30 December 2005

Thailand Photos are up

Photos have finally been uploaded to the photostream. I'll organise them all into sets when I get back to a high-speed connection.
Christmas at the neighbors was actually very pleasant as was, surprise surprise, getting my CA driver's lisence. Apparently I was still in the system from last time.
Now I just need to find a place to live in Philadelphia.

25 December 2005

Back in the USA

Ah well, after two days of traveling I eventually landed in the US - extremely jet-lagged and truthfully wishing I was still in Thailand. The trip itself was uneventful except for the sheer number of crappy movies I was forced to watch on the bus and the boat. Props to Singapore airlines though - good food and movies/tv on demand for every passenger, even in economy class ;)
Not much has happened since I got home - I saw my brother for a few hours and I've been invited to the neighbor's house for Christmas dinner. Otherwise, I'm spending two weeks alone in my parent's house. I'm loving the warm showers and access to technology (and my whole wardrobe) but otherwise it's essentially two weeks of solitary. I did get the super-bleached hair fixed though, it looks almost natural now ;)
I also got a call from my nephew in Kuwait. I'm so glad he's become part of the family now, it's too bad I won't be here when he visits in February. He's only 20 but he's getting married in August before beginning a tour in Germany. He's got quite the plan for himself - it's very impressive.
My plan, or the plan I had when I graduated, is pretty much scrapped, but I'm happier for it. I'm just as ambitious as before, but all the hard work has given me options many others don't have. I'm pretty lucky that I can basically keep trying until I find something that makes me truely happy, something I'm passionate about.
Next big trip abroad: June 2007. Who wants to come?

15 December 2005

Backpack is back!

Fantastic news! Apparently the person who took my backpack thought I had left the bar for the night and had left my things by mistake. He turned it in at another dive shop and because everyone knows everyone's business around here the instructors there knew there was a girl at BANS looking for a black backpack. He brought it around today so I have all my stuff back! YAY! Bloody brilliant.
Yesterday's afternoon boat was cancelled so none of us got to dive. Instead, we all hopped on motorbikes, bought some cases of beer (when you buy a case a 40oz bottle works out to be 23 baht or .52 USD) and headed up to James' bungalow where we sat on the porch and drank from 3pm to around 8. Then we went to Sao's for the best burgers on the island and popped by BANS for the first round of hard liquor. BANS was pretty quiet to we took off to Lotus, which is a bar on the beach with little mats on the sand and candles lit in little sand pits. There are guys there that twirl fire on ropes (they do this in Hawaii too) and let you try if you want a go. Luke and James gave it a shot and both of them ended up burning their arms (not badly). Well, one of the girls in our little gang knew the bartender (always good)so we got three rounds of free Kamamazee shots (god they are good). Sufficed to say it was not a sober night. I think tonight will be a little lower key though because tomorrow we head to the full moon party on Koh Phanngan.
The full moon parties happen (surprise surprise) every full moon and it consists of all the beach bars flinging open their doors and blasting their music all night long. We'll take the 7pm boat over, drink all night, and take the 7am boat back after which we will all doubtlessly fall fast asleep for the rest of the day. Everyone but me, that is, because I'll have to take a 1pm boat to Chumpon to get to Bangkok in time for the flight home on the 19th. I am honestly really sad to be leaving. I've hit that point now where I'm completely integrated into the life here - I'm one of the BANS DMs and even other dive shops recognise me (it's not a big island, 5km by 2km). Moving to NYC it took almost a year to hit a stride like this and here - a month. The only thing that pulls me back is the knowledge that after a year or so this life wouldn't be enough anymore. In some ways it's all fun with no substance and I know that eventually that would get boring for me - but damn, it's really fun for a while. And a while could certainly be longer than 6 weeks.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has emailed me comments and things - it's great to hear from you and you make my day :) People are starting to send me links to photos so when I get home I'll post them and put up a link. There are some funny ones (like me with a card stuck to my head)!

13 December 2005


After managing to finish my skill circuit and pass my equipment exchange I had a pleasant evening with Keith, James, Rich, and Andy ordering pizza and watching movies. At about midnight we hit up the bar and I was there for about an hour (2 drinks). When getting up to leave I discover... my backpack has been snagged. Yes. Crap. It had my IPOD, bank card, credit card, house keys, and driver's lisence in it (but not my passport or much cash). Double crap. $%^#!
A skill circuit is basically all the things open water students have to learn, except we have to be able to do them demonstration quality. These are skills like taking your mask off underwater, taking your regulator out underwater, taking your scuba gear off underwater and surfacing with no air (there are 20 skills in all).
The equipment exchange is just plain scary. The idea is to trade all your gear with another person underwater - BCD, weight belt, fins, and mask. BUT, you have to do this while the two people share one regulator (the thing in your mouth that the air comes through) AND the instructor is purposely making your life hell by ripping your mask off and filling it with sand or undoing your weight belt and blowing air from his Octopus (the bright yellow back-up thingy for your mouth) in your face. It took three tries, but we managed it. Thank you lord. I will never have to do that again, not even to become an instructor.
Ah yes, and the tv at James/Rich's house... we watched Layer Cake.. good movie.. before switching over to the tv and channel surfing. Well, on Fashion tv we found "hot hour" which basically consisted of swimsuit models getting their picture taken on a beach for an hour. The boys were in heaven.
The bar was good fun (except for the whole all-my-stuff-was-stolen bit. We were dancing and downing Jack and Coke and the Greenpeace boat had left (good riddance. One of the Greenpeace guys came on land and offended a whole bunch of Thai guys. The Thai are actually quite violent and he received the beating of his life. He's laid up on his boat with two broken ribs, a broken nose and a concussion now) so we're all glad to have our bar back.
I was supposed to do the Nitrox course today but I had to withdraw. I *may* barely have enough cash to make it back to the US so I can't afford the 5000 baht course fee with all my stuff gone ;( I'm really bummed about that. Maybe I can do it in Cali over the holidays. Another thing to look into: surf camp. Apparently there's a really good one near my folks in SoCal - how cool would it be to learn to surf?!

Back in the water :)

Well, after two nights of great partying, the first sober and the second stoned, I am getting back in the water. My kidneys haven't been achy for two days and today is my last day of antibiotics. SO, today: skill circuit and equipment exchange, tomorrow: Nitrox specialty.
Nitrox, for the non-divers reading this, is a gas blend with a higher oxygen content than compressed air. Normally we dive with Aluminium tanks with regular air (21% O2 79% N2) compressed to 200 times sea level. This means a single standard size tank holds about 2400 L of air. Nitrox blends are either 32% or 36% O2 so you can remain underwater longer because your body is absorbing less nitrogen. However, the trade off is that you cannot go as deep because O2 is toxic at concentrations higher than 1.4. For example, on a normal air blend, .21, you would have to be just shy of 60m before the .21 x 7 (the density factor at that depth) = 1.47 which is toxic. Since 60m is well below recreational dive limits, we don't generally worry about O2 toxicity on compressed air. However, at .36 (a nitrox blend), you would hit O2 toxicity at about 30m (.36 x 4 = 1.44), which is well within recreational dive limits.
In other news, we've had the Greenpeace boat here the last two days as well as a Thai movie star. It's funny watching all the Thai's here crowd around asking for pictures, especially since the movie star himself looks exceptionally bored.
We found a new place to eat as well, fantastic little hut down past Sai Ree village that does the best burgers you've had since leaving the US. They taste homemade and for all the Europeans out there, everyone eats their fries with mayonaise here. And it's SO incredibly good.
Ok, I'm off for an ice cream before my skill circuit. It's sunny today and stupidly hot - the water will feel refreshing. Ah, and when I say stupidly hot, I mean it. 35.5 - 38 C. For the Americans, that's between 96 and 104 with a humidity around 70%. And the worst bit is, at night, when the sun is down it only hits about 25 C, I'm cold and I walk around in a jumper and long trousers.

09 December 2005

I almost forgot...

Just in case you were wondering, it's a "chilly" 35.5 degrees Celcius here at the moment (that's 96 degrees Fahrenheit) and it's cloudy at the moment. Just imagine when the sun comes out again ;)

Koh Samui

I ended up making an overnight trip to the nearby island of Koh Samui to visit the hospital there. Now, before you all get worried, I'm fine. I promise. I woke up in the night with a searing pain in my lower left side through to my back. I tried to ignore it but it got steadily worse so I went down to the bar (it was 2:30am, it's still open then) and asked Kelley and Nando what time the nurse opened. Nando insisted I get on his bike with him and we go right now and Kelley came as well. The nurse was useless, both in English and at medicene so she gave me some painkillers and said if it didn't go away to go to the hospital. Well, it's not everyday you get pain bad enough you can't walk or stand up so I decided to go to the hospital the next afternoon regardless of how I felt. Nando gave me his raincoat and biked me back to my room in some absolutely pouring rain. He and Kelley really were champs that night. Well, those painkillers (I looked them up on the internet later) were morphine derivatives (opiates) and they knocked me sideways. Man, I don't think I would have felt it if you chopped my arm of with a butter knife. The doctor in the hospital said it was either 1) kidney stones or 2) a kidney infection. He gave me some antibiotics and told me to drink lots of water. I'm still a bit sore now, but I've stopped taking the painkillers and managed to do a confined session in the water today, so I think I'll be alright. Apparently the tests showed nothing worse than a high white blood cell count in my kidneys and urine (indicative of an infection, though I have no fever). While I was gone I missed one hell of a party at BANS too since all the IDC kids graduated (they are instructors now).
Samui as an island is not nearly as nice as Koh Tao. It's much more developed, more expensive, and lacks the island atmosphere. If you ever travel to this part of the world Samui is nice for shopping, but I think Koh Tao is a much nicer place to stay.
Hmm... what else, not much really. I have 5 things left to do to finish my DM: 3 exams, a skill circuit, an underwater equipment exchange, 2 swim tests, and a rescue assessment.
I've decided to come back to the US as previously planned because I just have too much to come back to at the moment, BUT... I'll have some free time again in 2007 so you may be hearing plans for another romp around the world. After all, there is so much I haven't seen yet!

