I have never followed a trend of doing a juice cleanse or juice detox. I have refused to spends over $100 on this scientifically unproven fad and I have refused to waste my time “juicing” myself (mainly because I didn’t even own a juicer). I tried other diets here and there telling myself that “this time I will last”, but usually failed before it was the end. So I gave up on them and learned how to eat right. I learned how to make perfect (to my taste) green morning smoothies, healthy lunches and homemade dinners most of the time. I ate out usually when I traveled for work but I was always conscious of what I ordered.
I was good until I came to Spain, where eating out became a social “thing.” Spanish food is not necessarily the healthiest and not even the most delicious but it became a “good” option for a very busy lifestyle. Then, South Africa happened…where basically the food is so delicious and dirt cheap you just can’t stop eating (and it doesn’t make sense cooking because why would you, if everything else will taste better than your own cooking).
Enough is enough though. Through interactions with various people in Johannesburg, I was introduced to One-Juice and decided to give it a try. Because why not. I got delivered a box of 24 bottles of rainbow looking juices a night before my 3 day cleanse. The bottles are 280ml each (comparing to usual 500ml size), that’s why you drink 8 bottles a day instead of 5. (On the side note, I’m hungry as I write this). I must say it has not been bad at all. The juices tasted the best on the first day because they were new and exciting. On the second day some of them lost my favoritism, and on the third…well I’m not there yet! I’m probably less energized than normally during the day, but I’m not sleepy which is good as I can’t drink coffee. In a day it will be over and I will enjoy some delicious and fresh seafood in Cape Town 🙂
My MBA Program consists of 4 periods: 2 core terms that last 10 weeks each, a 5 week lab period and about 12 weeks of electives. The lab period, which I just entered into, gives a student the possibility of working on a start-up idea or on a consulting project for a major local company (business impact lab). Both of those options combine taking classes and group work. There are two other options that are more hands on and outside of the classroom – an internship or a Social Impact Lab in Peru or Johannesburg which is what I have chosen to do. Social Impact Lab is a part of Leadership Development Program led by Emzingo, a company that “prepares and equips responsible leaders to solve the worlds most pressing problems.” The program gives students the opportunity to act as consultants for nonprofit organizations and social business, to help them with problems in their business models from marketing and branding to financial modeling and fundraising strategies.
Social entrepreneurship has been a concept on the rise over the past few years. Having heard little about it before, I got exposed to it during the MBA and very much became interested. More and more young people feel the urge to give back and are not motivated by the financial gains alone. They want to make a difference and change the life of people in their communities, cities, and countries through innovative solutions. They are visionaries but realists, who combine entrepreneurship skills with the passion to create societal value and drive for a change. Here is a list of 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs and their often simple but scalable, and sustainable ideas.
The trend is there and looking promising. I could not be more excited to be working on a project for an ethical business whose mission is to make other people’s lives better. More about the project in my next post.
Let’s make the world a better place!
Second term could not have been busier. Four exams, three presentations, two papers and special group projects all combined with preparations to a 6 week trip to South Africa and a few interviews along the way. All of this equals little sleep and a bit of stress. It’s interesting how your body is able to quickly adjust to changes. Before the MBA, I could not function properly without my 8 hours of beauty sleep. My norm now is 6 hours on average but during crunch time it’s about 4 to 5 and I must say it isn’t as bad as I thought. Coffee in the morning and afternoon is a must and I’m like new (If I’m lucky I’ll take a quick Spanish siesta after classes).
Twenty four hours before departure to Johannesburg were busier than the rest of the week. After the finance exam on Friday I went for a quick lunch with my classmates, after which I came back home, did laundry and packed my suitcase. I intended to take a nap which didn’t happen as my busy mind did not want to rest so I just lied in my bed for 45 minutes and decided to go to the gym. By the time I left my apartment to join everyone at a semester-end celebration, it was midnight. Since I had one more daunting task to do before my departure, an online strategy exam, I just permitted myself an hour at the party in order to get a good night sleep to recover from tiredness. This of course didn’t happen as I ended up in bed at 4:30 in the morning without sleeping for 24hrs. I still wonder where this energy came from.
After 3hrs of sleep I took the exam while my fabulous roommates went for a coffee run, made breakfast and helped me pack for my early flight. I can’t forget about the travel goodie bag they prepared for me. Theses girls are so thoughtful! Now I’m sitting on my first connecting flight to Cairo and I feel the exhaustion is finally hitting me. I’m glad the next flight is a redeye so I can sleep like a baby.
