Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Toy Mememe

I have never stopped playing. It runs in the family, my dad still plays games, my brother still does, I still do. Games and hardwork is pretty much the only thing I have in common with my dad.

Mon poupon: Guillaume (William in English)
(poupon in French is a boy doll, a girl doll is poupee)

I've had Guillaume for as long as I remember, there always was Guillaume, it would be worth taking a picture of the actual doll, which my mom keeps preciously. It looked so much like a real doll that one day when she was walking me to school, dragging me with one hand and holding Guillaume by the foot in the other, one lady chased her and scolded her for holding her baby all wrong - (yeah she was a sharp one). Now Guillaume has a deformed body and its eyes have been poked into its head, but I still love it.

Building blocks: Lego
I had lots of barbies, which I maried to my brother's GI Joes, but I mostly played with my brother, so lego was the toy of choice, we had all sorts of legos, we spent hours building space ports and futuristic cities, and space ships to destroy the cities with. At Christmas, I spent the better part of my time, playing legos with Jacques.

My Bike
I learnt to ride my tricyle going round and round the tree on the terrace when I was three. I had a proper bike when I was seven, it was pink, I loved it. It was a present from my late uncle Philip (my cousin Nicolas' dad). I fell and scraped my knees more than once. We were in Britanny back then and living on top of a hill with the sea side at the bottom of the slope and we would let go of the pedals and breaks and free fall downhill and more often than not pile up on top of one another at the bottom of the hill. In India, our bikes were the most fun toy we had, it was a very flat dirt roads, I remember one particular bad fall where my bike took off over a rock on the road and I went flying off, a bit like in E.T. with a bad landing.

Dungeon & Dragons and other RPG
Role playing games were a huge part of our teens. We started playing in India, with "Dark Eye" and followed with Dungeon and Dragons when we were back in Britanny. We had a real good team of players and we'd spend one entire weekend every month from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening playing non-stop. Julien loved being the Dungeon master. It really developed my over-active imagination as you imagine walking through dungeons and fighting trolls and whatever other crap Julien could think of putting us through.
Alex occasionally teases me saying that D&D is for nerds, but we were the cool kids at school who had sleepovers and stayed up all night to play. It was the best years of my childhood.

Playstation II
Then came the years where playing was for kids and socialising and partying and clubbing was the thing to do. Until a couple of years back when I started working, too tired to go out after work, too stressed and too not bothered with anything. There I invested in a PS2, which unsocially changed my life... Fall Out Brotherhood of Steel, Dungeon& Dragons (yeah, again), Final Fantasy, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2 and now awaiting impatiently FF XII, which is out in the US, but only released in the UK February 26, 2007.

Who to tag... A garden in France (aka Mom), Judith, Dan, Galactically Stupid... Steven Novak(when you run out of things to joke about)and whoever has not done it yet? Do it!

Nine Inch Nails - Closer

Alex got us tickets to see NIN on March 10th. I only like a couple of songs. This one particularly.

EXPLICIT LYRICS. Sensitive souls, please abstain from watching.

I thought Alex was kidding when he said he bought tickets, but why not, it should be quite an experience.

James - Laid

Alex got us tickets to see James on April 26th. I've been listening to James for the last 12 years. It's very exciting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

?Habla Espanol?

I've been going to Spanish classes for a while now. Every Monday night since September and it is getting exciting to be able to exchange a bit more information than Me llamo Helen or Como estas.

My favorite new word is 'baruso'. Soy baruso (I'm rubbish) or Esta baruso (that's rubbish) two expressions that come into use fairly frequently.

The lovely Julianna cracked me up yesterday describing her favorite spanish food was...
Juliana: Ohh what is it called... It looks like shit... huh... sorry, I mean it's in a shape of a turd.. huh... sorry, I mean it's covered in chocolate.
Indeed, churro is a deep-fried dough snack that one eats with sugar or chocolate. I know blokes laugh quite easily at poop jokes (most likely Steven Novak), but coming from a girl as sweet as Julianna, it was very unexpected.

Radiohead - Bullet Proof

My new favorite song... a pretty good cover of Radiohead's bulletproof... I wish I was from the album The Bends.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vienna - A Magical Saturday

On the Saturday morning, we visited Schonbrunn palace which was the summer palace of the imperial family. It was good fun walking outside in the gardens of the palace with Ron. Shame that it was winter and very grey.

