Last November, I made a trip to Hong Kong. While I enjoyed it, the place overwhelmed me a little…and I am not easily overwhelmed. We’re talking jagged, towering skylines, and bustle, bustle, bustle.
Ok, yes, I’m from LA and I live in Seoul…I should be accustomed to traffic and people nudging for elbow room, right?
This video captures a bit what city life can be like…what Seoul is like; similarities of visiting a big city like Hong Kong.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the city. I appreciate it’s vibrancy, the diversity of people and activities, the possibility of buying street food at 2AM.
But, something’s happened in that last few years.
From 2005-2008, my husband and I lived in Tunis, Tunisia. As the country capital, it’s pretty small to begin with; a bit over 700,000. We specifically lived in Carthage. Yep, history-book-Carthage. It has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC. It is currently a suburb of Tunis, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715.
We lived in an upstairs two bedroom flat with a terrace that wrapped around it and stepped out into a view of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Our landlords lived downstairs and they were meticulous about maintaining the garden in the premises. We had a fence of bright fuchsia bougainvillaea and roses speckled around. There was a wildly growing mint plant, fresh sage, a lemon tree, and an avocado tree with branches that reached into our bedroom; no joke. Life in Tunis was slow. We entertained ourselves with house dinners, reading, and cycling around. It was there that I first became interested in cooking and where I dabbled in painting.
At first, I resisted the pace of Tunis. It was too small, too slow.
I missed the packed bars in Medellin, Colombia; the movie theaters, the concerts, the nights drinking rum & Coke. But, with time, I slowed too…and it wasn’t terrible. I had an enhanced appreciation for conversation and sharing meals with others. I began to discover new things that fulfilled me and made me happy. It was in this slowness that the voice telling me to pursue something other than teaching gained volume.
It’s funny how our life tempos change. Our environments, relationships, health, and personal journeys can play major roles in this.
Luang Prabang is small town. It’s country. It…is…slow. There’s a part of me that wonders if I’ll go crazy. Sure, I’ve come to a place in life where I seek out nature and space. But, will I need a super market for one-stop-shopping? Will I miss the flash of the neon lights? Movie theaters? What about technology? Fast internet? Subways?
But, maybe not.
Photo credit: original