06 December 2005

Whale sharks

Whale sharks have been cruising around Chumpon lately and they are quite the sight to see. About 4-10m in length with little fish swimming around them and they will come right up to you and hang out even when there are 20 divers around. The waves have calmed enough that we're out at Chumpon every afternoon (easily my favourite dive site) but there's a wicked current for the first 18 metres.
I've been assiting on a rescue course and gotten my First Aid certification. Assiting a rescue course is great fun as it involves getting towed around, pretending to panic, and jumping in the water and yelling "pizza! pizza!" a lot (we can't yell help because other boats would think there is a real emergency). The instructor, Val, is really cool too - very bubbly and fun.
I got my hair bleached today to get the red out and it, well, it's not exactly what I thought it would turn out to be. It's a combination of platinum and orange... but John and Laura seem to think it will calm down and fade a little in the next few days. Whatever, I can get it fixed in the US and it doesn't look half as dreadful and Tom's new mowhawk. I guess that's what happens here when it rains and there's nothing else to do - you drink and shave/bleach people's heads.
The night dive tonight was nothing to write home about, so I'll spare you that one. I'm over 60 dives now though so I have enough to meet my divemaster requirements. I need to get to 100 for instructor... and you're 100th dive is supposed to be done naked.
It's 10pm so I'm off to the bar to chill out with the others. Tomorrow some of my friends will officially become instructors! 10 days and I'll be a Divemaster! Whoo hoo!

03 December 2005

Leading Fun Divers

The visa run was, thankfully, uneventful. We slept on the night boat (11pm to 4:30am) before hopping into a minivan and driving from Chumpon to Ranang. From there it was a longtail boat to the pier across the way, which was part of Myanmar. A guy took all our passports and stamped them and we took the boat back to Ranang, the minibus back to Chumpon (where I had my first KFC ever) and the high-speed Lomprayah to Koh Tao; arrival 2:45pm.
Since I finished assisting Edwin I've just been signing up for dives, not helping another course. Since all fun divers here are sent out with a guide the DMT's frequently become the guides (once you've got at least 40 dives, I'm at 57). Today I led some people through Chumpon and White Rock and it was pretty cool. There was a wicked current at Chumpon but we did get down to 30m and at White Rock we saw two giant Titan Trigger Fish (they are aggressive and will bite).
Last night I led a night dive and it was honestly one of the best dives I've done here. It was with two friends (the Royal Navy pilots, Andy and Keith, that I spend 80% of my time with) and we watched barracuda eat small fish practically the whole 40 mins. When the torches were switvhed off the bioluminecense was phenomenal - it was like being in the matrix.
There's a new director of the DM program now, James, and I think it's going to be much better. There are more requirements now and it will be a bit harder, but we will all be far better divers for it.
Tomorrow is first aid, then hopefully I'll be assisting with a Rescue course for the two days following. The days when I'm not in the water are long, but the days when I'm in the sea (every day but two since Nov 8) are fantastic. I love being on boats and under the ocean - it just doesn't get old.
Got to take the night off tonight... had a bit too much rum last night, too bad too because the IDC guys are partying. Eh, the sleep will do me good ;)

01 December 2005

Visa Run

I am about to board the night boat for a visa run to Burma. I will be in Burma for a total of..oh.. 10 minutes, before turning around and coming back. The whole trip will last from 11pm tonight to 3pm tomorrow and cost about 30 USD. Let us hope for calm seas.

30 November 2005

A Little More Responsibility

I'm now assisting Edwin's OW course, with eight students. Edwin let me teach the skills to half of them (he still evaluated) and then I was put in charge of leading four of them on the first two dives (normally I follow). All went fine on the first dive, but I lost a buddy pair on the second. The one student was simply too floaty and she gave up and went back to the boat. When I went up to find her she burst out crying - apparently I'm technically a good diver and I handled the situation well, but my bedside manner needs work. It happens.
Yesterday after the confined session we took weights off the students and I had to swim them back to shore. 12kgs... even with my BCD fully inflated I sink with that much weight. 200m has never seemed so far. It happens.
Otherwise, the visability is getting better, my pool (the game played on a table) is getting worse, my connect four is getting better, and my Dutch is nicely polished. Yes, I teach in Dutch sometimes ;)
Judging by the emails I've been getting, the world is moving along and people's lives are continuing with some normal rate of change. The thing is, we're so isolated here on this island that it hits you suddenly, in waves. Whoa, so and so quit, so and so is interviewing, so and so is deployed... life proceeds in fits and starts.
I'm considering delaying my entrance to Penn until May and staying abroad for a while longer... anyone care to weigh in on the idea?

26 November 2005

46 Dives and counting...

The storm got so bad here that all the boats were cancelled yesterday. Brendan, Jack, Keith, Andy, Pom and I took the opportunity to watch DVDs and eat chips with mayo all afternoon and just be completely lazy bums.
Last night brought far too many shots of black sambuca and damn, I felt it this morning. Poor Bruce woke up with writing all over him though.. sufficed to say we did so many shots we built a pyramid from the glasses and the bar had to ask for them back because they had run out.
Had a pair of decent dives on White Rock nonetheless before having a lazy afternoon logging dives and reading my book. Got to save my energy for tomorrow - confined (open water swimming pool dives) in the morning, a deep dive in the afternoon, and a costume party (cowboys and indians) tomorrow night. Then it's two more days of assisting and lectures before I take on a deep dive specialty.
I don't even want to talk about men (I've tried to avoid the subject in my posts) but I will say I'm a bit annoyed at them at the moment and I've gone off them a bit. I did end up punching one the other night (we're friends again) but honestly... what goes through their heads sometimes?
I need to make my visa run soon, which is basically 10 minutes spend on the Burmease border so you can get a new stamp in your passport. For each day you're late it's 200 baht (USD 5) so Jay, Jane, and I are going to head off around the 1st Dec (I'm due on the 4th).
My camera is half working... fingers crossed it gets better. Depending on an email I'm waiting for... there may be big news coming. Oh, I've got some wicked wetsuit tans now ;)

21 November 2005

Tropical Storms

It's rainy and cold here. By cold I mean I'm in shorts and a light sweater with the sleeves pushed up. It's not bad when you're dry, but when you come out of the 30 degree celcius water from a 45 minute dive and stand in the wind and rain for an hour before you go down again, well, it gets a tad chilly. And yes, the ocean here at 35m depth is a lovely 29-30 degrees C. We're getting some huge swells too, 4-6m waves which make the boat trips great fun for those suceptible to sea sickness. We can't get out to some of the dive sites because the sea is too rough, but there has been some great visability in the nearby sites which more than makes up for it. We saw some turtles yesterday as well as some moray eels (they tend to swim in pairs). I might go and get my IPOD filled tomorrow (2 baht per song, that's 5 cents a song) at Switch - I gotta run though, my Open Water students and I have a boat to catch for their final two dives. I took it easy last night, had too, after the 4:30am bedtime the night before (Rugby, live music and dancing) ;)

19 November 2005

35 Dives and Counting

It's hard to believe that 10 days ago I got to Koh Tao as an 18-dive Advanced Open Water (AOW) and now I'm a 35-dive Rescue Certified Dive Master Trainee (DMT). I spent the morning in the pool today doing confined with a new class of Open Water (OW) kids - that's three + hours in the pool for anyone counting - and then spent the afternoon on the last two dives for my AOW class. Yes, I'm assisting two classes at once! Anthony is giving me marks of 4/5 for the assists on his OW and AOW, which is really quite good for the first assists. The new OW class is with Rich, so I'm sure I'll have more to say on that later.
The AOW class was 6 or the 7 kids from that first OW class I was writing about before. Yesterday we took them out for three dives (deep, navagation, and night) and today for two (multi-level and naturalist). I got to play on my own on the multilevel so I was just swimming around Hing Pee Lee at 25 meters for 40 minutes alone - it was fantastic! It has gotten to the point now though where when I'm on land I feel like I'm on a boat and my hands are permenantly pruny.
It's a tropical storm at the moment so it's rainy and "cold", but of course you can dive through that. It's made the boat rides good fun though ;)
Last night we went out drinking and dancing at Choppers, a bar down the road in Sairee Village - really good fun. Tonight we might head out to Mae Haad and hit up Dirty Nellys. Tomorrow I'm on the morning boat though so I'll need to keep it somewhat under control. Island life as a DMT is actually busier than one might think.
I wish there was some way to really describe what this is like in words... even pictures wouldn't manage it. I really love diving and right now my whole life revolves around it - that's all I really need to worry about and it's just fantastic. Even when the dive sites have bad visability and it's rainy you just don't notice it - even washing the gear isn't much of a chore. I haven't even left, I'm not that close to leaving (1 month) and I can't wait to come back in 2007 and get my instructorship (IDC) and do an internship. Maybe work in Aus/NZ/Maldives, where ever will take me for a year... I don't know if I could do this with a kid and a partner, like Anthony, but for your twenties, what better way to live?

17 November 2005

Loy Krathong

is the Thai festival for honouring the water spirits. It's November 16 (yesterday) so there was a festival here on Koh Tao. Lots of different people performed Thai dances and then all the dive shops hold an all island Miss Loy Krathong contest. Sam was the representative from our shop (BANS), but unfortunately she didn't win. Highlights include when they asked Gemma "What's your favourite place on Earth" and she answered, "I don't know, but in bed with my boyfriend is pretty good." After all the dancing and contests etc everyone lights floral arrangements and candles and floats them off to sea. It's beautiful, but it leads to a lot of crap in the ocean, which we saw all over the place when we went diving today.
Today was the final day for my open water students (the class I'm assisting) and they did really well. Luke and Anthony said I did a really good job assisting today and Anthony wants me to assist his advanced course starting tomorrow as well. In less than a week I'll be qualified to lead without supervision! Scary! I passed my physics exam, and now I'm tutoring some people in physics that had trouble. At least I'm good at something :) Judging by the way the DMT group has been gelling and hanging together I'm relatively well-liked so it feels nice to be a part of the staff here. I don't feel so lost anymore and I'm having a great time. My diving is improving rapidly and it helps that my confidence is coming along a bit too.
I don't think I'll make it to Cambodia and all that on this trip- just not enought time. I'll just have to come back after Penn and go through IDC, then travel, then maybe get a job for 3-6 months in Australia or the Maldives. How brilliant of a glide year would that be? If there was anyway for me to put Penn off for a while, I would. I am loving this life.

