Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is called swiss service...

One month ago I ordered a sofa at Interio... I picked the brown one because it was supposed to arrive within 2.5 weeks, whereas the special order would have taken 3 months.  Guess what... I called this morning and they are now telling me that it will arrive either at the end of October or at the end of November ! 

If I had known I would have picked the dark brown color, since the special order was supposed to take 3 months. Which seems to be the length it will take for my normal order.  This is maybe what is meant by Service in Switzerland ?!?

All in all, I cannot buy my other furniture until I get my sofa, since I cannot evaluate the space in my living room without it.  Meaning that I will still not feel at home until I can finalize all my interior design which might be for another 2 months... I hate this situation !! 

I tend to believe that this might be a sign, just like the fact that the first day I came back to Switzerland in July I was stopped by the customs who said I was carrying drogue in my bag... (which obviously I was not doing but the guy tried to force me to say so).

Monday, September 29, 2008

When motivation is low...

Just one day away from starting work again... and I just realized that it is always hard for me to find motivation again after taking some time off in my native region... just wondering why it is like this !?! Is it that I miss my region too much or that my new life is not exactly what I would like it to be... not that I really know, but I have that weird feeling that something is still wrong/missing.  Will have to sort out that motivation issue if I want to be performing in my new job !

Friday, September 19, 2008

Off for grape picking...

That's it... 2.5 months after starting work I am taking a holiday... to work !!  But this time I will be working in our small vineyard.  See a picture from last year below...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Merde Actually...

I could not resist but publish this quote as well from Merde Actually...

This is Paul West going on holiday with his girlfriend to her family's house on Ile de Re.

Florence and I were heading almost to the far end of the island, to the wonderfully named little port of Ars, which was pronounced just as rudely as I hoped. I'd insisted on buying the bus ticket myself, purely for the thrill of getting on and asking the driver, 'Do you go as far as arse?'  There are English cities where that would get you killed. And I was looking forward to my next Paris dinner party, when the conversation would turn to holidays and I'd be able to tell a girl, 'I love arse.'  All in all, a great place to buy a holiday home, if only for the postcards you could send to all your friends.

And now HP...

And now is the turn of HP to announce that they will lay off 24,600 employees worldwide following its merger with EDS...

As some of you know, I worked for HP for 3 years and really liked that company, eventhough there was no career development for me there ! Today, I just hope that none of my friends working there will be impacted by this plan...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lehman Brothers

Well, I know that Rafa already posted on this but I wanted to quickly write something as well.

About 2-3 weeks ago when I was in London, we even had that discussion with Vivek and Brian. How come that a bank like Lehman had so much success with all the MBA students trying to get job there ? I remember that during our London Banking tour and during the different career event at IESE, many students, including myself, were really attracted by Lehman.

If you think about it, this bank went bankrupt already twice ! Still, it enjoys a really nice name career wise, or at least did until today.

I just want to think about my friends who recently joined the bank and hope that their career will not be too much impacted by this... Hopefully they will keep their jobs... If not, I hope they will find something fast. They are brillant so let's cross fingers for them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A year in the merde: quotes

As promised a few quotes from this book... amazingly funny !

Asking to his boss on the first day
"Do I call everyone tu or vous?" Not that I was capable of calling them either.
"Ah, it is quite simple. You, in your position, call everyone with whom you work tu. Except maybe anyone who looks old. And except if you have not been presented to them yet.  Most people here will call you tu also.  Some will call you vous if they are very less senior or if they think they don't know you. OK?"
"Er, yes". Clear as onion soup.

Comment from one of his co-workers:
"You rilly yong," said the skinny bloke.  Not accusingly, but annoyingly.
"Not really, I'm 27. If I was a rock star I'd be dead."

Getting introduced to his new-coworkers.
Bernard smile nervously and began.
"Yam Bare narr, yam responsa bull ov communikasyon, er..."
Shit, I thought, didn't Jean-Marie say the meeting was going to be in English? How come some people were allowed to speak Hungarian?
Bernard of Budapest carried on in the same incomprehensible vein for a couple of minutes and then started to enunciate something which, to judge bu the look of acute constipation on his face, was of great importance. "Alok for wah toowa king wizioo".
Hang on, I thought. I don't speak any Central European languages, but I got that. He's looking forward to working with me. Holy Babel fish. It's English, Jim, but not as we know it.

Getting introduced to Marc.
"Ah'm ed of hah tee", he said.
"Ed of hah tee," I repeated approvingly, wondering what the hell this was. Something to do with tea, anyway. Relevant.
"Yah. Compoodah sis-temm," Marc confirmed.
"Oh, I.T. I said.  He glowered at me. "Your English is excellent," I added quickly. "How long did you spend in the USA?"
"Ah've done a yee-uf uv post-grad at Jo-ja State, then Ah've worked fahv yee-uhs inna inshance firm in Atlanna. In da hah tee departmon, a coss."
"A coss," I agreed.

