Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smells like spring...

Sitting on the plane to Lisbon again, I don't even remember when was the last time I posted an entry. What I know is that I didn't feel like and/or wasn't able to doing it for quite a while. Changes need adjustment; adjustment needs time; time is a limited resource. And, of course, after such a long silence, there are good news and bad news to share. The 2008 accounts were closed with a positive financial result, the audit was conducted and no problems were found; David, the new Financial Director has finally arrived, took immediately over and I got my life back and a big relief. On the other hand, Jessica, my new Assistant, is getting better and better everyday and contributing to my ease of mind too. Together with Klavdija, Jessica and David brought back the sense of a management team, and I have to say that not only I enjoy it, but I am also convinced that my successor will inherit a great team of collaborators who will make her/his life easier. And that makes me happy and proud. But, the same way that my succession becomes an increasingly close reality, the end of my contract too: already had my last FCC meeting, will soon have my last CBMA meeting and, then, my last Bureau meeting... less than three months to go. The good news in that front is that I was shortlisted for interviews for that job I would really like to get; it is still a long shot, and I am sure that the competition will be fierce, but I am glad to get this chance and will try to make the best out of it. Getting this job would mean to prolong my stay in Brussels, but it would also mean a nice break of a couple of months in-between jobs, and I would really welcome the opportunity to enjoy a bit longer period of holidays this time. And, anyway, Brussels isn't as bad as it sometimes looks... I know that this statement will bring an ironic smile to the faces of many of you; but it's true and I really mean it. The weather is definitely not half as nice as Lisbon's; the city itself isn't half as beautiful as Lisbon; there are far too many things about Brussels that I hate or dread... but, at the end of the day, Brussels is also about the opportunities and especially about the people. And, on these matters, I have to admit that Brussels offers a lot of interesting and challenging opportunities, and that it is the home to many people I would miss very much if I would leave now. This doesn't mean that I have taken a definite decision or that I want to stay in Brussels; it rather means that, under certain conditions, I wouldn't mind staying. And that this job would definitely make me stay. This job and some people. Right now, however, I am going to enjoy another couple of days in Lisbon. You all know how much I enjoy these visits, as they allow to combine professional responsibilities with spending time with good friends and my beloved son. This time, the excitement is even higher as spring seems to be already fully installed in Lisbon, with a forecast of sunny days and maximum temperatures in the high twenties. Lisbon is always a beautiful city, but not many places in the world can beat the beauty of a sunny day in Lisbon, when the city is framed between the blue waters of the river and the blue skies above... hard to express by words, so I will try to take pictures and make it clearer for you. The program for today includes attending the Award ceremony of the North-South Prize at the Portuguese Parliament. This year the Prize will be awarded to Queen Rania of Jordan and former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, and therefore I guess that the ceremony (and the security around it) will be quite high-level. The ceremony will then be followed by an always pleasant dinner with a group of great friends who like good food and whiskey with lots of ice. Or ice with lots of whiskey. It depends. Tomorrow, after the meeting of the Executive Council of the North-South Centre, there will be time to spend with Francisco, and I can't wait for it! The truth is that, as I wrote above, there are also some bad news that I could share... but, who cares about bad news on a sunny day in Lisbon? I don't!


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