14 November 2005

Officially a DMT!

Yesterday I finished my Rescue module, so now I am officially a DiveMaster Trainee (Rescue is a pre-req). In my practical exam I managed to find my lost diver in only 5 minutes and used a rope to haul him onto the boat before performing CPR. I immediately hopped onto the night boat and assisted (my first genuine DM duty) an Advanced Open Water team on their night dive. Normally this just means following them and making sure they don't get lost (the instructor is in front), but one guy ran out of air (50 bar) 20 mins in so I had to peel off from the group with him and surface to get him back to the boat. Anthony, the instuctor, was so pleased with me that he's asked me to assist his open water course (the whole course, all 5 dives). Before I finish the DM I'll have to assist a whole advanced and whole Rescue course as well, but I've got quite a good start here! Tonight I'll get my first three academic modules signed off (there are 9) and hopefully another 2 before the end of the week.
I took the day off from diving today because my throat hurts a bit, I'm tired, and I've been drinking every night. I need to be good, recuperate today, and I'll be in good shape again. I'm told by Lucas (another DMT) that it's a good idea to take a day off every 10 days at minimum - sound like good advice. I might do some swimming practice (got to pass those fitness tests!) but that will be all.
Yesterday I went into Mae Haad (the pier village, I'm in Sairee Beach, the next village over) and bought some board shorts (quick dry clothing is essential here)... for USD 25 I walked away with a cordoroy mini-skirt, board shorts, and two tank tops. I love how cheap this country is... I moved into my long term apt here too, and it's not USD 150 a month, it's USD 112.50/month ;) For those of you keeping score, beer is USD 1.50 a bottle, a bucket of rum/red bull/coke is USD 5, a plate full of curry is USD 4, a banana/nutella crepe is USD 0.80 and a can of coke is USD 0.50. Bangkok cost half as much, but compared to NYC, this is glorious.

12 November 2005

Baby Steps to Divemaster

This is going to pretty tough - divemaster is going to be great fun, but also a pretty decent challenge. There are all kinds of academic modules, diving modules, fitness modules, and leadership work. I have my final rescue test tomorrow (the one in the water, I passed the academic already) and I passed physiology two days ago, so we're off to a good start. Rescue is pretty tough as we had to share a regulator while swapping all our gear under water, twice. Apparently next time there will be instructors swirling around us blowing air at us and ripping our masks off etc to "add stress." Yay.
I have done some fun diving too since I have to rack up a certain number of dives. The first day was pretty bad, but it was all new equipment so that's to be expected really. Since then it's been going much better and I've managed to drop a weight and was even asked to follow a fun dive group as an assistant. A DM will lead the group and we put a trainee in the back to make sure no one wanders off if the group is mostly inexperienced divers.
In two weeks I'm hoping I'll be ready to assist on courses and I'm hoping I'll have lots of the academic modules done. I'm working on my Emergency Assistance Plan tonight, so that will knock another thing off the list.
On the non-diving side there has been a rather gratuitous amount of alcohol ;) I did my homework last night on a bucket of rum, shots, and beer and the night before I did it after 5 shots of vodka. It's actually not a great idea because I dive the next day and it could make me sick, but, you're not supposed to smoke either and everyone here seems to have a pack a day habit.
Speaking of the people, they are really cool. If there was any way I could I would stay here and work at BANS for 8-9 months. You can get bartending shifts and once I got my instructorship I could take classes that way too. Rent is only USD 150 a months so it's not like life's particularly expensive.
Oh, haha, it's almost all guys here too so...college 70% male, banking, 75% male, koh tao DMT population 70 % male. Hehe, I know how to pick em ;)
I don't want to leave! The mosquitos and ants I could live without though.

08 November 2005

Farang lands on beautiful Koh Tao

Indeed, I made it. First though, we saw the Imperial Palace with the jade Buddha in Bangkok on Monday before having foot massages. Yes, thai massages are everything they are cracked up to be and more. A one hour foot massage (6 USD) involves a knee, calf, ankle and foot massage and reflexology, followed by a neck, back, and shoulder rub down and some back cracking. It is simply glorious.
Evening found us on the night train, which was not so fun because it's bumpy, the lights don't go off, and there was an infant crying the whole way (10 hrs). I'm sure it was far better than the bus would have been though. Then there was an hour wait on the platform (at 5am) for the bus to take us to the pier, where we caught a 4 hour boat ride to the island. Lunch was of the higher priorities, as was finding somewhere to stay. For some reason we (Lucas, 4 people from the UK, and I) decided to trek the several kilometers from Mae Hat (the pier village) to Sai Ree (the diving beaches) with all our gear. We stopped for some lunch half way and then checked several places before settling with the dive resort I had researched and intended to go to anyway; BANS. The others will be doing their open water (4 days) before heading to Koh Phanngan for the full moon party (think Ibiza) while I remain at BANS for another 3 weeks working on my Divemaster. As of tomorrow, 10am I will be a DMT (Dive Master Trainee) and my monthly rent is a whopping USD 150.
After a quick banana smoothie snack Charlotte and I decided to get another massage (that's 2 in 48 hours) while the boys went looking for scooters. I might rent a scooter later in the month, so look out for a good story.
Unfortunately, my camera doesn't seem to be working yet. We're drying it out another day and praying. Since it's so humid I assume it takes longer to dry? Please, please let it be ok.

07 November 2005

Farang gets caught in the rain

and gets her digital camera wet!
I really really hope our drying regimen and silica can save the camera or I really and truly will cry very very hard.
Lucas, Eva, Sean and I headed out to the weekend market yesterday and wandered around the 25,000 stalls for pretty much the entire morning. We smapled lots of different kinds of Thai food (I have no idea what it was) and it was fantastic. The food here is amazingly wonderously good and dirt cheap. 75 cents will get you a plateful of two curries and rice, so spicy your mouth hurt - brilliant!
In the afternoon we took a boat ride up to Kho San road and wandered around there (the Imperial Palace was already closed) when it started raining. We decided to just get wet and all four of us were soaked through - jumped in a swimming pool soaked - by the time it stopped. Everyone was staring at us from under awnings and jammed inside phone booths, but it was great fun. We stopped for more curry and cabbed it back to the hostel to dry off.
After a nice change of clothes we broke out a bottle of rum and started mixing rum, red bull, and coke with Yiska, Andre, and a Canadian girl. We played some strange dice game first, and then Newfoundland poker and poor Sean drank so much he got sick. The pictures are hilarious and as soon as Lucas posts them I'll put some links up. Lets just say we spent most of the evening with cards stuck to our foreheads.
Right, off to the Imperial Palace. I don't know when I'll next get internet, but I assume the island must have it (we take the overnight train there tonight).

06 November 2005

Little Ganjin leaves Tokyo

and heads to Bangkok.
Me and my hangover took a late afternoon flight (six hours) to Bangkok and arrived late at night. I hopped a taxi and for 6 USD made it to Sukhumvit Road where I'm staying in a hostel. It rained that night and the roads where flooded with a foot of water which apparently, is normal. The taxis just keep driving and people just walk through it.
The hostel looks like a treehouse in the middle of the road and it's full of Canadians at the moment. There's a guy from Seattle here too and it looks like we'll be heading down to Koh Tao together if we can get a space on the overnight train. Apparently they book up quickly.
Since yesterday was a travel day, there's not much else to say. More tomorrow. And more pictures eventually.

05 November 2005

Little Ganjin has a big night out.

It was a day of meeting people. In the morning I headed to Senso-ji in Asakusa, which is Tokyo's largest Bhuddist temple. It's surrounded by lots of smaller Shinto shrines and a buzzing market of small stalls selling pretty much everything. As I was leaving a very nice Japanese man approached me and struck up a conversation. He decided to spend the next hour being my tour guide before buying me some fried rice crackers (yummy - taste like soy sauce) and directing me to Kappabachi, a street where they sell the plastic food restaurants put in the windows here.
After spending the morning in Asakusa I headed to Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum in the middle of Ueno Park. It's an awe-inspiring collection of enamels, painting, swords and artifacts. There were Bhuddist scrolls from the 8th century! Unfortunately I ran out of time before I could get to the science museum or the zoo.
Shortly after returning from Ueno, the evening began. I think this is best described in a drink by drink...
1) Cranberry Vodka in the Grand Hyatt, Roppongi Hills. The first room here I was in where the dominant language was English.
2)Apple martini with dinner at Xen, which involved sushi, vegtables, beef, and tempura.
3) Vodka tonic at Geronimo, a shot bar on Roppongi Dori. On the way there we stopped in an arcade to play some shooting and drumming games (yes, drumming).
4-5) 2 x Cranberry Vodka at Burbon Street, where I met the Australian district managers of Toyota. They invited me out so...it would be rude to say no.
6) Cranberry Vodka at Heartland, back in the Roppongi Hills complex
7) Frangelica in the jazz bar of the Grand Hyatt
It was 5am by the end when I said goodnight to Leigh and the last ones standing, well, they went to sleep.
The flight to Bangkok takes of at 5:15 so I have to get cracking... you have to leave at least 4 hours before your flight here - Tokyo traffic is not happy stuff.

03 November 2005

Little Ganjin gets lost again.