And that is a life of an MBA student.
Carnival in Spain is a pretty big deal. It starts some time in February and finishes with the “Burial of the Sardine” on the night of Ash Wednesday which marks the first day of Lent. Yes, the Spanish burry a Sardine and the whole ritual has a sense of a festive mourning with a parade, music and dancing. Since Carnival in Tenerife, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, is known to be the biggest, the wildest and turns out – the longest (it ends the weekend after Ash Wednesday) in Spain, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to relax before the final exams and experience local customs. Why not…
Along with three friends we arrived to Puerto de la Cruz, the northern city of the Island on a Saturday morning. We were hungry for some sunshine and since the weather was delightful we headed out for a walk around the little town and to the black sand beach, which I’ve never seen before. My observation of the day…black sand does not dirty your feet at all! It does not stick to feet so you don’t have the problem of “sand in your shoes.” 🙂 As we continued our stroll, there was one thing that quite worried us – the town looked like a destination for retiree’s retreats…We wondered whether we picked a wrong date to see the carnival. However, we quickly realized that younger crowd was just sleeping through their hangovers from the previous night of partying.
Since we were joining the parade in the afternoon we were on a mission to buy masks, which we did not have problem finding. I went for a seductive gold & black 😉 We dressed in completely unmatched costumes picked from random items collected from different events like Halloween or IMBA unite, which made us look ridiculous, but we couldn’t have more fun when we joined the parade and walked the streets of the city dancing and waving to the crowd (#carnivalqueens). The costumes of others blew our minds. Families and groups of friends were perfectly coordinated and creativity went through the roof (trust me, so much better than any Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen before). An interesting thing was that most men were dressed as women wearing tutus, tights, wigs, and makeup. I don’t know if that’s the Carnival thing or a Tenerife thing, don’t ask me but it was certainly entertaining. My absolute winners were a group of lady bugs and a group of sexy female (I mean male) firefighters. The second, and the last day, was spent in the main city of Tenerife – Santa Cruz, in the southern part of the island. Since the weather was even better than the day before, we hopped on a bus and went to a man made white sand beach (Playa de las Teresitas) which was beautiful. Our luck ended after 15 minutes of sunbathing when we got unpleasantly surprised by the rain. Ariel found it a great opportunity to go for a 45 minutes swim (she’s a mermaid after all), while the rest of us went to a local beach bar which served delicious mojitos….and that’s where the story ends….
Happy New Year from Budapest! I was lucky enough to end 2015 and begin 2016 with a milestone…
At the beginning of 2015 I already knew I’d be moving to Spain to attend grad school, and so I focused on traveling within the States and visiting friends. In the 8 months leading to my departure I’ve been to: Huston, Austin, San Francisco, LA, Denver, Scottsdale, Phoenix, New York, Nashville, Orlando, Miami, and Philadelphia. It was definitely a good year. On top of that I finished it in Hungary – officially putting a 30th pin on my map!
As I leave 2015 reluctantly, I am looking forward 2016 with a bit of anxiety. I finish MBA in 7 months and don’t know where I will end up – in which country and with what type of job. On one hand that is exciting, but on the other hand the unknown makes me nervous. I have a lot of work to do in the next few months and the winter break was definitely helpful in preparing me mentally for what’s to come.
What other New Years resolutions do I have? Like every year and like every other girl – to get in shape. Unfortunately, student life messed up my eating and working out routine. I eat out more and work out definitely less. I thought that by moving to Europe I’d be walking everywhere and be healthier. Nothing more misleadinng. I live 3 minutes away from school and since most of the days I spend studying, I barely move. I also have excuses not to go to the gym which is just around the corner. Whack! I really miss my Core Power Yoga classes…Since I’m entering the last year of my 20s (what?!?) I need to take care of myself more. That includes clean, lean and green eating and an after class gym routine. I’m not alone in this resolution, so it will definitely be easier to share that with a friend.
Less talking, more doing!
I’m so happy I could have shared Polish Christmas tradition with my two friends from B-School who traveled with me to my hometown. That was especially a new experience for Celia, from Peru, and Ariel, from New York, who came to Poland for the first time.