Later on in the book...
Paris is, I was beginning to realize, a bit like an ocean. An ocean is a great place to live if you're a shark.  There's loads of fresh seafood, and if anyone gives you shit you just bite them in half. You might not be loved by everyone, but you'll be left in peace to enjoy yourself.

Giving English lessons later on in the book...
"What did you have for dinner last night, Sylvie?"
"I made some crap."
"you mean crepes? Pancakes."
"Yes, pan-cak."
The hardest thing was to keep a straight face.

"OK, Philippe, what would you say to the waiter if you had no cutlery?"
"Er, excuse me, I want a knife and a fuck."

"At five PM, I was working."
"At seven PM, I was sitting on ze train."
"At nine, I was listening ze radio."
"Was that AM or PM?"
"No, FM".

Talking with a former colleague about his old boss.
"Jean-Marie. E does not want to be the major of a little town only."
"Yes. Mayor. Thank you. This nuclear central..."
"Power station."
"This nuclear central power station, it is han important regional question. If e can av henough political power in this region, the power station will surely be constructed.  Ee will be respected as a, ow you say? Un home d'influence."
"A man of influence".

Talking about one of his new flatmate.
Vasco could have farted at international competition level, and I did not want to give him any complexes, so I always did my best to force out a sympathetic goodnight fart before dropping (or drooping) off to sleep.

Talking about his old boss Jean-Marie.
There was no point telling anyone about his desktop affair with Stephanie, because accusations of adultery would only increase his score at the polls.  President Mitterand, for example, gained maximum posthumous respect after his illegitimate daughter attended his funeral.  A French politician without a mistress is like a sheriff without a gun - people thin he has no firepower.

So there are lot of nice quotes from this book. I really advise you to check for yourself. I only selected a few but the whole book is about british and french humour.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2 years later...

Last weekend I went to Fleurie to get my stuff moved to Nyon... But this is not the reason why I spent a really good weekend. Actually, what I did not know was that there was a party organized in the village, a "bal", where my brother was DJ. Yes, he actually is a DJ in the weekends... And during this bal I saw a few friends that I had not seen for a while. But most importantly I saw a very good friend of mine whom I had not seen for roughly 2 years.

So the next day I went to have a coffee at her place and it was really good seeing her again and catching up after all this time. Nous nous sommes retrouves was the general mutual feeling after Sunday. So yes life is sometimes full of surprises and complex. I was busy with my MBA and Virginie was busy with her work/studies. I did not spend much time in my native region so in the end we did not speak to each other for a long time. I hope that this period is now over and that we will really keep in touch and share some nice moments.

Yesterday evening... I went to Geneva for a Salsa class that was organized by one of my friends whom I had not seen for 2.5 years !

Last week I actually registered on a website for international people living in Switz http://www.glocals.com/ and I now receive alerts for activities that are happening between Geneva and Lausanne. So to my surprise, l got a mail on Friday entitled Georgy's Latin Dance Lessons.

When I saw this I was 100% sure that this was the Georgy I knew ! And yes it was, so I decided to register for the event and went there with Jen yesterday evening ! It was so incredibly cool to see him after all this time... And now I can finally learn how to dance salsa, or at least try to learn.

So this past 4 days I have seen 2 persons whom I had not seen for such a long time. I guess that one of my ten resolutions for the year is happening. In January, with Rafa we did that list of 10 things to do this year and one of them was that I wanted to spend more time with my friends... This is what is happening now ! Even better, I see real true friends after 2 years and what a great feeling !

I also realized when driving back from Geneva to Nyon that I did a great choice to live there. It is ideally located between Geneva and Lausanne. So it will allow me to spend time with friends in Geneva and make new ones in Lausanne... Really looking forward to the coming couple of months. In the end I might really get a good social life here ! At least it is promising right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A year in the merde.

About a month ago I read a book from Stephen Clarke called "Merde Happens". This is the story of Paul West, who goes to the US do defend the UK in a tourism contest. That book was soooo funny !! It is actually the 3rd book from a sequel.

I was so "amused" by it that I decided to buy the other books last weekend when I was in London. Reason is that it is much funnier to read this book in English than in French... why, because the story is all about the French. Meaning their attitudes, customs and the way they speak in English. This is the first time that I laugh out loud while reading a book, and I can tell you that some of the English who were sitting next to me in the plane last Sunday were looking at me as if I was crazy... (especially after the episode of the engines which could not start!!)

