There hasn't been that much happening lately here to relate, though I did spend the weekend with Joachim a month or so ago in Moscow. We had a really good time, at least the parts I remember. We met a bunch of other SAISers mostly from the year behind and I got the chance to visit many of the very western, though very expensive bars which was a rare treat for me. Finally got to see the Kremlin, and other sites though not Lenin which was a drag. I really do want to see him before he eventually gets buried properly.

Well, the real point of my writing this time is not to relate anything about me or life here. I have just read the April Sighs-page, and I'm confused. Why so much pining, so many tears, such self-loathing and despair? Is it really that bad? Is there no hope to pin the future on? Nothing on the horizon that can make one smile--say life's not so bad--or at least, it'll get better? Why wallow in self-doubt and mastabatory [sic.] anguish? LIsten to Personaggio (NOTE: this is the first, and probably last time I'll suggest this!); he has a good read on the whole situation, as far as I'm concerned.

That's it. That's all I'll say on the subject. I won't belabor it anymore. Today is Saturday. The weather is beautiful. I'm off to kill a sheep for lunch. Tom

How's this for evidence of a shrinking planet?! I'm sitting in Cotonou's first (and only) Cybercafe where after plunking down 300 F CFA (all of 60 cents), I can send this message to all corners of the globe. All faster than you can say, I'll have a Big Mac, medium fries and a small Coke. To go, please." Enterprising French-educated young Beninois reversing the South-North brain drain and doing his bit to bridge the global information gap? Or Neo-Neo-colonization of the colective subconscious inculcating a sense of relative deprivation in non-aligned (non-online?) brown people everywhere? Jury's still out, but all I can say is I LOVE THIS! Now surely this is what our illustrious SAIS prof's had in mind when they talked about the rational benefits of Invisible Fist.

Greetings from Benin! I've already spoken to or written to several of you so please excuse any old news you might find here.

News on this front: Needless to say, this is a huge downshift from the fast-paced "real job"I'd had before to what I'm doing now. I arrived in Benin last September and started a 3 month training program. Training was challenging and useful, but the best thing about it by far is that it ended 4 months ago. Then I spent 3 often frustrating, sometimes rough, and always aimless months at my post trying to figure out the answers to such burning questions as: "What will I really accomplish here?", "Does it do more harm than good to raise people's expectations?", "Where can I get a decent cappuccino around here?", "Why is all the pasta in this country overcooked?" I can confidently say, however, that in the 4th month, things really started looking up due to a number of factors.

In the Job Satisfaction Category: I began to have a clearer idea of the kind of work I'll be doing on a day-to-day basis working as a small business development advisor.

In the Cultural Integration Category: Making new friends here has really helped me to feel more settled in my community. And seeing other volunteers for the first time in 3 months did a lot to re-motivate me.

In the Matha Stewart Houseproud CAtegory: My house looks FABULOUS! And ever since I've rearranged my furniture-- all 2 sticks of it-- my ENTIRE OUTLOOK ON LIFE HAS CHANGED. I am not exaggerating!! My Feng Shui's in check. All's right with the world. Ohm.

In the more primal Basic Wants Category: Finding out that my electricity is finally getting turned on next week ROCKED my world. And the fact that, if all goes well, I could have electricity as early as this summer has me dancing in the streets and positively tiptoeing through the tumbleweed.

Well... This was just a note to give you all my new address. I've digressed enough but you'll forgive me as this is the first time I've sat at a real computer in 7 months and I JUST CAN'T STOP TYPING! E-mail is a sometrine thing for me since it takes me at least a full day of travel to get to Cotonou. So, no, I don't come here often, but regardless, I'd love to find messgaes of good cheer when I do check in periodically.

I WILL BE HERE UNTIL THE 27th of APRIL, so you can write back before then. And there's always pen and paper if anyone still plays for that team. Here's my address: Yamilee Bastien Volontaire Americaine PTT Nikki Republique du Benin West AFrica

And my e-mail account, which I share with someone else, is: deepnorth.g3@elodia.intnet.bj Just put my name as the subject and I'll know it's for me.

