Thursday, December 28, 2006


Santa Claus came early with the jet lag. At 5 am, I was jerked awake by Jacques' loud soprano voice "Santa Claus came, the presents are here!" and a mémie asking if he drank his milk? At 5.35am, I dragged myself and Tonton Alex out of bed because the two little devils wanted to open the presents. Luckily mémie prepared a huge pot of coffee.

Jacques distributed the presents. Tata Hélène got a jade necklace, a Terry Pratchett book and a Gordon Ramsay cooking book, a pretty set of hat, scarf and gloves. Jacques got a big lego set to build all sorts of complex animals and the Interceptor from Lego Star Wars range. Nicolas also got some legos and the monkey which he named Mr. Monkey. Julien got some games for his PSP and Anna pretty clothes and accessories. Papa and Maman had two pro walking sticks with shock absorbers for their long trecks. Tonton Alex had some cufflings and a large picture book about the WWII which actually mentions the whole world and not just the struggle in Europe.
Later we had lunch at Mamie Ese. All the cousins met up to take a family picture for Mamie Ese with all her grand and great children and the spouses.

Les Retrouvailles

It was brilliant seeing the kids again, and Julien and Anna. Anna was gorgeous, she lost all her weight from her two pregnancies and looked as young and slim as the day I met her 10 years ago. On the other hand it was a shame that Julien's difficult (starvation) diet did not have long lasting effect as obviously expected, I don't know what kind of doctor would recommend that. Jacques has lost his two front teeth and Nicolas has grown into a handsome adorable little boy.

Reveillon de Noel

Christmas Eve was at Marie-Odile's.
It was all an event in itself. My poor aunt although very nice and cool, was utterly so hopeless that Dad needed to help with everything, from choosing the menu, cooking and serving and she still complained that no one helped her with setting up the table for just 8 of us. Geez.

We had a good time nonetheless, even Dad who was hard at work in the kitchen. Alex nonchalantely remarked "why is Christmas Eve at hers and not ours if your Dad is doing everything?". A very valid point, my parents agreed to decline any further invitation over to hers and invite her instead for future occasions.

Papi Jacques received lots of exciting presents, which is wonderful for a 91 and 3/4 year old. (He took offence when I said 92, as if I was trying to make him sound older than he is). He received two books on Christianity (his favorite topic being a fervent Christian), one frame of pewter with photos of his great-grand-sons and from me a box of tea, biscuits and jam from Harrods.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Spa for the Soul

I have been hectic lately and things got worse when we missed our flight to France on Thursday, needing to cancel our visit to Caroline's (it was for her birthday too - I felt really bad) and needing to find an alternative journey home.

Alex took me to Paris instead! What a wonderful husband! I love the spontaneity. In my three years in Paris I never went to Montmartre, so he booked a hotel on the famous hill. We took the Eurostar on Friday morning and arrived in Paris on a lovely sunny day. Our hotel check-in was at 2.30pm, so we decided to do lunch near the hotel. Firstly we did not expect our metro station to stop us in front of the Moulin Rouge; that was exciting. And we found a lovely little restaurant in the heart of Montmatre. The gastronomic lunch included:

Marbre de porc aux poireaux
Filets de Bar sur lit d'epinard avec sa bisque de homard
Charlotte au cafe

I can' really translate, I can only say it was very delicate and tasteful food in such a charming environment. We took a long lunch there, and I could feel the entire tension leaving my body and my strength and happiness flooding back in me. As the title say above, it was a spa for my heart and soul.

After lunch we dropped off the luggage at the hotel before running off to the Basilique Sacre Coeur, it is indeed a beautiful structure and the interior decors are worth the trip. The concave nave of the basilique depicts Jesus embracing his congregation below, Mary and the apostles and other bible characters are drawn by his side.

We then walked around the park and made our way to Place du Tertre, a famous place where artists gather and paint and sell their art. Alex and I sat down to drink a vin chaud (mulled wine), to warm ourselves up.

Later we walked around Pigalle (the Paris red light district), before going off to the Champs Elysees for dinner. Walking up and down along the lighted avenue, we visited the Renault museum exposing cool prototype car designs, even a space ship!

This day was absolutely magical. I discovered a side of Paris I did not know. I am so blessed Alex took me there, it was just what I needed.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Secret Santa

Geez. How lame does it get? Either my secret santa does not like me much or knows me very little. I got a chocolate egg, (is it Easter yet?) I don't like cholocate eggs so much and a mood light. Alright, granted I might have been a bit of a lunatic lately. But it is not true all year round and I've had very stretched last few weeks, one oughts to become sensitive when it drags on.
Bloody get me something useful or pretty, or at the very least funny. He/she could have got me a make-up or a fantasy jewelry, they make very nice things in the UK, or some lingerie. Anything but a mood light!
Anyway, I was Martin's secret santa and I got him that funny book, but when we were up to Manchester, we touched on the topic and he complained that people made it so dull, that it was always something proper or nice and he wanted something naughty and embarassing. He had no idea he was instructing his benefactor. So I had the book and thought he won;t like it as a secret santa present. I got him some stress balls in the shape (and feel) of boobs. He was delighted! He loved them. He never suspected they came from me either. Quite cool. It made it worth the effort of getting something else.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tough Love

ragghhhhh. Can someone shoot me now!? My boss just had a go at me for loosing it last Friday. I am ashamed enough as it is that I could not control my emotions so that I don't have him making me feel like a complete looser.... But I spoke to Dad who agrees with Ron. And anyway, I told Ron that I wish he'd support and trust me, because it is not easy being a woman or just me.

My crime? I cannot dissociate my work from my personal life and social life. Maybe it's because I socialise with my colleagues and customers during my personal time?!?

I would love to be more in control and to be able to keep a straight face and look happy all the time and smart and strong. But below all these layers of strength, professional, good at what I do, pretty face, there is a vulnerable and sometimes insecure woman and if I don't get my me-time to chill then these top layers wear thin and leave me exposed to negative feelings like being the ugly duckling or alcohol or being sick.

Anyway, all is not bad. Ron was having a go at me because he's got big plans for me in 2007 and it will require me to be well in control all the time, I can never show that I am vulnerable no matter how tough it gets. The second good news is that I think that by showing I am vulnerable to my female colleagues, I showed that I was only human, they don't see me as threatening or wonderwoman anymore and all of them were a lot friendlier.

Now is a time to make my 2007 wishes
1) Learn to stay in control - show that I am equal to my male colleagues.
2) Take the time to make friends with my female colleagues because I need their support and empathy when I come back from being men's equal.
3) Learn to dissociate work from social from personal and make me-time a priority to facilitate the in-control thingy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I've been tagged!

Okay, I'm not sure what being tagged means but it gives me something different to talk about and it could have some fun results if not interesting.

