Laid back and leaner – lessons from Rio

I came to Rio for six weeks as part of a volunteer programme to mentor young entrepreneurs, but as I get ready to leave, I am very aware of just how much I have learned during my stay here. It’s fair to say that when I arrived I was more than a little wound-up (as my lovely, straight-talking teammate pointed out to me, as only a South African with Dutch, German and Greek influences can).  I hadn’t thought it was that obvious but it was time to relax and go with the flow.

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Wrapping things up

It’s my final week in Rio as a Social Impact Consultant with _SocialStarters and time to wrap things up with my client, Horta Inteligente. Over the past six weeks we have worked together on a number of things – defining the product offerings, pricing, market research, website,  business presentation – and this week we need to get everything finished, or at least into a state where I can be sure that Elisa can complete any outstanding elements when I’m gone.

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And so to work……..

I’m finding it quite a challenge to walk the line between being a tourist in a new city and being in Rio to work. I am no longer eating all my meals out (although it’s fair to say the majority), paying for everything with large bills and drinking Caipirinhas at every opportunity. But at the same time I can’t help but marvel at the sights of the city and still have a long list of places yet to visit.  My days have more structure, with client meetings, personal development sessions and Portuguese lessons three afternoons a week, plus homework! Then there’s the morning workouts and the evening group workshops – I’m finding myself rushing through the metro station, raising my eyes at anyone who’s dawdling and blocking my way,  checking my watch and beginning to feel some of the stresses that I thought I’d left behind in London. This has to stop and I need to learn from the locals on how to take a more relaxed approach to life – especially when it comes to timekeeping –  although anyone who knows me will confirm that this is not going to be easy! Read more

Dia dos Namorados – Happy Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day in Brazil. Saint Anthony is recognised for blessing young couples with happy and prosperous marriages. Just like the rest of the world on Valentines Day,  couples exchange romantic gifts, such as chocolates or flowers, as well as sharing a romantic meal together. Love was in the air this morning as I set out for a walk along the Copacabana. On Sunday mornings the promenade is shut to traffic and is full of walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists all getting out and about and trying to work off the excesses from the night before, and I am no exception! Read more