Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why are you working as what you are?

Fabien and I were talking about my imminent return to the working population.

One of the key issues was whether I should be a private practice lawyer, a PSL (professional support lawyer), or public sector lawyer (e.g. in NGO) or whatever?

It's contrary to popular belief that lawyers are an unethical money-grubbing lot. But it is true that there is alot of emphasis on money (e.g. I just worked on a gazillion dollar deal! Resolved a mega-million dollar dispute! Hire me, and give me a whopping great bonus!), probably much more than emphasis on ethics. The interesting part is WHY?

One theory that I have heard is selection bias. People who are naturally competitive tend to be lawyers/investment bankers, and whatever else makes a lot of money. And the entire purpose of making alot of money is not just about IWC watches and Manolo Blahniks, but because the amount of money you make equals points scored. You took exams and competed to get into a good law school, then took more exams and competed to get into a good law firm. Once you are inside that good law firm, are you going to just suddenly stop competing?

Alain de Botton has a great book about money and competition called "Status Anxiety". It's a well recognised phenomenen - you see status anxiety in chimpanzees as well as law firm associates.

In an ideal world. I would like to be the happy private practice lawyer who responded to the negativity about the legal profession in Jeremy Blachman's book review of "The destruction of young lawyers" The fact that this lawyer had time to read blogs and email was a good sign...

So in a completely personal context, the question is : Do I want to spend all my time in the office? And probably miss out on many monents like this?

Sophie is getting so cute - she has long and intense conversations with her parents now. We just need on working out how to translate all that she says into English and French - she seems to speak Shyriiwook and Elvish.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the Road again...

Just enjoying the last bits of summer in Torino, this week we are driving to France (leaving on Saturday morning). We will be in France for 3 weeks and come back on 12 September.

This is of course, not an invitation to rob our house, but you can come water our plants (which will probably be dead and gone by the time we come back)...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Boy Weekend

view from the car
Originally uploaded by vacheorange.

If you want to go to French Engineering School , you have to study for competitive exams to get in when you are around 17 years old. Fabien and other brave muskeeters studied for those exams at Denis family's holiday house in the mountains near Grenoble. They used to spend the whole summer day studying in the library of the lovely wooden house, and then run to the lake and play football or swim to release all that pent up tension.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because everyone that studied in that house all passed those exams and went to the same engineering school, and have remained friends till this day. Denis's wife is expecting their first child, and (with a premenotion of things to come) Denis decided to have a "boy's weekend", back at this house, so the guys spent time on golf, football and swimming in that same lake. I think it is pretty important to let them have their time doing their guys stuff. It is cool that all the wives (yep, they are all married!) get along well with each other, and we can do other things together whilst the males show off their BBQ skills.

So Sophie and me hung out with the girlies! Alex (Jean's wife) gave Sophie her first small piano concert and me and Sophie had walks around the mountain to encounter the dangerous alpine wildlife... (okay, so it was a kitty).

Click on the photo see our photo-set!

First Little Foot in the Water

I've jumped on the bandwagon, having been inspired by Moxie's swim and
Laetitia's singing to upload stuff on Youtube as well.

So this is a very brief snippet of Sophie's first little foot in the Mediterranean. I would like to do a bit more with Quicktime - like rotate the dang image, but it keeps urging me to upgrade to a pro account for the princely sum of USD 19.99... I am seeing how long to go before I cave in and get it, but in the meantime you can take a look at this video and tell me if I should let Apple make more moolah off me...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Whoo Hoo - the photos are here. Click on this image (thank you Mini!) to view the photoset of Sophie's first holiday! Dusty roads, ancient archeological sites, gelatos tangy from the salty ocean spray... A Beautiful holiday for Sophie and me.

Of course after all that careful packing, they had to lose our luggage in Rome. A mixed blessing because then I realised how little we really needed (I just lived in my orange bikini!). Although it was still a relief when the luggage arrived.

Sophie is a natural born air traveller (she better be - with parents like hers). No difficulty with take offs and landings and airplanes in general. She just latches on to my boob like a pro, and sleeps through the flight. Even the flight attendants were impressed (and they see alot of babies everyday).

Travelling alone with an infant can be challenging at times. Most times, we were lucky, and good samaritains helped me when they saw me struggling with stroller, luggage and infant. If you ever see a lone traveller in such a situation - do not hesitate to help them out, they will be entirely grateful for it. I am so tired from all the transfers we made - was joking to Fabien that I need a holiday to recover from my holiday!

The good news is that we are going on a short break tommorrow - for 5 days in Grenoble, and then Fab has to spend a week in Prague for work (but I think we will not accompany him) and then we set off for 3 weeks in France. This European tradition of taking long summer holidays in August is a great idea. The work ethic here is just much more sensible than in frenetic Asia.

Anyway, the closing thoughts are these: Life is almost entirely what you make of it. You can choose to let your whole life change after having a baby, or you can try to hold on to your identity. This trip was at times tough, but the enjoyment and the renewed sense of self which I got from it, the deeper friendship with Chiara (who invited us to Sicily) was all entirely worth it.

Later after Grenoble!