Mar 092016
 

I'm usually not very traditional, but in some cases the old traditions are the best

I’m usually not very traditional, but in some cases the old traditions are the best

A friend had invited me over for beer, pizza and board-games. As those happen to be three of my favorite things, I wasn’t going to say no!

That faithful day there was indeed the promised food, drinks and entertainment, but also a little something extra.

That little something had black hair, dark eyes and a wicked smile. And she beat me at Cards Against Humanity!

There was a magical first date, quickly followed by a second, third and many more. We took a trip together to Portugal and despite having rain almost every single day, we had an amazing time!

Getting to know each other’s friends, meeting my parents (over Christmas), meeting her parents (on a trip to Scotland).

Playing games, watching movies, building with Lego, spending lazy Sundays in bed. More trips together, to Thailand (for her friends’ wedding), hiking through England and France. Me telling horrible jokes and her laughing about them. Going to the arcade to shoot the crap out of some terminators. Holding her hand when Game of Thrones gets just a little bit too gruesome.

Difficult discussions, arguments even (we’ll always remember “the chocolate incident”). But through it all a willingness to keep talking and to listen with an open mind and heart.
Spending time together, spending time apart (she now is rooted in the UK while I still feel The Netherlands is my home).

She made me more caring, I got her to worry less. Both are still a work in progress, but it’s both work and progress that I’m looking forward to.

And through all of this (and much more!) a growing sense of belonging together

I was expecting to be scared, but I’m not. Maybe it still needs to settle in, or maybe this really is just the best idea I’ve had in a long time…
Last weekend we closed one circle: Amid friends, in between playing games, after a silly speech, I got to one knee and asked her to marry me (she said yes!).

The closing of one circle, the opening of what I hope will be many more!

Gloria, my love, I’m so looking forward to our future together!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Oct 192015
 

And, it was an excuse for cake!

And, it was an excuse for cake!

It was September 2012. I had been talking to two friends of mine, both of whom were complaining that there just didn’t seem to be any good guys / girls around.

“An opportunity to do good!” I thought.

So I sent a short e-mail introducing them to each other…

Fast forward to 17 October 2015.

A bit nervous, but even more happy, there is a beautiful couple walking towards me. She in white, he in grey-with-mother-of-pearl. Behind them I can see a little under a hundred people – friends and family – who have come to share and celebrate this joyous event.

I do my best to hide my own nervousness, but as soon as I start talking, it just seems to fall away and all I can think of is helping these people have the most wonderful day possible.

”Welcome, to the bride and groom, to the friends and family, to all those present…”

In twenty minutes I try to share some of the stories that the happy couple had divulged to me, on how they found on their first date that they shared a common language (C++) and how they already had a ceremony for the bride’s family (arranged in 24 hours!).

Then it’s time for the official part. Twice we have “Do you take…”, followed by “Yes” (in the Netherlands we like to keep things simple, “I do” is just too complex…).

Love is not easily visualized, but after this day Ihave a number of images that complement the feeling very well!
Finally I get to pass the verdict: “I now pronounce you husband and wife!”

It was never on my bucket list. But thanks to a simple email, the love of two people and the flexibility of the Dutch system (which allows for anybody to become an ordained civil servant for a day), I am extremely happy to be able to say: “I married a couple!”

Love, to the newlyweds, as well as to anybody reading this!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Sep 262015
 

When you live together, there are certain chores that need to be done.

They're tongue-wrestling to decide who gets to clean that up...

They’re tongue-wrestling to decide who gets to clean that up…

Simplifying things a bit, my girlfriend and me agreed that she would do most of the cleaning and I would do most of the cooking.

I love to cook. I enjoy the process of making something from base ingredients; it’s arts class for grownups. I like thinking about what I’m going to make, doing the preparations. It’s challenging to get everything just right at the same time. And at the end of it you have a (hopefully) great meal which you get to share.

My girlfriend likes cooking, but not by as much as I do. She however gets a bit of a kick out of cleaning; something to do with putting on loud music, not having to think, getting a really nice (clean) result and having things done “her way”. I don’t get that at all, but luckily we’re not all the same.

The way we’ve set things up, we both get to do the thing we like most and don’t have to do what we like less (or in my case when it comes to cleaning, actively dislike). We’re playing to our relative strengths and I’m sure that any economist would be proud of us.

Because for me the cost of cooking is low, perhaps even negative; it’s very easy to give. On the other hand, the value of the meal is high for my girlfriend, as she really enjoys a good dinner. The other way around is the same, the cost of cleaning for her is low, while the value of not having to do it for me is high.

And though it might be an un-romantic way of looking at it, I think this is a fundamental part of any good relationship: Find things to give that are low cost (for you) and high value (for the other) and trade!

More importantly however, it’s important to realize that values and costs are different for different people. It’s very natural to assume that other people are like us (and without any information it’s probably the best assumption). But had we done that, I would be doing the cleaning (as I would have assumed that not having to do it was high value for my girlfriend) and she would have done the cooking. Very noble, but we both would have been (much) worse off.