Yes, that's right. But first...
This morning started out well with toast and tea followed by a walk around the Akasaka Palace where the crown prince lives. This was followed by washing the car and taking it for a drive around the Imperial Palace. Please note this car was a Ferrari 360 Spider and yes, I drove. Yup, I DROVE. On the left hand side in a right hand drive car through Tokyo... a FERRARAI 360 SPIDER (convertable). Nice.
I then had my first experience with a Japanese supermarket ($60 for a melon?!) before heading off to Harajuku.
This is where little Ganjin gets lost... I ended up in Sendagaya by accident (by the National Stadium where the Olympics were held) before finding Harajuku and all the quirky, ritzy shopping on Omote Sando. And yes, people really do dress like those pictures - makeup, platforms, crazy hair, freakish. Makes for a really interesting walk. It's Tokyo design week so that made it all the more interesting with all kinds parading around.
The Meji-jingu is there as well (inner and outer gardens) which are really quite beautiful. Well, the outer garden is nothing special, but the inner garden is. For some reason they are a kilometer apart and seperated by normal streets.
I managed to crop and upload some pictures. There are more, but they take forever to compress because my software sucks. You'll see them sprinkled through the previous posts.
Or see them all HERE

Little Ganjin lost in big Tokyo.

Yes that's right, but before I got lost I did manage to successfully take the subway to Ginza and walk down to Tsukiji, the largest wholesale fish market in the world. I got a great picture of some red octopi and had my first Japanese omelette.
I then proceeded to Hama Rikyu, the shogun duck hunting garden where I rested in a teahouse on the pond and had matcha (Japanese bitter, frothy green tea with a sweet).
From there it was a waterbus ride to Odaiba, the reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, to visit MeSci, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. It's a very cool interactive museum, but what struck me most is that much of what's on display there is what we were learning at Carnegie Mellon: soccer playing robot dogs, robotic surgery, designer drugs, and advances in neural understanding. It gives you chills to realise that you and your friends are trained to expand the frontiers of what is known and possible. There's also a nifty science library there where I saw a film in double live donor lung transplantation.
From there is was a monorail ride (yes, we're on the third form of public transport - I'm very proud of myself) back to Shimbashi, from where I planned to walk back to Akasaka (where I'm staying). Unfortunately I wound up a little south of where I wanted to be in Shiba/Shiba Koen. I back-tracked to Tokyo tower (Click the links for photos) and caught a subway from Kamiyacho to Akasaka.
I feel I should also mention the public toilets here, which are squat-pee even for ladies. So if you come to Japan, learn to aim.

01 November 2005

Japan: Day 1: Akasaka

I managed to conduct my first transactions in Japanese. Generally these involved someone speaking to me in Japanese, me replying "Wakirimasu" [I don't understand] and then some pointing. Nonetheless, I managed to get myself some soba noodles and juice for lunch and some coffee and milk candy in the afternoon. Coffee at convenience stores here is chilled and pre-made so you basically get the equivalent of a juice box filled with coffee, a little milk, and a straw attached to the side.
I saw the Hie-Jinja shrine today, as well as the Roppongi Hills complex and some extremely strong men lifting golden cannonballs with their teeth (Click the links for pictures).
Tomorrow I'm going to head to Tsukiji [the fishmarket] and MeSci [science museum] and take a stroll through Ginza - I hear the Sony building is pretty nifty.

31 October 2005

Tokyo, Japan

The trip started with fins that were too big. That is to say, the bag I was trying to pack my scuba gear in was too small to fit my fins and wetsuit so I had to put them in the internal frame backpack. If it weren't for the scuba gear I packed remarkably light, considering I'm going to be in Asia until December 19th.
The buses into Tokyo from the Narita airport are an amazing diplay of efficiency, though locating an ATM in the airport is somewhat less straightforward. I then managed to type in too many zeros and withdrew several hundreds of dollars by mistake, but I'll just change the Yen to Baht when I arrive in Bangkok.
Tokyo is a HUGE city. 33 million people, and not nearly as bilingual as we in the West imagine it to be. It's clean and modern though, with little police boxes on every corner.
A few observations from my first hours in the trenches:
1) The Japanese all wear suits. Even the cab drivers.
2) They have an obsession with their toilets. They all have control panels and some are even remote control. If you push the wrong button looking for flush, you'll get sprayed with warm water (bidet).
3)Have you ever seen an icefish? It's looks like a three inch long, white eel. They were on my spaghetti (I wasn't feeling adventurous yet. It was 6am my time).

More to come, without a doubt.

22 October 2005

Better Post Soon

But in the meantime you should check out my website. I just spent two days updating all the material (which should have been spent packing).

My Website

Also, anyone who wants a postcard from SE Asia, send me your address!

Pics from my last night in NYC (which I remember none of after dinner):

09 October 2005


Every weekend seems to outdo the last. The bartender at 515 that we did shots with (and flirted with shamelessly) remembered us and did shots of Petrone with us last night. Quality. It was raining something awful and people filtered into 515 from other parties over the night, so it was a diverse cross-section of my NYC friends, made for some interesting stories to tell over brunch. I think last night was also the first time I've been genuinely hit on by middle aged men who actually think they have a chance. Eew. That would be a no. Friday night was Baker Street where the bartenders are two brillinatly fun Irish guys - Jacky saw Oasis twice, I'm so jealous! Best of the pics below... rest on the Flickr stream. Enjoy.

03 October 2005

I love my life!

Another BRILLIANT weekend! (pictures below)
Friday - McKinsey first round interview (I looked sharp in my suit too). When I got out there was a msg on my phone to meet Cara and Eric in midtown for drinks. Off to drinks I went, where I was hit on by a lawyer. Got a msg while drinking that I made 2nd round at McKinsey!
Saturday - Got some errands done before meeting up with Cara and Eric again and heading up to Sutton Place. Pictures below are from that night. The brown-haired, blue-stripy-tie one is the one I think is hot ;) Cara played with the Captain, and the third one was so sweet (a PhD).
Sunday - Up on time to get to Long Island for tennis with Fabrice and Sarah. Great fun and fantastic to be outdoors! Back in the city for burgers and ice cream with Cara and then drinks with Justin. Drinks with Justin went well so I'll be seeing him again Wednesday - he thinks he can get me strong enough to do pull ups!
Monday - Unfortunate little trip to the dentist, but then errands (no work!) and a new shipment of wine came from dad's vineyard! My new little 12" computer came too - so I've been playing with that most of the night (so cheap, ebay rules). Eamon (stripy tie boy below) emailed me back - I swear, my stomach actually flipped!

I have Friday off (yay), although I have to go to the dentist. I can't believe how quickly time is going right now. Just as I really come into a life I love, I'm leaving :( Philly is only two hours away but honestly, it might as well be another planet. *sigh* I guess there's nothing to do but enjoy what I've got - the party girl in me gets some time to play.

Great quote from Eric - "When I was 13 I didn't care about sex, I just wanted to be a ninja."

Pictures - Captain Wood, Brian, Cara, and I

I like the one in the stripy tie ;)

Cara, Eric, and I

As always, see the flickr photostream for more.

26 September 2005

Grumpy Nurses

Why is it that the nurses at doctor's offices are always terse and snotty? They act like you are interrupting some very delightful social party with some annoying and simplistic task. Isn't taking my blood pressure and temperature their job? Aren't they supposed to be people oriented and focused on making patients comfortable during their visit?
Despite the obnoxious nurse, I really like my Doctor. He's friendly and disarming and not at all stodgy or stand-offish. He got me through my round of preventative vaccinations and dive physical today - I have typhoid and malaria pills, along with a polio booster and the 1st Hep A shots. I already have tetnus, Hep B, menengitus, and TB, so in 6 months I'll need another Hep A and I'm set (the first one will cover me for the trip, the second locks it in for life). Basically, for the next three years (when typhois and tetnus wear off) I'll be immune to practically everything there's a shot for! Yellow fever is the exception, I think.
I also went to the dentist today (yeah, it was a "fun" day) and I have to go back! I don't mind the doctor's office and I don't mind shots and drawing blood and needles and all that, but I really have no love for the dentist. To be fair, he is a very nice dentist, I just don't like the experience of the dentist. Then again, I'm sure I'd like it even less if I needed a root canal or something awful like that (not yet thankfully!).
I'm being pretty productive (I rescued my necklace from the sink today too) and yet it still feels like there's so much to do! I need to get a place in Philadephia, I need to organise the move, pack, find storage, write Chad's rec, change addresses on all my official mail (and unofficial), cancel my gym membership, get travel and dive insurence, figure out travel between Bangkok and Koh Tao, donate to the thrift store, write McKinney, break my lease, pay bills and answer all my email. And that doesn't count all the little things that pop up all the time, but I guess I would really rather be in this (enviable) situation that stuck where I was a month and a half ago.
You know what occurred to me though? While I'm away I'm going to miss pretty much the whole holiday season. I'm going to miss Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I'll also miss my Dad's birthday and my parent's anniversary. I'll miss half of winter (my favourite season), Sinta Klas (Dutch holiday) and Guy Fawkes Day (English holiday).
Sometimes I can't believe I'm really doing this - I can't believe it's really me that's just walking away from my life and spending 10 weeks abroad alone and going back to school. I can't believe I'm making what simaltaneously feels like a massive leap and a natural step towards a completely different life and future. One I'm not even sure is right, just not definately wrong. I guess, for me, it's not so much that I need to get to a particular place, I just need to enjoy the journey. There are certain adjectives which need to be true for my life, certain values I hold, and I can't live a life that doesn't employ them. I cannot be unchallenged. I cannot feel there is no progress being made, and I cannot feel stationary. They are not values in the sense that people think of family, integrity, etc. but they are of the utmost importance to me. I cannot and will not live and work in a place that is not dynamic, challenging, and responsive. I will not be an undercapitalised resource. This probably makes very little sense, and may well be poorly articulated, but it's something that causes a physical, passionate response even when I just think about it. Anyway... enough. I must eat and get more done.

25 September 2005

Another night out..

