Friday, June 30, 2006

Chimborazo: 5000 meters conquered

Since aiesecars are having exams this week I`m using the time to get to know the country. Me and Rauno decided to go for a 3 day trip to Riobamba, a small town with 126 000 inhabitants in the Andes.
After a 4,5 hours bus trip from Guayaquil, crossing the altitude of 3600 m on the way we made it to Riobamba. Today our conquest was the local peak of Chimborazo (6310 m) - well we made it to 5000 m only, but still :D - which is the highest peak from this point up to all across North America.
Actually I have to admit that a car - local taxi with a cool and extremely talkative driver Alfonso (or smth like that) - took us to 4800 m, and we only rose the last 200 m walking.
However it was totally new experience for me to be in this altitude, let alone make my way up there: heart beating as if I was heavily excercising and all that. And we made it! Pictures coming up soon!
Tomorrow, we`re gonna take a hell ride on the roof of the train for 6 hours, it`s called Nariz del Diablo!!! whiew...let`s see how that`s gonna be! I`m already pretty sure, I`ll freeze my arse off!!
I still refused the idea of buying additional warm clothes since I most probably won`t come to the mountains again so soon, my luggage is already overweight and my budget ought to be tigher than I`ve practiced so far :D. All that considered I think my the Air Madrid blanket will prove to be useful, as it has for a number of times already in this week :D:D.

And then, tomorrow nite - should I still be alive and kicking - is my welcome party to Guayaquil :))) excellent introduction to the weekend on the beach with bunch of AIESECcers and trainees here in EC!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ecuador Ecuador!!!

That’s my first post from the other side, the other side of the world! Yeah, I made it. It’s my second day in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I’m going to stay for another 1,5 months. I haven’t actually wrote about the purpose of my visit here.
I’m going to be engaged with an AIESEC project Yo Creo En Ecuador (I Believe in Ecuador), which is a project enchancing social responsibility and responsible entrepreneurship among under- and young graduates. My exact role is still to be clarified though :). I hope to meet with my „boss“ Carlos today or the day after, he’s currently busy with his exams...

I didn’t have much time to write about my preparations for the trip...hehe...I actually didn’t have that enourmously much time to focus on preparation either.

I came up with this plan to come to Latin-America for a CEED (as we call it in AIESEC, basically it’s being involved with AIESEC and also experienceing different culture in another country) about 2 months ago since I hadn’t found any internship on CSR that I was looking for. Found out that AIESEC Guayaquil would be ready to host me for 1-2 months, and I would have an opportunity to contribute to a project on corporate responsibility.
So I bought the ticket (one way, just in case) about 2 months ago, and left the rest of the preparations for a little later. Was busy to still work on my other things here in Estonia (finish internal auditing work, graduate masters, work on CSR projects, give a few trainings with the European Youth etc).

As the date of leaving Estonia came closer:
- I got the injections done (yellow fever, the others I had from previous travels already)
- Started to work a bit on my Spanish (I actually failed my ambitious program on studying Spanish every day),
- Checked the visa conditions, appeared that Estonian don’t need visa if they come as tourists for up to 90 days, and that is possible to also extend it for another 90 days. So no worries with that.
- Did last minute shopping for some souvenirs from Estonia as well as the got the materials about Estonia from Eesti Instituut

A week – actually 5 days – before leaving Estonia, I got the hit news about being selected for the traineeship in Brazil!!! Yehuuu, great news!!! And a slight panic situation with now knowing that I’m going to stay abroad for at least 14 months (2 months Ecuador + 1 year in Brazil). Tried to get all possibly necessary papers with me to apply for the Brazilian visa in Ecuador (fingers crossed for that!! Still have to negotiate with the Embassy here in EC). In the worse case scenario I will need to apply via the Embassy in Helsinki. Let’s see how that goes...

So now I’m here – after about 48 hour trip, firstly with Czech Airlines to Barcelona, then waiting for about 24 hours for the next flight with Air Madrid from Barcelona to Guayaquil. The flight was 5-6 hours delayed, so initally set departure of 9 am from Baca took finally place at 2 pm.
Not much of a problem for me though, I used the time for napping around in various chairs in the airport, since I had been up the whole last nite in Estonia, celebrating mid-summer’s day with friends, after that finalise packing...huh still ended up with 5 kilos overweight, although took at least another 5 out in the airport and left it for my brother to pick up from there.

