish book. But didn’t feel like reading it while LEAVING Spain. When I was in college, I used to fly to Taipei with a friend. Guess that time flies when you are entertaining someone (or being entertained).

Got my 3rd term results back, better than the second term. Well, up ‘till now, it’s the best term, especially considering that I really, really, REALLY thought that I was going to flunk corporate finance. Hehe, I got a solid B for that course. The only upset was macroeconomics. I was aiming for an A, but a B+ instead. But, considering how bad I was in econ back at Wellesley (despite it being my major), I should be happy. Happy, but not proud. Only thing to be proud of is corp finance. Well, one more thing to be proud of, my first year performance as a whole, even practically all individual courses (except for, hehe, managerial accounting). Sorry daddy, guess after all these years of trying (and working at TNS/Deloitte), I’m not really made for accounting. (Inside joke, ignore it if you want.)

Hey, there is free Wifi here. I’m going to post this blog now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

3 More Days Left...

...and I will be back in Taiwan. Yup, the first year of my MBA has just ended. And I have gotten word that I won't need to stay back to take the make-up exam. (Well, actually, I didn't get any call saying that I need to stay back, so why don't I just pretend everything is fine for now.)

I haven't blogged for more than 2 months. My excuse is... is... well... oh yeah... 'cause I was travelling. After the Turkey trip, I went to Amsterday for Queen's Day with JD. AMAZING CITY!!! People there are very friendly, quite a change of atmosphere from BCN. We went to Anne Frank's house, Heineken Experience, Van Gogh museum, Rembrandt house, Red Light District, Chinatown (Amsterdam's Chinatown is bigger than Boston's Chinatown!), and Madam Toussaud's Wax Museum. What else did we do, dragged JD up and down the street to "show" JD what "cannibis" smelled like. Couldn't explain with words, had to find an example. Anyways, I LOVE the city.

Early may, the day after the midterms, Fuji and I took a day trip to Girona for the flower festival.

Later, we went to Rome to celebrate JD's birthday. My god. THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE even if it's only the start of the peak travel season. Took us about half an hour to enter St. Peter's Square, 1 hour to wait in line to climb up the Dome. 320 steps. Reclining, narrow, tall, all different types of staircases you can think of were there. Originally, I wasn't planning to go up. But I'm glad that I did. The climb up took almost an hour. The view from the top of the Dome was beyond amazing. Breathtaking. The climb down, albeit faster, was more scarier. The second day, JD, AS and I stood in line for more than 2 hours just to enter the Vatican museum. BH and Fuji were in line for almost four hours. Not only I saw Santi's (Raphael) tomb in the Panteon, in the Vatican Museum, I found myself standing literally in front of "The School of Athens," my favorite painting from the Renaissance. I was never so moved by a painting before. The Sistine Chapel was quite an experience. (The guards there were a bit annoying. "(Clap, clap) Silenzio, (clap, clap) No fotos.") However, with the help of my high resolution Nokia N73, I was able to take a few pictures of the fresco, specifically the one where Christ gave the keys to St. Peter.

These few days, I have been busily packing and moving my stuff to either's AJ or Fuji's place. I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF. Well, the stack of cases and notes is about the same height as I am. Over the past few months I was somehow able to accumulate about two dozen Spanish books, of which I don't think I really read any of them in its entirety. Left those books at Fuji's place, hopefully she can make good use of them over the summer. I got about another 60% more stuff I need to move. Manaña, Manaña.

Okay, it's 3 in the morning, I should either go back to packing or go to bed. Wait, I cannot go to bed. EVERYTHING is on my bed. No place to sleep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

El pavo está aqui

My turkey pics:


Faeries Chimneys

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Finals starting tomorrow. Capital markets and economics. Hopefully it's going to be an easy start. My teammates are geniuses. They have collected different notes and copies of (very) old exams for most of the classes. For now, I don't have enough time to even go over all of them. Very nice of them to share the materials.

What I am very worried about is operational management. Help!!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

I am tired and sick. Been running a fever for almost 2 weeks. I think I killed all my brain cells.

Finals coming up in a week and going to ace them. All of them.

Hehe. Wishful dreaming.

Well, I am learning a lot more this term. Absorb.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mission Redirect

I guess I never keep my words. A few hours become one week. But at least I am blogging.

So, a quick summary of my life at Barcelona since November last year. First term finals went fine. Still didn't ace financial accounting. (Those d*mn engineers, how could they be so good in acct'g?) My family came to stay w/ me for a few weeks in December. They all had a great time, even my sis. January, hectic month of interviews. Did quite well at first, but bombed the final rounds. For McK, I even had to fly to Chicago for the third round on the day of the Superbowl championship and the coldest day in a decade. (20+ below, in Fahrenheit) By the time I returned back the Barcelona, I only had one day to study for my 4 2nd term midterm exams. Could only study for operational finance. Other three I had to rely on my intrinsic intelligence. Yesterday was Multi-culti (multicultural night/fair.) For the South East Asia booth, I did fortune telling. When people actually start believing in what I was saying, that's when I start freaking out. Crazy night. I think I was the only one that went home without being drunk. I tried so many new food from different countries. The scariest thing was that I didn't even know what I was eating. (Couldn't see the food and couldn't hear what people was saying.) Felt so vulnerable. I'll post a few pics once I get them.

By the way, I love Lufthansa. When I was at O'hare at 2pm checking in for my 10pm flight, I asked the person if she can move me to an earlier flight. She put me on a private jet during my Chicago-Dusseldorf leg. So instead of flying economy in a very bad mood (due to McK's rejection) I flew business straight to Germany. And I didn't have to pay extra. (I was expecting to pay a fee of $100 or so for the change.) At Dusseldorf, while waiting for my connecting flight to Barcelona (that flight only had economy seats) I wanted to use Lufthansa's business lounge. When I went there and after I told them I flew in from Chicago, the Lufthansa rep redirected me to their Senate lounge! Not a bad trip.

Now after the consulting interview month, I remembered (fortunately) what my real goals are in life. I got swept into this consulting/banking wave at IESE that I loose sight of what I wanted. Now I'm going to be more active and intelligent in managing my career. Yup yup. That's what I am going to be doing. Please hit me on the head if start talking about going back to consulting.

Another thing, I need to start making full use of my stay in Barcelona. Meaning, I need to start going to the BOW. Plus, starting from next weekend, I will start visiting the flee markets and ceramic market to work on my Spanish speaking skills and bartering skills. Hopefully I can bring home some neat stuff.