What is the value of seeing someone happy? What is the cost of making them happy?
This is an easy example, but there are other, more subtle differences.

For example, how do you like affection to be expressed? I like a hug or a surprise. My girlfriend also likes a hug, but compliments are especially powerful for her and she doesn’t care overly much for surprises. So I’ve learned to be more generous with my compliments; they are low cost (for me) and high value (for her).

What do you value? What costs you little? And what are the answers for your partner?

Happy trading!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jun 122015
 

Just 2 more days…

At least I would have a new toy to play with...

At least I would have a new toy to play with…

The entire month of June I do not need to be at the office. And in that time I’ve got a lot of things that I want to do, some of which I could have done in London (think about the future, relax, write), but some are only possible in The Netherlands (visiting old friends and family, maintenance to my house). So the choice was easy: I’ll spend my time “at home” (also known as Utrecht (and surroundings)).

So far I’ve been really enjoying it! Seeing friends, having all the space and time for myself that I want (which so far has only involved a single evening of brainless gaming!), not going to work!

There is a minor downside to spending a lot of time in The Netherlands though, one detail that London has that Utrecht doesn’t: My girlfriend.

As she only started her newest job recently, asking for a month off seemed like a bad idea. We have plans to see each other halfway through the month (which will involve not only her, but also her parents and (I sincerely hope) copious amounts of whisky!), but that’s another week from now!

The first few days were awesome: Really being able to do whatever it is I want, not having to take anybody else into account, eating whatever I want (not that she’s a difficult eater, far from it, but still…), spending time with friends without being worried whether she’s actually having a good time…

But then not so slowly another feeling started to intrude. Because yes, time alone is great, but spending a lazy day in bed is better if you can do it together. And dropping by friends for dinner is great, but it’s even greater when you can share the socializing with the one you love.

Not only will I be re-united with my girlfriend, I’ll also be meeting her parents for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that she seems more nervous about this than I am…
In London I’d be happy to see my girlfriend after a day of work, good to get a hug and kiss, to discuss the day. But it was the status quo, I saw here every evening, so it was hardly special.

Now however I can’t see her and I’m very actively longing to.

They say: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”. This is usually meant for things that are truly gone. But it works equally well for things (people!) that are temporarily gone. And what I’ve come to realize: This is a good thing.

Not seeing each other at all doesn’t make for a good relationship. But not seeing each other for a while, with some regularity, makes you appreciate the other person so much more.

Missing someone isn’t nice. But sweet reunions more than make up for it.

Only 2 more days…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Feb 152015
 

“We need to talk…”

I just can't bear to keep this to myself any longer...

I just can’t bear to keep this to myself any longer…

We’ve all seen enough Hollywood movies to know that this is the end of a relationship. Or at the very least the beginning of the end.

And why shouldn’t it be? Love is something beautiful, souls singing in tandem, hearts beating the same rhythm. Something as vulgar as talk can only get in the way, right?

Sure, we chat a lot, about work, what’s on TV, the latest gossip on mutual friends. At times we reminisce on the vacation we were on. Sometimes we even discuss plans and the future.

But talk?!?

About you and me? About us?!?

That’s scary! What if you don’t love me just as I am? Or maybe I’ll be forced to admit that I’m not as enamored of your cooking as I always make out to be. And what would be the point in that? No, much better to just bury all those tiny little things. It’s not like they really matter, right? So what if I don’t really want to go visit your dear old aunt Mathilda? Relationships are built on small sacrifices. It’s the big picture that counts. And in the end we’re both much happier.

Until we aren’t. Until all the little things add up to one big thing. One big thing that is important enough to talk about. Or perhaps not talk, but just tell: “I’m sorry, but it’s over…”

It feels somewhat hypocritical for me to be writing this. I’ve been there, multiple times. Not talking, until it was too late. But a big part of life is about learning from the past, of doing things a bit better next time around.

Yesterday was valentine’s day. I love a good holiday as much as anybody, but something in me rails against the idea of commercializing love. I’m therefore very happy not to have done anything special (though this did take a bit of talking with my girlfriend…).
So that’s what I’m trying. To discuss things before they become too big and too scary to ever talk about (again, until it’s too late). To mention the small irritations and to actively ask what my girlfriend’s small irritations are.

Yes, it’s scary! But it does seem to work much better. To catch what isn’t going perfectly and to try to figure out a way around it together. Sometimes there is no immediate solution, but even then, just being heard makes a big difference!

For me the most important thing in any relationship is trust. Listening, talking, being able to spill the beans and to feel confident that we will work together on whatever is bothering us does wonders for that.

Not just that, but every time it gets a bit easier. It’s still not my favorite phrase, but some time soon I’ll be looking forward to hearing: “We need to talk…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!