Signing off. XOXOXO. ---Y.

In the world's capital of cosmetic surgery, I decided, after reading Personaggio's inspirational message [see below], to touch my first set of fake breasts -- and they felt good. Indeed Personaggio: Life is a celebration!

I am finishing off my first year in the anthropology PhD program at Brown. It is a whole different world than SAIS, but one into which I fit better. I am going back to Bologna this summer to do fieldwork (interviews and observation - it is what we anthropologists do, don't ask why). My study will revolve around how the presence of immigrants affects the national and regional identities of Italians. It should be fun, and I am excited about going back to Bologna. I will be stopping in Brussels and London on my way back to Providence in August and would love to see anybody who is around.

All the Best...

Erick

Dear Stefan - General Douglas MacArthur and I share the mantra: "I shall return." I have returned -- and this is what I have been doing and what I have to say about the general state of the Bologna class of the 1993-1994.

Like most of you have already done (or are about to do) -- I have sold out.

I am working as the Director of Public Relations for a subsidiary of Shell Oil in the Ogoni region of Nigeria. We are actively working with the junta/government of General Sani Abacha to pump as much energy out of the Ogoni region and into the hands of the capitalist consumer with as little fuss (publicly) as possible. Let's just say that human rights, democracy and freedom of expression AREN'T at the top of our list these days. I'm awaiting the arrival of do-gooder/superman, Makram Ouaiss, to the region.

Life is pretty good here is Lagos. (I have a guest room with a double bed here: first come, first serve -- but "you're on your own for breakfast"). I make a healthy salary, travel to some of our other sites around the world: Angola, Burma, Iraq, Saudi Arabia -- and drive a big, American Lincoln Continental car. Color: sky blue -- tan interior -- Kenwood speakers.

The Movement just didn't work out as we had planned. You see, things got complicated after the year in Bologna. My four year illicit affair with [name withheld] bore us an unexpected gift -- Personita. She had to be supported. I had palimony payments to make and a lavish lifestyle in from our home base in Grizzana to uphold. Bills began to pile up and that's when the good people from Shell telephoned me... some things are just too damn good to pass up.

Reading the SAIS web page all these months (how come there's nothing about Stefan's trip/adventure to California?) I have become increasingly depressed.

My friends......Life -- it is a CELEBRATION.

Everyone has their health. Very few people have lifetime commitments (in the form of spouses, children or careers). And we are young! If you want to move to San Francisco -- do it. If you want to be a filmmaker -- stop dreaming and get at it. If you are going to write in to the web-page to complain about your lack of dating -- change your attitude. *please note here* if you are going to have a PARTY/BBQ and you ask your guests to bring food and drinks it is NOT called a party -- it is called POTLUCK -- let's call a spade a spade. [And a pedant a pedant--Stefan]

**

There is love in the air. Andrew "SAIS is the greatest thing since sliced bread" Stephens -- married. Jim/Julie - Veronique / ... Gioia/Sebastian -- Markus/Serra / Janci-Sophia ----- all married. My heart soars like an eagle. Love is more important than your career. Let me say that again: love is more important than your career.

So -- Stefan -- get your pasty, Belgian self out of your New York apartment and away from $$$$ computer equipment and fall in love. Tricia Turner -- you sweet thing -- Personaggio loves you! Julia Holman -- don't go changin' but leave Atlanta! Andrew Rechtman -- love your cool, red-headed girlfriend with all your heart! Zach -- She ain't never comin' back so go ahead and eradicate your pining with a random fling! Fergus -- write that travel book! Julie -- change your name! Tonje -- slow down, I can't understand what you are saying, but enjoy DC as I know only you can! Ivo -- I expect big things from you and Bulgaria! Veronique -- save the planet and listen to Conway Twitty at your wedding! Cole -- your never-ending search for water in dry places is so much like the seemingly never-ending search for.......