This Friday proved even bigger than last - same bars, but even more alcohol this time. I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details but I know we did shots with the bartender and the next morning I realised I had lost my earrings and sweater. Saturday also proved a big night, though I kept an eye on my alcohol levels. Carrie's friends threw a house party on their freaking amazing roofdeck - it was a blast. Photos, of course, below.
Jackie, Ivan, Joanna, and Jeff came down into the city last night too - so it was great seeing them. Sarah has arrived here for her training too so life has been full of fun social plans! It means I'm getting less done than I should be, but I'll pull it all together somehow.
Flights are booked outta here - I'll be in Japan, then Koh Tao (Thailand) and I'm hoping to make my border run into Malaysia or Burma or something similarly cool :) Oct 23 - Dec 31! I love my life right now, I cannot articulate how stupidly happy I am.
I keep meaning to write something meaningful and then never actually sitting down to pull it together. Ah well, photos will have to do!

Check the photostream (link on the navbar) for more.

17 September 2005

Total Vanity

Had a great night last night with Cara and Eric. We drank, dressed up, went out, and loudly interacted with anyone we could! We took tons of pictures and some came out pretty well - I think I actually look good in some ;) There was a very cute guy that I really hope will call, but then, I think I've probably used up my fair share of good luck lately - my life has been awesome (Penn and Thailand here I come)! So said guy went to MIT - I think I have some kind of radar that finds the other smart, social, dorks in a room. Yay!

06 September 2005

That annoying voice

Despite how much happier I have been of late, there is still that little voice in the back of my head. The one that wonders if I'm doing the right thing or acting on some silly whim. The one that wonders it I can ever be good at anything other than business. The one that wonders if I'm jumping ship too soon. The part of me that is going to miss having an income.
Most of me though, is psyched about starting something new, about challlenge and meaning. And goodness knows I couldn't be more excited about the travel before school starts ;)

Tentative schedule...
Move into storage/registration in Philly... Oct 21
Fly to LA/ Last day of work... Oct 23
Fly to Thailand... Oct 24
Begin scuba internship... Oct 25
Internship ends/Fly back to LA...Dec 26
Fly to Philly/Move into apt... Jan 3
First day of class... Jan 9

Also got a great recommendation for the dive vacation after this one...
Blue Hole, Belize

28 August 2005

Turmoil - in a good sense

My whole life changed in 48 hours and as a result everything is up in the air, there's tons to do, and I'm the happiest I've been in a while! I'm going back to school starting Jan 9 - Philly here I come! I have one year of post-bac at Penn, hopefully while working in the hospital and a lab, and then it's application time for a PhD or MD program.

In the meantime I'll be leaving UBS and hopefully living in Thailand for 2 - 2.5 months while getting my scuba certification. That is, my Professional Divemaster certification ;) Yay!

I'm also hoping to get on the last recruiting trip to CMU before I go so hopefully I'll see those of you in the 'burgh in late September. And I'm working on gettting to Chicago too.. Swati ; )

Of course they'll be at least a week in LA too - probably at the end of December. Anyone who doesn't have somewhere for New Years should consider coming to LA and we'll make our own party... New York has been DONE on that front.

It's been a rather social last couple of weeks which is really hurting my gym time - especially now when I have to double down! If I'm gonna live in a wetsuit for 2 months I need to start getting some serious miles in.

And now for some serious sleeping. I am bursting with happiness. It feels like anything is possible - and I'm definately feeling a little more risk prone. You know what I mean? When you do and try things you wouldn't otherwise because you're happy and excited and things are working out well?

23 August 2005

OH Y E A H !

Just take a look at this...

Our admission committed has reviewed your application and the results of
your interview and we are pleased to offer you admission to the Post-Bac
Pre-Health Program at Penn. Congratulations!


Know what this means?


22 August 2005

Another Brilliant Weekend

DC was a complete blast last weekend, and NYC/Philly was brilliant this weekend. Mike Olson came up to the City and it was so much fun - we did thai, ice cream, the city bakery, scones... it wasn't healthy but is was a lot of fun. The ice cream at Cones was great too - I had banana and hazelnut (wow!). Mike is a really great guy and it was awesome to see him again.
Philly was cool. I'd never been there before and it's really a neat city. The Penn interview went well and it looks like (fingers crossed) I could be there in January. It would take a year to complete my coursework and then I could work in a lab and get free education credits while I apply to med school. As always, it was really good seeing Priya and just being at Penn I got that feeling... that feeling that it was right. The same that I got being at CMU for the first time - a feeling I did not get when I signed up with UBS. I don't want to rush into anything, but this really does seem like a good idea, like the right thing to do, like something that will make me happy again.
Oh, and also... Kat hired someone for me to train in DI who starts on 29 Aug. Then I will move to the Index desk. At least that will make the interim more bearable. Dare I say it... I'm feeling optimistic : )

18 August 2005

Photos from DC


Slogging it out

I'm trying really hard to keep a positive attitude but it's tough. I know there are people in far worse situations than me and that I am lucky and should be thankful...
1) My job SUCKS. Everyday someone else jokingly says "bet you're glad you're doing this eh?" Um, if you would a bullet to the head over my job what makes you think I'm any different?
2) Writing cover letters is... less than fun. Especially since it's unlikely the 5 trillion of them I've written are actually going to get read by someone and lead to a job. Very disheartening.
3) I hate the person this is turning me into. I'm becomming bitter and angry and every time I open my mouth a torent of whining and complaining comes out. This post is a perfect example.
4) I'm tired. All the time. I want a life but I don't have the energy to live one.
5) The chances it will get better soon are small. The promotion I was going to get? There have to be people in the group to supervise and we're 6 people down and on a hiring freeze, which leads to... no chance of taking vacation because no one can cover for me. The only person at work who understands is about to leave for maturnity leave until FEBRUARY. I can't move internally because my team won't let me leave and no other team wants the bad feelings... and externally... what company really looks at the resumes they get over the internet?
6) The previous 5 points have affected my motivation and performance. Basically, I don't give a damn anymore.

I haven't felt this trapped, frustrated, angry, unchallenged, and miserable in a long time. It actually reducing me to tears annoyingly frequently and I know it's giving me a vile aura. I used to be happy and energetic and goofy - I want to be like that again. Everyone says there will be times in your career that are less than ideal - times when you don't like your work or where you live, but this is stupid. I'm MISERABLE.

15 August 2005

Back from DC

Washington was amazing fun - it was really good to see Jax, Swats, Ivan, Zack, Dave, BBJ, Jeff, Johanna, Sarah, Charlie, and Brian again. I really miss having my friends closer, especially the girls (no offense to the boys). We didn't do much of anything - I still haven't seen any Washington momuments or sights - but it was the best weekend I've had in a long time nevertheless. The party was a riot and Jax/Ivan's place is huge!
Coming back to work today was... well it wasn't exactly fun. In fact, I was thisclose to crying by the end of the day. I was pretty bored most of the day and started applying for other jobs. My Penn interview is next Monday - school and backpacking are looking pretty good right now.

30 July 2005

Come with me!

Ok, check through this site and tell me where you want to go. I have 22 days of vacation and damn, these are awesome!

The coolest vacations ever

On second thought, I'll go alone if I have to! I WILL get all the continents on one passport... I've got until 2012... Asia, Europe, North America and Australia down... Africa, South America, and Antarctica to go :)

25 July 2005

What I really Want

I know EXACTLY what I want. I want to be in school again. I miss learning. I miss homework. I miss tests and grades and cramming and the thrill of wondering how I did. I miss stretching my mind around anything and everything that's interesting.
I found night classes in chemistry and lab but... they're $3700 each at Columbia. Absolute insanity. I can take a three week trip to the South Pacific for less! I found finance classes at Baruch for $850 a class and drawing classes at New School for $518... but... chem lab would be amazing, brilliant, fantastic...
I think the real reason I keep thinking of being a doctor is because it means I could go back to school for years. The same could be said for a PhD. The one problem is that I'd have to pick ONE subject. I want to take them all. Why aren't I in grad school? I am clearly meant to be an academic, so why am I out in the wide world? I mean this with all sincerity: what am I doing at a bank? And why don't I have the willpower to back away from it's outward allure? I'm so drawn in by the promise of the next step - the next achievement, but honestly, I don't want it other than to say I got it. I don't want to be an AD so much as being recognised as brilliant for becomming one so quickly.
I want to go back to school.

18 July 2005

I could use it

Fingers crossed and knock on wood - maybe there will some good news in August. I'm bursting with all the hope.

17 July 2005

Picked this little habit up in London... Suduko ... it's better than crosswords.

Work today was... well... while I was gone my boss gave me a completely new job. Yeah. Weird. When I left for London I was a trade support analyst and now I'm in a split role: one half data intergrity (awful) and one half project specialist (potential to be good). On balance, I'm not happy about this at all. Michelle says it's for three months maximum and she fed me a bunch of stuff about being the only one in the team who can do it, but basically, I just got handed the shittiest job in the group and the most underresourced job in the group and was told I have one week to learn all the new responsibilities. And if I'm really moved off in three months I'll be surprised - nothing ever starts or ends on time.
In response I put it all out on the table. I basically told Rocco and Michelle that I want to be promoted to supervisor and if I don't by the end of the year then I'm leaving the group. She still doesn't know I'm looking already - I don't want to be there anymore. I can't believe the desks didn't fight for me (I don't actually think they know yet) since they've all said I'm the best support they have. Well, at least I have some focus on where I'm looking to go: London, Andrew Watson, or Daniel Maury's reporting structure. It's no longer about the work I do, but the opportunities I'll get and the managers I'll have. I was naive to think that doing a sterling job anywhere helps you - you need to do a sterling job around people who aren't prone to throwing you into crappy jobs like DI. I did something similar as an intern and I was ready to slit my wrists over it. If they want to keep me from going to med school they ought to do better than this. But what choice do I have? I can't exactly tell my boss no. Besides getting low points on teamwork etc I'm pretty sure it's not a request, it's an order. Everyone has to do boring work sometimes, it's just that they don't realise that everything I've done since I got there has been mindnumbing. Man, I was feeling so positive after London, so quietly confident, and now I come back to find my boss has moved me into the crappest job in the team because everyone else is to stressy or slow to do it. This sucks. If I was average I wouldn't have to do this. Maybe I should just act stupid for a while. Being smart got me this, maybe being stupid will finally get me promoted. Ok, now I'm just whining. There's got to be a bright side to this, even if it's only that it gives me more motivation to get myself the hell outta there.