The rules are:
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people

1. Grab book closest to me
2. Flipping the pages
3. Faced with an important decision, I always envison how each alternative will play out before I make it. During this process, I'm not afraid to change my mind a few times. Many are tempted to decide an issue simply to end the discomfort of indecision.
4. Leadership. Giuliani.

5. I don't know that many people, so I pick Kitem, God Uncensored, and Steven aka My brain hates me etc because I'm sure he'll make a very funny story out of this.
Remember nothing is going to happen to you if you don't do it! What will happen is that it will save you ten minutes not to do it. :D

Remembering Pepere

Anna-Marie aka Mamie L'Autre, Jean Seguin aka Pepere, with my grand-aunt Janine and grandpa Jacques, aka Papi Nono. Photo taken in 1930.Pepere was born on this day in 1903. He was a very nice old great grandpa. Thanks to the year he was born, he did not have to attend any of the two World Wars, he was too young for the first one and too old for the second one.

To me he was never old until the winter he died in 1997. Until that summer of 1996 he would go for a walk pushing his bicycle. One year some youngsters stole his bicycle but everyone in town knew it was Pepere's and so the bicycle was returned to him. He kept a tortoise in his garden that crawled as fast as he could and would bite fingers and toes.

I wish I had spent more time with him. I did spent a lot of time considering I was little and would much rather play than seat down with him. but I did take the time to find out about his sister whom I visited before she died a few years ago. He told me that he had been lucky, because he got to go to the agriculture school when he was a young lad, and education was not given to anyone - back then. He would have raw onions and a slab of bread for his lunch and loved it. "Onions are gooPepere in the French summer of 1989d for you" he'd say. Gosh I can't stand raw onion, the taste lingers forever even after brushing my teeth, so I eat shallots in my tomato salads instead.

He had a bit of vineyard, and in the autumn we would make it a family day out to pick the grapes. I only remember going once and remember eating more grapes than dropping them in the basket. He had started his own coal business, which my grand father took over. The whole town knows my family name well because they would deliver coal on Christmas eve if needed be. Also my grandpa was the first to hire a coloured person at the normal wages and benefits. It's good not to forget people like that, who have been through this kind of life where heating was not to be taken for granted, nor education, nor a wholesome lunch. He was a good hard-working and earnest man.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Learning to read

May 2005. Angkor. Cambodia. Alex and I were on our honeymoon. Adventure, Discovery and Exotic Food is what gets us excited. I love this shot. I wandered off the beaten track and landed in a village. This is their classroom, the monk knows how to read, and there were 5 students aged between 10 and 25. The blackboard had our alphabet written on it. That scene moved me, and Hammer's story about his nephew inspired me to share this photo.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My cuties

I got to chat with Julien, Anna and my two lovely little nephews yesterday. It made my day. They are so sweet and fun. I am so excited to see them next Sunday. Jacques and Nicolas were shy though, they did not want to come to the camera because 'Tata is too sexy'. Well better that than too ugly I say. They're adorable.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A bit of a drama queen

Today was very special. I was so sad this morning because of last night. But as the day evolved I spoke to my father in law, then Alex, and my brother and my dad and then my mom and they all listened and comforted me. That was really welcome and just what I needed.

I also went over the nice things of last night and for the life of me I know why I was upset but I no longer understand why I as in such a state. After all I had some brilliant chats with some of the most important people in the company and Ron made me dance, he's an excellent dancer, and the girls were very nice and truly cared to uplift my spirits.

Furthermore, today I had a good heartfelt reality check and I much needed it. I can see clearer what I need to do for my career to progress, and I will need to protect myself. Like Alex said "Never forget No. 1, and that's not Ron nor me, it's you." Thank you all, I love you just for caring.

Ugly Duckling

What a failed and horrible night. I hated most of the evening. I was so miserable. I ended up being the sad drunk who cries at the end of the bloody party. Why? Because I realise that I get along with everyone one on one, but in a group I simply don't belong. It is not the first time I feel that way about my company. All the girls have their group of friends, and although I try to join in the fun as I would when I go to customers' parties, I find myself being excluded. I am taller than all the girls so I always end up in the back of the group pictures as well. I don't get their sense of humour either.

I got upset in the bus when my colleague kicked my drink off my hands which spilled on her dress and she started screaming at me. I was stunned by this rudeness and just went to the front of the bus looking forward to arriving at the party where my friends (Martin, Nick, Ron, Rudiger, etc) were... or so I thought.

When these guys saw the swarm of pretty girls they paid me no attention. and I realised that I am only popular when I am one of the three girls of a party of 15. Even Martin was dirty dancing with some of the girls. But Ron did invite me to rock'n'roll, which is always fun. And I did have a pleasant dinner with Ingvar, Brian, Steve and Rudiger. I felt so heartbroken though. I spend so much time with these guys I thought I knew them and I thought we were friends, but they are just men!

The only satisfaction I have is that they do not pay me attention because I am one of the lads, they have enough respect for me not to hit on me. That also means I am the ugly duckling. I am possibly the smartest woman in the office along with Jane and I am well respected, but realising that you don't really have friends either on the guys or girls, it hurts. Of course Julie and Ann, even Carrina came to look after me. Ingvar went on and on about how brilliant I was at my job and I was one in a million. Martin sat me down later to explain how boys will be boys. Sarah also checked on me but she is the one girl in the office who does not like me. I'm not sure why she doesn't but every time I try to break the ice, she ignores me. I could not care less under normal circumstances. Last night, I'm the one who rejected her. I told her I'd be happy to tell her what's on my mind if she was my friend, but she's not.

Overall it was not a bad night because I had a good time with the bosses, but it had such a bad start and ending to the evening. At least in vienna if this happens again I can leave the party, I am not stranded in a place I don't like with a bad frame of mind.

I think it is time for me to learn about self preservation. I must protect my feelings from situation like these. If I am not going to learn and accept that friendships are just superficial then I am not going to be friends with anyone in the work place anymore so that I won't care when they forget my existence.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stunning after all?

What a day... It did me good to express regret of something I knew I would do before I actually do it, because I forced myself to make an effort and I quite like the results. at least if I don't come out okay of the pictures, I'll have the satisfaction to know that I tried.

Last night I did my nails while watching Secretary (2002), a strange but captivating story with James Spader. Then today I finished my errands, which consisted of finding a tasteful, artistic present for our best customer, and although I did not find it, I found out I can commission the work and got the name of an artist to call on - so I thought of commissionning a family portrait since it is a family business and they love taking pictures, that sounds like a much better present than anything I could have found. I hope Ron approves.

Having completed my task early I went to Boots to find a concealer for my acne as it really upsets me when I look back at photos and all I see are my stupid pimples. I went to Clinique because I like their products although they are expensive, the girl gave me a full professional make-up!!! I did buy a few of her products but I needed/wanted them.

