Food In France

Vegetarian french food == newly made bread (it gets as stiff as rock in 10 mins), cheese and wine.

Anyone who expects anything else might as well go and shoot themselves in the head.


Student Government

Today was a pretty boring day except for a few high points. The whole day was spent in listening to administrative matters like IT procedures, library procedures etc etc etc However, the student government (the name for the student union in INSEAD) came and gave the most incredibly rude and arrogant speech ever. And this is just not my opinion but the cohesive opinion of most of the members in my batch. So much so that we actually thought it was some sort of prank to welcome us. We only realised that it was not a prank when we talked to them face to face.

Firstly, they want to ditch the Wharton exchange and come with a Harvard Exchange simply because INSEAD follows the Harvard (INSEAD was founded by Harvard professors) more closely. I do not believe this. Doesn’t the very fact that INSEAD follows Harvard structure mean that we should try something different? What is the point of treading the same path? If the argument is that INSEAD students will get to do proper subjects instead of mini courses then let me point out that Harvard is a 2 year degree too, thus the chances of their most popular courses being 2 months long is as slim as Wharton’s.

Secondly they want a smart casual dress code to school. Their rationale is that recruiters come to INSEAD every day and first impressions and the overall impressions of the school counts a lot towards securing that much coveted job. OK, I agree with this point as it makes sense. However, demanding that everyone dress up without a rhyme or reason makes no sense, which is what they did on the speech. The rationale was given by the president later when I zeroed in on him. On top of it, if this was the case, shouldn’t the government told students this before they came? What would they want us do now? Throw away all the clothes we brought and get a new wardrobe? Money does not fall from trees darling. We worked like hell to earn that cash.

Well the day ended with a cocktail session. Now this is one of my weakness I am trying very hard to overcome; I cannot have small talks and talk without any substance for nuts. Networking means nothing but talk and more talk about anything and everything whether they are necessary or not. I can’t do that. I can talk if there is something to talk about, but talking just to while away the time? Hmmm……..hard work required there!

Well came back aftaer 3 hours of networking. I have to get down to studying but am too tired. Tomorrow is another long day with phone in the morning followed by club registration then dean’s message in the evening. So crashing now.

One Big Mess

Today was a fun filled day. Woke up late and there was this mad rush to check out the Orange mobile plan in order to check it out. The plumber was coming at 1300 so I had to be back then.

Anyway, ran to school and found out that registration is nothing but the picking up of course notes, which, incidentally is 21.5 cm think. @$#@##  Orange was also not in campus. So ran back home in time to see the plumber covering my nice, newly cleaned bathroom with rust. In the middle was a whole lot of talking to people 😛

Did I tell you? My landlord is the sweetest guy one could hope for. He sweetly searched around for a portable heater and gave me one when he found out that I get very cold. Isn’t that sweet?

Well, went back to school to sort out the other stuff. Got my school card activated, checked out the INSEAD bookstore, FootNote, which is very very expensive. But then everything in France is 😦 Orange plan was way to ex for me. No matter what, I was in no mood to pay 100 SGD a month for 30 mins of mobile talktime every month. Sure, converting would do me no good but this was toooo much.

Well chucked orange and decided to get the virgin mobile plan. Rushed back to the shop hoping it wont close down and guess what! No…the shop did not close but the plan did. The plan was nowhere to be found!!! Ridiculous! You have no idea how mad I was!

They did have another plan and spent good half an hour deciding on the phone etc only to find out what? That this particular plan could not be found in the system! Though it was in the brochures! Well, I got fed up by then and headed back home.

Sorted out my 21.5 cm of notes. Now my whole small, neat house is covered with papers which I have to somehow make sense off. I have pre-reading course material for the orientation week too!

A classmate found out that there is going to be some kind of fireworks taking place in the chateau tonight so a few of us decided to get together and watch it. It was the best decision of the day. Fantastic fireworks. Apparently, its St. Louis day today and its a day for celebration. I have made a mental note to find out the importance of such dates……after I finish going through my 21.5 cm of notes.

Well, that’s all for the day. Going to go with the previous plan and ask the phone shop again, barring which I think it would be online buying of line. I also realise that tomorrow I have to wear business attire and I do not have formal shoes to wear 😦

Aussie Bar

Today was a long long day. Its 1219 am here I am wondering if I should end my day here.

Started off today by going to the last day of ABC (Alternative Business Course). Learnt account and its various functions today. During lunch, I decided to head back to class a bit late as I wanted to wait for my landlord. This is the third day without the net and no net/no phone is a situation I am not quite taking a liking too.

Anyway, went back to classes and finished it quite early today, at around 3-4 I should say. Headed back home after finding info from the tourism office including special passes to Paris etc.

Did I tell you about my neighbours? The wife is very very sweet and insisted I eat dinner at her place. Anyway, we crash into each other’s place as often as possible and that is exactly what happened today too. I crash into their place and we talked about all sorts of random stuff, from school academics to politics to religion to god knows what.

One of my other neighbours, a Russian and the only senior (he is from the Jan-Dec batch) came today. We had a long chat with him too, including the importance of grades (there is none, as long as you pass that’s it, coz grades should not and will not be divulges by the school…whew! no more worrying about classes and ranks etc), jobs out there, his internship etc etc etc

At around 8 pm, I headed out to meet another classmate of mine, the one I came with. We had a lovely dinner at a nearby place costing 10 Euros each as usual 🙂 I seem to be living high even on student budget!

