By Alexandra Paucescu
When you see her smiling face and her kind eyes, you instantly understand that you have a compassionate woman in front of you. But what you discover later is that she is also extremely energetic, active and involved in every project she does.
Nataya Archjananun is originally from Thailand and she never forgets to tell how proud she is of her country. This highly educated woman, holding a bachelor degree in English Literature (from Thammasat University, one of the oldest university in Thailand), and a master’s degree in Telecommunications (Southern Illinois University, USA), has started her career in advertising and marketing. But after years in the field, she finally found her true calling and passion. She started working on a new project, for a social enterprise, Doi Tung Development, in Chiangrai province, northern part of Thailand.
The model business was to help villagers attain self- sufficiency. The project also aimed to improve public health, education and the environment in order to alleviate the hardship by helping locals to earn incomes through crop-substitution programs, opposite to what the hill tribes people in Doi Tung used to do (earning their income by selling opium). She says candidly: ‘working at the Doi Tung Development project was a moment of pride for me and I enjoyed it and worked passionately there for more than ten years.’ You can easily sense from her words that this was an important part of her life.
She confesses to me: ‘it was a very tough decision to leave my beloved career behind and to pursue my new role as a diplomat’s spouse. I knew it would be a big challenge!’
But, following advice from her childhood, she embraced her new life with a positive attitude and tried to find new projects and ways to express her enterprising personality. She says: ‘no matter how life hits you, always smile. We all must prepare for the worst with mindfulness. When you believe in yourself, you can overcome self-doubt and achieve your goals’.
So she did!
After first 4 years in Geneva, her diplomatic family moved to The Hague in 2021, during the pandemic. As I am a diplomatic spouse myself, I know all too well all the logistics and the complications and emotional charge of a new relocation, and a pandemic can only complicate matters even further. But Nataya discovered in the Netherlands a country with very friendly people. She tells me that ‘we are amazed with life here, we feel very comfortable and we so much enjoy our diplomatic circles’.
She is extremely grateful that being a diplomat’s spouse does give her many opportunities to meet new people, to learn different cultures and explore values of different countries.
‘It is a big honor for me to be in this diplomatic world and I have no regrets. I always open my heart up and adapt to the new roles, new friends and new societies. To live in the diplomatic world is an art of living for me. I am proud of being Thai and I feel much honored to represent Thai women abroad. I enjoy creating events that show Thai culture, especially Thai cuisine. The Thai food is unique, thanks to its flavors and styles, and it is a reflection of our nation’s culture. One of my hobbies is making traditional Thai desserts. It is always such a precious time to enjoy my home-made desserts with a sip of Thai herbal tea’, she says giggling.
She seems happy, content with her new life and the new ways of expressing her vivid personality. Her events are colorful and full of flavor. They couldn’t be any different, as she tells me that her life motto is: ‘life is like a spice. It is full of sweet, sour and bitter, so always stay positive!’
About the author:
Alexandra Paucescu- Author of “Just a Diplomatic Spouse” Romanian, management graduate with a Master in business, cultural diplomacy and international relations studies.
She speaks Romanian, English, French, German and Italian, gives lectures on intercultural communication and is an active NGO volunteer.