Classes are going as well as they can be.  Since the International Business Plan is over with, I have a lot more free time than I have been used to.  For instance, I actually can go out with friends and socialize.  I could only fantasize about playing cards at the coffee shop, or walking the town at night during the middle of the week.  Those things are actually doable this semester.

I made two new friends, too.  Lucian is a new MBA candidate this semester.  He’s a US citizen, now, but he was originally from Romania.  And, there’s the Ashton Kutcher look-alike, Greg.  If there was ever an All-American Mid-Western boy, Greg would be it.  Put Stiffler from “American Pie” and Kutcher from “That ’70s Show” together and we have Greg.  And, I say that as a compliment.  The guy is loads of fun to be around.  Both are awfully intelligent, too.

I went back to L.A. this past weekend to spend some time with my family.  As appropriate to the Lunar New Year, my parents and I went to visit the elders.  And, there was a big dinner party at the Fourth Family’s house.  All my relatives were there, and the married couples passed out the red envelopes to us young’uns and unmarried persons.  On this trip back to L.A., my friend Shen came with me.  To her surprise, she benefitted from the red envelopes as well.  It was certainly nice of her to travel with me.  There are limited opportunities left.  I’m leaving for Latin America in May.

That is the biggest development, so far.  My Peace Corps Placement Officer, Piers, offered me a position as a consultant for entrepreneurs somewhere in Latin America.  He declined to be any more specific about the country since several countries offer the assignment and their needs may change.  In the least, he is saving a spot for me to leave on May 2nd.

This means I have to finish school early.  The last day of classes is on the twelfth.  In the meantime, I need to get my papers from Dr. Friend (the dermatologist) and my clearance from a local dentist.  Once those are done, I should receive my formal invitation.

My good friend Amanda is getting married in mid-May.  This means I’ll be missing that big occasion.  I’m pretty bummed about that.  So, I hope I can make a trip up to Humboldt before May comes around.

Fall of the American Dream, Rise of the European Dream

Worlds Apart on the Vision Thing
By Jeremy Rifkin Continue reading “Fall of the American Dream, Rise of the European Dream”

America is Full of Dupes

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.  Voice or no voice.  The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  This is easy.  All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in every country.”

Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich-Marshall at the Nuremberg Trials after WW2

A Thought on Top-Tier B-Schools

Although being a graduate from a top-tier B-school like Harvard, Wharton or Stanford is impressive, rarely have I heard a firm improving their bottom line just because it hired a bunch of brandname MBAs.

MIIS is a small private school.  In the Financials Times this year, it ranked 99 out of the 150 international MBA schools around the world.  Of the 58 international MBA schools in the US, it ranked last.  Doesn’t look impressive, I know.  And, maybe that’s why a couple of my classmates are dropping out this semester?  They were potential stars, too (in my opinion).  So, I’m sad to see them go.  But, I’m more disappointed, really.  They ought to have more faith in their abilities to make the most out their MBA regardless of where they got their degree from.  Well, I wish them the best still.  I certainly wished they decided to stay.

“Three Groups”

I don’t know the Chinese characters for this game, but the Pinyin is tiao4 san1 jia1.  That roughly translates to “The Game of Three Groups.”  This is the card game that my friends from the Beijing WTO group have taught me.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been spending my evenings with them exclusively.  I even gave up a brand new episode of “Everwood” tonight just to hang out with them.  (Since I watch that show religiously, the sacrifice means quite a lot.)  So… saying that I love being around them doesn’t quite capture my feelings toward them.  I absolutely feel blessed that they are around.  They are so much fun — even though I can understand less than a third of what they are saying.

Could it be the incredible amount of ego-stroking that they provide?  Could be.  They never waste a moment to encourage me to flirt with the prettiest girls in their group, to complement my looks, my intellect, my accomplishments, my ambitions, my potential… etc.  I mean, geez… how can a guy maintain any semblance of humilty with such an onslaught of praise?  Everyday that I see them, I am asked at least once when I will go to China.  Two years from now, after the Peace Corps, is too long for them.  They ask me to sneak away with them when they return this Wednesday.  Of course, we laugh at the impossibility.  Little do they know how much I yearn for the impossible.

They have welcomed me and treated me with such great kindness.  I mean, these guys are offering me a job at the 2008 Summer Olympics!  They tell me over and over again how I must visit their homes, teach their children English, visit the cultural sites (for free), and find a wife (Chinese, of course).  Haha… I laugh at the idea of how they may already be making a list of all the single women they want to introduce me to.  It’s as if the model-class Xinxin is not beautiful enough, they want me to be acquainted with even more?  Goodness, no wonder so many men have a difficult time keeping their stateside relationships while they’re in China.  Fortunately, I no longer will have that problem…

I will miss these friends I’ve made greatly.  Lordie, lordie… how I want to go to the Mainland so badly.

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