Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome "home"!

My first days in Charlottesville were quite insane. I landed at 11 am July 23rd after flying all night from the West Coast, picked up my rental car, drove to a mattress store, made a trip to Costco (1 hour drive each way), returned home to receive the mattress, went to Wal-Mart and finally stopped by Kroger's, the local grocery store. I spent 2 days arranging my room, unpacking the two 49 pound bags I hauled across the country and re-packing a small carry on for my trip Vegas (Bachelorette party). I love my place, though besides my room, it's still quite empty - missing a table, couch, desk, roommate etc. However, I have found my 1.5 foot windowsill quite convenient as a stand for my computer, which I'm currently using as a TV.

Vegas was insane as most my Vegas trips are. Though this one may have been more so than those of the past. The girls were definitely there to have a great time, but on Sunday I was ready to head home. I returned to SF, half dead and with one goal for the day, SLEEP! Delirium set in and I wandered the house aimlessly for a few hours. By 3 pm, my head was on the pillow and I was sound asleep again. I slept the afternoon away and met up with a friend for a chat that night. Not many people knew I was returning as I had had enough festivities the week before my first trip to C'ville. The select few I saw were quite lucky.

Two days to pack and I was gone again, just as quickly as I had returned. I knew I couldn't take everything, which likely made things easier, but the question still reigned, what do I take? At this point, it was clothes, mainly summer things as I will be back in late August for a wedding. Additionally, I needed a few suits to hold me over. I parted with some shoes, however, I'd hate to admit how many pairs I brought. My last bag zipped substantially earlier than I anticipated. This allowed me time to make travel arrangements as my original 7:10am flight was cancelled by the airline less than 12 hours before its scheduled departure. I ended up on a 10:45am flight with 2 additional hours of travel time compared to my original flight. The only good news I received today is that my car, which I shipped before I left the first time, may arrive here on Saturday!!!

Travel these days isn't fun, but I don't have any flights booked until the end of August. And now, I'm home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moving is Expensive

I suppose I am in a different situation than many of my classmates. I've lived at home with my family for the last four years and conversely, I seem to have more and less to move. Some people hire movers, others pack up their car and drive across the country and a third group simply brings a few suitcases and sets up shop when they arrive. I suppose I land in the third category by default. My furniture pre and post college has been the same and won't be dragged across the country with me. My car on the other hand will make the long trek via auto transport. Though it means less time in the car, it also means less stuff in the car. I found a company for a decent price who will let me pack 75-100 lbs in my car, but that's a STRICT limit. Of course with gas prices, hotel costs, food, time and wear/tear, it doesn't make sense for me to drive anyhow.

Next, I keep trying to figure out WHAT to pack. I know I can leave stuff here on a semi permanent basis as I think my mother still hopes I will return after school. (Unfortunately, I have no intention of doing so.) But of course comes the thought, I want ... and it's still in California. I don't recall having those thoughts in Colorado, but I basically took my life with me. There are simplicities that I want/need in Virginia. My iHome and I have become good friends, but is it worth it to hull it with me or should I simply buy a new one, which leads me to the entire topic, MOVING IS EXPENSIVE.

It's not just a matter of what to move, but also what is simply worth purchasing on the other side of the country. I have a list of bare necessities that I need to purchase. For starters, it'd be nice to have a bed, some pillows and a down comforter (I've already picked out my duvet cover). A desk will be essential as I plan to study a bit harder than I did in college and I'm sure a dresser will be another personal requirement. Next comes the little luxuries, though essentials in my life. I love electronics, which can get expensive on it's own. After a year of research I purchased myself a nice plasma TV as a belated graduation present. It doesn't exactly make sense to bring it or leave it and it surely isn't shippable without the original packaging, IMO. Indeed, the distance where you are today should not dictate the schools you consider, but I can't help but wonder if some are slightly better off financially by not having to move.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


It's Thursday, I think. I've lost track of the days since I quit my job and they've blurred even more as the end gets nearer. My lists are getting smaller, which is good, but of course, EVERYONE wants to see me. I've released the reigns for my birthday and thus, I have NO IDEA what or where we're going. In some ways, it's easier, in others, it's more complicated.

