Friday, December 26, 2008

Hanukah, Christmas and stuff in between

Since Hanukah came first, I’m going to talk about that. The Root residence hosted us C’ville orphans, as we’re now called, one evening to witness the lighting of the first candle of Hanukah. Being totally ignorant of all things Jewish (except the phrase about sounding like Hebrew), this was a fantastically enlightening evening. The Roots and the Katz (another Israeli family from the second year) recited the story of Hanukah and sang the traditional prayer, even translating it for us. Of course, there was delicious finger food and wine. That was also the first time I sampled Oren’s brilliant Turkish coffee and the guy, bless him, had stoked up the fireplace as well. I headed out “early” (in Darden, early is just before midnight) while some folks stayed behind to watch a movie.

Well, the Charlottesville orphans had so much fun on Hanukah that the Roots decided to host us again, this time for a potluck Christmas dinner. I will spare you the menu, but will tell you that it was delicious and had some fantastic Indian chicken and vegetables and Mrs. Root's finger licking stuffed chicken along with a variety of rice. Great conversation, some pictures and a lot of laughs later we decided to watch a movie of course! This one ended late, not too late though, and only after a round of Oren’s Turkish Coffee!

In between all this, there was a lot of Starbucks coffee trips, drives in the night on the foggy Blue Ridge Mountain highway, shopping trips, movies, long conversations over phone and chat and some spring cleaning.

This whole experience got me thinking about how closeted my vacations were in India. Of course I know all about the Christmas dinner and the joy and cheer, but for me it was always just a holiday! But being here, sharing the festive occasions with other people that I didn’t know from Adams even 6 months back was a fantastic experience. It is to experience this stuff that I decided to uproot from the place I called home for twenty six years, to travel half way across the world and come to Darden. With each passing day, I feel like I am learning so much both inside and outside of school.

It’s strange that as I’m building relationships on the one hand, I am severing some. For the first time in this country, I’m going to move out of a shared residence and get my own place. I know it’s no big deal and a bunch of people choose to do it anyway, but somehow this feels different. There is this exhilarating feeling of independence but there is also a niggling fear of getting cut off from all things familiar. I suppose it’s a natural reaction to change.

There is one regret though – I didn’t get to eat chocolate cake. One of my greatest weaknesses is chocolate cake – all chocolate with nothing white in it! And the one place I did find it, they refused to cut me a piece since they were going to be closed for Christmas and therefore wanted to be able to sell the whole cake. So much for a craving!

So what's it going to be for New Year's eve? I figure a good way to cap off this excitingly unexpected adventure of a year is to watch the ball drop at Times Square... Am I adventurous enough to make a trip to the Big Apple next week? Let's see...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On why being idle does not agree with me

So I’m sick. It's not because I’m missing home. I’m not missing warm sunny India either. I’m not missing my mom’s cooking – ok ,THAT I am missing terribly! I do not want to eat one more day of my own cooking!

I am sick because I miss having work. I miss having to race against time to make it to my 8AM class in classroom 180 with all the awesome section D ppl! I miss my learning team. And I am sick of the fact that it gets dark at 5pm and I don’t have a watch on and I am all disoriented about what time it is. And I am also a little sick of the fact that a whole bunch of my friends have gone home or on job treks for the hols and so I miss them – I miss going to the coffee place and wasting away over a cup of cappuccino.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have an internship yet and due to the down economy the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is kind of fading out too. I have tons of work to do – like reaching out to companies and case prep for the interviews. I have apartment moving work to do too – yes I’m stupid enough to move apartments in the middle of the school year. And I should be booking tickets and accommodation for my trip to Seattle early next year. But instead of checking these (and whole host of other things) off my list of to-dos, I am choosing to waste away the time doing I-don’t-know-what. I so hope my mother is not reading this right now.

This is the time I was counting down to since the beginning of the second quarter. I had a ton of plans including hitting the gym (day 4 and counting and all I’ve done towards losing a few pounds is play an evening of tennis) and now that the time is finally here I am unable to shake off that feeling of general laziness and get out of the brain-dead mode.

I am going to try to get up at 6AM tomorrow – maybe all I’m missing is the boot camp rigor. It seems like a good time to check how much self-organization I’ve learnt in this one semester of Darden. I am hoping to have mastered it by the time graduation rolls by so I hope I am at least better than I was before I came here.

I’ll sign off now. Back to my… er… back to doing nothing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Twenty five percent!

That’s how much of an MBA I am as of today! After a week of finals, the class of 2010 is finally through with second quarter, the one touted to be the most grueling. And what an eventful week it has been. When we weren’t saving the Japanese economy, we were figuring out ways to transport lubricants from one continent to another. One day we were selling healthy jams the other day we sold lumber. After playing the all knowing CEO for a week, I can finally relax at home and be plain old me! There’s just one problem though – I don’t know what to do!

I’m not crazy, I swear! I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I should be doing something, I should be obsessively checking my outlook or I should be booting up to head out to the library. But I don’t need to do any of that. My outlook is free – for all evening! I can’t remember the last time I had a free calendar. There are NO cases to do for tomorrow. I don’t have to head out to the library for anything. All I have to do is get dressed to go party! But I still can’t help feeling all empty on the inside. I remember dragging myself out of bed this morning and vowing to crawl back under the sheets in 7 hours’ time and not wake up till its Saturday. My eyes are tired – you try doing 5 hour exams a day! – but my brain is buzzing.

There are a bunch of parties happening tonight. If you’re one of the really popular ones and have the beer guzzling capacity of a keg, you can go party hopping! I know a few people who probably have been at the corner all afternoon (and it’s not even 7pm yet)! If you went down to Barracks road now, you’d probably find a few Section Social Reps stocking up on the kegs!

What am I going to do? Well after I put away my cases for Q3 – yep, they did it again, they put the case packets for next quarter in our mailboxes, for us to find as we turned in our exams today – I will probably clean up my room and find out where I want to go for the night! One small note of appreciation for the school though. In a bid to be more environmentally conscious based on feedback from us students, the school decided to run a pilot project by giving us one subject in electronic form as opposed to paper. In other words, come Q3, we will have our finance cases on our computers and not as sheets in our binders. When the survey got sent out, I had expected the student response to be in favor of this move and I had also expected the school to do something about it. I had not expected the school to react so fast; they deserve a pat on the back!

I am signing out now; not because I am out of things to say – if you know me at all, you'd know that I’m NEVER out of things to say! But I’m going to be by myself now, to reflect on the semester that’s gone by. It feels like just yesterday that I got that call from Darden informing me of my admission. What do you know, I’m already one semester down, calling this place my home, and not getting enough of my awesome classmates! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun!


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