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11 May 2010 @ 07:50 pm

Hey guys,

Apologies for my prolonged silence - I suppose you have forgotten who I am by now!

I have actually moved all the LJ posts to my (predominantly) English blog: http://anjci.blogspot.com/. There will therefore not be any more updates on my LJ. You are welcome to continue reading me on Blogger, however!

Всем большой привет
Current Location: London, UK
18 April 2007 @ 09:54 am

Apologies for the delay and lack of detail - the photos from my Singapore --> Bangkok trip are online!

Koh Samui
Krabi/Ao Nang
Hat Yai
Kuala Lumpur

Please share your comments and enjoy.

Current Location: London, United Kingdom
I am feeling: amusedawake!
On my ipod: Finley Quaye "Sun is Shining"
19 March 2007 @ 10:33 am
Help needed urgently. 

Can anyone advise if the Malay/Thai checkpoint at Kaki Bukit/Padang Besar (train) has a visa-on-arrival facility for Latvian citizens?

Many thanks for your help.
04 March 2007 @ 08:02 pm
Seriously, I am entirely whacked out.

Raining outside, though I want to go out and stand in the rain. Feel the wind on my cheeks. In the corners of my eyes. Feel the raindrops slipping down my nose. Stare in the polluted London skies.

Super-unhappy, stuck for the evening, crushed against the wall of the lack of reason.

...and the bl**dy  air conditioning in this hole of an office is broken. Richtig Sch**se.
Current Location: 2 FA, London
I am feeling: worriedjaaaaaaa
On my ipod: forbidden
08 January 2007 @ 08:36 pm

...It was a pain to get up at 2:50am, but the bus would not wait. Instead of a longish lie-in, I had to drag my weary bones all the way to Stansted airport to catch some plane. To some - Rome.

Despite the unenthusiastic start, the transfer was perfect. The bus was half-empty, the Starbucks team at Stansted was friendly and the plane nap brought some funky dreams (description some other time), interrupted by an unanticipated realisation of the sight of Swiss Alps below. Wow!

Since plenty of black ink has been devoted to Rome before (and this BlackBerry is as much out of power as myself), may it just be a short narrative, written by a highly incompetent investment banking analyst who was never properly trained in writing (I key reasonably fast, though!!).

To fair wrath of all culturally aware readers, I shamelessly admit not having visited a single museum in Rome or Vatican. Honestly, two days only seemed long enough to wander about in random directions, stare at passers-by (who, often enough, happened to be Italian) and take pictures at an unimaginary rate - all of which I accomplished honourably. The pictures can be found here: Anjuta had fun (no passers-by were killed or injured in the process).

When in Rome, do as Romans do. I broke this rule entirely by ordering a soy cappucino at an aptly named Café Café near Colosseo, at 7pm (cappuccino is a morning drink for Italians - those Romans are probably used to Barbarians already, though). The place had an authentic Italian feel, with its cosy atmosphere, your neighbour's proximity, dim candle light and stacks of wine bottles and olive oil jars by the walls. Interestingly, for some reason, my cappuccino came espresso-sized - either that is some sort of an Italian thing, or I am some sort of a Starbucks chick.

Staying in a hostel reminded me of my student times - co-run by a Sicilian "ragazzo" and a Bangladeshi, Eden was probably the cleanest and best value budget B&B I have ever slept in. It was also reasonably vacant in the low season - I shared a room with a smiley Chinese and a somber-looking black girl from North Carolina. Nobody was into asking questions that night, and I could safely drop off to bed. Which I needed (see beginning of this post).

What other memories have I taken out of Rome? Watching the sunset from Gianicolo Hill - twice, from different spots, the place is uniquely photogenic at dusk. Joining an Italian queue on Via del Corso for at least half an hour - queues in Italy are tricky, some three legs of one line somehow merge into one before the sales person, who then takes a judgement call which customer deserves to be served next - jumping the queue is hopeless and will provoke a chorus of disapproving chants from fellow queuers. Walking into countless churches and discovering more, hidden under arches, rear ends of busy streets and thick layers of scaffolding. Being totally disappointed by the unconvincingly shallow and greenish-looking Tevere (Tiber) during daylight - to reconsider later, when the historic river surrounded itself and its multiple bridges by a serpentine of those amazing orange lanterns. Deciding to give the mile-long St. Pietro queue a skip. Wandering along those narrow streets around Villa Borghese, including a wild (window-)shopping spree on Via Condotti (in my defence, the shops were closed on Sunday). And - of course - standing by the Colosseo at night and not really looking forward to going back to work, er, London.

