Breaking up is hard to do…

January 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

… especially when you get barraged with post break-up messages and end up in Brussels, smoochless.

But, let me back up a little first…  cause it all started shortly after I posted my last entry ….and a hop skip and a jump, later …life took a little tumble.

I sat at St. Peters Station, for whatever reasons, accosted by an epiphany that I MUST get what I came for and make any sort of fuzzy life decisions after-wards. I got my head screwed back on straight and the student in me awoke to dreams of a brand new semester of Forecasting hell. What is it about train stations?

You see, right after I last wrote, I had a rather interesting life conversation with my mom in which… at least I think that’s what she said… she advised me to open my heart a little and make sure to enjoy each moment. Then I received a rather inspirational email from one of my favorite people in this world who, as usual, set me straight…

‘somebody very wise once told me’ it said  ‘ …that I should just take my time and figure out what I want first…You should really practice what you preach.’

Thanks friend, I really should.

And so, I put on a pretty dress, got all datey and set out to fall in love. I enjoyed each moment with care… reminding myself of my wise advisers to just         ...let go and feel.

In a strange way, I really did… our conversation was lovely, giggles and smiles, an interesting movie and some lovely tea… beautiful Gent towering over us and empty cobble stone streets paving our way… hand in hand we walked, close. our lips kissed…

Perhaps this is the problem, but with the indecisive week I’d had before, somehow I felt inspired by the night and waited to fall in love. I waited an hour, I waited two, I waited three… I felt warm and special, even cared for… all the while waiting ….for the night to end, so I could go home… alone. Hmm…

Towards the end, we wrangled a bit over the difference in our expectations for the night and all of a sudden without warning, all my so called feelings… were gone. I looked over at him one more time, as I for the 10th time proceeded to decline his invitation to go home with him… and I just had no desire to do so. The truth is, I don’t really see him as a long term potential and in the short term, he’s kind of a pain in the ass, i though! I just want to go home, alone! I waved good bye, turned around and walked away almost single again…

I took each step with caution… how does this feel? a little further… what about now? To my surprise the further I walked away from him and the closer I got to home… the better I felt. And just like that, the decision I fumbled over for weeks… was made.

In the morning I woke up refreshed. I hopped on a bus to St. Pieter’s station and set out to meet the girls en route to Brussels. Oh, how I’ve missed them!… My Russian Mafia… My Sex and The City crew… My girls. While on the bus I thought about the best way in which to end things. In the past I’ve always been a fan of the slow fizzle,  but as long as I’m learning to be a more mature person in Belgium, I thought it probably time to learn to do this whole breaking-up thing, properly.

I reasoned my way to doing it over a text message and proceeded to click away…

As soon as I hit send, my phone rang… and then buzzed, and buzzed again… one text message after another and it all of a sudden became clear how differently we feel about the way things are. The messages are flattering, the never ending calls weirdly sweet, I’ll admit… and periodically come in without a single reply.

But for once, I actually know what I want and he is not it. Predictive Modeling..? so IS. So I’m switching my course work to MatLab, SAS Macros, more CRM and SPSS and bracing myself for another CRAZY student semester with my girls….

When we finally arrived in Brussels for a 100+ people house party – I was the only one out of the four of us not going at it in the corner. I sat there a bit less drunk than the others, thrilled with my new path… ready to kick ass….  and yes, a little lonely… happy with myself,though… i think.    missing his eyes …a little.

And there goes my phone again.


Where is my AUC?

December 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m having a bit of the hump day blues. The day has been painted in a lazy hue, slow and ineffective, without much purpose it would seem except for the occasional twinkle of an idea. My mind is still fully occupied with wrapping up this year – it’s meaning so to speak – picking a new direction.  My cotton thoughts, echoing it seems somewhere in there… in that head of mine numb from all the schooling, but desperately trying to figure out my next move.

You see, within the next two weeks I’ll need to decide on my future … the course to take with it. Should I follow an already existing path, or take a chance on something bigger and scarier – something new. Not just new though, something that deep down in my heart I know is anti-me… something that says to the world… I love money. I love business. I want success and computers are my friend. Honestly, I wouldn’t like this person. But I also wouldn’t like the person I would be if I didn’t grasp at the chance to become it. A sort of life philosophy I want to live by… reject only that which you know. So following that logic, first I must know. I must want to know!