Basta per oggi. La lotta continua ancora.

Personaggio.

p.s. please add my e-mail to the list: Pnaggio-Jbinoche@intlove.com

On Saturday [a week ago, now] our very own Jim Cerenzia and Julie Reynolds tied the knot in Fairfax, Virginia. As you'd expect, a considerable lot of SAISers were present, including: Andrew Stephens, Cathleen Kelly, Jenny Gayer, Louise Ferguson, Shawn "Shane" Pompian, Chris "Sambuca" Signorello, Merce Kirchner and Makram Ouaiss.

Andrew and I were groomsmen, which at most weddings means you have responsibilities. Not this one. We both showed an hour and a half late... the cause of which was Jim's misinformation. We did, however, make it in time for the ceremony.

The groomsmen tuxes bore an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Wonka's.

There were notable guests, like a young couple from Scotland that both worked in the "brigade" (as in fire brigade). Both kept referring to firetrucks as "appliances." Towards the end of the evening they were speaking in tongues.

In addition to whatever else he was drinking, Chris Signorello, in a drinking tour de force, exhibited tolerance prowness by polishing off what must have been a good six shots of (the dark variant of) Sambuca. Even Oesten (a.k.a. John Uppington's "little pet") would have been proud.

Both Chris and Shane were scolded for "not mingling enough" (Jim's words).

Makram, as always, was well behaved.

For their honeymoon, Jim and Julie Cerenzia will be spending the next two weeks in Italy.

Manuel

My God, these messages are so sad that I just had to write in, no big news, just an upbeat update. John and I remain in Cambridge, where we are now looking to buy a condo. This is an exciting but daunting task. Condos here sell in one day, two bedrooms at around $200,000. Have no fear, there are no babies on the way, we just need some more space for all the sporting equipment we seem to be constantly accumulating and rarely using. Not only are the prices scary, but so is the prospect of actually buying a semi-pernanent residence. I can't believe I am interested in doing this -- living in one place for more than two years. In the past it seemed nine months was always way too long. However, I must admit I am excited to think about hanging pictures, having window shades, and a dishwasher. I know, I know, it sound so "married." Actually, I think it is less a factor of being married and more of a factor that we work a lot and are home rarely, but would like it to be in a nice place.

However, we do have our priorities right as we are planning our first real, get on the plane vacation for the dual weddings in May. In the meantime, I am looking for a new job. Although I enjoy my current position, I have been here two years and amd ready for new challenges. For your reading pleasure and good pre-snooze material, check out next month's Resource and Energy Economics (published by Elsevier Science). It will contain an article called "market power and strategic interaction in electricity networks," co-authored (kind of) by myself. Perhaps all Bologanese/SAISers are restless when it comes to jobs. As for me,there is plenty going on in the electricity industry both here and abroad (it is undergoing degregulation similar to telecommunications) so it is a good time to be an experienced person in the field, let's just hope I get better at explaining how this ties in with my SAIS education. This question has come up at the four interviews I recently had and I have had very weak replies, but no offers and no rejections yet. What the hell do potential employers do between the time of your interview and that phone call? Why does it take at least two weeks?

I will be in NYC nest weekend visiting various SAISers. News to follow.

P.S.: Advice for Veronique on wedding music -- make it fun but not too cheesy, and serve plenty of alcohol.I must admit, I'm a little partial to Lyle Lovett myself these days, but I don't think his music would inspire fun at a wedding.

To all the SAIS community sorry for not responding to some of the E-mails I have been receiving during the last few months. I have been in Pakistan for 2 months, first monitoring elections then organizing a parliamentary roundtable with another colleague. I met there Ambassador Geens and his great wife (Yehh, you know who I am talk'n about, the parents of what's his name?). Both very interesting and generous people.

