Great companies have great purposes

I decided long time ago that South Africa for me will be learning about life beyond the classroom. Though I am deeply grateful of the chance to take a MBA semester in a top school, I believe that Africa has more to offer to me than what I will learn at classes. However, one course, Business in Society, has proved to highly inspiring for me (which is always the motivation for me to carry on something). It is about realising the role of business in making a positive impact to its surrounding society, and the extent, nature and responsibility of this role.
On Wednesday we kicked off our course project by visiting South Africa’s largest Township, Khayelitsa. Townships refer to urban living areas that were originally reserved for non-whites, built on the periphery of towns and cities. They are supported by the government. Townships have the reputation of facing issues that risk people’s basic needs of well-being, such as not having functioning sanitary and electricity distribution. It is also a demanding environment for a business as safety is an issue. USB wants to be part of establishing a entrepreneurial culture in townships to make them flourish and provide better environment for its residents.
We will consult local entrepreneurs in business dilemmas they are facing – be it franchising vs organic growth, marketing efforts and beyond. It was such a great experience to meet these entrepreneurs, hear their stories and see their business environment.  So many great success stories of ambitious, determinant people. The most important message I took from the speakers was that persistence and standing out from the crowd will pay off. The value proposition for all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, society, government and owners – is crucial.
Lufefe Nomjana also known as the Spinach King in Khayelitsha is the young person to look out for this week. This innovative baker has turned a concept as weird as spinach bread into a thriving business. if this doesn’t shout Alive with Possibilities to you, I don’t know what does.
We also met founder of Department of Coffee, wishing to establish a coffee culture to townships, a men choir, beauty & salon owner, wishing to empower women, and manager of an affordable education program that has enabled education for thousands of people.. Such inspiring stories. Can’t wait to start consulting our case company. 🙂
IMG_0369 IMG_0370
(What am I doing?!)

“She loved the sea. She loved the sharp smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above. It made her feel small, but free as well.”

Last week I got the opportunity to:

surf in the freezing Atlantic Ocean

get back to horse’s back after years

do my first modelling photo shoot

serve customers in a fine dining restaurant

take a boxing class by a professional

prepare a workshop about conscious leadership

Why I love stepping out of my comfort zone?

For new experiences. Gaining new skills. Breaking boundaries. Broadening imagination. Boosting creativity. Being inspired and inspire others. Opening new doors. Challenging myself. Learning about myself and others. Seeing new places. Feeling like a winner. Adrenaline boosts. Excitement of new. And beyond.

IMG_0339  IMG_0341 IMG_0346_2 IMG_0344  IMG_0348_2 IMG_0349 IMG_0350 IMG_0353_2 IMG_0354  IMG_0359 IMG_0367_2

IMG_0283

This week I will:

take a hot yoga class after too long time

have an operations management exam and will mostly rely on my general knowledge 😉

do pilates

have a menu and wine training and go it through for customers

hike to the Lion’s Head to see the sunset, followed by the rise of full moon

catch up over lunch with my adorable German lady. Our conversations often end up being philosophical, which I love

visit a Township, a housing settlement for low income residents in South Africa

start a social engagement project to consult a local business with my great MBA group

go on a date to the coziest restaurant in Stellies…

And hopefully much more. “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

xxx

Realize how blessed you are.

IMG_0312  IMG_0226

IMG_0297IMG_0277 IMG_0314IMG_0322_2 IMG_0323  IMG_0307 IMG_0337_2
❤ waking up to this ❤ wifey & others you have no idea how happy you make me with your voice messages
❤ P, F, D, A, R,  B. As in my closest friends here so far. Such funny, intelligent and unique personalities. Can’t wait to make more.
❤ Boxing classes with PJ
❤ Saturday nights of crazy dancing that turned into Sunday brunch clubs in the most inspiring company
❤ Working and learning new every time on the most gorgeous wine estate
❤ Cuddling and goofing around with someone special
❤ Pilates classes and noticing improvement in body awareness and small muscles
❤ Easiness to catch up with my loved ones in Australia, NYC, Montreal, Finland, Germany, Spain, UK… I find it amazing how  you can get hold of someone you think of in minutes
❤ Dinners … so many new stories to hear, so many new places to try
❤ Feeling the support of family
❤ Being part of a supporting, intelligent
❤ Cappucino moments
❤ Afternoon hikes after a long drive to uni and reconnecting with the earth
❤ All the fresh and healthy food available. Fresh and oh-so affordable juices, raw chocolate, avocados, endless lunch options..
❤ Local friends who make sure I’m integrated to the local culture
Remind yourself of your blessings, every day.

“I’d rather have a life of ‘oh wells’ than what if’s”

Am I out of touch?
Am I out of my place?
When I keep saying that I’m looking for an empty space
Oh, I’m wishing you’re here
But I’m wishing you’re gone
I can’t have you and I’m only gonna do you wrong

In the meantime we let it go
At the roadside
We used to know
We can let this drift away
Oh, we let this drift away
At the bay side
You used to show
In the moonlight
We let it go
We can let this drift away
Oh, we let this drift away

And there’s always time to change your mind
Oh, there’s always time to change your mind
Oh, love, can you hear me?
Oh, let it drift away

I feel incredibly lucky to have found two most heartiest girls from my new home town, to whom share the experiences and new adventures. Among all other wonderful people I’ve got to know in the past weeks. You are keepers Florentine & PJ ❤

IMG_0299

Feeling grateful for the great coffee. After life in Hong Kong, I do not take good cappuccino for granted. 😉

IMG_0302_2

Braai & grill masters for the night.