As my parents and sister stayed in Chicago and celebrated Christmas with our Canadian family, we spent it with my grandparents. I couldn’t get enough of my grandmas delicious cooking and probably, scratch that – for sure, gained a few. The 6 days I was at home were a constant feast consisting of pierogi, noodles with poppyseed (traditional Polish Christmas dish), fish, all sorts of meats and of course homemade cakes and cookies.
I also threw a little party for friends who came from all over to spend Holidays with their families. It was great to see them, talk and laugh like we were still in high school. Although almost 10 years passed from our graduation, every time we see each other it feels like it was just yesterday and that’s the best part of going home (apart from grandmas home cooked meals of course :)).
My first stop during the Holiday Break was Berlin. I had passed through that city many years ago but never had an opportunity to actually see it, and I’ve heard interesting things about it. Following the history path, along with few friends, I signed up for a walking Nazi tour. Our tour guide – an Irish history geek, was a gem. He was full of interesting facts and stories and his voice was loud and clear so everyone in the back could hear him 🙂 We started at the Brandenburg Gate, stopped by the Reichstag building for a quick history lesson of how Hitler came to power, continued to Soviet Memorial, Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker site and finished with some more dark Holocaust stories. The evilness of World War II strikes me over and over again. More than 60 million people died, of which 10 million were Jews.
The most famous Graffiti on the Berlin Wall “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love”
More or less 70 years ago, Germany was only for Germans as they were considered to be the superior race. It’s interesting to notice now, that these times are long gone and Germany has one the most diverse population in all of Europe. Berlin is full of Turks who own delicious Doner Kebabs – a perfect late night food, Middle Easterners, and other Europeans, especially Poles whose language I could hear all over the city.
Berlin is a strange city. On one hand people are free to drink on the streets, so you can see them with bottles of beer and other alcohol on the streets and in public transportation. You can see drunk people, drugged people, and bizarre looking people. But on the other hand, people follow the rules – they do not cross the street on the red lights and sort the trash religiously. I followed some rules and broke others. I walked around with a beer in my hand but I also crossed the street on the red light and took public transportation without a proper ticket. I guess you can call me a rebel!
Traditional German Christmas Market with Glühwein, or mulled wine, which I couldn’t get enough of.
Spotted Santa drinking Glühwein.
Christmas Market at the Plaza Mayor
Christmas spirit has arrived to Madrid! I didn’t know what to expect in terms of Holiday decoration but I must say, Madrid did not disappoint and looks gorgeous. The streets are covered with beautiful lights, which by tradition are turned on the last Friday of November, and other Christmas ornaments. The main Christmas Market is located in Plaza Mayor which is filled with a vast array of stalls mainly with decorations, Christmas trees, and artisan products. Unfortunately, it does not have a feel of Christkindlmarkt from Chicago. I miss the hot, spiced wine, rowdy atmosphere and closeness of familiar people. For that reason, I substituted hot wine with some churros and hot chocolate at a famous Chocolateria San Gines. I haven’t had any churro since I arrived here. I know…horrendous!
Churros & Hot Chocolate
It’s also not cold for December, which is of course fantastic, but wearing a light leather jacket with no gloves, hats, and scarves is a bit weird. I do not miss the shivering for sure though 😉 After walking around the city on Friday evening it was time to hit up the movie theater and see the last part of Hunger Games: The Mockingjay. It was definitely worth it!
I feel guilty about neglecting my blog so badly. I had no idea that moving to Spain and doing MBA will turn into the busiest time and most intense roller coaster of my life. It’s been over 3 months since I arrived in Madrid and here are some highlights of what I have been doing during that time:
- Ended Term 1…and started Term 2 immediately (I’m a zombie)
- Stayed at school past 12am countless times (that’s about 15 hours per day)
- Spent countless hours on group projects and survived group conflicts
- Attended multiple company presentations and passed the first interview with Microsoft (the rest is pending)
- Intensely soul searched (pretty name for figuring out what you wanna do with your life; ah! and don’t forget about your passions)
On the more fun side….
- Met ~300 new, bright and ambitious people from all over the world
- Ate too much tapas (I want some real food!)
- Drank…I don’t know how many bottles of wine, but many (don’t judge, I’m in Spain!)
- Went to a few great trips around Spain (most of them are or will be described in detail)
- Won Best Halloween Costume Prize (say what?!)
- Danced till 5am a few times (too few, should strive for more)
After all of this, I’m very much looking forward to my Christmas Break that can’t come soon enough…15 days…