11 July 2005

There are sights, events, and people that inspire you and change your course in life. I spent the last week in the company of Daniel Maury and I think he's one of those people for me. Many of the older people who have given me guidance have said that careers go in cycles: happy and grinding, inspired and muddling. Since school I've really been in the unhappy catagory, though recently I have begun to re-evalute my muddling label. I think there is quite a bit going on - but back to Daniel. He's the first person I've come across that I really want to work for and with, regardless of the product involved. It is exciting and inspiring to be in his company and he is a truely brilliant and charismatic man. He become an ED at 35 after running his own online trading platform business and working for Arthur Anderson and JP Morgan. Now he's in Fixed Income in UBS and I'm seriously considering looking into roles there to get into his reporting structure.
What Daniel did for me in the final review meeting, and I doubt he was aware of it, is reassure me after a year and a half of doubt, that I CAN be good at this. I will get as far and as I high as I want to go. I have the potential to do this and do it well. If he can do this - if he can be excited by his work, there must be something in this firm for me too. Hearing him say this was more powerful than hearing it from anyone else I've heard it from.

07 July 2005

I'm in London, working at the London office - the one right by Liverpool street. A bomb went off there this morning.
They evacuated the 100 Liverpool street office, but the trading floor building, 1FA was left to continue work. We had the SkyNews channel on all day and, needless to say, trading patterns were decidely non-standard. None of the subways (tubes) were running again at the end of the day so everyone was walking across London to get home or waiting two hours for a taxi. We have work as usual tomorrow, but I imagine it will be strange. There's already an echo of uncertainty in the air about resuming normal life. Is it ok to just continue? Shouldn't there be something different, something done or said?
It's also strange how muted the world's reaction seems. I mean, six bombs which could (as it stands now) be attributed to a new sect of Al Qaeda is big news. They threatened London after Madrid was hit and it would seem they have made good on that threat, but the market is down only 1.5% and the US market rallied in the afternoon. I mean, they target the US and the whole world is in uproar, they hit Madrid or London and it's news for a day? I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but, it seems like the rest of the world is saying "gee, that's horrible" and promptly moving on.
On a different note, being in the London office has been eye-opening. The attitude and expertise is very different here and I'm learning a lot. I'm also remembering how much I miss the UK and it's renewing my desire to move back here for at least a few years. One of the traders also let it slip that he's been getting "good reports" about me. Another mentioned that when he's got new or difficult things to get done it's "sort of known to go to [me]". There's been an awfult lot of negativity about the Stamford group in general coming out of London, so it was especially nice to hear they don't see me as one of the big failures. They actually seem to think I'm going to bring the whole team up... which leads to something else I realised.
I have always paid lip service to the idea of making your whole environment better, but it really hit me today. It's not enough for me to be good at what I do - it's about making everyone around me better at what they do. Being really good, being brilliant, is the ability to bring the average up; to bring out the brilliance in everyone around them. So I guess that's my project before I find something else to do. Like get promoted. Or take a job on a desk. Or go to med school. Something is going to change by December, but until then, it's about leaving trade support better than I found it.

03 July 2005

Quite honestly... I'm a bit drunk. Went out to Sutton Place and had three drinks? Got hit on by some strange Brazilian guys who thought Jackie was Philipino....heard a green day song.. made me miss Joey... there were Nascar highlights on the tv - even drunk it's not interesting to watch. Very strong drinks... good night! :) um... good night. haha...

02 July 2005

01 July 2005

29 June 2005

Had my mid year review and it was... almost what I expected. There were more compliments than I expected, to be honest. And the development points were accurate and not surprising, though teamwork was not one of them.
1) Watch my tone of voice. I come off as annoyed when I don't mean to.
2) Let people finish their questions before you answer, even if you have the right answer earlier.
The odd bit was that I was told to back off a bit. That I'm performing so well I'm not giving other people a chance and I'm covering for their laziness. Umm... huh? You want me to perform at less than peak to prove other people are doing worse than me? Hmmm.

Teaching the client service course was shot down by my boss (of course). So, things I've been offered but had to turn down because of my boss:
1) Capital Markets course (3 times)
2) Mock trading
3) Two extra days in London
4) Teaching client service courses
5) Product series lectures

On the other hand I've been productive lately... I've
1) baked bread/ bought groceries
2) cleaned my room/bathroom/kitchen
3) Finished my Penn application
4) Paid my cc/cable/electric/sa bills
5) Read the entire Harry Potter V/ ordered HP VI
6) Updated all my work projects/ cleaned my inbox
7) Created two new resume versions and 2 cover letters

Crap - I have to go in early tomorrow. Bed. Peace.

27 June 2005

I talk a lot, but I don't really have much to say do I?

I admire those who can be so honest.

I'm pretty sure if I wrote what I was really thinking I wouldn't have any friends left. Not because I'm mean, because I'm a mess.

Mid year review - bumped to tomorrow... again.
BUT... I was asked to becoming a client service trainer, which would be pretty cool.
I also got accepted as a volunteer to at the NYU medical center so after my London trip I'll become a nurse's assistant on Saturday mornings. Being in the hospital for my interview made me want to be a doctor again - it made me want to be a part of the world. I don't really get the same feeling when I walk onto the trading floor - I just get a slight sinking feeling. I've also started realising how pointlessly trivial my job is. I mean, what's the point of trying to be an exceptional trading assistant? Everyone got along fine before I got there and will continue to do just fine when I leave.
Oh - and there's a guy from market risk at work, Lyn, and he asked to come out barhopping with me next time I went out in Stamford... which is a little strange since I swear he's in his thirites and he's an officer level above me.
I finally saw a picture of my brother's girlfriend - she's not at all what I expected. Doesn't look at all like his previous girlfriends.
The new girl I work with, Jen, is really cool. We read the same books and she's just so nice and friendly. She's exactly the kind of girl I'd love to have as a close friend - now, how do girls go about making girlfriends exactly?
My bad habits have been getting the better of me since I got back from Seattle. I've been overly honest, quite lazy, and completely lacking in motivation. It's time to kick my own butt into gear and get some things taken care of, try some of the things on my "stuff I'm interested in" list and get back to the gym now that I'm not sick anymore. Honestly, I expect so much of everyone around me and I want to be exceptional and yet all I can say I've done in the last year is complain about my job, find a drawing studio (and then never go), sign up for a road race (which I didn't run), buy some Russian books (which I haven't opened), and searched for interesting classes (which I never signed up for). Yeah, I'm exceptional alright.
I did make cinnamon bread for my traders though - that went over well.
Ok, resolutions:
1) I will go to the gym every night unless I have social plans
2) I will go to either a drawing or dance class every weekend
3) I will study Russian at least three times each week
4) I will NOT continue to eat entire boxes of wheat thins in a single sitting
One downside to the hospital volunteering thing - it means no weekend trips. If I'm expected to be there on Saturday mornings that means I can't really go gallavanting around the country every weekend. I'm sure I could get one off here and there - but they pretty much want 12 weeks consecutive service. Of course, if I do get into Penn... well I'd be leaving before 12 weeks. Scary.

23 June 2005

Jonah found it - it's amazing: http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

20 June 2005

Hey. So. Very long day at work. Very long. But it's over. Yay. I didn't realise how few airlines flew to Memphis, I can get to Montreal and back cheaper than Memphis. I've gotten a more urgent than usual itch to travel these days so I'm looking for the weekend trips that I can take to visit people or see new places. I need something to keep me occupied while I find a more engaging job; preferably one that requires an IQ greater than 70. I really love the people I work with and I wish that was enough. Speaking of which, it turns out that there is another CMU alum working on the cash desk not two rows from me! And, we were in the same graduation ceremony and received awards on stage at the same time. Yet, I still didn't know he existed until last Friday - crazy eh?
I'm having my mid year review at work this week - don't think it will be super surprising. I'm fairly sure I'll hear that I don't play well with others (lacks teamwork skills) but learn quickly and have ample motivation. Basically they'll say what they can't outright say - I'm not suited for a support analyst role, but would do better in "the business". But neither they (my management) nor I can outright say that I should be there and want to be there because, well, that doesn't go down so well in the logistics world. i'm quite interested to hear this boss's point of view though because I think he'll more readily critisize me than my last manager and I think I need that feedback. I think there are things I need to work on and I'm really hoping this is a constructive conversation. I also hope it will clarify what he expects of me and where he sees me heading because that's never really been out on the table so I don't know what is in store for me if I stay put.
My 3.5 mile race is Thursday but I feel like death warmed up. I might take a half day tomorrow if it's not to busy to sleep, medicate, and hopefully kick this for real. I can live with a sore throat and a cough, but the headaches, dizziness, and intermittant nausea are getting old fast. And no I'm not pregnant.
Oh, I found out what the traders call me (everyone has a nickname). My boss calls me Stefdogger (no idea where it came from) but the traders call me Ace of Mase. It could be a whole lot worse so I'll take it.
With that, off to bed.

19 June 2005

Cold and frosty morning there's not a lot to say
About the things caught in my mind
And as the day was dawning my plane flew away
With all the things caught in my mind

So dont go away, say what you say
Say that you'll stay
Forever and a day ... In the time of my life
Cos I need more time, yes I need more time just to make things right

Damn my situation and the games I have to play
With all the things caught in my mind
Damn my education I can't find the words to say
With all the things caught in my mind

Me and you whats going on?
All we seem to know is how to show
The feelings that are wrong

It's official, all the little dramas and problems are solved! Yes! i'm not quite caught up on the To Do list, but that will come. I have to admit my dominant feeling at the moment is relief, relief and maybe just a little exhaustion.

Saw Batman, liked it. Next must see: War of the Worlds.

Life still feels like college. It doesn't feel significantly different. Is that weird? I still don't feel 23 and it's been two weeks.

The one thing that's on my mind the most I can't really write about because it's possible that people involved read this. I don't really feel like talking about work so there's not much to say.