IMG_0303IMG_0306_2

Found a place to warm my fingers… The chill evenings often make us crave for a fireplace.

IMG_0311_2

Observants will spot the name of the place I work at. Love this place.

xxx

“If you’re not doing what you love, you’re wasting your time”

 And no one wants to be wasting their time, right? 😉 I notice myself getting anxious often times at my operations management class. The topic of sustainable business, then, gets me highly engaged. Best stuff however obviously happens out class room.

IMG_0287

Delicious breakfast at Schoon De Companje. They bake their breads in house as well as all the toppings. Morning happiness on The Women’s Day.

IMG_0289

Love their interior and the market place inside as well.

IMG_0277    IMG_0279

Hiking up and down the Table Mountain and the gorgeous views over Camps Bay and the two oceans.

IMG_0283IMG_0282

Well deserved steak dinner after the hike, by the beautiful beach…

 
I am highly committed to pursue everything I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but “didn’t have the time” in Finland. Of course, it is an excuse – it’s about time management and prioritising. Skills I want to improve on. Here I’ve done well though. I encourage everyone to do the same. For me, this time of pursuing interests has so far involved…
Starting pilates. I find it great. I love the way pilates makes you more conscious about your body and its abilities. I’ve also learned the importance of breathing. I love seeing progress in my small muscle groups, and enhanced posture. 
Of course, the TO TRY list is endless.. Next week I’ll go to boxing to see what I’m made of. I will also get back to horse’s back after 10 years. So excited. Then there’s more extreme things like bungee jumping, paraflying and mountain hill biking. I’m not leaving this place before I can cross these from my bucket list.  
Besides sports, in the search of a meaningful life work, I’m trying out different projects here as well. I started as a waiter in a fine dining restaurant. This means that I learn endless about great food  and wine and combining these. Hospitality is also crucial in such a restaurant, which I’m sure everyone has always room to improve. This I get to learn in the most gorgeous restaurant in beautiful sceneries of surrounding vineyards. 
I’m also pursuing other career options here… Will talk about them more when I get them started. What I can say that I am excited. 
xxx

“Actually, the best gift you can give her is a lifetime full of adventures…” – Lewis Carroll

IMG_0272 IMG_0271_2 IMG_0269  IMG_0274

Couple of weeks have passed in South Africa and I’m very much still in the honeymoon phase with this beautiful country. Everything in Stellenbosch is simply a pleasure for the eye: details in restaurants, the street views with white, Dutch architecture, mountains surrounding the town, effort made for great food and wine… And the openness and hospitality of people makes me feel joyful and grateful throughout the days…
Something I’ve learned to appreciate here, is electricity. They do loadsheddings few times a week – electricity distribution is turned off for two hours at a time. I thought it’d be no biggie, but I learned it the hard way the other day, when not appropriately prepared. You quickly realise that you use electricity to nearly everything you do by dark. And when it gets dark here during load shedding, it really is dark. No lights on the streets, you light your home by candles or flashlight, kitchen tools do not work… Learning to be at gym during dark becomes a valuable skill. You can be in a restaurant but menu will be limited. And so on. Note to self: buy candles, charge your laptop. Or, get some company. We figured that this is an optimal time to get closer to each other as there’s not much else to do. Why not use the time for something more romantic than watching series?
I love the fact that there’s only one hour time difference to Finland. Though my peeps knows I’m not the best keeping in touch with people while abroad, it is comforting to know that my closed ones are living the same time of day. And whatsapp voice messages have actually made quite a lot better communicator towards home, right wifey(s)?
I feel lucky to have found such great friends already. PJ, my Aussie bff, made sure that skipping orientation week did not make me remain as a loner here. We share the desire to be active and constantly try out new things, be it a sport, meeting new people, a work opportunity, food or an event.
Speaking of food, Stellenbosch simply is my favourite place ever. I recommend all my foodie friends to bring themselves down under here 😉 Being often unawarely vegetarian back home, I have found myself eating huge steaks, lamb, ostrich, sausages and beyond every day. Meat is simply so good here, like all food. I balance this diet with the endless option of fresh pressed, and oh so affordable, juice.
Wishing Happy South African Women’s Day for all amazing ladies out there ❤ xxx

Fashion weekend in Cape Town

Last weekend we drove to Cape Town to attend the Fashion Week and show of next generation.

“From firm fashion favourites to emerging artists, the shows feature everything from glamorous garments, ready-to-wear pieces, wedding couture and the latest developments in menswear. Apart from the established names in the business, the annual couture conference affords young designers the opportunity to dazzle audiences with their fresh ideas and share the runway with the elite crew of trendy exhibitors.”

It was an interesting experience to try to blend into the stylish crowd of South African fashionistas. So many beautiful and stylish people here! Afterwards we had a delicious eight course dinner at Africa cafe, consisting traditional dishes from all around the continent. So far, the food has never disappointed me and this time was no exception. Such a culinary experience. After dinner, we had to say goodbye to Saire and Chris, who we only got to spend a couple of weeks as roommates, but will by no doubt see each other again. Miss them already.

IMG_0238_2 IMG_0240_2IMG_0239_2 IMG_0236 IMG_0252 IMG_0241 IMG_0251_2

We stayed overnight at PJ’s cousins place in Newlands. On Sunday we found ourselves from Truth Coffee, an unique space with great great food and coffee. This city keeps surprising me with its great restaurants, among everything else…

IMG_0250_2

Our beloved home. Though Cape Town is exciting and I’ve got so much more to explore there, was so good to arrive back home to Stellenbosch. Love this place even more.

xxx