Anyway, after dinner we headed out to the hangout of INSEADers; the Aussie Bar. Now I have heard a lot about the Aussie Bar; that it is the place where INSEADers go etc etc etc but I did not expect what I saw. It was FULL! Everyone was in there! And I mean EVERYONE! God knows how many news faces I met there!

Anyway, its 1225 now and I still have not finished studying today’s quota, less to say that my place is getting quite messy!

Well tomo is a looong day with a home party in the afternoon followed by a carrfour trip then a chateau party in the evening. Sunday we may plan a trip to paris. Between all those and studying and filing all documents and getting all BF coursework etc, I am booked.

First Day

Yesterday was the first day of classes. I woke up at 6 am and cooked sambar with the intention of packing food. Reason being that the city does not have any veg fast food and I can’t be spending 10 euro for lunch everyday.

Anyway, ended up not packing as I realised I can come back and eat during lunch. The venue was hardly five mins away. My net also conked off on me and I wanted to try and contact the landlord to get it sorted.

Well after lunch I was waiting for the landlord to come. My neighbour’s wife said she will wait for the landlord and asked me to go attend the classes. How sweet of her 🙂

Well ended that the landlord did come but the lady did not hear him. 😦 Anyway, the landlord has tried all means to try and get it worked. He did loged a ticket (something like a queue no) to the service provider.

Just heard that the technical is coming this Saturday. I hope he solves the issue on the spot!

Studies wise, yesterday was very very hard. The bonds, stocks and perpetuity etc went way over my head. I was quire disheartened coz I wanted to enter the finance sector. Guess it should be ok soon. My classmates were amazingly knowledgeable. One of them had 10 years experience in finance, with 5 in fixed securities. Another 5 years in IFC, the private investment arm of the World Bank. wow!

Today was easier. It was statistics, probability and basic maths like functions, differentiation etc etc. That was way more manageable.

Found out about this big store some way away. I decided to try it out. It was a good 45 mins way one way but it is big. Found some Indian mixture and the ginger biscuits we get at home 🙂

Well, just came back. Dunno about the rest of the day. Most probably will be at home studying. Let’s see how.

Lunch Gathering

Yesterday was quite eventful in the sense that I met some of my classmates and got to know their frame of mind. Everyone seems to be coming here for the sole purpose of getting a job. That should be the ultimate aim, and that is my ultimate aim too, but shouldn’t enjoying student life and making the full use of it be one of the aims too? Especially at such an early stage?

Anyway, went to a classmate’s place to eat. She had made chole, subji and rice. Lovely food and nice company 🙂 I found out that the majority of the ppl who attended the gathering yesterday are from advertising backgrounds and all are hoping to make a career switch. The host’s hubby had graduated from INSEAD last December so he was rightfully bombarded with questions 🙂

A quick pseudo-study (yeah I know but those equations are pretty hard to muster!) later I was off for dinner to meet a smaller group from the afternoon. We found this lovely authentic french place which served no veg dishes except salad. Anyway, settled down on Italian and ate the most amazing pizza again. The pizza’s here are VERY fresh and come with lots of vegetables, and unlike our home pizza, the base is very very thin, so much so that you can bend it as much as you like. I know am gagaing over food again but can’t help it!

That was all for yesterday. Found out about a Pakistani shop which sells Indian stuff. Would go visit that today along with another hypermarket which seems to be within walking distance.

Settling in Fonty

What did I do today? Nothing. More specifically, what did I do that you do not know already? Not much. This whole day has been an exercise in walking. Considering how my ankle was faring, I am quite surprised it has not screamed more that it has to date.

I woke up in the morning all refreshed after a long night’s sleep. I fell asleep at around 9pm last night and slept like a log. Nothing woke me up. The quietness of the place and its aura of peace did not help either. Then was the initiation day. Today being a good day, and all initiations taking place on a good day, made it a must to finish all jobs today. OK, that sentence was confusing but it does make sense.

Soooooo, after the usual morning routines, the house diya was lit for the first time since setting up this house. It’s always a good feeling lighting up the diya. Religious or not, the few minutes of peace and quiet one gets just sitting down helps go a long way. Or maybe it’s just the habit from my UK stint. Either way, I like sitting down in the pooja room. Or the temple, or any quiet place for that matter. Thus, after diya was all the necessary set-ups like bank, mobile etc.

Bank setup went without a hitch. I did learn the surprising fact that France does not have a concept of passbooks. Statements are posted every month and people can always step into a branch and request for the latest statement printout. But no passbook available. I am pretty sure the passbook concept is not a Singapore one as Indian banks have passbooks too. Though I do not remember ever seeing a passbook in UK, come to think of it.

After that was a stint in INSEAD. I wanted to visit the college and see how long it takes for me to walk there. Walking to INSEAD took a cool half an hour, and this is walking at a brisk pace. Thus, it’s absolutely necessary to have a bicycle now. Though I have to look up buses to see if one goes there. For am sure walking is not feasible all the time.

After walking, I purposely took a different route to explore, and ended up in a street full of high end eateries. Also ended up in a phone shop which has a comprehensive list of all the phone subscriptions available. A lot to mention about line subscriptions in France, but that’s another post.

All the non-stop three hour walking took a toll on my ankle, which made its displeasure known in no uncertain terms. Thus it became absolutely necessary to come back and rest it for a while.

Evening, I ended up meeting with another colleague of mine and we had the freshest, biggest and best pizza I have ever had. Seriously, the vegetables were so fresh it was amazing! This was followed by the richest chocolate with fresh whipped cream as dessert. Heaven!

Well day is done now. I’ll post something about my first impressions of France and Fontainebleau some time later.