Then I did a pathetic bun but it holds on, I don't care if it looks weird and all over the place, at least from the front and profile I look lovely.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Regional Sales Meeting

A while ago I promised pictures of the UK region sales meeting and I did not post them... maybe to protect the identity of my colleagues, but it's not like anyone will be after them. I got a bit paranoid when a British Airways hostess made the headlines for being fired after blogging naughty stories and images of things happening in her job. I love this job and all these people are so lovely and brilliant to work with. Below is starting from me, Martin, Lovely Dani from South Africa, Nick, and Torsten from Denmark.
Next meeting is the Kick-Off Meeting in Vienna. I can hardly wait, I've started shopping for lovely clothes to wear at the dinner parties when I'm there.

Office Christmas Party

Tomorrow night is the office Christmas party and all the girls in the office got their hands manicured, their hair cut and dyed and some even got spray tan. They look great.

True to my nature, I think 'sod it'. I can foresee myself working too late to actually do any of this, then I'll rush home in the traffic and I'll jump in the shower, I'll struggle to put my hair up they'll fall all over the place and after 45 minutes of pulling my hair, I'll leave them down, then I'll apply a thin layer of make-up because I don't want to hide my face or natural features and I'll put on my nice long black dress and a necklace and I'll jump into a cab and arrive all stressed out and undone at the party and I'll feel bad for not making an effort to look as stunning as the other girls. I can't understand myself sometimes, it's not a beauty contest and I'd much rather polish my wits and work out my brains. I don't mean to undermine my colleagues, they're lovely and clever girls and take time to make themselves up extra nice, I wish I'd bother.

Naive? defines the word as:
1. having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous.
2. having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous

Yup, that's me... Although most of the time it's on purpose, you can actually pretend to be naive so you don't have to justify something.... like when someone flirts with you and you're not interested acting naive can help greatly or when I do something wrong, I can act all naive "oh I did not understand it like that". However, most of the time I am geniuningly naive and it's cute being naive at 8 but just plain stupid being naive at almost 30. Sigh. Got a lot to learn about life.

blah blah blah... Sorry, I almost got philosophical there...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Re: Guns are not weird, needing them is

A few nights ago, I might have visited one of Hammer's fan's website (Phoenix Ravenflame) , and after reading quite lenghty articles on guns, I decided to leave a comment to show that I cared. Maybe not the smartest comment, but an honest one. I said something like "it was weird living in a country where you need a gun". For the sake of clarification and to stop being hammered by incinuations that I might be ignorant... I explain.

I've lived in a country at war, I saw tanks driving by my school every day, I walked by a ministry building that blew up, I lived on the same street as an embassy that blew up too. I've lived in a country where I could have been kidnapped every street corners. And I've lived in a post-communism country. And you know what? I felt safe! And I hear stories from my friend in South Africa where he walked out of a gun shoot out between gangs and told me with a bright smile "I was lucky they did not take my car." - he does not have a gun either.

This, however is not the point I was making. I could not care less that Americans have a passion for guns. My lovely grandpa was a hunter and he loved his riffles, that's cool. And I understand that America unfortunately suffers from high crime rate. What I meant was that I was very sorry you had to rely on guns to ensure your safety. I am happier living in a country where I am more worried about my customers wanting to slip my dress off my back than walking home from the station in the middle of the night.

One more thing, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, James Bond is a fictional character, and he's hot, with or without his gun. ;)

Re: What to do?

Hey Steven,

Looking like that, I'm surprised you haven't... Maybe you're in the wrong job.


Yeah, Martin recommends I make fun of the customer by leading him on, but I find that very risquee. Might land me more trouble than I'm already in. I'll leave it till the New Year and see how he is. He was pretty wasted, so I'm hoping he does not remember his misbehaving. Anyway, I'm probably going to turn down the sales promotion so I don't have to visit the customers on my own.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What to do?

I've been out and about with Martin inviting our customers to Christmas dinner parties and thanking them for the good business this year. A few nights ago I was in Manchester, this time the client was inviting us to their big do. The dinner was lovely I mingled with all the different buyers and other suppliers. However, much later in the night, my customer was very drunk and he was literaly all over me. I put him back in his place as gently as I could explaining that it would be very awkward talking about display cabinets if he went any further, even though he seemed cool about it, it still feels awkward. it also compromises my option of getting into sales next year. I don't know what else to do. If I choose to go into sales, I won't have Martin to lean on or hide behind when a customer makes it... difficult.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I'm finally going through my Radiohead education. Alex has always been a huge fan of Radiohead for as long as I've known him. Actually I remember the time before we started dating, We were hanging out in my room in Penang, listening to CDs and he took out Pablo Honey from the collection, it must have meant a lot to him. Ever since, I always enjoyed Radiohead whenever he plays their CD, but I never paid it a lot of attention so I don;t know why a few days ago I decided to listen to Fake Plastic Trees from the album The Bends. It is a fantastic song and from the same album I always loved High and Dry and Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was and most of the songs from OK Computer.

Casino Royal

Oh wow!!! What a man... What a Bond... I have been a fan since the age of 8. I loved every James bond movies featuring Sean Connery and Roger Moore. I kind of lost interest with Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosman. They did not have the charms I'd expect of my Bond.

I kind of had the hots for Daniel Craig in Tomb Raider alongside Angelina Jolie; and then I loved him in Layer Cake. This was beyond words. I might need to sleep on this statement I'm about to make... but Casino Royal might be the best James Bond movie I've ever seen and Daniel Craig the best Bond yet. It was excitement-pack, he was hot, it was not cheesy, it had a realistic story line, it was clever, he was hot... Ooooh I'm in love. Gonna have sweet dreams tonight...

Christmas Hamper

The company sent Christmas hampers to all of us. That's very lovely, my hamper came in a large basket, I will have to find some use for that basket now.
It's full of chocolates and biscuits and yummy food stuff, a couple of bottles of French and Italian wines as well.

Christmas at Home

I bought a real Christmas Tree!
I like the decors I bought, it looks very posh, all in silver and blue, it's matching the wrapping paper for the presents. And that's Nicolas' monkey looking comfy on the papasan chair.

Harrods Christmas Windows

When I went to Harrods the windows adopted the Casino Royal theme. Shame that I won't have time to check out the Christmas window display. I just hope that this is not their Christmas display. This is becoming a big issue in the UK. People are becoming more and more afraid for the sake of being "politically correct". Well that's rubbish, Christmas is about the nativity of the Christ, and have I got news for them... it's a religious holiday!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Office Secret Santa

We do a Christmas Santa in the office, and I picked Martin!!! Out of all the people in the office I pick the one person I am closest to. I thought I'd have to look extra hard for his present, something funny, but not useless. Well it took me about five seconds to find it. I walked into the bookstore and on display was Stephen Clarke's 10 commandments to Talk to the Snail. This should provide hours of entertainment on our road trip to visit customers. I'll take a picture of Martin when he opens the pressie and post it. Surely he will know it came from me, but it's absolutely perfect.
Alex is reading it, he wants the same present for Christmas, I guess I can wrap up another little one for my hubby.

