Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Judging the Book by its Cover

Boxes, labels, dress codes, references…. so many ways we have invented to be able to classify everyone around us. When we aren't able to label someone properly we become suspicious.

We are afraid of what we don't know - xenophobia. We are also afraid of not fitting into the appropriate box. 

I have been thinking a lot about my friends. They are all so different. They come from so many different boxes, classes, backgrounds. 
I wondered what were the common values of these people for me to relate to them. And I did come up with a few:

- my friends have pure hearts: they all are genuine people, honest and kind. most of them would go through fire for the ones they love

- my friends are no materialists: they prefer their freedom rather then being slaves of the money or possessions they might have. they are generous with what they have and don't abuse my generosity.
- my friends are faithful: no need to catch up all the time or see each other frequently. when I see my friends, it is as if time has stood still… we pick up the thread right were we left it and needn't explain what we are feeling… we just know

- my friends are open-minded: back to our boxes. most of my friends understand that I am not to be put in a box, nor that I put people in boxes. I judge people from their present, not their past. I judge them according to my interaction with them, not someone else's. I allow my friends to be whom they want to be, do what they want to do, as long as they respect me and the world surrounding us

- my friends are smart: I don't mean educated, but smart. I have difficulties hanging around people who aren't intelligent. I have great respect for "survivors", people whom - without having had the proper education, without having attended the best schools or been given the opportunity to learn - are still able to get it right, find a way to construct a business, create a family… 

- to all my dear friends, please react to this post by completing our list of common values...

Client Service

It is my trade these days, as I find myself as head of client service and business management. Last night I experienced real client service: at the airport I stopped to try (and eventually buy) a necklace. I spent some time with the sales person and paid a ridiculous amount of money for a tiny piece of jewelry. Rabah, the sales woman who attended me was delighted (bet she gets a good bonus). However, she seems to have genuinely liked me as she sent someone inside the plane -where I was waiting to depart- to return to me Mila's drawing which had fallen out of my bag when I got ready to pay... the purser handed it back to me with a smile and when he saw my astonished face, said proudly: "yes, we are good hein!"... I hope that my team will have this impact on someone's (professional) life more then once...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just in Time

Once more... Running for the plane. For a few months now I have been taking the plane weekly. Missed it only twice but have been running for it more and more frequently. When doing something new, it seems I am very concentrated and making sure that there is structure, or even buffer foreseen. I used to print boarding passes a day ahead, pack the night before, leave on time, and avoid the traffic jams. Now I forget to print the boarding pass, pack in the morning, leave late and take the ring, to find myself running on high heels in the airport building (where I do know all the shortcuts).

Which makes me realise that it is like that with most things. When we get used to performing the same actions we stop thinking about them... And when we get complacent we start making mistakes. Taking it to a different level: When we get used to the people around us, there is also a risk of taking this person for granted. We should avoid taking anyone for granted, as no one is forced to be your friend. A relationship, even with your relatives, should never be left unattended.

- Cherish the people that count for you and make sure you do lots of exciting things with them to avoid the drain and constraints of daily life
- Communicate, talk about the good and the bad things... The day you stop discussing, your relationship is in trouble (but boy do I wish that Mila stops talking that much)!
- Dare to pronounce the words "I love you"... Also for friends and family
- Don't forget my grandma's wise advise and make lots of love to your partner: nothing is more re-assuring and relaxing as good sex ;-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

How important is money?

People who know me will probably tell you that I have a hole in my hands. It seems I was born with this condition but funnily enough I have rarely in my life been dependant on anyone for money and have never really gotten myself into debts or anything like that. I have lived on the edge, but always knew when to close the tap.

I love beautiful things (I think I have told you that before) and love good food. This results in living in a beautiful loft, shopping for organic food at Delhaize, driving a coupe car, wearing Chacok and Reminiscence. At the same time though, I hate mainstream snobs, don’t feel the need for a Louis Vuitton bag, Jimmy Choo shoes, clothes by Armani or glasses from Gucci. If you catch me wearing one of these brands, it would be because I genuinely think it is a good product.

When I acquire an expensive and beautiful item I don’t like to separate from it again. I dread the idea that the shoes will wear off, the clothes will change in the washing,... I am very cautious and careful with my things. This should never be mistaken with materialism. I am not infatuated with money or objects whatsoever. I get over the loss of any of my belongings fairly quickly, unless they have particular sentimental values (like my stolen jewelry)…

I love money because it makes things possible. It can get you around the world, opens doors. Mila is a lucky girl to have parents that earn enough money to ensure the fun part in her life, as well as her education. I love to spend money on others, on the people I love. Much more satisfying than walking around shopping or filling my cupboards with useless stuff…

I always wanted to be a adventurer with nothing with a toothbrush in her suitcase…

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Series of Bad Decisions

Can ruin one’s life… I continue to refuse putting people into pre-labeled boxes. I sometimes feel the reflex to judge before knowing but always try to push this away and give the person in front of me a chance to prove me wrong. Is that so hard to understand?

Recent events have shown that many of my friends are not ready to give everyone these same chances. They continue to stigmatise people not realising that they are the first ones to be stigmatised.

Recent events have however also shown the great trust people have in me! And how many people love me… although they do not agree with my actions and decisions, they trust me to be strong enough to carry whatever weight on my shoulders and continue to support me unconditionally… for that, my dear friends and relatives, I thank you. I LOVE you all!