Jul 10, 2007

Where Marjam got the nice tan

Here I am in Torino, relaxed, brown, energized, full of pizza and pear juice. It's the last stop of the 10-days trip we made from South-Croatia to Italy, probably the best vaccation-like vaccation I've had. Among other things I discovered during the past days that I really enjoy working and it's unusual for me to be too long departed from the work I love and care about. But it's another story and a serious issue for me to think about :) Right now I will go and drive with Torinos new, full-automatic metro made for Olympic games, take advantage (just kidding, ofcourse) of Italian hospitality and practice the stupid smile I have in store for relaxed times.

Some highlights of the journey:

- glazing streets of Dubrovnik, the city I would love to visit once more and take time to fully discover and enjoy
- tropical rain that almost blew us over in Split oldtown
- waterfalls and wild, untouched nature in Plitvice national park - lakes full of fishes who look as if you can feed them from your hand, ducks who look you as a sight, views that take your breath away
- clear and bright blue water everywhere in Crotia, salt that attaches to your body and face
- home-made icecream in Krk island (the name sounds as if sand was between your teeth), the place my sister was on an AIESEC internship
- jumping from 7 meters cliff right into the Adriatric sea (took me 5 minutes to get over from the fear)
- autocamps - some with the view on the sea, some on the neighbors tent, making dinner and eating it on the mattress, preparing the tent, walking in the neighborhood, waking up in the hot tent
- mountains outside of the car window - changing their face during our journey from South-Croatia to the North
- signs of passed war - houses with bulletholes, abandoned villages and burnt down villas
- car - reading in the car, sleeping in the car, talking in the car, looking for more comfortable position to sit in the car, laughing, singing, looking outside of the car-window. General - car. Volvo.
- Venice, the town that surprised me with the unfriendliness, high prices and feeling of being ripped off all the time, but also gave some unique, memorable moments
- Verona, town of peace and harmony, feeling of belonging (Romeo and Juliet balcony is pointless, btw)

Now soon back to Estonia. Let's drink some Coca Cola light for that.

Jul 1, 2007

Learning from people

Couple of weeks ago we made an interview for AIESEC E-book project, where famous and successful Estonian entrepreneurs share their stories. It’s published and distributed in autumn as an CD to inspire and educate young people to become entrepreneurs or just to get new ideas for their own future.

Our interviewee Andres Koger is the top executive of one of the biggest construction companies in Estonia. The area his working in is masculine – construction. He has been in this business over 20 years, gone through some really tough times, started from a scratch with no-one believing he could succeed and built despite of the tough competition and lack of support in the beginning a profitable and strong company.

What would you expect a person with such background would stress? Hard work, determination, setting high goals, being better than your competitor? Where have his experiences taken him?

Seems so that there is something connecting successful people, at least according to my experiences – they all care about some spiritual values that matter more than material ones. He even told: “Setting money as your goal is a formula of failure,” which was based on his own experience when he went down with his business.

It was assuring to hear him talking about some really simple and humanistic values – sincerity, honesty, passion for your work, caring about people, family.

Some lessons he shared and that stayed in my mind:

Everyone wants to be loved.

Good leader is sincere, honest and opened and knows thoroughly his/her field of work.

To get you have to give, the more you give the more you get.

Searching for balance is the meaning of life.

To love means taking risks. You have to open yourself – both for love and both for getting hurt.

He told us that people tend to surround themselves with thick walls to protect themselves from getting hurt. But the weird paradox here is that the thicker the wall, the stronger the attacks. So the more you try to protect yourself from the cruel world, the crueler it gets and you have the impression that world is full of tensions and all bad things happen to you. So you get even more closed and stony, moving away from your personal happiness.

So how weird it might sound – giving to others only serves your own interests. You can be happy only if you give away, not keep for yourself.

The other thing that related with my personal experiences and redefined them in somewhat new way was this: children are sent to you to teach you.

He has five children and all of them are different. His wife has asked: “How come they are all so different? I have raised all of them the same way!” He believes the child is sent to you for a certain lessons, the right child for the right moment for the right person. And if someone doesn’t get any children – it’s again the way it was supposed to be.


Talking to people is a great source of learning for me, especially when people have something to say. I will most probably always stay a student, because the more I learn the more I realize how little I know and especially how far is my theory from practice. Older generation doesn’t give me much hope either – the brighter ones of them say they are learning themselves as well. As Andres Koger put it: “I’m still a student myself.”