MBA Peregrinations

Charting the course of my travels through the MBA experience.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

From Poland to Peru

The past week was a whirlwind of socializing. It can be summed up in a few words - daytime trips to IKEA, and nightime events that involved visiting multiple bars and clubs. It was good to meet some of my new classmates, one of whom was the (in)famous Wakechick. Good times, but I'm taking the weekend to chill. Some folks were surprised by my decision to move here in mid-July because it was so early - a good month and a half before LEAD was scheduled to begin. But in hindsight it was a good decision. I was able to get comfortable with my neighborhood and using the 'L', work on setting up the apartment once my stuff showed up, and now have a bit of free time to meet others. It seems like the people that are now showing up are going through the pains of moving and settling in, and are not coming out and socializing much just yet.

A few nights ago, I went out with some students and partners. It was a birthday celebration for one of the partners, and the group decided to hit a Polish nightclub. There is a significant Polish population in Chicago, and I was curious enough to go a few miles out of my way to check out the nightclub. It was pretty far - about 5 miles west of my neighborhood and about 9 miles from the center of downtown. That may not seem far based on Bay Area standards, where you have to drive everywhere unless you live in SF. But here in Chicago, where most clubs and bars are accessible via 20 minutes on the train or 10 minutes in a cab, the club was a haul. It was great - a $5 cover charge got me a few good hours of music and dancing, despite the chimney effect. I encountered this a great deal on my trip to Europe - smelling like smoke whenever I came back from any public venue. In that sense, with the loud Europop and mix music, a DJ speaking in a foreign language, and a haze of cigarette smoke, Jedynka felt just like Europe. I didn't understand any of the Polski being spoken, but remembered enough of my phrases in Czech to figure out that 'Jedynka' translated to 'One'. The Slavic languages that I encountered during my trip to Europe were similar enough so that a basic knowledge in one helped with the others. The group was a small but fun crowd - the number of people willing to come out to an event drops off fast when its far from downtown or Lincoln Park/Lakeview.

This next week I have to figure out my class schedule and pack for Peru - I leave in less than a week! I'm really looking forward to spending a week hiking to Machu Picchu with 15 or so of my classmates. No music, no alcohol, just a small group of us climbing a mountain. Not that I haven't enjoyed the past week of going out, but it will be nice to have a change of pace and spend some more time getting to know people. By the end of the hike, when we're all exhausted and gnarly from not having access to a shower, I will likely know them better than I ever imagined I would...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Explosions Left and Right

Life has been exploding for me in the past few days...

Explosion #1: The explosion of moving boxes in my apartment. The movers finally delivered my belongings this past Thursday, nearly 2 weeks after their initial estimate of delivery. That may not seem like a long time to wait, but think about not having any of your belongings other than a few shirts, a pair of jeans and shorts, and a sleeping bag. This is much of what I would need for an austere camping trip, but very inadequate for settling into a new abode in a brand new city. Nearly 2 weeks after arriving in Chicago, I am now finally able to make a phone call from my apartment to my insurance company without burning peak mobile phone minutes, cook food, and use the internet with enough speed and frequency to work on the assignments that are due mid-week for our leadership development course (LEAD) that starts in early September. I thought I would have 2.5 weeks to work on these assignments, but now I only have 0.5 weeks. Intermittently working on my assignments and slowly reducing the explosion of boxes has taken up a lot of the weekend, but not all...

Explosion #2: My social life. I recall leaving undergrad and lamenting the loss in social life - the ease with which one can go out with friends that live in close proximity and have a topsy-turvy student schedule. Socializing requires so much more effort in 'the real world' of jobs and responsibilities other than reading the latest chapter in your coursebook. I believe that I adjusted reasonably well, and managed to socialize a fair amount while working. Now without much effort, my social life has exploded and every night this week is booked with an event. No courses have started yet - not the pre-MBA ones, regular term, nor LEAD. But now that my fellow classmates have started to arrive, we are hitting the pubs and clubs with a vengeance. Yesterday, my evening started at midnight and involved hitting 2 different clubs, and I didn't get home until about 6 am. Three hours later, I woke up and had brunch with a few people, and will be having dinner tonight with some more. Daytime plans this week involve adjusting to life in little ways such as taking an introductory workshop for my new Macintosh (I'm in *love*, and I've named her Sheila E.) at the Apple store in downtown, or hitting Ikea. But every night this week is an event at a different pub, otherwise known as BOOT CAMP FOR YOUR LIVER, BITCH!

Explosion #3: My hair. Humidity does that.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Civil Infringement

So I went to court to contest the towing, and it was over within minutes. No dice, we're keepin' the $ sucker. At least I got out quickly with only a slightly bruised ego. Note to self, experiences to avoid like the plague:

1. Courtrooms -
The first thought at seeing 'City of Chicago vs. Me' on the agenda was that I am in way over my head.
2. Parking on the street in downtown Chicago -
I'd had a nice little martini buzz going before discovering that my car was gone. What a buzzkill.

In other news, the movers are supposed to be delivering my stuff today. Keepin' my fingers crossed...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

In a little place known as HELL

I was doing okay here, until my movers kept pushing back the date that my stuff would get here. I still don't have my stuff, nor an honest answer from them - whatever date they give me changes the next time I call. So I've been going on over a week now without most of my belongings, and I finally broke down and bought an air mattress because my body couldn't take sleeping on the hard floor anymore.

And then my car got towed for what I believe are unclear parking signs in downtown. I'll be going to court tomorrow to contest it, in jeans and a t-shirt.

I know I need to keep perspective and that this will pass soon enough, but I was on the verge of going postal last night. I keep telling myself to take a deep breath - it isn't Chicago, its the movers and the move. But the towing was the icing on the cake. Man could I have done some damage to that moving dispatcher last night...