Pakistan is an interesting place. Benazir lost the elections big time, after her cabinet was dismissed "prematurely" by the President and the National Assembly dissolved on November 5, 1996 (why would any SAISer care..right??) In addition to working two shifts a day there, it was very interesting to see how rich the Afghani culture was (beautiful carpets, crafts, cloth...). Many Afghan refugees sell art and crafts in Islamabad and the Baluchistan region bordering Afghanistan, while things are going crazy back home. Sad story I tell you. Nevertheless, the highlight of my first visit to the Geens, was the 12-pack of beer I was kindly offered on my way out. How could you refuse... not only you could not by alcohol in Pakistan (and I had been there for a few weeks by then) but it was genuine Belgium beer...

I was thinking of writing something for our website entitled "Of expletives and Al Pacino" in an attempt to conjure up the spirit of the recent NY adventure. But then I thought the better of it, because you'd probably have to edit out the good parts; or worse yet a potential employer would look up my name on HotBot and discover that in my spare time and in mixed company I practice creative cursing, openly rant about which movie stars I'd gladly bed and proudly proclaim my bralessness to passers-by in your charming East Village neighborhood.

So instead I'll leave it to you, mighty Webmaster, to weave a tale worthy of our classmates' attention. Just don't forget the part about that Indian guy in The English Patient.

[The "recent NY adventure" Julia refers to above is a rather impromptu and improbable gathering of disparate SAIS 95 alumni one recent weekend in the bowels of Manhattan. Julia Holman, a "refugee from the South", Zach Messitte, a "refugee of love", Suzannah Gold, "just visiting family", and Merce Kirchner, "visiting from Barcelona", spent a few days here. An orchestrated attempt at a reunion dinner with hastily contacted locals reached its crescendo with the accusative refrain "what about the Indian guy?" in the KGB Bar, where cheap vodka shots allowed for easy odes to Stalinesque propaganda pieces as well as atheist diatribes (on my part at least). All this by way of explaining Julia's missive, which is probably best left vague. Stefan]

If you have no stomach for mushy introspection on a public forum, then skip to the next message. It's Monday and although the weather is beautiful, I am not out in it - bah-humbug

"Ah, look at all the lonely people..." Stefan, are you beginning to feel like Father McKenzey to the Elenor Rigby's of our class? It seems that the majority of us (or at least those of us who are discontented enought to send email about our woes) feel that life is always greener on the other side the street / Hudson / industry / timezone / continent / world / relational situation... I must confess that I fall into this catagory. They say that perception is simply a matter of conscious decision - that you can decide how you feel about a given situation (this is a variation of the old "is the glass half empty or half full" discussion). Although I like my living arrangement, my boss, and .... um .... my blender, I am asking the same sort of questions others on this page have voiced, and have felt hard pressed of late to put a positive spin on things.

First, the career bitching: Today, the admins in our office finally succeeded in prying me out of the office I have been squatting in since I moved up here, and into a 'cube. I came back from the water jug to realize that I now sit in a row on secretaries, none of whom have a college degree. So much for money well spent on education. My work in the "glorous" wireless telecom industry consists by and large of drafting proposals for equipment and software (the gee-golly, whiz-bang techno appeal of which is rapidly wearing off), and entering orders for the stuff our customer buys as a result of said proposals (basically, data entry into our antiquated ordering and tracking system). One career alternative consists managing one of the new markets our customer is about to open up. This entails being a "glorified messenger boy" (as my boss calls it), scooting down to the market to find out what the customer is pissed about, and then scooting back here to try and fix it. My boss has talked me into Plan B, which would mean that I would become the guy responsible for marketing all new stuff to our customer corporately. While this may sound more interesting, I have yet to see how this is going to materialialize. My boss, a likable guy (Swedish engineer type), has not been forthcoming with concrete plans as to how this will happen. What I do see is that taking the former path means an immediate promotion, more money, and a bit of travel, while the latter means... well for right now it seems to mean sitting in a cube in a row of secretaries. So here I sit, a year and a half from 30 with a mountain of debt from grad school and an entry level job, forced to cook spaghetti in the office kitchen so that I can afford to do something with my vacation time other than sit home and watch my fica trees die. However, I here there are well compensated openings in Zaire for foreign nationals with military experience...