England July 6 - 15, possibly the weekend in the middle will be spent in Prague. Should be fun :)

JP Morgan corporate challenge 3.5 mile run on Thurs, I hope I'm ready.

Work tomorrow so, peace.

14 June 2005

It has been a very tumultuous couple of weeks and it shows no sign of slowing, especially not since it's expiration Friday this weekend! Nothing like having to work late on Friday, go in on Sunday, and be in at 6am Monday to make for a rockin weekend. Not that I should complain, after all, I'll be in LONDON from July 6th - 15th! And I may just hop a quick flight to Prague for the weekend in there ;)
Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike the medical insurance process? Well, I managed to come down with an infection (nothing serious or contagious) and went to the doctor to check it out. Challenge 1: Find a doctor, in my plan, who is open on weekends. The doctor himself was actually incredibly nice, but you have to pick up your test results in person so basically a doctor's visit is now a two weekend affair. Ok, prescription in hand I go to the 24 hour pharmacy (thank god I live in NYC) where I'm told it will only take 1/2 hr to fill the prescription. Physched I run out and grab some groceries (it's 10:30pm at this point). I get back to the pharmacy and they call my name and guess what? Apparently I have an insurance card and a prescription card and I had only brought the insurance card. So now I have to go back tomorrow with the other card in order to get the prescription and have it billed to my insurance. It seems like an awful lot of hassle for an infection who's symptoms have already cleared up.
I'm also behind on filing my bills (they are paid), writing thank you notes and bday cards (sorry Jackie), my Penn application, donating to the thirft store, and depositing checks. I'm sure there's more, I wrote a long list in my scheduler thingy. I need 48 hours to catch up with life but not this weekend... expiration Friday.
At least I'm not all flustered from the Memorial Day episode (talk about a SEVERE lapse in judgement) and my trip to Seattle anymore. I feel a bit bad because I was a total mess in Seattle and I figured I'd just pretend everything was ok and put it on hold while I was there but i don't think that worked so well (I am so transparent) and it made me feel like I'm playing catch up now. I wouldn't have traded that trip to Seattle for the world though, it was a blast. I still find it amazing (in a goood way) when I discover who my friends are when I move away from somewhere. It's usually not who you think.
Ok, I need sleep (another thing I'm behind on).

30 May 2005

In the Wall Street Journal on Friday was an article about Asian men becomming "softer" and appearing in lipstick and cosmetic ads. What the *#$? I'm all for a step up in the presentation department, but I don't want men to lose their masculinity!

Got some nice news at work - the woman who does the index/LatAm desk wants me to work with her instead of the guy that currently does it and she may talk to my boss about it. I would love it if that happpened. It would get me a little father from Rocco and away from the guy I'm currently with. Don't get me wrong, I think he's great, very patient and really nice, but I don't share well and there's at least a little tension there. It's particularly hard because he hasn't really been there much longer than me. Enough about work.

I can't believe I'm about to be 23. I'm completely not 23 yet. I always imagined at 23 I'd be some much more together and established. Then again, I wonder if I'll ever be established, I'm fairly transient and terrible at committing. It's odd how I can be so decisive at work and so indecisive about life. I'm not afraid of mistakes at work but I'm terrified of screwing up my life. My Penn essay is half done, but I'm also making some half-hearted internal moves. I need to choose and choose soon: do I belong in business or in medicene? CEO or Doctor?

Eric moved in today and his parents are awesome. His mom is the kind of woman that adopts other people's kids and watched over them a bit. I didn't realise how without parental influence I was until I was talking to her and watching Eric with his parents. I really am totally independent. My parents don't pay for me or my things, they don't help me move, they don't manage my money, they don't do my laundry, bring me brownies, or cook me food every few weekends. I'm not saying that's any better or worse than others, just different. It's probably because I'm so far away from them, but I think I'd be like this even if they were near. For me it's just part of being an adult (still feels weird to think of myself as one).

Speaking of family I have started to come into the reality of being an older sister. For the most part James and I are just really good friends and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am so proud of my brother and I think he's an amazing man. If I wasn't related to him I would want to know him, But occasionally little moments come forward where I can do something that, to me, feels like being the older sibling. Little things. Like having dad remind him of mother's day because it means so much to mom when he remembers or offering to help him find a job (even if he doesn't want the help - which I completely understand). Dick McKinney was right, I have started to realise how amazing my own family is and what truely special people they are - I am very lucky. My mom, dad, and brother are very different people, but they are each remarkable in their own way.

Trying to hold every door open is getting exhausting. I need to start making some decisions about the path I want to take and life I want to have (the person I want to be) and let go of the rest. Passion may be a wonderful attribute, but it's time to get some focus. It just feels like there's so much at stake and reallly don't want to be wrong. I don't want to wake up in 10, 15, 30 years and wonder what the hell I've done with my life and what I've become. I want to be a person and lead a life I love and can be proud of. The thing is, I 'll never really grow up until I make this choice. I'll never settle in, move up, or become anything until I choose. I don't like being nothing, so I've got to choose SOMETHING. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels because I am. You can't move forwards until you choose a road.

07 May 2005

Back when I was still writing regularly, about two months ago now, I thought I was more negative than I should have been. As my brother pointed out to me, it's scary watching someone who has a pretty plum set-up do nothing but complain. But when I read my friends blogs and emails, or talk to them on the phone, we're all like this. We've all graduated and become frustrated, disappointed, lonely, and in some cases, angry. In the context of the Time magazine article I have to wonder if this is a wider phenomenon - a symptom plaguing the new "twixter" class (I hate that word). What is causing this mass discontent?
By far the most common reason is a feeling of social disconnect. Either we aren't in a relationship and/or we feel we've lost the close circle of friends that was so central to our previous lives. I know I miss having my girlfriends in particular. All my life I have been surrounded predominately by males and only now do I realise how much I needed those few special women I am friends with. And yeah, it would be cool to have a boyfriend. But I'm one of those girls with personality, not stunning good looks so I'm going to have to get really desperate until some truely mediocre guy actually looks good and I settle. Oh that's a bad thought.
The next most common is our jobs. Either they are not challenging enough or they are boring, which amounts to about the same thing. I am so sick of companies telling me I need to apply for jobs on their schedule! First I have to be somewhere for a year. Then I can start applying for a first year position which would start a year from application. So I'd be in square one two years after leaving college... so I'm wasting my time in this boring idiocy they call equity derivative support? I'll put in my time but please tell me it's at least leading somewhere!
What I'm really getting at is that I don't feel so bad posting negative entry after negative entry. I don't know a lot of happy people out there in their mid-twenties and we're all feeling the same stuff. So, yeah, I'm frustrated and angry and alone too. And it sucks. I'm thinking of becomming a doctor to get away from this operations "job" but the one thing that stops me is I know how good I would be farther up in business. Can I suck it up long enough to get there? If this year is any indication, probably not. College is so free and your early twenties are so... stuck. No wonder we're miserable.

13 March 2005

I've been more social in the last two weeks than I've been in a long time and that's a good thing, but man I am having the weirdest luck with men! J called (he was in Bali for a week) but he's not free until the weekend, which is when my parents arrive. I guess I won't actually see him until a month after we met! I went to coffee with P, but like with M I just didn't get that stomach butterfly-spark thing. I saw E at a party, completely unexpected, and found out that he's dating someone now! Talk about totally missing my chance - damn that sucks. At least I can stare at C at work for another two weeks before I move to the trading floor. I mean, I never get this much attention, but maddenly it's not quite working out - I guess that's just the ways it goes. At least I'm meeting people and having some fun.
I have finally spent some time playing with IPOD hacks and podcasting stuff. It's all very nifty and my IPOD now has my calender and sticky notes on it. Hopefully tomorrow morning I'll upload my first podcasts and try out that new trend. I love how digital, integrated, and multi-purpose everything is becomming.
You know what I wish would come back into fashion? Big ballroom dances with live bands. You know, like in the 40's with the full bands on stage and a singer and everyone jitterbugging or swirling around the floor... it would be such a fun change from sweaty people grinding against eachother in public (not that I don't enjoy a good night out clubbing) - I just think it would be wonderfully (wholesomely) fun to dance like they used to. There must be somewhere in NY, right?

06 March 2005

I had a conversation last night with a friend that I've been ruminating over ever since. From this conversation has sprung a moment of clarity in which I was able to name something I have long known to be true of myself: I am an educational elitist. Some people pride themselves in their rare taste in music, others in fashion or athletic ability, I put my stock in education and learning.
The crux of the debate was over the idea of a the existence of a subset of the population that is more capable (smarter) than the average. What I am basically saying is that there is a small (small numbering in the hundred of thousands) group of people who are simply mentally more capable than the others. My friend believes my thinking to be dangerous and that it may prove to be my downfall (because in the arguement I indicated we are both in said subset).
While I fully agree that people's strengths lie in differing areas (people skills, language, music, athletics, art, math, etc) I also believe there are people whos ability is more fungible and applicable to the business of life and those people are then inherently more capable. I also know this sounds terribly un-PC and awfully arrogant. However, let me mention a parallel which I don't think people have such a problem with to illustrate my point.
When I was a freshman in high school my locker was immediately adjacent to the special education classroom. The adolescents in those classes ranged from "difficulty learning" to diagnosed mentallly defficient. As a society we readily accept and support those who are developmentally disabled. We do not expect them to be as capable and proficient at tasks and problems as the rest of the population and we are not cruel because of this. Yet, when I posture about the existence of people on the other end of the spectrum, the developmentally "superabled" I am now marginalising the average person; that hardly seems fair.
It is also important to note that no where have I indicated that people's worth is determined by their intelligence. I do not believe that smart people are entitled to more or worth more to society - I simply mean to point out that they exist as an identifiable group of people. After all, 80% of the population believes they are above average - some of them must be right.
I wonder then if the problem is not with pointing out the existance of those who are mentally gifted, but with my including myself in it? Is it arrogant or self-aware to place yourself in the intellgentsia? I am reminded of a scene in Good Will Hunting in which Will wants to remain a construction worker in place of becomming a mathematician. His friend considers this an insult and a waste.
It is wrong to expect too much of those who cannot perform as the rest of us, but is it not also insulting to pretend you are less than you are? We don't ask our Olympians and Oscar winners to say they are of average ability - we celebrate their talents and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Why then, is it such a taboo to admit that you're smart and want to use that talent in whatever way possible? Am I honestly a worse person for believe that I'm smart?