Christmas Shopping

Alright I'm done! I've bought all my Christmas presents. I even found lovely presents for Papi Jacques and Mamie Ese, who are usually the most difficult ones.

Now that Julien, Anna and the kids are all coming home for Christmas, it meant extra presents on the list. I got Jacques an entire winter outfit, which he loved, and toys. Julien was the one with the longest present list, I had to explain to him that I was not Santa Claus and that the money came from somewhere.... lol... sorry Julien, it's for entertainment sake. I even found something for Caroline's 30th a lovely branded large handbag so it looks smart and she can still carry Jeanne's bottle and diapers. I am very pleased with everyone's presents. It's gonna be a great Christmas, possibly the best ever. And we'll all be back in the house where Julien and I were born too, it's gotta count for something.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day off

We took the day off to do our Christmas shopping. Since Julien, Anna and the kids are over for Christmas, I bought Jacques some nice winter clothes, a jacket, corduroy trousers, and a jumper from Gap Kids, all in dark blue-grey shade. I bought some coocooning items for the house, and a gorgeous long black gala dinner dress from Monsoon for the office Christmas party and the kick-off meeting Gala dinner in Vienna next year; I was hesitating because of the price, but I will have many opportunities to wear it and Alex did think I looked gorgeous in it. I got a choker matching. I also bought Anna's present, and Uncle's.

On Saturday the shopping spree continued with toys for the nephews, it was difficult not to buy everything up on the shelves. I think it's because I'd like to play with all these toys. But I was very good and stuck to my budget. I also found the perfect persent for mom and dad. I am still missing the special birthday present for Caroline and a little something for Cheryl. I already had Alex' present, I was looking for a second one, but did not find it. After the shopping, Alex and I met in a cafe, and he had three presents for me!!! I'm spoilled.

Muse Concert

Muse is playing in Wembley, and I love them so much and they put up such a great show at the Reading festival this summer that we had to go watch them again. Wembley is a very nice stadium. (I will put up the pictures of the arch later, they're in Alex phone.), and the crowd was very well managed. On the other hand, Alex noticed that it was an older crowd (e.g. our age) instead of a often-rude younger crowd, so we really enjoyed the 2 hour show to the fullest. Muse were brilliant as ever, they had their space theme, which dominated their last two albums and all their music videos. It was an excellent show, just as good as Radiohead.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tate Modern

Tuesday night, when I landed I bid Nick goodbye at the airport and made my way to London, since Barclays layers were invited with their spouse at a private exhibition of modern art.

This included a fun exhibition from Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss of modern paintings depicting objects in equilibrum on top of one another, and clay models with funny description, one I remember was "Dr Spot staring at his planet Vulcan with great sadness that he could not have any feelings."

There were also some great tubes, called the The Unilever Series created by Carsten Höller where people can slide down, they're beautiful structures and it was very thrilling, I went down the medium one and got really frightened, it was a lot faster than I had expected, I tensed so much that I gave myself a back ache for the next three days. Alex was a lot more brave and went down two of the larger slides.

It was nice meeting Alex colleagues as well, I met his boss and fiance Nikki, a lovely girl, I liked her, she could really appreciate these beautiful places of London as much as I did, we spoke about the cathedral of St Paul for fifteen minutes. I also met Sophie the New-Zealand colleague who is one overly excited person, but much fun, she bombarded me with techy questions about our products and internet security.

The next day when I went to the office, my young colleague Hannah said she heard about that exhibition at Tate Modern and just knew I was going to go. It pleases me that she associates me with everything that is cultural.

Back to Eschborn

On Monday and Tuesday I was off to Germany to attend a training on the systems setup by the German sales office. These were very good systems although most of them would need to be customized before being implemented in the UK region. It was interesting nonetheless. Over dinner, my colleagues who are all more senior than I in the company were reminiscing about how great the past Kick-Off meetings had been. In the past four years they have been to Berlin, Lisbon, Athens, Nice and Johannesburg. I can't believe I have missed all these great places... Kick Off meeting 2007 is Vienna, although it is another amazing place and that I have very fond memories of Vienna, I've been there many times and could probably volunteer as the tour guide. Oh well, I will have to wait for 2008 to discover a new amazing place.

It was a very good meeting, and I was glad I had long chats with Nick, because we never chatted much about anything else but work, while here I told him about all the places I've lived and he told me about his family and background. It was also nice seeing Fabrizio and Luis again and meeting more colleagues from the other offices.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Alex Top 10 Favorite Albums

Internet is fixed and this entry was a test, that was successful! It only took the ISP 4 weeks to fix it, but better late than never.

I have just updated my last blog entry with my top 10 favorite albums ever. As I did my list with Alex, I asked him to do one, he was a lot less indecisive than I was and ... I've lost his list, so I'll update this later. But his number 1 and even I would have guessed it is Radiohead Ok Computer. A brilliantly morbid album.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Favorite Albums

I've been saving this post for when my home broadband was fixed and it is since last night but I still can't upload pictures into my blog, it freezes my connection. So on Friday I was up and early in the office and will use this time to upload the pictures for this post.

A couple of weeks ago, Channel 4 presented the top 100 best music album ever. Alex and I both did our top 10 favorite albums separatly, it was personal we were not trying to guess what the program's top 10 was. Incidentally Alex top 10 had 5 albums in common with their top 10, including the No.1 ever favorite Radiohead OK Computer, and all his 10 albums were in the list. Alex never ceased to amaze me with my taste and knowledge in music.

In my case only 3 of my favorite albums featured in the list, I never thought I had indie taste, but I do love the road less travelled. I struggled putting together a list of 10 favorite albums, there are albums that I loved and listened to over and over again.

At number 10, there is a whole list of album pushing to make the list including Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Fever to Tell), Mew (Frengers), Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Primal Scream (Screamadelica), and more albums by the same artists in the top 9, and after careful consideration (eenie, meenie, minie, mo)...

10. Divine Comedy - Casanova
9. Coldplay - Parachutes
8. Depeche Mode - Songs of faith and Devotion (the first concert I went to)
7. Siouxsie and The Banshees - Peep Show
6. The Cure - Starring at the Sea
5. Gene - Drawn to the Deep End
4. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
3. Muse - Absolution
2. The Strokes - Rooms on Fire
And my favorite of the moment
1. Interpol - Antics

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guy Fawkes Day

On Saturday evening, Alex and I went up to London and met up Dan and Julie at their home before making our way to Battersea Park to enjoy the fireworks.

