The Natural World

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My father is in his late 50’s. Year after year, he often told us how he yearned to move back to Vietnam when he retires. He wants to live in the countryside where he could relax, and not have to keep up with the world’s expectation. My mother and I laughed to ourselves thinking there’s no way he would be able to survive. He’s a basically a germophobic who relies so much on technology. In other words, he wouldn’t last for a week!

Over the weekend, I did a farm stay with UNITAS. The small island was an hour drive from Seoul. As soon as we got there, we realized we were miles and miles away from the city. The skies were lucid blue, the streets were desolate and surrounded by fields of green.

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Greeted by an elderly couple, we all did our formal greetings and introductions. The elderly couple told us how they use to live in the city, but as they got older they decided to move to a rural area to get away from all the hustles and bustles within the city life.

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Afterwards, we did our retreat activities in the pension and within Ganghwa island’s premises. Without the distractions from technology, the members and staffs all bonded closer; we felt beyond thankful for each other’s stories, inspirations, and support. On the day before we left, the farmer even gave us a tour guide around his luscious, green gardens; they were filled with organic delights that were produced through sweat, perseverance, and endurance.

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The experience to do a farm stay was overall satisfying. I felt content, it was nice to get away from the city and all its mundane routines. I woke up by the bird’s chirping, and had an organic breakfast filled with rich, green vegetables over white rice. I did my evening stroll with a friend while we passed through endless rows of rice paddies. During the night, we star gazed, and had our chats with pringles and soft drinks.

“Living in a rural setting exposes you to so many marvelous things – the natural world and the particular texture of small-town life, and the exhilarating experience of open space.”~Susan Orleans

For a slight moment, I reflected back to my father’s words. My mother and I sure had a good laugh at his retirement desire, but within a day, I already had the feel of how it’s like to truly chill- to simply live and appreciate nature’s phenomenal beauty and offerings. With a quick glimpse of a rural lifestyle, the healing farm stay offered me chance to see why this lifestyle became a part of my father’s retirement dream.

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