Not surprisingly the 13 hour flight (with a stop in Tenerife) went smoothly as I used the opportunity to sleep some more :)). At my few awaken moments I ate and took a crash course in the Spanish book I had brought along. When I finally arrived (5 hours later than intended) my Estonian friends Meeli and Rauno were waiting for me together with Jorge and Hector from AIESEC in Gye.

First impressions you ask!
Hehe funny enough...when I stepped out of airport the country reminded me of India :), that was for the way the air smells and feels here. It’s not too hot (about 32-35 degrees, the city is near the ocean), the air somehow has this sort of slightly sweet tropical scent to it. The houses reminded me of India again – mostly 1 or 2 storied houses with flat roofs (something that you dont see so often in Estonia), the traffic is busy but again nothing beats India I think :)). Generally the streets are quite clean I’d say, couldn’t really spot trash laying around or anything.

I’m staying in trainee house with 1 Estonian, 1 Romanian, 2 Polish and 1 Italian – mix of nations like you often meet in AIESEC!!

It’s my second day in Ecuador now, and by now I’ve managed to almost get rid of the India-like feeling. Afterall it’s Ecuador where I am!! (Si se puede!!).
Yesterday – the day no 1 – was great, I think Rauno wrote in his blog about it so I’m using the opportunity to refer to his experiences in Latin America :).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

BRAZIL, here I come!!!



From my future colleague:

We have selected our trainee!
We selected Triinu from Estonia and are very excited to have her join our team beginning on August 14th.

Can you help Triinu with the process from here on - work permit, preparation, reception, etc.? Also, if a meeting with the person will be handling the process in Brazil can be set up so that we are clear about the process, that would be great.

I will be away for the next few weeks but Thais will be here and can facilitate the process from our end.

Thanks again for the support with our first trainee in the Education and Sustainable Development Department!

All the best,


And here's a bit more about the organization and the field work I'm also going to be involved with: "ABN AMRO - the emerging markets bank of the year"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yeahh we did it!

Today we organized a summer seminar with our Responsible Business Forum, was good success, had about 50 people participating from various sectors including some very respected businesses in Estonia, also good presentations and discussions.

I feel tired (it's been a few months work with the seminar, additionally woke up 6 am this morning) and ...I feel a great feeling of accomplishment and kinda celebration, I'm also proud that me and Elina have managed to pull this whole thing together: now about 2 years of work with Responsible Business Forum, our CSR initative in Estonia.
Looking back it's been quite a job of developing the whole project, working with different stakeholders, making great efforts of communication & engagement, taking initative, trying to push the CSR agenda through...sleepless nights, hours of work, successes and frustrations, moments of celebration and some drawbacks as well, but most importanly our drive and passion to make it happen!! I feel sooo content for having the experience, and proud of ourselves of creating the opportunity not only for ourselves to channel our passion, but for many many other people to become engaged and thrive further regarding their interest in CR and sustainability!

Just today a friend of mine said that I should be very happy to have found the field I'm passionate about and want to contribute to....oo sooo right!! Lucky I am ha :))


Brazil is playing Croatia on TV...

And Metallica is singing "Nothing else matters" on the song festival grounds, where 85 000 ppl have gathered right now for their concert...good good (have to 'mute' the TV to listen :)


Another thought regarding football & taking initiative/making things happen (something like RBF has been for us)

It's like when you kick off a football, once you do so - apparently a lot of players are interested in playing along, chasing the ball, joining in for the came for fun and passion and creating a synergy of a team!!
BUT if the kick off wasn't there, if there was no-one taking the first move, you wouldn't really know who want's to play, whose passionate about football, who can contribute with their particular skills and knowledge & thus contribute to bringing the game to a whole new level...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Which city do I belong in?

I couldn't resist trying that one or not me?!
You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

PS. I actually think I could try something a little less Western European :)) developing country could do :)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nothing else matters

Sometimes at trainings or other group/team days, we've used an exercise in the ice breaking/warm up part, which asks people to introduce things about themselves that the others don't know or some particular habits and ways of being that are characteristic to that one person only. That could be having some imaginary characters in your life, wearing a t-shirt/underwear inside out, never stepping out of the bed with left foot first, drinking coffee with honey, singing in the shower etc etc. Some really funny things have come out :))), and it usually creates a more welcome and warmer feeling in the groups, something like "oh I know a little special thing more about you that not everyone is aware of". And it also means that people are at least to some extent comfortable with each other and ready to trust the group.