…yet somewhere deep down, i just want to dance around a campfire in some far away land, singing kumbaya…  I’m probably not making any sense, but that is because I’m feeling stuck, and sense is overrated anyway…

I think the problem is in identifying what I’m fearful of… am I more fearful of not trying – due to perceived probability of failure and/or disinterest …. OR … am I actually fearful of not going for the one thing I know I actually want, which is a life of meaning and not money at all. I’ve been clawing at this in my head all week, and still I’m nowhere…

Yesterday, I saw myself taking the easy way out… Today, I woke determined to take this chance of a lifetime and see where it leads… all these codes, periods, commas, delimiters… these forecasting robots, these engineers… these business people with their business plans and algorithms for making the world go round and round. Who would have thought in a million years that I would have my own key to the whole Faculty of Economics and Business building and spend vacation days under its florescent lights… wishing quietly, in the most non-technical way possible, for a predictive model for my future… Where is my AUC?

… I have a friend that is now going through something similar but in a more work related sense and honestly when I think about her situation, it’s as clear as day. There is no wrong move that she can make, only one requirement… the decision needs to bring with it utter excitement. If she can find excitement for the thing she’s about to do, she has made 100% the right choice.  Hmm… perhaps it’s only logical that I take my own advice. I shall wait for some sort of excitement to kick in… i think right now I don’t feel it for either – maybe that’s in fact the problem? Interesting point, dear me. I will know when it’s here.  M… so will you! 🙂

From Pages of Brothers Grimm

November 15, 2010 § 3 Comments


Today I awoke late with terrible headache – still sick. Damn, I thought, here goes another day. I should stay inside an rest, but how tired I am of doing just that. I’m finally getting to this place where I just want to be out… even if I’m just studying, let me do it in a place other than the one I’ve been cooped up in for the past two months. As much as I adore my flat… i want to come home to it every day, not be locked up in it like a prisoner.

Still on Paris time and quite relaxed, studying far far from my mind. The girls and I (the russian mafia as they call us here… affectionately of course, and mostly due to an absurd data set about Mafia profits that we were working with in SQL)  were originally going to go to a sauna, but most of us being sick and all.. and lazy… we decided to postpone this venture until later in the week. So instead, I texted Katja and suggested we meet for tea.

Beforehand I had some time to get ready, put on my sexy boot-boots which I’ve been wearing now for two days and run to the mall to get some inserts. The brown boots are a tad large, so I wanted to get something soft and filling for the bottom… In the US this would be miserable task… I know cause I’ve tried to do this before – getting inserts for shoes that is. But here, a total breeze… 10 minute walk to the shoe stand… yes, that’s right, you heard me… a stand where a guy repairs, fixes and polishes shoes… and the inserts he sells aren’t those retarded flimsy sticky things you have to cut yourself cause they’re a one size fits all… no, no… these are real boot inserts… no sticky goo required, lamb wool laced, precisely sized to my needs – oooh and they feel good. Lamb wool, I kid you not.

Afterward I spotted Katja on her bike outside and came out to greet her. The next few hours we spent walking around Ghent, in the beautiful sun which finally decided to peek out today ….and together we marveled at our indescribable luck. …Can you friggin believe we’re here? …I know, Can you?

Maria had mentioned to us a good cafe not too far from where we were, so we set out to go there. Katja immediately assessed it to be a hippie place…  Maybe it was the dreadlocks and tattoos that gave it away, but c’mon this place had nothing on Berkeley. Actually, it was very nice… we sat outside in the sun… overlooking wonderful Ghent buildings, with their quirky rooftops and historic cobblestones… not to mention of course the canal and adorable bridge. Yeah, you could say I’m living in a tiny world of paradise, straight from the pages of a brothers grimm fairy tale. Who needs Paris.

Well actually, Paris had its own charm… the canals are much wider, the streets massive and of course is just a lot grander on every level. But honestly, my favorite part about Paris was the numerous fall oakleaves pasted across the wet side walk… in every color imaginable, but washed away with puddles of rain – not just romantic I would say, simply introspective. One look around and it’s as if you’ve suddenly stumbled upon the meaning of life, even if only for a brief moment.

