Friday, October 21, 2011


I’m sitting on a beautiful bench with cast-iron hand rests in the shape of winged sphinxes, overlooking the Thames. The sun is above Westminster Abbey, and when the clouds give it a gap it turns the river into glaring gold. Having just finished my class on the Economic History of Latin America, I wandered down here to eat my lunch and type up the notes from our group presentations on our reading assignments. I succeeded in eating my lunch (a ham sandwich with mango chutney, a juicy English cucumber and a small piece of cheese), but only lasted about 30 seconds on my schoolwork. I have decided to blame it on the wind, which happens to be blowing quite briskly and won’t allow my notes to stay on my lap, or beside me.

I’m wearing my new forest green trench coat, which I purchased last week under the supervision of Clare and Arthur, my landlords but also my great friends. Arthur is an American who has lived long enough here to lose his American accent and wed Clare, a stunning, vivacious English girl from Kent. Arthur popped the collar of the coat when I tried it on, and I laughed and put it back down. Then he explained that here you actually pop your collar for practical reasons—to ward off that chilly, pesky wind. It is as the English are fond of saying, brilliant.

The first couple weeks of my program have been up and down. I’m adjusting to a new style of academia and learning in general, which is quite different from the system I’ve become accustomed to for the last 16 years of my education. Also, the first few classes gave me the impression that my program was far different than what I’d expected and that I would’ve been better off in a different one. I contemplated postponing a year, or even dropping out and joining the Romney campaign. But a few fantastic lectures and readings convinced me I’m in the right place for now, and that this is also the right timing. I’ve been attending…

There’s the sun again. I’m blinded by the alchemized river right in front of me, but the rays of light feel so good on my cold fingers. The London Eye is also fully in the sunlight and glistens against the backdrop of tired gray clouds. Behind it the gothic towers of Parliament are still in shadow. And now the sun has slipped away again, at about the same pace as the grey-headed man smoking an oversized pipe strolled by me, paused to look at the river and then crossed the road towards the tube station.

I’ve been attending career presentations almost every night. Consulting, Banking, Investment Research are all still on the table, but at this point I’m leaning heavily towards consulting. I think it will give me the variety of experiences I seek, reward my diverse skill-set, and help me learn to apply my creativity and problem-solving skills to enhance the performance of businesses, organizations and governments.

Time to succumb to the wind and put my fingers back in the pockets of this nice warm coat. Cheers.

1 comment:

Bev said...

Michael, Thank you for your wonderful post! I also enjoyed our chat on the phone this morning, (which I now see was echoing your update here on your post) Have a great time at Cornwall! I am wishing I could be there too! I love you!