Last night, I grabbed farewell drinks with the soccer gang. The turnout was small, but perfect. I got to speak with everyone individually which was fabulous! We had a great time, though I cursed McIntyre's name this morning. He's evil. Or maybe it's whiskey that is evil. Could even be both. ;)

Packing... hmm, what's that? I look around my room knowing that in 4 days, I leave for C'ville and yet, procrastination ensues. I know tomorrow through Sunday are slammed with festivities and farewells. That leaves Monday and part of Tuesday, WOW! The question for me is WHAT DO I PACK?! I'm not taking everything. Obviously clothes are a must, but which ones. It sounds silly, but basically, I can take 4 suitcases with an approximate total of 200 lbs worth of stuff with me before I must start shipping. Unfortunately, even that realization doesn't give me the feeling that I should begin.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh, it's good to be HOME

Wow, I'm not even sure where to begin. Suppose for starters, I extended my trip by 5 days and thus, I finally returned to SF today. The total trip looked something like this:

New York City -> Berlin -> Dresden -> Prague -> Augsburg -> Munich (day trips to: Neuschwanstein Castle & Salzburg)

Couple tidbits about my trip. First, the Forte Conference in NYC was amazing. My Thursday evening commenced with a UVA dinner at which I met a number of 2010 admits. I was impressed to see so much involvement from my fellow classmates - those both at Darden and in the general MBA class of 2010. Ironically, I met a fellow blogger - we happened to sit at the same lunch table. The seminars and information provided by general speakers were very useful. The best seminar was Effective Collaboration, which mainly discussed giving and receiving feedback. Quite beneficial!

As for reading progress, I'm excited to report that I have finished 3 books already and put a 3/4 dent in a fourth. I have 2 more that I hope to finish before my next plane flight - 10 days from now.

Europe is quite expensive, not that anyone needed to be told that, but WOW! At first glance, prices don't seem as bad as anticipated, but then you take the second to convert to dollars, OUCH! I missed watching the EuroCup final from the center of Berlin due to a flight delay in NYC, which made me miss my connection in Paris. My newly adopted "brothers" watched intently with 500,000 fans an unfortunately boring Euro Final. Berlin was very short for me because I opted to attend the Forte Conference.

My travel group consisted of my parents, our family friends and their two sons. It was the perfect combination! We took trains between each city until Augsburg.

Dresden was incredible and is in the process of being rebuilt after a WW II bombing. It also houses one of the most fantastic armory museums I've ever seen. In Prague, the boys and I enjoyed the club Karlovy Lazne located near the Charles Bridge. The first night we danced until the wee hours of the morning, often switching among the 5 dance floors. The second night, we swapped life stories for 3+ hours. Not a lot has changed since I was younger. (I have 6 years on one guy and 8 on the other.)

We attended a German wedding outside of Augsburg. It was traditional in many senses except that it lasted 12 hours instead of the typical 2-3 days. It was fascinating to learn about some of the cultural differences. One is that in these small country towns, each household bakes a cake for the wedding, so instead of having one large cake, we had one large and 30 or so small. I didn't understand any of the spoken German, but it was a great day nonetheless.

From Munich, we took two day trips in our large 9 passenger van (there were 7 of us traveling together). It never failed that we would get lost going to and coming from our destination. We spent a day at the Neuschwanstein Castle, which was built for King Ludwig II - though he was declared insane before its completion. We also spent a day in Austria, starting at Eagle's Nest - Hitler's 50th birthday gift, taking a tour of the Salt Mine and finishing with Italian food in Salzburg.

My final three days were spent relaxing and shopping in Munich. Though we could have crawled through another dozen museums, I welcomed the break.

One observation I had was that Germans LOVE their dogs and a lot of hotels actually let owners bring dogs with them. They're also allowed in restaurants/bars (though I'm not sure if it is all inclusive). Additionally, all the hotels at which we stayed had NO clocks in the rooms. Odd if you ask me.

Fantastic trip and the perfect length in my opinion. It's definitely good to be home, but I'm starting to freak out a bit. The gist is, 10 days from today, I hop on another plane. That sequence of flights commences my move. More on that later.