Now, on to the personal-life bitching: While NYC is rumored to be the center of all that is hip and fun in North America ( or at least the eastern US), I am beginning to wonder where all this it is being hidden (maybe somewhere below Gotham guarded by those fabled giant alligators). Now that the weather has begun to warm up, I can sit in my back yard, look across the Hudson at Manhattan, and think, "Gee - I wonder if anyone is doing anything interesting over there..." Most of the people (aside from Mr. I-work-7-hours-a-day-Geens) seem to spend all their time at the office. Therefore, even though I generally get off work at 6pm, there is no one available to do anything with. NYC is also rumored to draw well educated, articulate, attractive women. However, the effect of working in Manhattan seems to be to transform these into a) haughty types who have no interest in hearing anything you might have to say (interesting or not), or b) types who have little of interest to say themselves. I don't mean to imply that I have had to opportunity to meet large numbers of women here. One of the side effects of getting to do a lot of things by yourself is that it becomes exponentially more difficult to meet other people, especially women. The thinking behind this seems to be "well the person he is with seems to be able to tolerate him, so I'll give him a chance" or "Hmm, he's not here with anyone, so he must be must be trolling from someone to hack up with a cleaver." Perhaps in a subconscous effort to alleviate this situation, I have been attempting to cajole Stefan into starting a bar (who we know anyone more qualified?), so that I would at least have someplace to go and drink. However, to date I have enjoyed no success. So here I sit a single (late) 20-something with little to distract me, aside from reading about how everyone seems to be settling down with someone or even getting married. Perhaps I'll have another go at owning a dog...

Maybe I'll be more optimistic at the later in the week.

Martin

PS Weather permitting, I'll take a whack at having a Bar-B-Q in my back yard [Stefan, could you link this to that map I sent you?] at #4 Zerman Place at 4pm on Saturday, April 26. Shoes optional (the grass just came up last week). I'll provide the fire, the meat, the buns, and the view. If you can make it (by the way, feel free to bring guests) bring drinks and something to eat (chips, 'tater salad, etc.). If I get enough interest, I'll look into renting a van to haul a load or two of people from Manhattan (this may turn out to be hugely optimistic, but I've suffered something of a mood swing since drafting the body of this message - possibly a result of my advancing age). For those of you who might be attending from out of town, we have a guest room with a double bed: first come, first serve, and you're on your own for breakfast.

Stefan - Hi and sorry for a long-overdue tidbit for the homepage. I am still in Bologna, working at the Center, although (as most people probably already know by now), I will be leaving at the end of the academic year. It has been wonderful having two more years in Italy, I cannot deny it, but I would like to do something else rather than look for cool, well-paid jobs for other people. Not to add to the angst which has already manifest itself on these pages, but I have a vague dream of being able to land one of those positions myself someday, and hearing that there are some of our brood who ARE happy in their work gives me the vain hope that it is possible to enjoy one's career.

Of course, the warm sunny skies we have been having here also makes me a little wistful for the halcyon days when I, too, could enjoy the lovely spring weather in Bologna, instead of staring out of my window on the third floor of the Center. (Good tidings for those who are coming for Gioia and Sebastian's nuptials in May.) Of course, that opportunity may all-too-soon be mine, as the end of the year is careening to a close and I am feverishly trying to locate internships and jobs for the students who are here instead of focusing time and energy on my own career plans. After two years of long hours and very little personal time, an enforced vacation, albeit an unpaid one, actually doesn't sound too bad.

Perhaps, instead, this is all a delayed reaction to turning 30 (which I did in '96). That was easy. Thirty-one, however, is proving to be more difficult, as I try to figure out what I want to do with my life. [Although, as one of the students who works with me said, when I encountered her on the streets of Bologna one weekend, (dressed in "civilian," i.e. non-work, attire) "You look about 16!" That was reassuring in a way, but I am a little tired of finding out from travel agents that even though I still look under-26, that doesn't get me a discount on plane or rail tickets!]