But anyway, while I was at the restroom Katja looked over the menu and made her selection first… mint tea and something with the world apple. I thought, ok… I’m not really hungry, but when do I ever say no to a turnover… I’ll have one too please. Then a few minutes go by and our waiter arrives with two mint teas, a bowl of cheese we had ordered to share and two shot glasses of liquor. EHhh.? I say.  Katja doesn’t look surpsied. Did you order a drink I asked her? Yes, she replies with a tad of confusion – so did you! I did?  The waiter looks unsure – I tell him, I thought it was dessert. He laughs, not dessert at all – much better. now you have to drink. And what a good drink it was.

On our way back, we stopped by the lab to pick up some books – having not studied much all weekend I was starting to a) enjoy myself and b) forget what I’m really here for. Until of course we stumbled onto a room full of classmates – studying away. And we’re back – to crazy town.  When I got home, I had a wonderful email from Kat about how nice it was to get out… and how for just a brief second she felt happy again… unlike the insane studying madness she felt before.  Me too.

SELECT Rozijnen notenbrood FROM Memory WHERE Me ^= ‘Control’;

October 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

Good lord, today was so much better than yesterday. And judging from my last post, the day before that as well. The thing is, it’s coming down to crunch time. We have our first 5 hour test next Thursday, then another one On Tuesday and so it goes… By December 17th, we will have had 7 tests and 2 reports and one presentation… yes, each 4-5 hours long, covering material that’s barely explained in class and spans books upon books of information, which is but the very first step in figuring out things in practice. Basicially, time is of the essance. And, is sparse.

Yesterday, it became so clear to a few of us on how poorly we’re doing, that we locked ourselves up in our private computer lab for 8 hours straight…

… subquery here… (yes, did I mention this before… our MMA group has two rooms that are JUST ours AND we got keys to the entire building so we can hang out there on weekends. WOOHOO.) ,

…..just trying to work out… oh, (some of us got farther than others) but the average was about 7 problems. So, that’s like a little over an hour on each. Good luck to us next Thursday.

I left the lab in the dark, having not eaten since early lunch time and my head in a least desirable condition. I literally couldn’t see straight. And it shouldn’t come as any surprise then, that all I dreamt about was Unions, Joins, Correlated Sub-queries and Common Table expressions…  I was starting to feel like I hadn’t been outside for days.

This morning however, I woke up with a little brighter leash on life. My head still hurt, but my mornings are my favorite time of the day – it’s the only time that I have and make sure to allow myself to worry about NOTHING. I just wake up, take a shower, get ready, east something, make some coffee and bounce about my morning stroll like the day is full of possability… I really feel like it is, until the very second I arrive to class. Then, all bets are off.

A total side note here, I was running late the other day and didn’t have time to make coffee so I innocently ordered a cup of cafe latte on my way to school from a totally cute little coffee car that’s always parked by the library. AND…  what do you know, with the coffee they serve a freshly baked Almond bread cake thing that is just to-die for. WHY OH WHY must I know this! Now I ‘ll have to look away every time I pass… or force myself to make coffee at home. *sigh*. Honestly, every time I discover a new food around here, it lodges itself onto my brain and I literally can’t undo the damage until something even more awesome comes along. Last week I discovered hazlenut -rasin bread that will just be the death of me…

ANYWAY, my brain’s not really working right now.. where was I. Yes… today I let myself walk around a bit, finally took care of some bank errands, went to my most favoritst world store… ever… and listend to some amazing music there… it was just the few minutes that I was wating for the bank to open, but it made such a difference… i just felt alive again. Then I undressed for my kinesthetist, walked WAY out of my way to get MORE hazlenut-raisin brood.. (and AMAZING pumpkin soup), then parked myself in front of SQL for another 6 hours… this time better. I think it’s finally coming together – honestly, if I wasn’t so worried about the fact that the directions are never written in english and make absolutely no logical sense, I would say that it’s starting to look like I might just have a chance with it… Lets hope this isn’t just the raisin bread talking.

Anyway, I’m deathly tired, so I’ll need to go now…

This was mostly because Ann reminded me to keep with it… 🙂 The next one will be much more interesting though, I promise…  i’ll make it juic-E.


dating in the rain.

October 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I woke up this morning with somewhat of the intention to study, I opened my books, did a few SQL problems and then ran into yet another wall, scratched my head at what on earth they’re takling about and decided – fuck it.

Today, I am officially taking my first real day OFF.

I’m tired of studying, I”m tired of worrying, I’m tired of not living. So, I turned on some music and made some oatmeal and while it’s raining cats and dogs outside, the heater is on, my flat is clean… and life is indeed splendid. At least, for this very moment.

