Tonight I attended the second good bye party of classmates in a matter of 3 days. Due to the flexibility of our programme, the MBA at London Business School ends in a gradual fashion; there are people I haven't seen since mid-December, who have been working now in Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, or London since January. There are people who finished up last week and are moving back to Bombay or Hong Kong tomorrow. And there are people who are luckily staying to work in London, but will travel around the world for the next three months, while some of us continue their studies.
The good bye evenings are a great way of catching up with people - to be honest I have not been very sociable through the last term. On one hand, I simply read and thought a lot over Christmas and enjoyed staying at home reading rather than going out - probably I needed to relax. Then I traveled through Southeast Asia and Scotland for 3 weeks during term and struggled to catch up. And then I prepared for the Fixed Income Exam, which was quite something. It is only since a week that I have come out of this haze and am "reintegrating into society", and I must say, I like it :-). As I just said, the goodbye evenings are great, especially since I am not leaving. All my best friends are staying in London at least for the next 2 or 3 years anyway, so there is nothing to be sad about.
It will be worse in 3 years when people start leaving to their home countries to found families, because I do not have a home to go to in the sense that others do, who go abroad only to boost their credentials for a few years and then happily return home. It is wonderful how people from India or Italy are sure that in the end they will surely go back to their home countries. Although Hamburg is a great place with a high living standard, I feel too far removed now in terms of mentality to consider going back to Germany. Working at McKinsey already alienated me from the general discourse of the country, and since living in London I feel more and more estranged at the media and the opinions I encounter. I am so upset they do not fix the education system, among many other things that need to be fixed, and that the way the system was designed after the war makes any changes impossible. Anyway, I digress. The point is that for now, I am happy that all my friends are staying in London for the next years, and by the time some leave, I assume for all who leave there are more to come to London. That's the beauty of living in the greatest city in the world :-).
I have also realized over the last week how many great people I have come to know over the last 18 months. These days, people are especially nice because many are sentimental, and because some know they won't see each other anymore, so the conversations get less automized and more personal. Things are good. I am happy I am staying in school for another term!