The first book of the sequel is called "A year in the Merde". It is the story of Paul West who goes to Paris for a year. There he discovers a lot of things about the Parisian lifestyle (Noelle, you have to read this !!). For example, every body knows that in France the year starts on the 1st of September. Or the only place where French will queue in order is at a bakery, anywhere else it is just a battle ! So anyway, I do not want to say to much about it because you have to discover this on your own...

These book are now really famous. Originally the author only published about 500 of them to give to his friends. But it was such a success that he sold thousands of books and had to write some more ! Even French really like this book... Who says that we do not like to take the piss out of ourselves ?

Anyway, I really advise you to read them... In the order:

1- A year in the Merde

2- Merde Actually

3- Merde Happens

4- He also published a kind of dictionary on how to speak to French people and how to understand them. Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French

And for the fun I am going to put a few dialogues from these books in another posts. It is even funnier if you can speak a bit of French...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Probleme de riche ?

So now that I am moving into my new flat, I have to buy a lot of stuff !  Today I went to a shop in France, Boulanger, and no it is not a bakery !  It is a shop for electronic appliances.

So my dilemma is that I want to buy a nice LCD...  Therefore I went to the shop today to decide whether I should buy a 40, 42 or a 46 inches.  Samsung 6 series is done in 40 & 46 inches.  Otherwise, the LG scarlet serie exists in 42 inches.  

Basically, in my living room the sofa will be at around 3.5 meters from the TV.  So I do not want to take a screen that will be too small !  A 40 inches means a diagonal of 102 cm, a 42 means 106 cm and finally a 46 inches means 117 cm.  So yes, that might be a problem of rich but I need to ensure that my screen is big enough !  

Or as said my cousin, I am getting old so maybe I should go for a bigger screen because I will lose my eyesight slowly.  Salaud !  On the other end, a screen too big would make the living room look akward.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To take the plane or not to take the plane...

So last weekend I was in London. I initially went to the UK for work, starting in Manchester and going down to Watford. Then I decided that I would spend the weekend in London to meet with some IESE friends. So I stayed at Vivek's place, not too far from Canary Wharf, which happened to be an old chemical paint company rearranged into pretty nice small flats (well, it is London remember).

So anyway, during the weekend I also had the chance to meet Brian, who is still writing his Japanese guide book... though we did not go to any Japanese restaurant this weekend ! Saturday was awesome. The weather was really great ! So with Vivek we we went to Green Park to enjoy like hundreds of Londoners the nice weather. This was followed by a pizza and a couple of beers in Greenwhich.

Sunday evening, is the time to fly back to Switzerland... My plane was scheduled at 20h30, flying with BA. As I was waiting there, checking the screens, I saw that many planes were announced with delays. So I started to think that the plane I was supposed to take would also have a delay. However, everything seems to work fine. Around 8pm, the gate was announced on the screen and one would not suspect anything wrong...

So I walked to the gate, showed my passport and went into the lounge. No announcement was made by the employees at the gate. So I still thought that everything was going fine. Then after about 45 minutes, they make an announcement that our plane was going to be late due to some technical issues. They were still investigating what these were and would let us know as soon as possible.

Roughly after 1 hour having been in the lounge area, I hear one of this weird message for a plane from easyjet. Unfortunately I do not remember to which city it was going but the message was more or less as follow:

"For passengers still willing to take the plane, please go to Gate number x, for the other ones please check with the company's desk."

mmm... with all these weird accidents lately (in Madrid and in France), this does not sound extremely good...

Back to our plane, the Stewart says that they still do not know what is going on with our plane, that they have called engineers and that they will board us as soon as they know more about it !
10 minutes later, we board into the plane... ouf... I actually was not really looking forward to sleep at the airport !

So everything is fine and we get into the plane... after about 15 minutes, once everyone is on board, the captain stat to speak.

"Sorry for the delay, we had a serious technical issue with the plane. We had to call an engineer since we could not start one of the engines, but now everything seems to be fine and we should be ready to take off shortly."

Whhhaaaaatttttt !!!!!!! You tell me once I am in the plane that you could not start the engine... So now that I cannot get out of the plane I get the news that, actually, one of the two engines of the plane did not seem to work perfectly today... well, I guess I do not have the choice and really have to take this plane now !

Monday, September 1, 2008

Vending machines in London

So this weekend I was in London, by the way it was sunny... As we were walking in Canary Wharf with Vivek, we saw a vending machine for umbrellas. The conversation went more or less as follow:

-me: mmm, that is interesting this vending machine.
-Vivek: yes, this can only be in England.
-me: Well, in France we have condomns in vending machines, here they have umbrellas !