In the afternoon we went ice skating with Beth, Alison, Dani, Manny, Martin, Kenneth and Klaus. Klaus is an excellent skater (he plays ice hockey) so he scared us a couple of times. I fell flat on my tummy once, and had nasty bruises on my knees but it is starting to clear.

After skating, Ali, Beth and I went to the hairdresser and got ready for our gala dinner. I was exhausted came dinner time, the photos show large dark circles under my eyes, not the best.

I was given a certificate of « Outstanding Achievement » in contribution to the Company in 2006. I was so very surprised and a bit moved, especially since Ron was wounding me up 5 minutes earlier, saying that I only scratch the surface of my potential in 2006 and that I had better do better in 2007. I received a gold bullion from the Philharmonic of Austria worth a 100€, I am going to keep it.
After dinner, I danced the waltz !!! In Vienna !!! With a long black dress !!! On a real ensemble of 10 musicians. It was a dream come true... You see I grew up watching the New Year's Vienna ball every single New Year's day, and I loved Strauss and I loved how the ladies moved accross the ballroom and the beautiful dresses they wore. I could hardly believe I was there. I danced with:

  • Leo who was not a very patient teacher, too strict for my liking
  • Mike, who was more lost than I was and kept stepping on my feet, too sloppy for my liking
  • Olivier, who was a good lead and waltz very quickly until my head was dizzy
  • Winfred, who was a lovely dancer and teacher, and I had the most enjoyable dance with him, and it was on the waltz of the Blue Danube, so I could not have hoped for a better experience.
I am expecting the official pictures of the trip next week.

Dinner at the Mayflower

Last night, Alex and I met up with his ex-colleague from Chooi & Co and friend Seow Ling and her German husband Neill. The two of them arrived in London a few months after we settled in and we were meeting for the first time.

Seow Ling is a lovely Penang girl, Cantonese Chinese, my mother in law explained to me once that it was easy to recognise Cantonese girls because their face is like a full moon, round, small features, pale skin. She is so petite yet has a grand personality inside that little body. Alex said she bullied her husband and I thought he was teasing her, but when Neill arrived late...

SL: Why are you so late? Choose what you want to eat.
N: Hi. I'm sorry baby. I have not looked at the menu yet.
SL: It's ok. I choose for you - taking the menu away from his hands.

That made me laugh so hard, she does bully her husband! This pair met doing due diligence in KL in the data room of a client of Alex back then, so Alex could picture the scene very well. The honkie waiters were rude but the dinner was great , we had:

Crab in black bean and chilly sauce
Roasted Duck
Some green leafy vegetable I can't recall the name
Fried squid

They are a lovely couple and she is good fun. It is the second mix couple Malaysian/European we meet, I'll invite them over with Natascha and Grant when I come back from Malaysia.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am back from the kick off meeting in Vienna. What a trip!
We worked hard and played harder.

On Thursday Night, Klaus giving Beth and I some bunny ears and Simon in front

On Wednesday, it was just the back together night, we had a lovely dinner and caught up with everyone from the team, I was also happy to meet other people from the different regions, such as Spain, France and Italy.

In the rude restaurant, Cristina from Spain; Dani from SA, me and the girls from the French team Estelle, Celine and Julie

On Thursday we ended up in the worst restaurant in the World. the food was blend and the waiters extremely rude, pushing us around and screaming very loud 'EXCUSE ME' if we were not paying attention, and they were bad at pouring us drinks too, but that's probably good. I found out that Klaus is going to be a daddy this March, which means his missus was just pregnant when we were in Oslo, and Fabrizio from the Italian office is getting married this May. Congratulations to them both.

On Friday, we worked harder, with discussions in the afternoon - tiring. So I was very happy to be going for the dinner and party after to re-energize myself.

Simon, Kenneth and I in the bus on the way to the restaurant.

The restaurant was absolutely lovely, it was a vineyard within the city. Apparently Vienna is the only capital city in the World that has a vineyard and Bethoveen came to rest in this very place and composed his 9th Symphony. The food was great and the company good as usual. We sang very loudly 'We are the Champions', 'Vindaloo', 'Three Lions' and The Beatles 'A Hard Day's Night'. I also danced with the president on the traditional countryside Viennese music.

The UK team, Carrina, Beth and I

After the dinner, we went to town and ended up in the most horrible night club, it was stripped girls who - obvisously were all over the men from the team, it made me feel a little uncomfortable. So I went for a walk with new French team mate Syad in charge of Emerging market in Middle East, when we came back the music was better, so I joined the girls and Simon did a strip tease for us, so we would not feel left out!