Ciao! Kathy Blake

P.S. I passed along the last homepage to several people, so you should be getting the updates on e-mails, etc.

Frankly, I don't see anything in my life worth putting onto such a beautiful page as yours, let alone reading about. I teach a lot, and am writing two textbooks (statistical stuff of the kind young Fergus McCormick must be enjoying right now). I visited interesting places such as Romania or, well, Albania, and observed many strange things happening, or being done to, the populations in our region of the world. And I made several long visits to various German universities, which was a good occasion to meet Gilles Fellens, Gregor Koessler, and Martin Rossmann.

The NGO that I advise has just set up a server. There is yet another new server which we have set up specially for the forthcoming general election. It has a description of the electoral system, a translation of the election law, and on election night (April 19, 16:30 GMT and later) we shall be featuring the latest results from our quick parallel vote tabulation on-line. Depending on the speed of national TV, you may learn the outcome faster than Bulgarians themselves. If you are interested -- enjoy!

Greetings to all

Oh my; banking deemed fresh and exciting [See Andrew Rechtman's piece below]. The founding fathers of SAIS would turn in their graves (if they now only could die). We are supposed to be young, smart enthusiastic semi-idealists with the world, life, and all good things open to us etc. etc.; not this bunch of restless, semi-discontent, listless, suddenly-feeling-old- and-what-will-I- do-with-the-rest-of-my- life quasi-x'ers, on our second puberty (at least) or possibly our first mid-life crisis (of which I prefer the former).

Maybe a wee bit exaggerated, but I'm in the club and sincerely wish I wasn't. Seems a little too adolescent, too much like :"I'm really into existentialism, and have you read Camus..", which we already did once in high-school with painful lack of irony then too. So, I'm determined to find something positive in working for a huge buraucracy in the middle of a chaotic restructuring, in a city where the only exciting things to look at are the bicycle messengers and the odd bartender (really; all you men in DC have to do something drastic). Wish me luck.

DC is beautiful and civilized in the spring; right now it is 70+++ degrees outside (which would be even greater if this country would be civilized enough to outlaw windowless offices); 18th street, 17th and Dupont are packed with people at night, the cherry-blossoms were a pink cloud around the tidal basin last weekend, and I am to be an "American" bridesmaid for the first time (and have veto-power over the dresses!)

In my case, not only is everyone getting married, but all my friends at home are having babies. Norway can't possibly have negative population growth any more, the way my family and friends are insisting on breeding.

This is as far as my prozac-less rantings will take me right now, and even we who work in in-effective multilateral development banks must do some work.

I will be out of the office for my wedding and honeymoon from Thursday, April 3, through Monday, April 21. ... When I return, I will be changing my last name to Cerenzia (pronounced chair-en-zya, or as close to that as you can come!). My e-mail address will probably reflect the change by late April or early May. [Julie promised to write more when she gets back -- Stefan]
As my last message was so thrilling, I thought I'd fill you in on the duller side of my daily existence. Besides plugging away at statistics and economic drudgery at one of the ineffectual development banks in this delightful capital, I'm in the midst of writing a travel book on a trip I took to Mexico last summer. Border grit, Subcomandante Marcos and Mayan ruins in Palenque made for some rich encounters.

I'm also taking the song-writing thing a bit too seriously by playing some of my newer and uplifting ones, such as "Brick Building", "Graveyard Lament", and "Take Me With You When You Go, My Lover, When You Go" on Tuesday nights at "Madam's Organ" (in the heart of Adams Morgan).

Fergus

I have a new email address; andrew.rechtman@austrade.gov.au

What has been happening in my life? Well, I have just returned from a fairly extensive six week work trip. It began in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth) and then continued on to Kuala Lumpur, Copenhagen, Geneva and Rome.

