So you missed me?

I missed you too! Occasionally people would ask me how I managed the time to blog and I guess the most honest answer is that it’s a struggle hence the little hiatus; but hey I am back and that can only be bad news for you avid followers of my rants and ramblings from the outer edge of my own little universe. So from such distant climes, from the outer edge of my being I send you a letter:

Dear Readers,

How are you? I do hope that you are all managing to muster some Christmas cheer in this winter of discontent. Just when we thought that we had bottomed out on the bad news we find that we are only at the commencement of this odyssey of economic madness; a little like my own journey over the last few weeks I suppose. To mis-quote my old delusional world friend Forrest G: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Well anyway I have been getting some odd ones in the last wee while.

My hiatus began with graduation. We had graduation at the College during the last week in November. Graduation is always a special occasion and ranks amongst the best parts of my job. It is an occasion filled with so many mixed emotions-the delight of the graduate, the pride of family, the pain of absent friends, the end of a journey, the beginning of another, the sense of achievement, the sense of fulfilment, the sense of celebration and the overlay of pomp and ceremony. Of course the downside for me as Dean of the School of Business is standing on the platform for hours on end reading countless names in the merciless heat, dressed like Santa, and discovering sweat glands that haven’t even yet been found by the world’s greatest athletes and evolutionary biologists. My favourite is the feeling that some plumber has surreptitiously installed water taps on the front of my knees and left them locked in the on position; I kid you not.

And I never yet told you of my trip to Shanghai and Taipei. China never ceases to amaze me. What a country! The industry, the progress, the improvement in society is visible, palpable and intoxicating. An interesting fact from my few days in Shanghai is that there are currently over 7,000 construction sites in the city, all of which will be completed in time for the World Exposition next year…simply stunning. It has been a year since my last visit to Shanghai and it’s almost like a different city; it’s as if the skyline literally changes before your eyes. It is a vibrant hub of hustle bustle. It is safe, it is exciting and bizarrely beautiful in a Chicago sort of way. There is just something there for everybody. Anyway at NCI we have committed to build in visits and placements and semesters abroad for our students in this wonderful centre of world trade. Keep an eye on this blog for more news on this.

From Shanghai I flew to Taipei. It was my first visit to Taiwan and I have to confess to being seriously impressed by the island. Indeed, next time I go visit I will take some leave and explore what is a beautiful, mountainous and verdant location. Downtown Taipei is modern, classy and architecturally beautiful. The city exudes wealth and success. The Taiwanese are friendly, relaxed, welcoming and remarkably hospitable to visitors in a way which we like to think and believe that we are. It was a busy visit from a work perspective and I only had one little tourist fix…dinner in the Panorama Restaurant in the 101, up until recently the tallest building in the world. I have to tell you about this.

So I am up in the restaurant with some colleagues and I get up from the table and go for a walk around to check out the panoramic views. I squeeze in behind busy tables and think to myself- great views but they should really have had a decent viewing point. I am feeling a little smug at locating what I perceive to be an architectural design flaw…until several pints and glasses of wine later when nature calls! I make my way to the gents and walk over to the urinal and what can I say? Wow (talking about the view here!!). The view as I answer nature’s call is scary, spectacular and simply amazing as I stand and pee in a triangular glass urinal that seems as if it is jutting out over the edge of a different world than the one from where I write…the 101 almost became the 202!

Anyway, my friends…I must off and journey home. More from me anon. I promise to write more frequently. I have chided myself. Suitably chastened I take my leave.