It was very nice, they had a space theme, and had the lights just like in Close Encounters and the music too, and I kind of expected a space ship to land any minute but it did not happen, instead the fireworks started and it was alright, I've seen better fireworks but the music was cool, lots of my favourite songs: Muse Supermassive black hole and Starlight and David Bowie Starman and even Babylon Zoo Spaceman.

I could go on explaining why there were fireworks in the middle of Autumn, but this wikipedia story will do the job just fine:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dinner at Jamie and Seema's

I still cannot make updates from home, but here are the updates of the weekend.

On Friday night i drove to St Albans after work, I expected bad traffic but by 6 O'clock i was parking up their house, so i played with little Jaya. She's such a lovely child and eats very well. For her dinner she had pasta, french beans and tofu and ate it all. The weather was very cold so when Alex arrived at the station, Jamie and I picked him up and later, when Julie, Natasha and Ian arrived at the station I drove out to pick them up, Dan drove himself and arrived later. Seema had prepared a Spanish dinner which was lovely and after dinner we had another round of Cranium. This game is just so much fun, this time, we played girls against boys, the boys won but not by much and in our defence Julie was not well so she did not play, I surprised myself to be fairly good at humming since the girls guessed the songs and at play-dough since Seema recognised the Wembley stadium. The evening finished late and I drove the 55 miles back home, with a small detour to Wimbledon to drop off Ian and Natasha. It was very much fun and I will have to organise a dinner party to return the invite, I might have to invest in Cranium since it is the fun highlight of dinner parties.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Delayed posts

My Home internet has been very unstable and so I have not been able to update my blog. There are pictures for Jamie's birthday. Please be patient.

Halloween Night

After work, I stocked up on chocolate bars in case my little South African neighbours came by 'trick or treat'ing. And that was a clever move because just a few minutes after I came home, I had seven little devils knocking at my door, a few three-apples tall witches and Flash Gordon, and a few more wizzards, I distributed my chocolate and said goodbye to the moms also dressed up as witches. I closed the door and walked to the kitchen, when I heard another knock, so I opened the door again, and it was a mom asking if I had seen her son, so I walked into the living room and there was little Flash Gordon cosily seating on the sofa eating his sweeties. That made me laugh so much, I can't imagine how surprised I'd have been if I had walked back into the living room not expecting anyone there. The mom was obviously very relieved and thankful... it still makes me laugh.

Celebrating Hari Raya

Ramadan has ended and Natasha and Grant invited us over for dinner to celebrate Hari Raya with her friends Sharifa and Kenneth. Natasha cooked Nasi Lemak (it's literally 'fat rice' and consists of rice cooked in fat, served with hard boiled eggs, a spicy sauce, fried chicken, beef rendang and ikan bilis 'salted dried fish') it was very authentic and lovely. It was great company too, Natasha and Alex are both lawyers, that's how they met, Grant is in IT like me, Sharifah works for a statistics agency and Kenneth is a doctor aspiring to be a plastic surgeon. And besides Alex, Kenneth, Natasha and Sharifah all being from KL, all of us are mixed couples which give us something else in common.

After dinner we played Cranium, it was a very fun way to spend the evening doing charades, acting, humming, drawing with our eyes closed and spelling weird words backwards among other silly activities. The three-hour long game took us to the late hours of the night, after which the boys watched football highlights and us girls watched the movie Closer (wihtout the volume, but we don't volume to watch Natalie Portman doing her strip tease for Clive Owen), and went on to an hypothetical conversation about whether we'd rather spend the rest of our lives with a poet who makes our heart race or a doctor who leaves us stoic but is rich and can provide a comfortable life... Natasha went for the doctor, I went for the poet and Sharifah could not decide. lol. Mind you if the doctor is Clive Owen and the poet Jude Law, like in the movie, I'd run away with the doctor anytime!

It was a great evening and I look forward to seeing them again, we don't have a dining area, but our living room is big and cosy, so I might invite them next, I'd cook them Curry Mee.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jamie's 31st Birthday

On Friday night, we celebrated Jamie's 31st birthday in a Turksih restaurant Tas at London Bridge. It was nice meeting again with Dan and Julie, Seema and Jamie. Last time we saw them was this summer in July for a BBQ at Dan and Julie's. It's shame funny guy Barry could not make it, Barry is Jamie's childhood best friend... and so half way through dinner Jamie realised that exactly 10 years ago, Barry could not make it for his 21st party and that he celebrated with just Dan and Alex... and in fact me too). We never reminisced about the old days, but we were quite taken by the fact that Alex, Dan and Jamie have been mates for over 10 years, and Alex and I a couple for over 10 years and although back then we did not know Julie and Seema, somewhere else in the UK, Julie and Seema were already best friends and would end up marrying into this friendship (Julie started dating Dan 6 or 7 years ago and that's how Jamie met Seema). That's brilliant, that we've been friends for so long and how things turned up so cool for all of us, and how we still haven't changed.

We also made plans to see each other more often, so we've booked New Year's Eve 2007 and New Year Eve 2008 and next Friday a dinner party at Jamie's and on Saturday celebrating Guy Fox Bonfire at Dan's sisters and dinner at our place for Alex birthday and of course, I made sure they booked their agenda for my upcoming 30th birthday party. Lots to look forward to!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Life on Mars?

A very lovely melody with mad lyrics from David Bowie. I liked the melody so much I went to look for the lyrics, but a whole different lyrics appeared on screen. Did he write two songs with the same title. Apparently he did, he wrote a gorgeous love song along the musique of French song "Comme d'habitude", better known in America for the Elvis/Sinatra version "I did it my way".

The hand that wrote this letter
Sweeps the pillow clean.
So rest your head and read a treasured dream.
I care for no one else but you.
I tear my soul to cease the pain.
I think maybe you feel the same,What can we do?
I'm not quite sure what we're supposed to do.
So I've been writing just for you.
They say your life is going very well.
They say you sparkle like a different girl.
But something tells me that you hide
When all the world is warm and tired.
You cry a little in the dark,Well so do I.
I'm not quite sure what you're supposed to say,
But I can see it's not okay.
He makes you laugh
He brings you out in style.
He treats you well
And makes you up real fine.
And when he's strong,
He's strong for you.
And when you kiss
It's something new.
But did you ever call my name
Just by mistake?
I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do.
So I'll just write some love to you.

However, the super lovely melody with the same song title by the same artisit has much more morose lyrics to it: but if you close your mind and just listen to the music, it takes you on a magical journey to Mars.