Next time I will do all the museums, galleries and musical events. Also, next time I will bring a friend - those questioning stares courtesy of Italian males could drive any honest woman mad.

Until next time then! Ciao, Roma.

Current Location: London, United Kingdom
I am feeling: cheerfulback to work!
On my ipod: Paps'n'Skar "Mirage (Stasera La Luna)"
27 September 2006 @ 12:08 pm
Finnair Business Class, it reads on a shiny plaque a few rows ahead. Together with speeded check-in and security, extra drinks/bread and a hot towel before meals, that little symbol of class segregation possibly summarises the differences between flying business and regular.

Overall, the trip to Helsinki was useful in every respect. I got to freeze violently during a late night coastal walk in Eira (told you, we tend to underdress in London due to that notorious hotness of the Tube). Breathe in some longed-for sea air from the Gulf of Finland. Empty my purse mindlessly at the trendy Marimekko on Pohjois-Esplanadi. See Rupert, the pastor of my ex-congregation, St. Nicholas. For the absence of any time, take absolutely random pictures of the harbour. Pick up my MSc degree papers from dearest alma mater, Hanken. Spend a night at Sokos Helsinki on Kluuvinkatu.

Add to this more mandatory UBS recruitment event at the Helsinki School of Economics. Getting jealous looks from current students hungry for a London banking job. What a change in roles! It used to be me approaching those "happilly employed" and begging for contact details. Guess who got to hand out some first business cards and get flooded with questions this time around. And everyone is so keen it almost hurts. We just wish we could hire you all, guys...

This year UBS is piloting a new structure for its recruitment presentations - rather than sweeping the audience off their feet with scoops of information on glamorous investment banking, the plan is now to answer audience's questions in a panel of UBS representatives. I got to represent the new joiners (young "beardless" analysts, that is), and, correspondingly, received a fair share of joining-related queries. As an untrustworthy type on "political correctness" stance, I was not allocated a single question on the working hours. Let's not scare the people off at the outset, they're so sweet and unaware and keen and willing and so and so.

Sarcasm aside, it was all a great success - especially considering my 2 hours of sleep the night before. Did I mention glamour already? Are we back to sarcasm, honey? :-)

Business class galore, I'm back in London in an hour's time. Back to work, back to my models, presentations, due diligence lists, conference calls, sleep deprivation and other exciting things.

You and Us. UBS. It Starts With You.
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
I am feeling: sleepysleepy
Yesterday I celebrated my first month in London.

Nothing to match those Londoners in the Xth generation, but a notable personal milestone nevertheless. Had anyone hinted even two years ago that I will be living and working in this massive machine of a city, I would have laughed them away straight. Me, in London? Working for a global integrated financial services firm (verdict: been brainwashed; sorry)? Could not be serious, sir. And yet this is where I find myself now.

31 day and counting, I am beginning to wonder if anybody around happens to be English, please? My real estate agents are an Indian and a Sikh; the friendly guy Maciej helping out at my beloved Esprit store near Oxford Circus is Polish (and there is no shortage of Poles around, thank you very much); the sales assistant Indre at the Body Shop Cheapside is from Lithuania; the myriad fellows handing out Christian leaflets daily at Stratford station all have distinctive African looks. Add to this our Analyst Training Programme crowd which could challenge the UN in diversity. Surely there are Brits, but these are nowhere near majority. Even less so for native Londoners. Hello?

To be honest, everybody’s background multiplicity is intimidating. I have got used to being (seeming?) international to others before. Russian-speaking Latvian with a Lithuanian dad, studying at a Swedish-speaking school in Finland, working in Washington/London/Frankfurt – all sounded cool enough. Sadly, not anymore. My personal experiences fade in a place like London. Take a colleague of mine, Hassan. Of Indian origin, born in Kenya, speaks fluent Hindi/Swahili, studied in Britain. Hat off – I could never attempt to beat that.

