Irrespective of where I am, I am going to hate waking up when I need to and not get any sleep when I can afford to. We walked to the bus stop from where we took a bus yesterday on the Diagonal but it turned out that Barcelona was a crazy city and public transport was so unpredictable. The display at the bus stop said that the bus would arrive in 8 minutes and we waited for about 15 minutes before we looked at the display again and it said 28 minutes. So, we decided to take the next bus that came to the stop (which wasn’t going all the way to school) and then got off at a stop where we saw a lot of IESE students so we could gather some moral support for being late. The bus came within 5 minutes (so strange) and we reached school well in time.
Classes somehow made a little more sense than yesterday. We learnt past tense today I think but it goes with some strange complicated name. I keep forgetting to mention this every day but here’s a little intro into every person in my class. There was Artem, the Ukranian who’s friendly and hardworking. There’s Jiaxu, the half-Chinese half-Korean who’s unhappy with his 740 in GMAT (now, what can you say to that!!) and is planning to start a company with a classmate from IESE and a friend from Germany. Then there’s Chiyu, a Taiwanese who worked with a shipping company inspired by Japanese principles and he’s had very similar experiences as me in terms of work culture, no growth, passion for work, etc. There’s the sponsored Japanese banker, Hiroki who is here with his family. There’s the French guy, Mathieu, who worked as a purchasing manager with an oil and gas company in China and France, who looks similar to Maxime but a smaller version. I learnt that the way to identify the French is to look for lighter skin around the eyes. That was my theory. There were two Americans, Chelsie and Jessica who come from Minnesota and New York respectively. Chelsie seemed to be very passionate about accessories as she had the time to wear a different one every day. Jessica was a very friendly girl who is shy but you can’t say at first.
During both my breaks this morning, I comfortably chatted with people. But I realise, there’s always this constant pressure of keeping the conversation interesting because they’ll leave and join another group otherwise and you’ll be left with the humungous task of connecting with new people again. Not only is the initial investment of socialising quite high here, so is the cost of maintaining the social network. Over lunch, I chatted up Chiyu and realised how similar most of the Asian countries are in terms of how parents influence choices of children over most matters in life. I would have never imagined life to be similar in Taiwan to that in India. Perks of socialising.
As I was getting out of class at 6:15, I met Hilda, a senior from Uganda, with whom I walked to the bus stop. She had just finished an internship as an internal consultant with a chemical company in Copenhagen which was looking to enter the African market. She has a full time offer from them and also had a part time assignment to work on through 2nd year for which she would be paid. She said in 2nd year, people have classes only 3 days a week and the rest of the time is free to work, travel, sleep, etc. She was so confident, clear and cheerful to talk to. I was quite surprised and impressed. We took bus 63 together as I was going to meet another senior, Anjitha at this bar called Obama near Plaza de Catalunya.
It was my first time in the centre of the city and it was pretty touristy. Beautiful no doubt but I preferred living in Eixample which was closer to living like a local. The waiters spoke perfect english and I was quite relieved about that even though I had google translate ready to combat. Anjitha was running late so I ordered a beer for myself and was reading FT (my favourite pastime in public now). I was just getting soaked in the environment when she came in about 20 minutes later and we cheek pecked Barcelona style. Very warm girl from India who has lived all over the place and spent the last few years in Hyderabad. She gave me a lot of advice on classes, recruitment, etc and said she’d be happy to help with anything. She has a background in IT and is interested in Business Consulting in IT/ Media. She said that the drinks were on her as a part of welcoming me to Barcelona. That was the nicest thing anyone had done so far in Barcelona.