My weekend in the country
It had been a while that I hadn’t visited the countryside. Over three years ago, I was living a more traditional lifestyle in Laos: no shower (just a basin filled up with water), no internet (had to walk 3 kilometers to use a cybercafé), no taxi to bring you anywhere on demand (just a bike or its motorized version) and laughs and chilled out moments with friends and their relatives to fill up the blanks.
After a few years living in Bangkok, energetic and luxurious capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, I guess you get a little “bourgeois”. Life is so easy: countless restaurants, taxis circulating everywhere, at any time, internet at a cheap price at home or on my smartphone, refreshing air conditioning and hot showers at leisure, and no spare time.
Last week-end was different. My loved one asked me if I wanted to go with him to visit his family in a remote and rural thai village. Only two hours separated the departure from our condo to his birth-home but it seemed we were already in another world. An unknown universe filled with memories from my own past: the basin with cold water ready to get you wet and clean, the food we all share sitting on the ground, the spartian but warm habitat … The “simple life”, as Paris Hilton would say on her reality-TV show. But unlike her, I didn’t feel like a stranger placed in an un-friendly environment. To the contrary, I felt at ease, peaceful, sitting here on the wooden porch, gazing at rice fields surrounding me.
Life in the countryside takes a slower track: you wake up early with the sun, and finish your day as luminous star ends its course on your side of the world. You eat, talk, vacate to your chores and ritual activities. You have time for yourself, time to pause and reflect on the day and the future. What a shock when you are used to the fast and hectic pace of urban life. I didn’t need to look at my watch. I have time! Time, I can waste with the unnecessary and use for the essential. And so I did. I was able to get rid of the bad thoughts, the burden of doubts and replace them with a deep breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief. And right now, as I prepare myself to go back to my routine and grow bigger the crowd of busy and impatient city people, I’m under the impression that I will join them feeling a little bit lighter.
It had been a while, as I said, since I had come to the countryside. But it felt great to be back.