Msichana Maven: Monica
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? During the week I love to go bouldering. The first time I went bouldering I felt a bit hopeless. My friends could all complete challenges that were well beyond my reach while I felt stuck trying to complete the same challenge over and over again. With time, I’ve become noticeably stronger and I can complete routes now that I never thought I would be able to do. My friends are still a lot more skilled than I am, but now I focus more on my personal progress and it's pretty rewarding to see how far I’ve come. A perfect Saturday for me would be a day out in the mountains. In summer I love to go hiking and in the winter I enjoy skiing. The perfect way to end the day would be beside a fireplace, drinking chai and playing board games.
As someone who has been part of the Msichana Mavens tribe what does: Into the Fold mean to you? I met Lorna about two years ago, and I guess you could say I was welcomed Into the Fold when I volunteered as a model for Msichana’s fashion show. I don't know what I was thinking because I had zero experience modelling! But everyone modelling for the fashion show was incredibly welcoming and supportive. My nervousness fell away and I had a lot of fun. Since then I have met a lot of other women who are involved with Msichana. I’ve come to see how Into the Fold is really about joining a community that supports women. It's about helping women look and feel their best and making sure that doesn't come at a cost to the women who made the clothing.
How do you like to express yourself? I suppose you could say I express myself by dancing in my kitchen :) I also like to journal or write poetry when there is something that has been on my mind a lot. I think putting things to paper is a really helpful way of letting things go.
What do you love about your Msichana piece?
Everything. Around the same time that I saw The True Cost, I found Msichana and I was so relieved to find a company that gives its employees fair wages, safe working conditions and even on site training. After that, I kept coming back to Msichana because of the quality and the unique fabrics. I really like the tailored look of Msichana pieces and how they flatter my curves. During the week, I love to wear my obi belt or cigarette pants because they go really well with my professional wardrobe. On the weekend I love wearing my befold Jaket because it makes me feel confident and sexy.
What is the most rewarding part of the work you do? Currently, I work as an Assistant English Teacher in Japan. Learning English is one of the most challenging languages a Japanese speaker can possibly learn and as a result, I often have teachers telling me that something is too difficult for their students. This makes it even more rewarding when my students rise to meet new challenges. Last week I taught my grade three students a play about a hamster and a beaver. My students decided on their own that they would memorize all of their lines. The following English lesson they created their own puppets and performed the play for their vice principal. These moments where my students are engaged and passionate about what they are learning are the most rewarding for me.
What drives, motivates you? I have always felt inspired by my co-workers. I feel blessed to have worked with so many talented individuals who are creative, intelligent, patient and kind. What motivates me to show up every day and give it my best is my students. Seeing their academic and personal growth over the school year is what fuels me to keep doing the best that I can as their teacher.
What woman or women have impacted your life the most? In my personal life, it would have to be Lauren Singer. She is an environmental activist, blogger, and CEO of Trash is for Tossers. Since I began following Lauren’s blog online I have changed a lot of the things I do to be more environmentally friendly. I’ve become “that” lady who brings her own lunch to school in glass containers or her own metal straw to a restaurant and I am proud of it.
An unpopular opinion you have: Either all women should stop wearing makeup, or all men should start.
What’s one change you would like to see in the modern workplace? As far as workplaces overall, I would really like to see increased time given for paternity leave. I feel really blessed for the parental leave that we do have in Canada, but I think that if we had more time for paternity leave it would help equalize the roles of parents. I really look forward to raising a family someday and hope that my husband and I can be equal in sharing the responsibilities and the joys of raising our children.
Tell us the first random thing that pops into your mind just now: I wonder what would be worse; being attacked by a duck the size of a horse or a hundred horses the size of ducks?
- . Maven