It's a God awful small affairTo the girl with the mousey hair,
But her mummy is yelling, "No!"And her daddy has told her to go,
But her friend is no where to be seen.
Now she walks through her sunken dreamTo the seats with the clearest view
And she's hooked to the silver screen,But the film is sadd'ning bore
For she's lived it ten times or more.
She could spit in the eyes of foolsAs they ask her to focus onSailorsFighting in the dance hall.
Oh man!Look at those cavemen go.It's the freakiest show.
Take a look at the lawman Beating up the wrong guy.
Oh man!Wonder if he'll ever know He's in the best selling show.
Is there life on Mars?
It's on America's tortured browThat Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow.
Now the workers have struck for fame'Cause Lennon's on sale again.
See the mice in their million hordesFrom Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads.
Rule Britannia is out of bounds To my mother, my dog, and clowns,
But the film is a sadd'ning bore'Cause I wrote it ten times or more.
It's about to be writ again As I ask you to focus onSailorsFighting in the dance hall.
Oh man!Look at those cavemen go.It's the freakiest show.
Take a look at the lawman Beating up the wrong guy.
Oh man!Wonder if he'll ever knowHe's in the best selling show.
Is there life on Mars?

... and I wonder why David put such ugly lyrics on this beautiful melody, but I guess it's the madness that usually accompanies genius.

Busy Waterloo Station

On Friday night, I was going to London to meet with the girls at All Bar One, I arrived in Waterloo station at 6.30 PM and there was a swarm of people, mostly business people going home, but also tourists and people of all ages going out like me. There were old people, young people, people with children, fat ones, skinny ones, fashion over-kill ones, and those for whom fashion is probably an exotic fruit. All of them had one thing in common they were rushing or running through the station to find their trains. And so I chose a slow song to listen to (Guillemots - Made up love song #43) and decided to walk very slowly through that rushing crowd - it felt funny, it felt like when you watch a movie in fast forward, or like a strange dream where you can't tell what's going on around you. The result was exhilarating, a cool experience.


The best show ever, if possible. It is funnier than the film itself! The musical version of the Monty Python’s and the Holy Grail, produced by Eric Idle, a former Monty Python’s actor. The scene was great, the decors were very Monty Python’s typical cartoonish designs seen mostly in their flying circus TV series. Tim Curry was absolutely brilliant as King Arthur, he is such a great actor and I did not know how well he could sing. Although he was made famous for the musical “Rocky Picture Show”, I only knew him for (often silly) roles in movies.
Sir Galahad was the pretty vain boy, who flicks her hair a lot, Sir Lancelot comes out of the closet (which solves the issue of Guinevere having an affair with him), the Lady of the Lake was a super cool and sexy drama Queen, Sir Francis a sissy scaredy-cat… and of course the French taunters were excellent and Alex bought me the Tee-shirt ‘Fetchez la Vache’ which I wear proudly! Anyone who reads this, please take a minute to book your tickets for the show, or make a trip to London (or Broadway) to watch the show, it is that worth it. I know I want to go back there every month, if finances allow until they stop playing! The songs were funny, the acting was funny and the story was silly. A terrific and hilarious show!


Today is Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali, depending on whether you are Indie or Tamil. Diwali was what it was called when I lived in Utah Pradesh, India and Deepavali is its name in Malaysia. Both countries celebrate the Hindu holiday of Light or fire, depending on the interpretations. However the party in India was a whole lot more fun. People would throw buckets full of paints at each other the whole day long, sometimes, it would take days for the paint to wash off our hair, skin and clothes, it was like a day-long water balloon fight, you're soaking wet and dripping with reds, yellows, blues, greens and purples. In the evening, everyone would light up candles and the whole place would be illuminated with the hundreds and thousands of candles.

Diwali Christmas 2002However, to me, Diwali will always be our lovely (late) Irish Setter. When we came back from India in 1987, we moved to a lovely town in Brittany and both Julien and I were off to a normal school and my dad was still traveling a lot for his work, so my mom who worked part time wanted a pet to keep her company. So it was a few weeks before Christmas that my dad brought her that cute clumsy silly and adorable 3-weeks old Irish setter. Maman named her Diwali, for her beautiful 'Fire' colour, a very appropriate name.
Diwali with Papa on the beach of Royan in late Summer 2002
Maman would walk Diwali to the beach everyday and even in the cold winter that silly dog would throw herself in the sea and shake off the water right next to us. And whenever we called her to 'come back' or 'come here' she would run even further away. My grandpa Papi Nono adopted her when we resumed our travels in 1990. He trained her to be an excellent hound dog, which is her breed. Whenever I came back home, she systematically behaved like a puppy, which proves that dogs have good memories. Miss her loads. Today, my parents remembered her too, because they were walking with an English couple who have two Irish setters, and were reminiscing about the good old Diwali.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Christmas is early this year

Actually, I have more interesting posts to make then get all excited about FF-XII, like sharing my new fascination with Japan, sharing the listing of my favourite music albums ever and commenting on the actual listing of best albums of all time, or sharing my travel plans for 2007 and how stressed I am at work and that when I'm stressed I make mistake, which is obviously even more stressful. But all these will have to wait. Internet was down lately and tomorrow night, Alex is taking me out to watch Spamalot the West End Musical of the Holy Grail by Eric Idle, former Monty Python actor; and Friday night is catching up with the girls whom I can hardly wait to see.

Christmas is early this year. For starters, we still have a lovely weather way into October, which is nice; then BBC is releasing their amazing documentary DVD Planet Earth, so I booked the DVD and will receive it in the mail on December 1st. If you get to buy/rent the DVD in your countries I highly recommend it. It contains amazing scenery and wild life of our planet and is accompanied with beautiful music from Sigur Ros, a band from Iceland. It is so mesmerizing and poignant that it almost brings tears to the eye. And still in the "Christmas is early" series, my favourite author, Terry Pratchett has released his latest book "Wintersmith" and tonight I found out that the new instalment of my favourite game is being released soon. I feel a bit silly getting so excited like a little kid about a game, a book and a documentary but hey whatever works, right?

Final Fantasy XII is coming out!

At last, the very much awaited game of the deceny is coming out. I had lost any hope to ever see the game but tonight I looked it up and the release is due October 31st!!! I have been awaiting this game since I completed FFX-II in November 2003. Since then the last game I played was Xenosaga II and Brotherhood of Steel, that was over 20 months ago.
To my Darling and to myself, I promise that:
1. I shall not hog the TV
2. I shall not hurry home from work to play my game
3. I shall not make lame excuses and cancel seeing my friends just so that I can continue playing
4. I shall not obsess about the game
5. I shall not miss interesting and intelligent documentaries
6. I shall not forget to maitain my blog

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ha ha! That's what love is.