Later today, however, I also decided to mix things up a bit in a another way and accepted an invitation on a blind date. I know, shocking. But anyway, my date is at 4pm today – in the rain, apparently. It should be interesting. I’m kind of excited to a) get out of my apartment for the first time in like a month and b) get yet another weird and/or not weird date under my belt. There’s always somethig amusing to learn about yourself during these things… so, should be good.

I’m also a little curious to see how it will go considering I’m in a foreign country and well the purpose of the date takes on sort of a new meaning… not exactly like doing it on your home turf. But in moments of weird thoughts like that, I always think of my dear friend Meg who would look at me all confused and sternly say… ‘dude, you’re overthinking this way too much, just have fun.’  Very good point Meg, I will! 🙂 I have exceptionally wise friends.

Anyway, I will let you in on all the details about who and how once I decide how this story intends to end itself. For now, lets just say… i’m a little nervous, a little excited and lot confused as to what to wear on a rainy – late afternoon (the quick getaway strategy at play here, in case the night doesn’t pan out) 4pm date.  Who cares, I’m in Europe.

Sinking slowly …and on being groped.

October 21, 2010 § 2 Comments

I have never studied this much, this constantly in my entire life. This is not just sad, as I really should be out feeling all Belgian and Euro-thrilled, but it’s made much worse by the fact that today in class, I was so lost, I was wondering if I was maybe in the wrong building. Nope. It was in fact, a different building than usual, but only because we had to move classrooms due to a scheduling mishap, the class on the other hand was indeed the right one, … with my class mates – most of them at least, that managed to get out of bed after a crazy week of preso-prepping and SAS/SQL homework hell…  the teacher was the same.

You really would think, it would feel like a continuation of whatever we studied in class last week, but alas, for that… you would most certainly have to be in a country that charges more than 500 euros per year –

‘Here’s an excersise… go ahead, give it a try’…  10 min later, struggling? yes, indeed… this is because there is no way to solve this, UNLESS of course… we use the WITH clause with a triple join across three tables positioned adjacent to each other on the ER diagram, capish? Yes, it’s true, it’s not in the book and this is the fist I’m mentioning of it… (I’m serious, the exercise are used as a way to teach, but you are asked to complete them before they are taught to you… it’s a strange order of things here). Now lets try this… pretend you’ve read 100 pages later and attempt exercise number  two…  So, how do we solve this, erease all the code you just frantically tried to put together, it’s wrong anyway!… there’s a format for it, it does it all – yes, this also isn’t in the book. lets take a 30 minute break now and cover the next 100 pages in a third example which you won’t even understand the directions for, because well… a marketing director won’t know what they’re asking for and you’ll need to adapt to this (and my english not so good), so do your best to read this nonsense and then use a statement which you don’t know exists. Try it and then we’ll discuss why you failed. Then, we’ll take another break.

Basically, it’s a sink or swim system. Only it’s designed so that very few swim… and the ones that do, nearly drown in the process. In fact, the program prides itself on this method, as most people who actually pass (which are few and far between, might I add) are blindly guaranteed a job… employers apparently that know the program don’t even bother interviewing anyone, you’re pretty much in if you’ve survived in any capacity.

The first test is in two weeks and is 5 hours long… apparently most people fail it completely. That’s saying a lot, as passing is 50%. Can you imagine how crazy this is if a significant # of people get LESS than 50% … OH BOY.

Anyway, talking to the others really stresses me – yes, during these amazing 30 min breaks that happen every 30 minutes it seems, after each failed exercise attempt… we all stand around, reminding each other to breath and or comparing our degree of complete and utter confusion, … so today, along with every other day, of course has been an enormous roller coaster. When I’m on my own though, I think I’m starting to come around to a much healthier view of what I’m here for. Honestly, I will do my best, but whether or not I actually pass and or do well or have anything come of this – career wise, I think is less important than the fact that I stay centered and in the moment. I hope no one judges and/or looks down on me from back home, if for whatever reason this whole trip becomes a wash. I at least know it will be a good wash if I don’t let the stress of it all, take a way the journey.