Apparently it's not so easy to come up with things that are very special to oneself only. Afterall, how often do you think about your uniqueness, weird habits or special ways of doing things, right??

Anyway, when home alone, I like to put up my own show :)), dancing and singing :D. It could be just like that, or accompanying some must-do activity like cleaning the house or doing some other household stuffs. Volume up is the way to go then!!!

PS. I don't sing in the shower, but I do think there! So, should I put on my thinking cap when in shower, it might take up to an hour to get out!!

My this morning's rock concert was dedicated to Metallica :))) (great song heeeh!!)

Nothing else matters

So close no matter how far
Couldnt be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I dont just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

So close no matter how far
Couldnt be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I dont just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know

So close no matter how far
Couldnt be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
No nothing else matters

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"M" like in Masters!

had a final presentation of my master thesis on Wednesday! In fact it was really fun!! haha...I think I flooded the room with my passion for CSR (which of course was the topic of the paper as well). Prior to the presentation, I didn't have too much time to dwell on it, become scared or smth...took it easy and it went excellent!!
It was quite a satisfying accomplishment for the week!

I actually hadn't really thought how it would feel to have the whole thing completed (MA!!), but it does feel grreeaatt. It was a 1 year program in Estonian Business School. Although MA as such is quite an achievement overall, looking back at the year, it really was on my top priority only at the time of writing the thesis (hyper-fast and intense period of time) - other priorities like work etc often came in first. Yet as the lectures were a few days a week, additionally the assignments needed to be done, it was quite exhausting time overall and I'm happy that it's over!!
Just the question - ok, so what's next? comes to a mind...a PhD??? early, maybe in 5-10 years...who knows.
Not that I dont know what I want to focus on - Sustainable Business Strategy - but still...too early! Need to work in this area before diving in the next academic endeavours :))
hehe...forgot to mention I got an A for the thesis, and might actually end up graduating MA cum laude (the honours). Well, why not ha :))

However, I need to write a bit on academic achievements.
I used to be a good student in secondary school, very good actually...didn't have all A's, but was close enough. I think it was mostly thanks to my parents guidance on teaching me the habits of getting the stuff done (school work) and being on the top of these things. I never really had an aspiration of or tried hard to be the teachers' fav..and I think I wasn't also - we had all-A students in class as well :))). But still, I was in the good lists, I know :D. Things just worked out well for me...studies, sports etc.
Finished high school with honours (silver medal as we have it) and with the thought that the grades really don't matter. I remember thinking that when I go to the Uni, I really want to get something done. I myself.
I had in mind joining AIESEC as I had heard about the organization already.

So guess what happened!!
Went to Tartu Uni to study economics, joined AIESEC and had amazing years: time for self realization and actulization, finding out who I am and what I want to do in the future, becoming way better person I believe...Met lots of inspiring people, made great friends for life, travelled the world, took responsibility and leadership roles by being the vice president of AIESEC in Estonia and also the president of AIESEC Tartu....oo so many exciting and exceptional things!!

Have to mention that in parallel to the time-of-my-life in AIESEC, the academic results were going down. In fact my grade point average was baaaaaddd, but I also didn't care toooooo much. I felt that AIESEC was waaayyyy more empowering experience for me and helped me to develop my personal and also proffessional qualities much more, whereas grades would be something of value on paper only...that's what I felt.

At some point I had this little creepy thought that maybe I am not able to get better results in all this academic stuffs, maybe I'm just not capable or smth, because Uni is still more than the high school. Yet, again I remained more or less confident that if I really wanted, I could do better. the honours in MA will do ;)))...great personal accomplishment for myself and a proof that my academic capacity didn't leave me in the end of the secondary school :D:D:D
hehe...I think I need to highlight though that I didn't take the MA course for the grades :D:D, but actually to provide myself a space to work on Corporate Responsibility in an academic context. And I did so, regarding the MA thesis. The other subjects were just complementary from my point of view, just good to feel that it finished successfully :)). And the people in Uni were great!! So in social sense it was also a nice experience!
Overall, I think it's worthwhile to continue academic studies in MA/PhD only, if one knows what s/he wants to get out of it, which sort of knowledge s/he wants to gain & what's the particular field of interest (passion!!) where the MA could contribute!

ok, enough of these school stuffs...there are much more important things than grades on paper ;)

oooh, and welcome to my graduation on the 16th at 12.00!