I was quite interested in this article published in the Saturday Times on 07/10, so I though
t I'd share it with you all. It was actually an article about how or why people deal with their finances and one way to make people spend is to raise their levels of oxytocin. I hope this is something that will not be used because I am already guillible enough. But I was mostly glad to have an explanation of why sometimes to a very few people in the world I felt like I could trust them and tell them everything about myself... and later wonder why on Earth did I do that, well one explanation, one word: oxytocin. I'm satisfied with the answer. When you are aware of something it is easier to mind it in the future, if I feel compelled to tell my whole life to someone, I'll be able to moderate it because I'll know it's the oxytocin acting up.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hever Castle

On Sunday, we did not have any plans. I wanted to go for a walk by the seaside, so on the recommendation of Alex' friend we decided to drive to a small place called Rye on the English Channel. Half way there, it was past lunch time and we decided to stop in the lovely country side of Kent to have a pub lunch, while driving through charming little villages we were led to Hever Castle.

The 13th Century castle of the famous Kent countryside was the home of Anne Boleyn, Henry the VIII's second wife. The place comes right out of a fairy tale. It has a maze made of Yew trees and a water maze which sprays water according to where one steps. The castle looked very large from up the hill but was the size of a large house up close.

The lake was beautiful especially with the perfect clear blue sky reflecting on its surface. The walk up to the lake is lovely, I could imagine very well how the queens of Henry VIII must have been charmed by the place. I imagined, they occupied their time by taking walks long the garden to the lake and spending their afternoons in the spring and summer nursing the rose garden.

It was a very lovely Sunday and I look forward to our next spontaneous expedition to the English countryside or seaside.

Unreported World

I watched Channel 4 Unreported world about the illegal immigration in South Africa and the crime rate ensuing. It makes me a bit upset to know that my friends live in these conditions, but they don't seem to mind. It's normal for them. A few weeks ago, my colleague said he as driving out to lunch with his client and his car got caught in a shooting, he considered himself lucky that his car was not hijacked and his client not injured. the cute Alison also seems oblivious to the problem, and they are all a very happy bunch of people. It is a very good attitude, if you have to live with the problem you might as well not let it stop you from being happy and leading as normal a life as you can. I don't know why it surprises me though because that's pretty much how we made it through our years in India.

Anyway, if the Western world thought that immigration is a problem in their country, wait to read this:

This reminds me that I have yet to watch the Oscar winning Foreign-film 'Totsi' from South Africa about a man who steals a car with a baby in the car and facing a reality-check.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


my colleague from the danish office, Klaus the Viking
I was up in Oslo for three days this week. Unfortunately I did not see much of the beautiful Nordic city. I arrived late on the Tuesday night, Wednesday was a 18-hour business day and on Thursday night I was too exhausted to drag myself out. Indeed, Wednesday was very busy, we were at the exhibition at 8am and I stopped talking and demonstrating the products at 7pm. This is what I call a successful day when one can put in 11 hours straight and not feel tired, the clients were really good, asking questions and showing a genuine interest. At one point I realised that I had gathered a crowd of 9 people and I did not feel intimidated.

That night, there was the gala dinner, Klaus meand I sat at the table of the largest store in Norway, although we were not seating with our product category manager, it was interesting to find out how these category managers work. What I liked best is that they have their own corporate drinking song!!! So we were all invited to stand on our chairs with a glass of Jagermeister and sing along loud and proud the corporate song. I reckon we should have one too, since drinking is an important requirement where I work. When I suggested it to my boss, he said, any song and any drink is our corporate identity. hi hi hi.

Top 100 Cartoons

Last Sunday night there was a cool show on TV about the 100 best cartoons ever, I did not necessarily agree with their ranking, I should have written this update sooner 'cos I cannot report what their top five was, but No.2 was Family guy, a show I was not familiar with, but Alex say it is very good indeed and bought the DVD for me to watch, and no.1 was The Simpsons. My top 10 favourite cartoons would have to be:
10. Winnie the Pooh (I know they are not meant for me but they are cute and entertaining)
9. Nicky Larson (City Hunter in English) a very silly cartoon in the late 80's about a slizzy detective - very funny show that was.
8. Futurama
7. Who framed Roger Rabbit
6. The Beauty and the Beast
5. The Jungle Book
4. The Incredibles
3. The Nightmare before Christmas
2. The Simpsons
1. Shrek I & II

The Rose

Last Saturday night I met up with Sarah, Alison, Nicky, Orla and our respective partners at Alison's new flat, a very lovely two bedrooms, cosy garden flat, overlooking a well-kept flower court and with a roof terrace with a view across South London. I volunteered to be the designated driver, and I must admit that I enjoyed the evening very well without drinking.

Orla, John, Alex and I stayed back at Ali's while the rest of them went ahead to party, we had a fun chat about their house hunt and nurtured a silly conversation about sailing up and down the Thames from our place to their dream home.

Later we drove to the club, but the place was full and we had to queue, as we could not be bothered we walked accross the road to the Rose, a pub where our friend Griff worked evenings same time last year when I arrived in London and lived with Sarah and Orla. Griff now owns the Rose and he is doing much better for himself, it was very nice to see him in better spirits. Also, it was great when I walked in that pub and that I knew so many people, who all remembered me and cared about what happened to me in the last 9 months they had not seen me. It made me feel... grateful.

It was a lovely night out and I enjoyed going out as couples as much as going out just the girls. Next meeting will be with the girls only but sometime in early November, we'll have another comedy club night out. I should also invite them over now that my flat is fully furnished and cosy.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I must be blessed, in spite of feeling empty when I have it all, because this afternoon, I parked my car along my South African neighbour and her kids. dear little Katlyn, 3, is just the most adorable kid, she has lovely ginger blond hair and rosy cheeks. She jumped out of the car and rushed into my arms and as kids often do, gesturing me to come closer cupping her little hands around her mouth, whispered in my ear I love you Helen. Goodness, I love her too!

on my way to 30

Today I heard from Susheel, it had been months since I last talked to him. He's a funny guy whose first love is golf, and last time I heard from him was for his 30th birthday, and just yesterady I received an invitation to another friend's 30th in Britanny. I realised it is my turn next and I am fretting it. Which I find very surprising because I rarely question anything, I just live one day after the next. I guess I come to realise that I am about to hit 30, I'm married to a brilliant man, I've got a good career, nice home, good health, few good friends, enjoy gigs and art and I wonder is this it? Most people move on to have children. and I'd love to have children some day... but I feel this is all so superficial and empty and it scares me. I'm going to be 30 and I've done it all, what am I supposed to do for the next 50 years? Go to work everyday? Bring up kids? Cook nice meals? Join a pilates class? Explore the world? Why does it feel so empty? Life goes on and so must you said Gene. I'll do my best.

delayed update

Hey ya all!
I have not been keeping you updated in a while. Got busy with work as we had our sales meeting. It was really cool seeing friends and colleagues from South Africa and Denmark. However the party was not as grand as the first time. I reckon it is because we did not leave the country this time, so it does not feel like I was in a different planet at a different time. The only good thing about the three days is a conversation with Ron about 'intend' whether you do/say something with 'intend' or not and what motivates someone. (we were talking about harmless flirting, upon which Ron disagreed that it is not harmless if there is intend, which is very true). As you can see I have fascinating conversations with my boss. I also had a good chat with Mike about Ron... lol... Mike and Ron are best friends and have been in the company for 20 years. He told me to be cautious about a few things which is always good to remember. I am way too trusting in general and I have way to much faith in people. I refuse to believe that anyone would 'intend' to hurt, may it be spite, harsh words, lies, kill, harrass, bully, gossips, selfishness, malice, etc. It makes me quite vulnerable to harm.

