Friday, January 18, 2019

How small and easy things make happy and truly connect.

Happy niece Namo and happy Frans
The family of my girlfriend lives in Surin near the border of Cambodia. This part in Northeast Thailand is also called Isaan. Isaan and especially the province of Surin is the so-called rice barn of Thailand.

Just before Christmas my girlfriend flew back to me again from her work in Bangkok and immediately after Christmas, by car and with dog Kadhow, we drove 900 km to her house there. To celebrate last change of the year.

The language is slightly different (another dialect with a lot of Khmer (Cambodia) influence). The environment is not comparable to where I live in Chiang Mai and the hospitality ??? More than great.

And this Mr. Frans always have to do something and still has problems sitting still. Discovering the environment with my girlfriend as a guide, taking pictures, the city (incredibly busy because everyone who works in Bangkok visit his or her family here again for New Year) and breathing in the family atmosphere. As a highlight, a family dinner at a luxury restaurant the day before New Year ’s Eve with, yes, karaoke. Just to become acquainted with that area in which she grew up, studied at primary school, high school and university, and her family. Interesting and also instructive to see and experience.

And nevertheless ... dealing with that sitting still.

At some moment we visited her sister's house. Her sister and brother-in-law are both teachers at different high schools and ... rice farmers. Hard work and little private time. They do not know Christmas holiday here. Only free a few days around the turn of the year. And they used that time this year to paint the inside of their house. The niece of my girlfriend (Namo, 14) was also painting the walls of her bed and study room. Looking at that… I could not only watch that activity. So ... started to paint as well.
The same moment, cooking started. Starving from being hungry here in Thailand ... no way. It’s just ‘normal’ part of that hospitality.

When niece Namo learned from her aunt that I had studied constructional engineering and architecture, she asked me how she could make things in her room a bit more cozy and if I could help her with that. Although studying English this was not easy for her to ask because, as she said, she was very shy. 

Well, I think and feel slightly different about that shy. For me it's a bit typical of this culture and the so called ranking system involved. She is in a Muay Thai boxing group and with her red boxing gloves she often shows good and proper action. 
Standing in her room I got an idea and as a surprise, together with my girlfriend, we drove to a Home and construction store around six o'clock on New Year's Eve. No problem. Shops open till nine pm. There we bought some things, all together not too expensive, to dress up her room. A mirror, a painting, a tin of paint, a ceiling lamp and a lamp for her nightstand. Just to create a little bit a different, more cozy, atmosphere than before.

Back at her sister’s house I ‘renovated’ a couple of hours. After finished, on New Year’s Day, she was allowed to open her renovated room with her parents and also her friends from school came to see. They visited her and had a small New Year party. She finished painting the walls of her room by herself already.

When she closed her bedroom door, standing inside her room, I asked her if she wanted to stand in front of the full length mirror that I fixed on that door. I told her the time of being shy was over and asked her, every day when she got up to stand in front of that mirror and to look at herself. I taught her to be proud and to encourage herself with the sentence she not only could believe but even trust: "I am a fantastic and beautiful nice girl, I am not shy, I can do it and I will show it to the world around me today again". A little tear in her eye showed her emotion and she showed more than happy.

A little later I got a creative paper cut and paste work from her. "Happy New Year 2019. To: Uncle Frans. Thank you for your gift to me on my new year 2019. From Namo. "

And that gesture in return caused me a tear and made me a bit emotional.

How simple can it be?  And to do this kind of things together for each other, that smile and that tear, does do me even a little more than that common gift to the temple.

A nice start of 2019.


Gangey Gruma (Frans Captijn)

Captijn InsightCatalyst in developing tranquility & in-sight to get in a sustainable way real connection, purpose, pleasure and flow in life, love, family, business, career and work again.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Just like a mattress, every story has at least two sides. Too bad to loose contacts and friendships.


Stay calm and do not judge too quickly. I still did not learn it...

