Where’s Walden?


                I have been spending the majority of my time at my grandparents’ place in the countryside.  My parents, my brother, and I have been living in the exact house where my father and aunt grew up.  With the exception of a few modern additions, such as a flushing toilet, electricity, and contemporary floors and walls, many things about this house still symbolize a more humble, peaceful existence than I am used to.  The house’s appearance speaks for itself. 

                A short walkway leads to a gate.  Surrounding that walkway are homegrown fruit trees.

                This gate leads to the house’s entrance.

                Before entering into the gate, turn around to this sight.  (My camera doesn’t do this justice)

                Within the gate stands a well that has been around since the beginning of time (a.k.a. since my father was born:p).  Racks where we hang clothes to dry stand behind it.

                A sink where we prepare vegetables sits behind the well.

                Here is the common area, a.k.a. where we eat, drink, sit, and chat.

                The backyard…

Where we also happen to house a duck!

                Below is a chart of some notable differences between my life here and in the states. 

Here, I… In the states, I…
Wake up naturally at an early hour Force myself to wake up and then grumble about being up
Often forget the date and time Obsess over my fixed schedule
Sit around to chat with my relatives under the ceiling fan spontaneously and for hours Often have no time to see friends and when I do, these times are set well in advance
Wash my clothes with water from the well and hang them outside to dry Use that washing machine and dryer like it’s nobody’s business
Never know when I will have internet access Have ready internet access whenever I please
Am slowly emptying out the stress and garbage that once occupied my mind extensively Cannot clear my head


Confession: Prior to coming here, I had spent a great number of years fantasizing about having my own Thoreau experience.  Henry David Thoreau, a nineteenth-century transcendentalist, once moved to the secluded Walden Pond, far from the industrializing American sites, to do what we all should do – think!  The type of thinking he did, however, was characterized by an eagerness to seek spiritual guidance and personal liberation in nature and solitude.  I, too, long to seek this sort of mental escape and to really find out who I am through this experience, and ever since my parents and brother left for the states this morning, I have slowly been able to let go of the anxious thoughts that have regularly occupied my mind thus far.  Though it may seem far-fetched and naïve, my goal at the end of this process is simple: Find Walden.


About Kathy

US-turned-international educator, I enjoy sharing my travels, education experiences, and general thoughts on life. Thank you for visiting my page!
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4 Responses to Where’s Walden?

  1. Emily says:

    dear kathy,
    i feel like i’m having a similar experience back here in hanoi…especially after taking more than an hour to hand wash my clothes this evening (during a lightening storm i could see from the roof-like area where I was doing the washing). it was nice to get to read this entry after we talked about it :).
    hope you have an amazing time in TAIWAN!!! 🙂

  2. Max Krongaus says:

    Nice dude! That’s some chill observations.

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