So, even though I won’t be able to see much of Europe or Belgium or anything other than the inside of my flat for a while, I think that I just need to go as far as I personally can go… and then switch gears if for whatever reason it’s not my thing. No sense in drowning. Honestly, there are still a million other things I want to do in my life and this was never meant to be the end-game. Merely an interesting, challenging pit-stop.

On a side note though, I went to a Kinesiologist (which is what they call a Physical Therapist here)  today for my pinched nerve and it was kind of a funny experience. I probably should take the time to write about it separately, but I don’t know that I’ll ever get around to it. So here’s just a brief few words. It was in a new part of town, so I had to take a bus there and figure out where it was… I was a little late, but really like no more than 10 min, but the guy made sure to tell me that I was! Anyway, his approach is very soft, not like a chiro, but I feel like it might be able to make a difference, we’ll see…  But the funny part was having to take off my pants and have him grope me for a while… and by a while, i mean like – an HOUR.

I mean, that’s longer than… well.

Keep in mind this guy was like maybe in his early thirties and while, I wasn’t quite buck naked, it was close… and there was no sheet or anything… it was just me and his marvelous magic hands HA. I’m not sure what was more intriguing, the front or the back… if I had known, I would have most certainly dressed for the occasion. Thank god I wasn’t wearing a thong or something – good lord.  And you better believe I am shaving before next time! 🙂

Anyway, back to studying now.

A slice of humble pie: Dear Inner-Snob, eat this.

October 17, 2010 § 4 Comments

I haven’t left the house in three days and my brain is slowly turning into mush (to quote ‘Matt’ here a little… do work people remember him, he used to say that all the time and… his brain was always ‘mush’ … i guess here I am paying for every single time I ever cringed at his ‘mush’ brain and his whistling attitude… yeah, including firing him! 🙂. I’m still days from even catching up and then more days from catching up to that… Tomorrow is half-way shot anyway cause I’m meeting with my team in the afternoon and that will undoubtedly be long and hostile and painful and yes, mush.

I was voted to be the presenter this Wednesday for our group project, seemingly because I’m doing the charting and well English is my native language. Ok, lets say that it is, shouldn’t I be writing the report then… ? I’ve now received several of their excerpts. Some better than others, but a few read like my 3rd grade paper – had I ever had to do one as an ESL student in third grade. There’s also a lovely assortment of funny words in there… a segment called ‘Stressy’, the importance of ‘Bounding‘ and reference to a chocolate brand that needs to be’ sweat‘.

A part of me can’t imagine handing this in with my name on – surely I need to do a thorough edit. But how not to offend and who has the time…?

This is yet another thing I didn’t even for a second consider. Most people who go to another country to study, will struggle with the language and of course, not be able to fully excel at the task. I should be the one struggling .

But instead,  here I am in a program that is in a foreign language for them... not just the students, the teachers too. Proudly pronouncing everything wrong and and giving out assignments littered with absurd words….  and there’s no way to correct them, and I realize if they don’t care, i shouldn’t care either. But i do.

…Wow, when did I become such a language snob. Lately I’ve been feeling it more and more too… the need to be proper. correct. right. Maybe I’ve always had this streak, but never to this degree – such an insensitive b!%ch. Jeez, don’t you remember what it’s like?

But here’s for a slice of humble pie…

They might be struggling to spell, but I’m the one struggling with EVERYTHING else. Yeah, the life thing too, but right now I’m talking about school.  It’s utterly frightening  as it’s become quite clear that the chances of me finishing this program are dwindling by the second.

Oh, how I at least just want to make it past week 8… somehow (although it can only get harder after that), that’s where my brain thinks the light is at the end of this supposed tunnel.

I must admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt such utter doubt in my abilities… quite humbling if you want to know the truth (I guess tha’s what I get for all my inner-prude ).

At work, even when there were hours of things to do, it at least it never felt impossible, only draining… here, draining is just the beginning… possibly experienced in the first sentence of each manual… yes, that ONE sentence, the one that takes 10 minutes to read just to understand the next

But the programs completion, or even just one of the courses, seems totally out of reach…

*sigh* …not ready to give up quite yet though, just needed a place to air these unproductive thoughts. There are still 3 weeks left until the first test, so that’s like….504 hours. ….of which I just spent 30 minutes writing this. OK!

p.s. I need to chillax. The fact that they can even write in English at all is friggin amazingly impressive and they’re going to blow my SAS skills out of the water no doubt. So just for the record, they’re great… and i’m just hungry 🙂

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