Sunday, October 29, 2006

No Ricardo Tubbs Sightings

Since Halloween is essentially a non-event, Barca trainer Frank Rijkaar had to carry the Ricardo Tubbs torch for me. Hotly contested Champions League game tonight between Barca and Chelsea, ending in a two-two draw after a Chelsea goal in extra time. I am looking for an underdog squad to support, one that needs me more than FCB and is more likely to have Air Plus Comet than Iberia as their official airline.

The head of Google Spain gave a presentation this evening--by far the best company visit yet. Extremely impressive guy and the insight into the company's operations was exhilarating. At the risk of sounding cheesy, what stands out is the successful coexistence of altruism and capitalism resulting in products that add value to consumers for free. As a bonus I got a 50 Euro Adwords coupon, an entre into their suite of applications which hopefully won't drive too much traffic to this site for google's server to handle.

Tomorrow is a holiday, which I will use to log some practice time in accounting and decision analysis, hopefully outdoors, in anticipation of next week's midterms, and try to explore a little bit. Any time I get void of immediate obligations serves as a reminder how great this city is, and how glad I am to be here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Settling into a groove now, and finding more sleep. I picked up my residence card, a tremendous accomplishment. I am now legal--though I can't say the same for Tif.

The pics are from our bar crawl- an annual event put on by the second years. Each section had to dress up in different costumes, mine drew the superheroe assignment. My team, (members include from left Ranjeet and Nizami, and Guilllerme, with wife Maria, and Sylvia above) went as SuperBCNeta--a tribute to the work crews that clean the city (quite well). I was pushing hard for my other idea, SuperTapas, but we had a strong showing and the bar crawl was a blast.

On a separate note, one quirk I have noticed here is large number of middle aged people in driving school. It's really bizarre how many times you drive by a training vehicle expecting to see a pimple faced pissant and instead see a guy in his forties with his daughter in the back seat. Anyone who visits will see what I mean.

For now at least I'll keep my thoughts on our two day Career Forum to myslef, other than to say it was quite a frenzy and the possibilities are both humbling and exciting. I'm thrilled to be here.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Leonardo y Tiffany

Life is good here. My only complaint is that it is next to impossible to get to sleep before 1:30. I am living with two very nice Mexican sisters, Sol and Alejandra in a great flat near the center of the city in l'Eixample district. School is challenging and rewarding and I'm impressed by my classmates (210 people from 50+ countries).

I had a lot to say about navigating the bearuacracy to legally live here for two years. But 11-S as it's referred to here altered my flow. I woke up on the 11th to an eery calm. It’s Catalan Independence Day, which interestingly commemorates the day Catalunya relinquished it’s independence to Spain, again. So the streets were silent, even more so than on Sundays, when some restaurants are open but all shops are closed. In the aftermath of this somber day, the details of my everyday life seemed inconsequential. Perhaps that’s the sad reality. Then I got really.

My schedule of six courses and spanish class makes any advancement toward completing an administrative task an accomplishment. I have adopted the Spanish phrase poco a poco. If anything, this country will teach you patience, or at least the importance of it. After waiting in line for four and a half hours to apply for my residence card, I wondered if anyone got to Ellis Island, looked and the line and said screw it, and returned from whence the came. Meanwhile with classes starting, I barely noticed my life had become a Spanish Telenovella, Leonardo y Tiffany.

Time is money and I have little of either. A moto saves precious minutes in the commute and greatly opens up the city--more necessity than luxury. With classes starting, I was pressed to quickly find the cheapest, best running moto no one would steal (a common problem). After initially passing on a Yamaha, held back by some indescibable force, perhaps fear that the beeping turn signal would drive me crazy, I made my way down the hill in the rain on my friend's borrowed moto. Suddenly I realized that this was the best one I had driven, and if I passed someone would buy it probably that day and I would still be looking. I pulled over, called the seller, and we finalized the transaction on the perfume counter at Corte Ingles.

Later that night Ale and I met up with some friends of mine from school, in what was probably the best night out I've had here. I had to apologize when we left Luz de Gas at 5:30, because the party was still on and the place was packed. Not wanting to be too dead tired to meet my now ex-girlfriend at the airport was a passible excuse. As we made our way to my bike, I noticed what was holding me back about the Yamaha. It's a girl's bike. Actually, it's a girl.

The ample hop and soft purr of the motor blinded me to the bright orange-pink racing stripes and the pink fuel gauge. But seeing the bike with the handle bars in the locked position, there was no mistaking her for a half drunk flousy, Tiffany, standing hips out alongside her friend Elizabeth chatting up the passersby spilling out of a Carson City night club. Trying to catch the eye of Leonardo and the other bigger man bikes parked on the street, Tiffany eagerly awaited me to take her home. She was just flirting, and that's fine with me. She gets me wherever I need to go, is quiet, and anyone who would steal bikes would not want her. So I am pleased. Now I just have to get some minor repairs done so she'll pass inspection to transfer the title so I can get insurance. Poco a poco.