And think again if your English national dish is perfectly summarised by fish’n’chips ("chippies"). It better be curry. Ask any Londoner.
Current Location: London, United Kingdom
I am feeling: thankfulat work
On my ipod: Heather Nova "London Rain"
03 August 2006 @ 04:06 pm
Replace EBITDA with EBIT, shift Treasury shares one year back, average out short-term borrowings' interest in debt schedule - and it BALANCES! Dance around the venue, dear ladies and gentlemen!

I bet not many of my trusty fieres have had financial training on top of a meat market. We have ours at Smithfield near Barbican Tube station: "The market has recently undergone a £70 million refurbishment to equip it for the future and enable it to comply with modern hygiene standards." Aha, modern hygiene standards my a**e (pardon my French). I am used to being greeted by massive pork chops, beef legs and sundry unidentifiable meat produce, hastily wrapped in torn plastic, dropped on the ground, stacked against the historic walls of Smithfield (covered in chalk poetry and stuff) or otherwise mistreated. Praise Heavens I am not a strict vegetarian. My sincere sympathy to non-meat-eating peer analysts. The training premises are well insulated from any unsolicited smells, but outside, the meat is everywhere. Eugh. Did I already mention the meat is transported on rail tracks with this deafening creaking noise?

Anyway, life is fun. And assets equal liabilities add equity, everybody!
Current Location: London, United Kingdom
I am feeling: crazyabsolutely unbeatable
On my ipod: Dido "Take my Hand"
09 July 2006 @ 09:47 pm
The plane on Friday afternoon was running an entire 2-hours late, and all "victims" were entitled to a 5 LVL meal voucher. I had some fruit salad and a fresh fruit squeeze at Riga airport's LIDO restaurant. Lovely, but I would probably prefer my plane on time, thank you very much...

My shoulders were aching badly after carrying the famous 80 kilos from London Victoria to the Whitechapel Tube station. I wonder why the London Underground has so many upstais-leading stairs. Thanks to all "real" gentlemen who offered and provided help on my across-London commute. I would have felt even more sick and exhausted now, had you not been there.

My first night in London was at the place of my good friend's brother, Cyrille. Very French: I got the host's bed for the night. The host was sleeping in the room next door (obviously). My brain was too worn out by the long journey to think. Zzzz.

On Saturday, I call some real estate agents to try and find a flat. The first few are not very promising: flats only become available in late July or even later. Too bad. Suddenly, an interesting offer emerges in my most preferred location, Stratford. Can I make it in the next 20 minutes? Certainly. First look at the flat, love at first sight, may I please have the place? Certainly, but please pay a 3-month deposit or find a UK-based guarantor. Ok. I will have the flat. 2 hours of negotiations, contract settled, yes! I have a flat in London as of tomorrow. Gerry Raffles Square, reasonably priced 1-bed, 3 minutes walk to Stratford Tube station. Perfect? Oh yes.

Birthday party at a good friend's from Frankfurt/Main on Saturday night. So bizarre to meet up in London. Other guests are from Alaska, Sweden and Iran/Canada. Excuse me? I thought a Russian-speaking Latvian having studied in a Swedish-speaking school in Finland was international enough. Start getting used to London, my dear!

Today, lunch on Covent Garden, courtesy of Cyrille. Thank you! The 3-month deposit depletes all my GBP reserves at least until 25th July. Walk around Paddington, swim at Porchester Leisure Centre, 2-hour walk from Bayswater to London Victoria. I am a walking freak, I know.

Tomorrow: my first training day! London will officially become my home, ladies and gentlemen!
Current Location: London, United Kingdom
I am feeling: drunksorry, sort of tipsy
On my ipod: Eppu Normaali "Kitara, Taivas ja Tahdet"
01 June 2006 @ 11:08 pm
A few mouse clicks, credit card number keyed into the system, and I have done something for the first time: booked a one-way ticket from Riga. To London, departing on 7 July, airBaltic, 16:20 hours.

Strictly speaking, I can list a handful of one-way trips originating in Riga that I have booked in my nicely eventful life. Those, however, meant that I simply used a combination of different carriers to take me out and homeward. This time is different - I am not coming back. Not in the near future, anyway.

What a bizarre feeling. I am leaving for real!
Current Location: Riga, Latvia
I am feeling: surprisedpuzzled
On my ipod: The Corrs "At Your Side"