Friday morning, Yangon International Airport.
The plane for Bangkok leaves in 30 minutes. We’re killing time drinking coffee in the extremely expensive Espace Cafe. Usually we go to the lounge and de-stress instead. But the lounge that we have access to has been such a horrible experience the last two times we were there that we chose the cafe instead. At least the coffee here is good.
I just counted our Yangon visits this year. It’s our 5th – and the calendar only says June. With this frequency we end up having spend half of our time in 2013 in Yangon when we reach December.
We don’t mind. We love the place and we love the energy. And now we have a combined office/studio/living space as a base so we don’t have to stay in hotel rooms any more – the most annoying part of our life.
Maybe this is the reason for writing this post. Our new flat/office is not only a place to stay – its the physical manifestation of our dedication to our Project and a sign to all around us that we a determined on starting up several Tings.
So this visit marks the beginning of our new life. A life between new unknown challenges in exploring Yangon and our life with our lovely Nepalese family at Tings in chaotic and medieval Kathmandu. A life between uncertainty and conformity.
We have mixed emotions about Tings in Kathmandu. We miss our staff incredibly much. It’s very hard to be away. But at the same time we’re extremely proud of how they manage to run the place according to the ideas and guidelines we wrote down in a business plan ages ago. It’s almost like letting your children ‘go’ and leave home when they grow up.
For those of you out there who are new to this blog:
The whole idea behind Tings is to set up a small business that can be run and managed by young and talented boys and girls. Without our presence.
To create a business that at the same time generates enough money to support local projects we find and has enough challenges to develop the staffs skills in ways they wouldn’t get access to otherwise. A business where we can teach them the management philosophy that has been a part of our own business life before Nepal: Trust, responsibility, making decisions, focus, attitude, loyalty, dedication and lots of love.
So from our new base in Yangon we not only have the thrill of all the insight we get in this new culture – we also have a completely new insight in how things work in Kathmandu.
You can’t imagine how much it warms our hearts when we read the comments from guests who stayed when we’re not in town.
When we get updates about all the things the staffs take care off, they ask us to buy things from Bangkok etc. Small ‘big’ tokens of their independence.
Of course there are also things that frustrates us – like the other day when we got an Excellent Review on Trip Advisor. Nothing wrong with that 🙂 Not at all…. if it wasn’t because of the ‘average’ score the guest gave us in ‘cleanness’. That really pissed! us off… because the easiest ‘discipline’ to achieve the best score should be cleanness!
We know that our housekeeping cleans very thoroughly every day – the rooms and even cleaning the lounge floor 5 times a day. But small, small things – like dust on out door furniture … and the ash trays are not emptied and cleaned as frequently as they should, and…. – indicates that it’s not clean. And the staff has to recognize these small things.
So at the same time it showed us that even at the best run businesses there are details that need adjustment. And it’s the details that make the difference!
We normally take care of these ‘small’ things ourselves once we see them… But when we’re not at Tings, there is no one to see it – and no one who does it.
Since we’re far away from the daily business and can’t act immediately when something like this happens we are forced to relax and think. But that only gives us a more focused and constructive way to handle the situation. So when we read the review we discussed it and came to the conclusion that maybe we haven’t explained what spotless clean is from a westerners point of view.
For us – being a part of Tings from a distance – is a completely new ‘role’ we have to get used to.
But we will learn…. Promise.
Thomas & Annette