01 March 2005

On the subway on the way home I was standing next to a missionary (I found this out because he started talking to me) who was only about 20. He's from Utah and is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I have to admit that missionary work is something I will never understand. Belief in God is tough enough, but to try and convince others that their fundamental idea of the composition of the universe is wrong and that you are right because some man hundred of years ago thought he saw an angel and wrote a book? Not to mention that the more science reveals the more metaphoric the Bible has to become in order to remain plausible. I don't want to sound like I'm calling all people who believe in God deluded because that's certainly not what I think - just that to take that to an extreme that at 20 you'll move penniless across the country (or the world) to convince others you're right seems... well quite frankly it seems crazy or obsessive. Certainly irrational.
I got my wish and had a lot more work this week and it shows no sign of abating. Work feels better again and I feel a little more like myself. A little frustrated that the gym isn't showing results, but maybe eliminating the nightime apples and peanutbutter will help : ) For now I'm fairly content and at peace. It's nice. Oh, I did get word that my cousin is in the hospital though with two collasped lungs. I'm worried about her, she's so young (kindergarten age) and collapsed lungs are so painful. Roosie - get better!

27 February 2005

Well my Dell died on Saturday morning so I've replaced it with an ibook. I am now one of those Mac converts and Apple can add a notch to their statistics. And yes, my love for my IPOD was a contributing factor. So far, I love the new laptop but maybe 24 hours (most of which was spent at the MOMA or eating brunch) is still too soon to call.
The MOMA, incidentally was much more accessible and interesting than I thought it would be. So was Turkish food.
Oh - nice little personal tidbit - a boy I met actually called me. 6 nights later, but he called. And I found out Jay's dating history. It's been an interesting weekend. Mike was in town.
I got some reading material on non-listed options (equityderivatives) so I guess this marks the very beginning of my transition. Hallelujah! The large slow wheels of the corporate beheamouth are starting to turn in my favour. After only two months of pure boredom (I'm very spoiled).
I'm watching the Oscars and I have to say - it's not exactlty engrossing this year. Maybe it's because I haven't seen all the movies but it's just not gripping. Maybe I'll just go back to watching West Wing episodes on DVD.... on my new ibook! Chad would be so proud. So would Jon Jon, but for different reasons....(that won't make sense to most of you). At least the Incredibles won and Michael Moore wasn't nominated. There is some sense of order in the world.
Hmm.. I don't have much to say really so.. later.

21 February 2005

Wow, it's been a while. I guess I got a bit caught up in whatever I was doing. I've spent a fair amount of time at the libray lately practicing math for my GMAT's. I also decided, simply decided, that I'm going to have a more positive attitude and get my butt to the gym regularly. Got sidetracked today though and I'll get to that...

BUT, I want to mention I've started a second blog, Borderline, where I'm going to mouth off about stuff I'm reading. I imagine many of you will disagree with my opinions but that's the fun bit :)

Ok... why did I get sidetracked today? Because I met a boy! He's 22 and he's already got 4 degrees and he's studying for his fifth at Columbia. Talk about child prodigy. I sat down at Starbucks to pay a couple of bills while my laundry was in and ended up talking to him for quite a while. He even kept me company while the dryer finished my clothes. I really hope he calls... he was so easy to talk to. He also had me pegged in no time at all but I guess that's what happens when you talk to a physc PhD.

New music! I found some new music - finally! Thanks to Paul... Gem's album is really good and two tracks I found while surfing Itunes: Felix Da Housecat's "Sinnerman" remix and the Gotan Project Remix of "Whatever Lola Wants." Three others that haven't gotten old yet: Razorlight's "Golden Touch", Ghostwriter (remix) by RJD2, and Lazlo Bane's "Superman" (aka the Scrubs theme).

03 February 2005

Yesterday and today were good days - I had busy days at work and worked longer hours again. It sounds counterintuitive but I much prefer those days - the long ones, when you're working even as everyone else is leaving. I *think* my manager will need to hand me a rotation date by next Friday because she's taking 2 weeks off and then she's in Zurich for a week so hopefully limbo will come to a close soon. Two of those waiting days will be in Pittsburgh so they will go by quickly.
I read an interesting article recently that said people have a limtied amount of self-control. It's based on some studies and apparently the part of your brain responsible for reigning in your impulses has a finite limit. As you use your self-control you deplete that store and you can reach a state where you have trouble restraining yourself because you physically lack the neurochemicals to do so. Now they don't mean this is a general right/wrong way, but in a not-following-the herd, not-eating the cookie way. Maybe that explains why so many people give in to their bad habits at night: smoking, drinking, eating, whatever. By the time you hit evening you've used up the control at work, dealing with people, going about your day to day.
I've been watching a lot of West Wing and it has caused two things: it makes me want to go into oratory again - both speaking and writing - and it makes me realise that it's too easy to just condemn our political system as failing or our President as stupid. It's easy to by cynical because that doesn't require thinking and studying. Yes, there are lots of problems and no, I won't like every piece of legislation and each decision made - but there's a lot of good there too. There are so many things going on there we don't think or read about, so many good intentions and so much in the system that is well-constructed. It's just too easy to condemn it based on one issue/speech/person. There is so much potential.
But yeah, I want to write. I just need to find something to write about. As always, I wouldn't mind studying either.
I found some foreign language classes on Saturdays, but they are $750 a term! And I bet it doesn't include the books!
For anyone that hasn't seen me lately - my hair is a different colour now :)

25 January 2005

Guess who got her number one choice rotation! Guess who will be working on the trading desk - OTC baby! Yes, that's right. YAY! And not only that - they want me ASAP - as soon as my boss can let me go! I'm sad to leave my team but I'm really excited to try this new stuff.
And on top of that - I got to spend the train ride home talking to this really cute guy with these beautiful blue eyes. I thought he didn't want to talk to me - that he was avoiding me, but... those eyes.
Had a chat with my mentor and she's so easy to talk to, really more like a girlfriend and sometimes I just really need that. I miss you Swati, Jackie, Annabeth, and Penny. She is really supportive when I haev career crisis moments but she also does some of that girl talk about boys and as much as I love my guy friends, they do not want to hear me whine about the lack of interesting males in NYC.
Eh, I'm too excited about my rotation to really care about guys right now anyway! WHOO HOO!
Ok, of to bed with moi. It's getting late (I feel old when I look at my bedtime) and the train comes early!

20 January 2005

Hey! It was a good day today - busy, quick, and I felt useful. It's completely true that people feel better when then feel they are useful, needed, and good at something. Unfortunately I was a bit snappy at people, patience was running low so I feel a bit bad about that.
Missed kickboxing today unfrotunately, but Alias end of third season was there! Woo hoo! Tomorrow I ask about my rotation and then Swati's in town for the weekend. Should be a good time, we'll have to see how Monday feels though....
22 felt so young today.

17 January 2005

Yan's Birthday

Sophie and I out to Sushi

Went to the gym and did a kickboxing class today - it felt so good! Why am I surprised that things like sleep and excersize make me happier? It's not a new concept...
Rotation request at work is happening this Friday. Fingers crossed that she not only says yes, she had the headcount and will spend it on me, but also, please, could I come sooner rather than later? Oh - wouldn't that be loverly?
Kicking around the idea of the following as back-up plan: Hit the one year mark and realise hey! ibanking is not for me. Whatever shall I do? How about travel extensively and then return to school to major in biology before going on to grad school... yes, sounds good. I love the travel bit and I really love the lots of school bit. I am a Dorkus Majorus and I am ok with that :)
Little scattered at the moment. Been thinking about writing - real writing. The kind-you-try-to-get-published writing. It's probably the strongest artistic talent I have. I'd love to flatter myself and say that I could be a graphic designer but let's be real here. I have a sense of style, but that does not a creative force make. But writing I can do. Can I do it long enough and consistently enough for a book - that is a good question. Can I come up with something that remains interesting past 15 pages? How will I know if I don't try?
Oh - news. My roommate is moving in with her boyfriend when our lease is up. This means.... drumroll.... I need a new flatmate in June. Anyone moving to The City this summer?

15 January 2005

A foreign friend of mine recently suggested that Amercian guys are some of the most curteous she had even met. At first I was taken aback because I have always thought them a bit rude to be quite honest. The thing is, that was then. That was high school and frat parties in college. Everyone is rude when they’re an adolescent. Being as asshole is a right of passage for guys just as being a relentless tease is for girls. Once we move beyond that stage though it’s true. By and large men here in America retain a sense of chivalry, even in New York City. I am encouraged through doors and elevators being held open for me. Just the other day a complete stranger gave me the last seat on a very crowded train. I was given the last spot on a packed subway this afternoon. For all the guys out there: you can act how you want in college, but shape up once you graduate because you’re playing in a new league: a league of gentlemen. And I for one appreciate it.

I left my wallet in Connecticut, or at least, I hope I did because otherwise I lost it and that would be trouble. So my Saturday consisted on tutoring (I think the Ecudorian football player is hitting on me), going to the gym, showering, and now I’m on the train to CT, to work, to rescue my wallet. I discovered it was missing when I tried to buy a salad at Pax last night. The guy gave it to me on credit – can you believe that? He told me to take it and pay him next time!

I love the train ride because I either sleep – which is wonderful in the mornings – read a really good book (I’ve been reading insatiably lately), or there are the most interesting people to watch. Right now the Russian girl next to me is on the phone – she has been for 30mins. The lasy in the fuzzy beret in front of me is pissed about it and keeps glancing back with a decidedly sour look on her face. There is a young (well, my age) black guy facing me three rows up and I think he keeps switching his stare between me and a girl opposite her. I am still surprised when people notice me. Honestly - 9 times out of 10 there are much more beautiful people around me.