Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend with Parents

Wonderful weekend that mostly consisted of eating and hanging out. Fun :)

Off they go, back to Cleveland! Bon voyage!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold"

Do you remember this song from Brownies and Girl Scouts? It was catchy and I always sang it, but I had trouble back then with the lyrics. Which friends were the silver and which were the gold? How could you decide? How would you ever know? I hated the idea of putting one group of friends into the Silver category. I would get a pit in my stomach thinking that one day they may find out. And not just that they would find out, but that I had put them there without really knowing if it was the right place for them. As far as I was concerned, they were all gold or all silver.

I still feel that way today.

Anyways, such a wonderful day back at home and so happy to see friends. I have no idea why this song came to my head tonight besides the fact that I was thinking of my new friends and of my old ones.

unrelated other than the title, but another great song-  ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Around the world in 80 Days

So, I have not gone around the world in 80 days, but it has been ~80 days since I left Miami for Switzerland. In honor of the occasion and the trip back to the States, I read the book "Around the World in 80 Days" yesterday during my long travels.

What a GREAT book. This is one of Nicholas' favorites and such a classic. I have been meaning to read it for a long time, so this was the perfect occasion.

If you have not read this book, please do. I love the ending :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Airport Regulations

Here at Geneva Airport (and I am sure all other international airports with flights heading to the States), after you go through security questions by an agent before check in, you then check in, then head to the security line, then get to your gate.

Here, you are checked again, by a gate person. They take your passport, write your name on a list, then they go through all your handbags. After this, they take your coat and check all pockets. Finally, they do a pat-down. I of course asked the agent if this was something new and she said "yes, since the last incident."

I am all for security and checks. I know this procedure would not have caught the guy flying into Detroit. No one pats where he put the bomb. I guess just one more level of deterrent and maybe one more level of annoyance for busy travelers before they can sit down at their gate.

Can't wait to get into Newark to see how security is there...

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Yesterday it was like spring here. Sunny, clear skies. Panoramic views of the mountains and France. Warm weather. Lots of people strolling along the lake, through the parks and streets. Never have I not wanted to travel more in my life than this moment. Usually, I am the person who is first in line when someone says there is a trip to take. Today, I prefer to stay where I am.

As it is,  I am about to leave on a jet plane and I do know I will be back here in just one week! Knowing myself like I do, I am sure that in just about one week, I will be saying the same thing from the other side of the pond. Alas, for now, who knew this little town on the lake in Switzerland would have me so soon calling it home.

Au revoir! 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

International Name-Calling

Typical Irish Exit Sign
Tonight when a group of us, three couples, left a welcome party to head home, Maxime, the parisian mentioned one of the girls left without saying goodbye. I quickly said that she had pulled an Irish Exit. Nicole, the Brazilian, said she had pulled a French Exit.

We all laughed when each of us called it something else. Nicholas then mentioned how in the US we call splitting the bill Going Dutch but in Colombia it is called Going American. Yann and Maxime said that in France they call it Going English. We looked at the Brazilian couple to find out what they call it there and they just shrugged and said, it is normal. Maybe we all should start calling it Going Brazilian :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In the Spirit of the Weekend

I found this rambling and had to post it.

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink
I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think
about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes
and dreams. If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out
of work and their dreams would be shattered.

Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this wine and let their
dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."

Happy Weekend! 


 The part of the lake here is a bright blue and not a dull grey like in Lausanne.

Thursday, Yann, Karen, Akane and I headed to Geneva for a film festival and a dinner out! We were all looking forward to this day and it could not have turned out any better! We were scheduled to see two films, but since the weather was warm and sunny we could not imagine sitting in a theater.

 Statue made out of recycled computers, soda cans, etc.

Instead, we walked around the beautiful big city, checked out a few shops, and went to the ice skating rink. While the others skated, I read my book and took photos (not a big fan of ice-skating, I have an irrational fear involving my fingers and the blades on the skates...eek). It was such an amazing afternoon.
 Ice-skating for only 2CHF!
We then headed to the theater for our show.

When we sat down for the movie, we realized that it was going to be a 3 hour program... No problem we all thought... then the movie began and we realized that 3 hours would feel like eternity with this show. It was the worst movie I have ever seen. After 1 1/2 hours we decided we had all given the movie a fair shot and we had rested a bit that we could move on. This was the FIRST movie I have ever walked out on. Wow. It was awful. Then we headed to a restaurant that a student in Yann's dance class owns. Amazing!

The service, ambience and food were all exceptional and we ended the night on a very high note. 

The restaurant makes a donation to the Children's Hospital in Geneva and at the end of the meal, they serve a variety of candy, as well, for a 1CHF donation. 

None of us wanted to leave Geneva for our small town. Reluctantly, we boarded the train and made it back home just before 1am.