As an extra surprise at the end of the year, I wanted to give my son a mattress. Literally giving a back support, a helping hand, now that his student mattress is kind of finished. No kind of general ‘take-away’ mattress from a large outlet store this time again but one from a specialized high quality bed store. And yes you pay (much) more but, my personal conviction, you sleep better and you can use such a mattress much longer. Maybe, calculated per night, you even sleep cheaper (yes, I still have Dutch blood ;)).

I advised my son to go to such a specialized quality store and unfortunately he did not have a good experience at all. He had a nice, uncommon, amount of money in his back pocket and came back uncompromisingly. When I heard his story, I became quite irritated as a father. Immediately I wrote an email to the company to share my disappointment. I explained my intentions to my son and my desire for quality. I told them that I could understand that he and his girlfriend might not be everyday (youthful) customers, but that they were now letting money and calling out for negative recommendation. What about quality of customer relations satisfaction?

My son in The Netherlands, and also my daughter in Australia, thought I reacted very quick and a bit fierce full but appreciated me as a father to be there for them. Happy to hear that and about my way of responding they were totally right.

Less than 10 minutes later, the director of the company in Limburg province (The Netherlands) called me on the telephone in Thailand to show his understanding, to tell his side of the story in detail, and to give advice. I can tell you, dealing with and selling mattresses, it's quite a profession. I did not only appreciate his call a lot but it gave me a different side of the story and understanding for his explanation. It made me quieter and even milder.

Why did I have to have that mirror again by myself? And am I unique in that?

I am sure that I can say no to this last question. Everyone experiences these situations and often judges from a one-sided image.

When I think back to the annoying time of our divorce, most people who heard my ex-wife's story about me think that I am the most awful man and father who walks around om this world. And people who listen to my, one-sided, experience do not understand the situation and the manner of acting in which I ended up as well.

All these kinds of stories have been colorized one-sidedly from our own experience and feelings. It is so unfortunate that people, and yes, I do and also participate myself sometimes, make decisions based on this one-sidedly view and information. And in this case, for example, break friendships for the rest of their lives. You can also ask yourself what the value of that friendship actually meant.

Well, life-long learning I will say. You may be happy about that and yes, indeed, sometimes it is a confrontation. Yet again that mirror and respect for this company.

Do not judge so quickly and also take the time to explore the other side of the story first. Just like a mattress, a story always has at least two sides (personal experiences) ...


Gangey Gruma (Frans Captijn)

Captijn InsightCatalyst in developing tranquility & in-sight to get in a sustainable way real connection, purpose, pleasure and flow in life, love, family, business, career and work again.

Friday, January 4, 2019

January 1st. Happy New Year. Happy Easter

Indeed, what is this all about? Or rather it is only about buying.

On January 1 this year I received from my daughter a photo from a supermarket in Perth (Australia).
Indeed. You cannot be early enough to buy your Easter purchase. Imagine you are not in time. After all, you only have until 21 April this year to do your Easter shopping.

The Easter marketing has been released again and the Christmas marketing seems to be temporarily back on the charger. Garden centers are replacing their Christmas shelves for a few months with garden sets and sun umbrellas and the circle is round again. Time flies…

Christmas, of origin, is about new life and Easter about dying or actually about resurrection. Ah, what does it matter? We just skip the period of 'life' that is in between, because we have to continue to enjoy buying....

This is Australia and I expect Thailand will join quickly as well. A bit sad for the Easter marketing here that the Thai New Year celebration (Songkran) is just one week before on April 13. Certainly there will be a solution for that. After all, it’s an opportunity to double business.

Ah ... why actually does this make me all a bit sad? After all anyone who wants is free to join and enjoy the system? To join the temporary happiness of buying as much as possible. Good for the economy ;).


Gangey Gruma (Frans Captijn)

Captijn InsightCatalyst in developing tranquility & in-sight to get in a sustainable way real connection, purpose, pleasure and flow in life, love, family, business, career and work again.