As you can see, Danni and I are enjoying ourselves a bit more thanks to Simon's surprise strip!

Saturday was even more exciting but I have not got the pictures yet, so stay tuned!

Monday, January 15, 2007

School Disco

As soon as I was back to work, I did not have time to quietly start the year with the plans for 2007 and review and analysis of 2006. We had a large customer event to attend on the theme of "A new class". So Peter and I were off to Birmingham for the occasion. The exhibition was very successful, the delegates showed a good interest in our products and were moslty eager for freebies but that's to be expected. As every good convention, there are dinners to attend, and for the staff, they had a prom dinner, but for us, after the hard working day at the exhibition, we had a school disco!!!! Yeah!!! So I dressed up as a naughty student.

I was popular with the boys, but got them hurrying away by saying "how do you like my tie? It's my husband's." I made lots of good contacts with the customers and Peter and I had a brilliant time dancing the night away.
Good old days relived.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Year

It is the 13th of January and I am recalling New Year's eve. Actually it is because I like to think of that blog as a personal diary of all the nice things or not so nice that make life exciting and special or a lesson.

On New Year's eve, we were flying back from France, and had dinner plans at Dan and Julie's. However, in the morning, Alex received a call from his little sister Cheryl, who just completed her air hostess course and was flying to London that very evening!!! We were so excited, I called Julie to set one more dinner plate for Cheryl and we hurried back home to drop of the suitcases and pick up the car, to fetch Cheryl. It was such a wonderful way to start the New Year. Cheryl is a very sweet girl and she has grown so beautiful. What makes me the happiest is that since she left home she has grown very close to Alex and being very close to my brother I think it is very important for sibblings to love each other.
We made it to Dan and Julie's a t 11 PM. The party was well under way, and we were well on time to celebrate the New Year. It was a very civilised dinner party, at that suits me well, no drinking beside the Champagne and plenty of cheers and laughter.

New Year's day was lovely too, a beautiful weather and so the three of us walked for lunch to our favorite Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum and Chee Cheong Fun and a bit of shopping. A good start to 2007.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The greatest bond

The greatest bond must be between a child and his mother, but close enough, is the friendship and love of a child. Alex was never interested in my nephews or any other kids for that matter.
Nicolas is a very cute kid and good fun. He, like Jacques before him, were always intrigued by Tonton Alex, I assume because he is so aloof, it is a rare sight for these kids who attract attention. Jacques left the aloof Tonton Alex well alone and that was fine by Alex, however the little one thought differently and worked his way into Tonton Alec's heart. Ha ha! that was no typo, x is a difficult letter for a 3-year old and so it is Alec.

Here Tonton Alec is threatening Nicolas not to wake him up next morningIt all started one fine morning after Christmas.
N: "Tata, where is Tonton Alec?"
Me: "He's sleeping"
N: "But Why?" (his favorite sentence)
Me: "Because it is still early and he slept late"
N: "Are you going to wake up Tonton Alec?"
Me (Surprised): "do you want to wake up tonton Alex?"
The little one nodded, so I carried him upstairs and sat on the bed and told Nicolas to wake up his tonton. There, he felt very shy and pointed his finger at me. (his way of saying 'you do it').
So I woke up tonton Alex, and Nicolas was very shy hanging on to me like dear life and did not say a word, so I took him back downstairs and sat him next to his brother. On my way out, I heard:
N: "Jacques, Jacques, I woke up Tonton Alec!" said he very proudly.

So that became a game between the naughty little Nicolas and the distant Tonton Alex. Thereafter, the two became great friends, playing at threatening each other at the dinner table with the knife (Tonton Alex) or the decorative gold nuggets (for Nicolas). Then Nicolas would call on me and whisper in my ear that "Tonton Alec is very naughty", which led to a conversation of this kind:

N: Tonton Alec is naughty
Me: Why?
N: He's using his knife
Me: It's dinner. He's eating. You're also naughty.
N: Points finger at tonton Alex
A: You're naughty
N: No. you're naughty
A. No. You're naughty
N: No. You are.

Every morning, Nicolas woke up his Tonton and made Tonton read a book about marine life. I have to say that Alex particularly enjoyed the fact that Nicolas is curious ("But Why?" syndrome, without abuse) and impressed the two of us with his knowledge on sharks and insects and dinosaurs, although Jacques is the expert at dinosaurs.

I also had my share of cute conversations with Nicolas and Jacques but this was well worth reporting.