Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Sorry for the lull in posts recently. I’m in exam week (yes already!).

I just finished my first exam, giving me time/motivation to finally write another blog post.

In chronological order, here are somethings that happened the past few weeks

Banquet Asterix

One of the awesome things here at Polytechnique are the interesting/sometimes bizarre/grand but overall great student events that happen here. 

For example, last week, we had a the Banquet Asterix. (Asterix is a very popular comic book hero; every child reads them)
Bad quality I know. Just use your imagination

The banquet was organized by the Binet (club) Asterix, who’s sole purpose is to organize this Banquet! It was complete with jugglers on stilts, magicians, a 4-course meal, and, of course, a bit of improv group choreography (if you remember, from my previous post).

To be fair, the student government has a lot more money than even CoRe (students are paid by the French government since they are military technically).

International dinner

The student government organized a dinner for all new international students and residents of Palaiseau, the town nearby. Everyone had a to bring a dish from their country. I was tempted to bring potato chips (simple, tasty, and very American!)... but I teamed up with Alex and Raoul my Portuguese friends to make açorda.
Germans hard at work

Good bye Prashanth!

My friend Prashanth from India is leaving to go to Berkeley! Ok he actually left last Saturday. Before that though, Alex and I went to a English-speaking Catholic with him (the only one in France apparently!).

Observant readers will note that Alex always has food in his hand... at least on my blog

On the train, we met a funny guy. He called me Mao, Prashanth a Maharajah, and Alex, Salazar. And lots of other politically incorrect things. I was quite amused, except when he talked on and on for an hour! Either way, I was impressed with his energy level, because we didn’t really mind the nonPC talk. Alas, at the end, he revealed his secret: we found out he just drank a whole bottle of whiskey :/

Dining at a Jesuit friend’s bachelor pad*

Sebastien, of RNCGE fame, invited me to his place for dinner. *OK it’s not really a bachelor pad. It’s actually a communal living space for 40 Jesuit students who study at the Jesuit colleges in Paris.

A little bit more about Sebastien: he studied engineering and worked for a company in South America before deciding to join the Jesuits. He now studied philosophy at the college and helps out part time at the Catholic community here at X.

So now for a tour of the place. First we the huge philosophy library, then we have the bar in the attic...


OK not a real bar, but a nice place nonetheless. Sebastien and I talked for a few hours on life, philosophy, faith, French, American, Chinese culture, the Babylonian language (apparently 40 people speak it in the whole world),

Now, for the most important piece of wisdom of the day:

Earlier I asked Sebastien if he got along with everyone here. Yes, he replied, no issues at all. Later, I remarked how clean the bathrooms were, especially with 40 people (all men!) living there. Yep, Sebastien said,  you can tell how well a group of people function by the little things, starting with clean bathrooms. Future roommates! Take note!

Palaiseau families

I visited a Palaiseau family who I met at the international dinner. Of especial interest was talking to the grand parents about their experience in World War II, and how European relations were mended on a personal level after that. 

I also rode a bike for the first time in a few months. Polytechnique is on a hill, so the way down is much easier than the way up!

Picturesque neightborhoods always have bikes in them, right?

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