Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Catching up...

Ok, let's catch up with what's been going on so far. Been quite a while since I've arrived in this beautiful and slightly odd city. Why odd? Well let me see, here's some funny facts about Oxford:
  • People regularly bump into you on the sidewalk. In Holland it's quite normal to give a bit of room when you approach each other on the sidewalk. In Oxford people just run straight into you. To avoid this, you'll be forced to go onto the street where of course you almost get run over by a car, because you are still looking in the wrong direction, as they drive on the left.
  • Official drink up limits. Bar closes at 11pm and then you officially have 20 mins to finish that pint of Extra cold Guinness.
  • When taking an exam, every student has to dress up in what is called, a sub-fusc (see picture below). For guys, this means: Black suit, black socks and shoes, white shirt, white bow-tie and a gown! You have to bring your cap too, but you're not allowed to wear it. As if just taking the exam was not enough, imagine yourself standing in front of the mirror in the morning and you forgot how to tie your bow-tie!!! I already had my first nightmare about this!

Anyways, enough about that. This is the list of topic I study for in this term (Michaelmas term it's called):

FinanceI, Strategy, Financial reporting, Developing effective managers, Decision science and Managerial economics. Favorites are Finance, Strategy, Dec Science and FR. Lectures are usually very good and interesting. Also a good mix of cases vs theory. Sometimes you'd wish you had more time to go in depth, though.

We are currently in week 6 of this term. Lectures continue up until week 8, then 1 week of revision and in week 10: Exams!

Ok, some highlights so far (or basically events that I have pictures of, because we all know that pictures say more than a thousand words....)

Matriculation

Tim & Yazeed (MBA students and fellow Linacrites)

Tim and a strange girl with a green hat

That's me with Machteld (now wearing an even stranger hat)

Portugal

Yes I know, Portugal has nothing to do with Oxford, but on the 30th of October, my parents were married for 40 years!!! This called for a great celebration in and around the wonderful small Portuguese village of Sao Martinho do Porto. Discovered by my mom & dad I think about 15 years ago, this village, built around a bay somewhat over a 100 km's north of Lisbon, has been a second home for us. From many different locations, close friends flew in and for a few days Marquell (our favorite little cafe where we spend at least 2 hours every day to eat Tostas Mistas and drink bicques) was flooded with Dutch.

First night, October 28th, was set in a lovely barn. Owned by Portuguese friends, a villa+barn decorated a wonderful setting for an informal barbeque. The one course diner was hosted by a hand-picked and carefully nurtured pig. A local fado-band filled the room with its traditional hearth-breaking music. Some impressions:

Bbq preparations


Mom and dad... Magnificent fado! My dad with the butcher

The day after, much needed cafe and bolos de nata were consumed at Marquell, preparing us for night two.

Stage for this night was a terrific restaurant right on the Sao Martinho boulevard. This night would build up to the ultimate climax at midnight when my parents were officially married for 40 years. As milestones always provide excellent opportunities to reflect on past performance, many friends provide my parents with some feedback, and so did Talina (my sister) and I.

Dinner was amazing, and it was simply just a great night!

Clearly much appreciation as Robert Sterneberg (father of my brother-in-law Richard Sterneberg) shares his view on the couple.

My mother revealing her cunning plan of how to sneek boys into her

highschool party. Fortunately she succeeded and met my father.

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