Then this week I was visiting clients with Martin. I love meeting the clients, they're great people, I get along so easily with them. I was a bit bashful when Martin told me a client requested that I always be around when he visits. Martin is even thinking of giving me the account, which would be cool but that's besides my job. Oh well, I've got a career in progress.

So I had two good weeks, very productive with work and my back feels a lot better, I only feel the pain in my butt if I try to run. And it's getting cold here, it feels colder in my home than outside, I will resist the urge to switch on the heater at night until end of October.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Genghis Khan

I watched a documentary on the famous tyrant Genghis Khan, or so I thought until you find out a bit more about his life and why he did what he did. This demonstrates yet again that there is two sides to every stories.

Genghis Khan means Supreme Master and is a title he earned from his people who he united. His name was Temujin, his father was a tribe leader but when his father died, the tribe dispersed and Temujin and his brothers and sister were abandoned and left to their own fate. Temujin had to hunt to feed his family and one day he caught his brother eating his own catch not sharing it, Temujin shot an arrow to his brother’s heart, who died of his wound. Temujin later fell in love and got married, when his bride was kidnapped by a rival tribe, he forged an alliance with his sworn brother (referred to as Blood brother) Jamuqa to attack the enemy clan and rescue his wife – which in my opinion is a very romantic. The two of them grew very powerful and Jamuqa grew jealous when a shaman predicted that Temujin would conquer thousands of acres of land. That’s when Temujin said the second thing that earns respect: “Jamuqa thought he ought to be the leader because he was born into an aristocrat family and inherited his father’s status, whilst Temujin earned his place through survival, struggle and learning”. Jamuqa left the alliance and later ambushed and massacred the tribe of Temujin. This is when Temujin became the strategist he was, he said “One arrow on its own can be broken”… “a stack of arrows together are unbreakable” and trained his tribe to become warriors, he trained them to shoot accurately their targets while riding their horses.

My next question to Alex was “Then why was he a tyrant to China”, the answer came promptly. China saw a threat in Genghis Khan, and so he decided to invade China before they came to attack him (that battle I know of from Disney’s Mulan), now I don’t really agree with the plan of let’s attack them before they get the idea to attack us, but hey, this is year 1206. The way he besieged Beijing was especially cruel, forcing the resident inside the city walls until they starved to death. And I disapprove most strongly of the fact that he burnt down to the ground that beautiful city (but then again, the English did the same of the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1860, when you’d think they’d know better and show a little bit more appreciation). When he became Genghis Khan he said one more thing that I found very honourable, he said he wanted to unite the tribes of Mongolia and bring order (which I interpret as peace) to the world. When Persia slay his ambassador he responded to this rudeness by slaughtering pretty much everyone, then he went on conquering as far as Poland till he died. So although I disapprove of the massacres, he made some very justified (and effective) battles. I won’t be seeing him as a blood thirsty tyrant anymore, but as a man who had a vision and good principles. To read his story in more details, check out

Scissor sisters

Saturday… My back is getting worse. Maybe I should not strain it so much. I still want to go to the Scissor sisters gig in Trafalgar Square. The Aids charity concert rose money to buy medicine for HIV infected people and help them continue contributing to their communities, take care of their families and for infected women not to spread the deadly disease to their unborn children.

Trafalgar square looked impressive bathed in red spotlights. The concert was fantastic, I loved every single song they played and they put on such a grand show. It was however torture not to be able to dance due to my increasingly painful back, so I was condemned to wriggle my toes. Well worth the night out though and a huge thank you is in order for my colleague, Sarah, who gave me her tickets.

On Sunday my back got worse yet, so Monday my boss and colleagues kicked me out of the office to see a doctor and today I am taking a rest day to let my back recover. I only saw a nurse at the clinic who said my back muscles were tender and that I should try to exercise them to strengthen them back to life and take lots of pain killers to tolerate the discomfort till my muscles are renewed. Tomorrow there is our quarterly sales conference with my colleagues from Denmark and South Africa, no partying for me this time, but that would be a good thing as I have already earned a ‘party girl’ reputation in the company, this time I’ll show them I can be very decent too. :P

Thursday, September 14, 2006



We are off to Rotterdam to spend a long weekend with Neill and Chantal. It has become like a summer destination, but henceforth, we agreed we would meet up in a foreign place to discover it together. Chosen destination include Lisbonne, Barcelona, a skiing trip in the Alpes and Prague. The four-day break was supposed to include cycling and snow boarding. Unfortunately, it stopped on Sunday when I had a cycling accident while avoiding a car coming fast around a blind corner (and by the way, it was a cyclist road), I avoided the car, but fell hard on my back Alex cycling through the streets of Rotterdamand bum a luckily had time to throw my backpack under my head to prevent it from hitting the ground hard too. I was scared I broke my coccyx again from the pain. Alex said I looked so contorted that he thought I was broken all over, fortunately nothing's broken, just bruised and still very painful 5 days later, especially when I need to sit down, lie down, bend down and all of the above back 'up'. On Monday we went to Amsterdam anyway and had fun watching the girls on display in the red light district. The weather was lovely too.

Peggy Sue and The Pirates, Kate and Rose are very talented singers and had very original tracks, just one guitar and two great voicesOn Saturday night, we cycled to a club in central Rotterdam, to watch some indie unknown English artists perform. The first band was pussy rock (To Hammer: by pussy rock, I mean dull, not exactly rocking my world), they were followed by two girls, one guitar and funny lyrics. I think they have great potential, they certainly were entertaining. They are playing in London in November, I will ask Sarah, Orla and Alison if they want to watch them.

Chantal and me
Overall, we had a good time, if it had not been for the fall. I might see a doctor next week if my back does not get better, although surely it takes time to recover. Mostly, it was great seeing Neill and Chantal again, I can't wait for them to visit us over here.