As some may know, my job with Austrade is to promote the sale of Australian products to United Nations agencies (ie UNICEF, FAO, WFP, UNDP, UNHCR), many of which are based in such hardship postings as Geneva (too much chocolate is bad for your health), Copenhagen (too many tall good-looking Danes to chase after) and Rome (those weekend trips up to Umbria can be so stressful).

Up until recently, I was only responsible for UN agencies located in New York, but from mid-1996 I have started to work with those based in Europe as well. Thankfully, this has made my job a little more interesting but, overall, working in trade promotion is hardly stressful on "zee little grey cells." I need to start looking for a new job, but the prospect of a job search is so horrendous that I keep putting it off...

So that is work. On the personal side of things, for the last year and a bit I have been living with my girlfriend (Carrie - a redhead from Colorado) in New York's West Village. Even a real estate agent would be hard-pressed to describe the living space as adequate for two people, but we have managed to live in extremely close confines without killing one another (yet).

Now approaching my late 20's, I am starting to wonder what on earth I am going to do with the rest of my life. Do I want to go back to Australia, do I want to stay in the US, or is there somewhere else that I would like to live?

I rather hoped that as I got older I would come to realise exactly what I want in life. Instead, I have only succeeded in determining what I do not want - which is a slow and inefficient process of elimination. Why can't a perfect life just fall from the sky and land directly in my lap?

During my recent trip I did get the chance to spend a weekend in Bologna and, like everyone, I hope to be able to spend more time in Italy before reaching a pensionable age. I had forgotten how good the food was and, with the lira the way it is, everything seemed pretty cheap. Scary as it is, soon enough we'll be thinking about reunions...

Anyway, as I have accumulated a mountain of work in the more than 1 month that I have been away, I had better get back to whittling away at the piles of paper accumulated on my desk. I hope that everyone is well, and look forward to reading about what we are doing with our lives.

  • Michael Braun / Hamburg / Apr 3

My e-mail address MBraunHmbg@aol.com is about to change. [Early April] I'll be leaving Hamburg, on May 2 I start a new job in New York. I will let you know my new e-mail # as soon as I have it.

Is it possible that you put a little note on the SAIS pages saying that I am looking for an apartment/room(s) for at least two years in New York? As central and as nice and as cheap as possible. That would be very kind indeed. ... If anyone knows anything, they can get in touch tel (212) 983 1 983 from May 2nd. I'll be working as a foreign correspondent for Axel Springer Publishing, i.e. for Die Welt, WELT am SONNTAG, Hamburger Abendblatt, Berliner Morgenpost, BILD etc. If urgent I can be reached under (+49-30) 25 41 60 in Berlin until then.

The other piece of news is that the novel I was working on in Bologna and D.C. was eventually published by S. Fischer in Frankfurt am Main this month (March). As a reviewer of Frankfurter Rundschau argued a few days ago: "Braun's strength is descriptions of rooms." I think fame is just around the corner.

Tschuess, Michael.

Thanks for taking care of our communication. Well as I told you a while ago, I am still getting married. We had our first major crisis over the music for our party. Ever since Cole introduced me to country music I have not been the same. Reyer, however, is a great fan of elevator music and Barry White. I have really set my mind on a country band, so what to do? An additional problem is that country is not real big in the Netherlands, so its a bit hard to find. I did find this company that proposed to arrange Allison Kraus, their major star, to play at my (I should say our) wedding. Apparantly she sold a lot of records in the States, so that means she'll ask an appropriate fee.

If anybody can give me advise on this issue, I would appreciate it. What else? I will quit my job on the 1st of May. It is time to become a boss myself, instead of to serve one. Also, I am a bit fed up with human rights. Maybe that is because I deal with it at the political level. Politicians, unfortunately, do not really have time to go into the subject. They are led by media and fashion. Of course this should not have come as a surprise to me. Anyway my main problem is that I have to follow the boss. So time for something new and exciting, I have been thinking about banking.... Anybody have any advise on this? That's all for now. Take care, Veronique