What a day!


Tuesday, my husband got home early and surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Such a nice surprise...

THEN, my flatmate walked in with beautiful roses...

I started to wonder what was going on! Turns out, the male students at IMD planned a little surprise for the 20-25 women students on Tuesday for a belated Valentine's day. The guys brought in champagne for the ladies and then performed this:

and gave each woman a rose. So sweet. Nicholas told me that after they did this, he wanted to bring me something too and brought me a bouquet of tulips (one of my favorite flowers) and gave me a private serenade of the song. haha. Since Cecilia got two roses during the serenade, she gave one to me :)  Regardless of the reason, getting flowers on a random Tuesday is always a pleasant surprise.

You can read the IMD Blog where one of the students writes about the boys surprise.

PS. Not every guy participated in this. So not only do I have an amazing husband, but he is also such a thoughtful and sweet gentleman to others, as well. What a catch. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Visa Confirmed

Just spoke to the Swiss Embassy and my visa is awaiting me! Nothing like a quick trip home to get my documents.

I will be heading to DC on Tues, Feb 23 and leaving on Tues, March 2. If anyone is around and wants to get together from Tuesday-Friday or Monday, I am available! I fly into Dulles at 4pm on Tuesday if anyone is interested in spending some quality time in the car to pick me up. Best Friend Award will be given to any takers ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras!

The last time I did anything to celebrate Mardi Gras was several years ago in DC.
Miss you guys!!
so much fun!

Hope everyone is having a great fat Tuesday! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Video

This video was made by the partners for the mbas. Each partner says "I love you" in their native language. Not everyone is included, but it's a good representation. Yann put it together- i love it!

The first partner sings a few lines of a love song and then "La Vie en Rose" plays throughout the rest of the video.

The Kiss

I read this article on the BBC and this picture especially caught my attention :)
Happy ♥-Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2 months ago :)

Visitor from ZURICH Today!!!

Cannot contain my excitement!!  :)

Fondue topped with Chantilly- the best!

I learned something new about eating fondue from a new friend.

With big efforts come big rewards and if you really know what you are doing, you scrape the crusty cheese off the bottom of the dish and share it with the group. When the fondue is close to finished, I always get a little sad realizing all the fun of dredging your bread through gooey cheese is over. But no! Jordan asked the waiter for a tool to get the last bits. YES! The fun was not yet over. He worked so long and hard to get that cheese off the dish. Might be my new favorite part of the experience- carmelized cheese! It is just like the parmesan crisps that some restaurants put on salads, etc. I love Switzerland and their obsession and production of cheese and chocolate!

Me patiently waiting :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Family" Dinners

Nothing beats a warm, home-cooked meal shared with my "fam."

 Cecilia, Nicholas, Gregory and Me
I love when we are all home at night to have dinner together. It's one of my favorite parts of the day! The effort made by the students this week is unprecedented. Three family dinners and we still have a few days left in the week. Who thinks we can get at least one more in?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DC, Seriously, Are You having an Identity Crisis?

Dear D.C.,

I am so glad that the time that I lived with you, you were so mild. I was always able to brag to my family in Cleveland and Chicago that it was a balmy 40F+ day and no snow to report of. The best thing about you, was that sometimes you would snow. But only half an inch, and the entire city would shut down and I would be able to sleep in and make a fire and enjoy my "snow"day. But now... what is this? You are seriously competing with the likes of the Windy City and C-town.

I hope you get over this quickly, if I was still there I would be so disappointed in you. Sure, at first it is fun and new and exciting and beautiful, but trust me, after another few days, you will start to get slushy and grey and ugly. I can say that I am glad I knew you when you were so warm :)

Your old friend,

PS This was winter- notice the light jackets... the good ol' days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not sure I agree with this article

Especially this paragraph: Today, however, Switzerland's cities are grubby, its trains run late, its highways are always under repair, and its politicians often seem provincial. This former haven has turned ugly, as xenophobic populists have campaigned to close doors to outsiders (except the super-rich). More and more, Switzerland seems like just another small, struggling European nation. As Europe ponders its role in the new geopolitical order, Switzerland is looking less and less important to world affairs. The Swiss like to define themselves as a Willensnation—literally, a nation formed by the people's will. But the will to reinvent Switzerland now seems lacking. But, worth taking a look,

I haven't been here long enough to defend (or want to defend) Switzerland, but the cities are far from grubby and the trains are on time. I am continually impressed by the ability of the Swiss to coexist with the multiple languages, religions and cultures, but they seem to do it well. Some parts of the article definitely ring true and perhaps my perception will change after more time here, but I still think the Swiss are doing just fine.

Brown Bag Lunch*

The Automotive HV Battery Technology and Market
By Philipp Martini

I have to admit, most of this was way over my head in terms of battery development and all the engineering, but I loved the presentation. Philip worked with Daimler on hybrid batteries for their cars and discussed a lot of interesting things like the cost of the batteries (the one he mentioned is $13,000), the lack of warranties to guarantee them (this one has a 45 minute warranty that expires at the warehouse), and the need for a better more stable supply of lithium to eventually bring these costs down to make it a profitable industry. 

Speaking of profit, Toyota is the only profitable hybrid company and it is due to their dedication to it. They spent 10 years working on it before they made a profit. Philipp mentioned that this had to do with culture and it was not something that a German or European company would do. If they spent 3 years on an investment and there was no profit, it would be shut down. Whereas in Japan, they think more of the long-term investment (as I learned from last week's brown bag presentation). Also, Toyota is the only company that has a warranty on their car battery (5 years), a risk they are willing to take.
This was a thought-provoking session and he did an excellent job of presenting a topic that most people are not knowledgeable on and making it digestible. He showed us a lot of data and in the end asked if we would buy a hybrid vehicle, before we answered he showed this ad:

He then said that to sell hybrids, the car industry would have to change perceptions. Right now, people want fast, powerful cars. Not practical, slow, heavy, fuel efficient ones that need to be charged every 40 miles. (Some car companies claim that their hybrid can go 150 miles without a charge, but it is false advertising.) They may want a car that is not going to hit their wallets every time they fuel up, but they don't want to sacrifice performance. Food for thought, love the brown bag lunches, always leave feeling like I have a lot to chew on. 

*I apologize to the engineers/ industry folk who know more than I, all of this is from recollection & if there are errors, feel free to comment!

Typical bday celebration

Last night we all met at the White Horse for yet another birthday soiree, this time for Craig. It was completely appropriate to celebrate at the pub as Craig is from Britain!
sitting next to the bday boy

A good time was had :)


Just got this from my mom. A girl from my hometown is rowing 2500 miles across the Atlantic to raise awareness for safe drinking water for Blue Planet Run. I am including the link to her blog and an excerpt that I think rings true whether you are rowing at sea, running a race or heading to the office or school. Get ready to be inspired.

Here are a few random thoughts (as I have a bit of time on my hands these days for random thoughts):
  • During some of my first endurance challenges I wasted too much energy questioning whether or not I could complete the challenge I set out for myself. The truth is that you never know until you try, and the worst thing you can do is not try. I learned to redefine failure, not as a failure to complete the feat, but a true failure as to not try. Fear of failure was one of the most difficult “mental walls” I faced.
  • Break it down. You don’t row across an ocean in a day so it’s important for me to break it down into daily, sometimes hourly, goals and focus on that one step ahead. If I lose sight of that one step, I can become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.
  • Know all things will pass. No matter how tired, hot, seasick, bored, lonely, etc. I get, it will pass. For some of my more grueling one-day challenges, like my ultra marathon (100k run), I can expect to go through all sorts of highs and lows all in a matter of hours.
  • Do not make it personal. Here on the ocean weather will do what it wants, equipment will break, things will not go according to “plan”. But it has nothing to do with me. So often I can think and feel that things are happening “for”, “against”, “to” me. Things are just happening and I can choose to accept it or put up the fight.
  • Understand the real challenge is me. The only thing that holds me back is me and it’s not about what happens but how I chose to react.
After reading through many of her entries, I started to think, It doesn't surprise me that she is from Cleveland...

I was thinking about skipping my gym class this morning, but how can I after reading her blog!

Happy Belated Bday Mag!

Hope you are enjoying your vacation!
Mag, Shelley, and me! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vallee de Joux


Yesterday, Yann forced convinced me to go with him to the Vallee de Joux. We were informed that the Lake of Joux was finally totally iced over, making it the biggest natural skating rink (aside from two others). We had some fondue topped with Chantilly to start the day and then we found a place to play in the snow! Serious fun was had!

People walking on the lake

Snowball fight

Small break 



Sunday, February 7, 2010

Latino Party Friday Night

One of the students and his wife hosted a Latino party at their home on Friday to bring together some of the mbas and their partners.

Check out their adorable daughter being held up in the background! 

me, brazilian, chilean, brazilian, and portugese- love!
Some of the wonderful partners I spend time with! My Spanish is improving exponentially!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The weather does not stop the Swiss...

It has been cold and raining all day. 

Close up... 

but they still met to play chess in the rain!

Happy Birthday Dad!

"The greatest thing a father can do for his children, is to love their mother."

 "My hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started. "

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."
We love you, Dad!

Friday, February 5, 2010


We had almost spring-like weather this week. I took advantage of it by running and reading at the lake. Amazing. You cannot help but smile when you have weather like this!

Today we got so much rain then snow. And it is freezing. Yuck.