Day #24, Rural Fantasy


August 8, 2016

The weather in London is really funny. It was very warm and nice for the last 2 days, and it was bloody chilly again today. But I still prefer European summer to Korean summer.

My family and friends in Korea are complaining about the unbearable heat at the moment, and the expensive progressive electricity tariff doesn’t allow them to turn on the air-conditioner. It has been super hot and sticky every summer over there, and people keep saying “It’s the hottest summer in history!”. That’s funny how easily we could forget and repeat the same thing over and over and over again.

I wonder how our ancestors spent the stuffy hot summer without air-conditioning back in the days. Maybe it didn’t feel as stuffy and muggy as these days because the air was a lot cleaner than now? And maybe they felt less suffocated because they lived in earthen houses rather than in matchbox apartments? Maybe they could just jump into the river when they sweat from outdoor farming, so they didn’t really feel helpless against the heat?

I was born in a countryside house (at my grandparents’) and lived there until 5 years old, and 2 more years when I was around 10 in another rural area. And what I mean by these rural area is countryside villages where there are few houses, neighbours are somewhere behind the hill, kids go to school 5km away on foot or on a cultivator (on a lucky day) that one of the elders of the village owns and drives for rice farming, a little river that runs in the middle of the village is so clean that we could even drink, kids play deep in the mountain without a mobile phone and parents don’t even worry about them, you rarely see a car passing, no one wears glasses, every household is more or less self-sufficient with livestock and vegetable gardens etc.

So, I can guess, how our ancestors lived out the extreme summer and winter without modern convenient facilities. They managed it so well without complaining, maybe they were even happier than us in 21st century, because they didn’t know about better quality air-conditioner and high electricity fee.

Do I sound like I love rural life? Yes I do. I am a city girl who loves shopping and trying good restaurants, but I still have a fantasy for a life in a desert island, and it’s been my dream for a long time. And it’s not a reckless dream that one doesn’t know anything about, I have lived there as a child and glimpsed adult’s life in countryside. And I guess that’s why so many retired people in Seoul want to move (back) to the countryside and live more humanely in the nature for the rest of their lives, because they know what it’s like. They lived there until they moved to Seoul for a study, a job and a (supposedly) better life, and they realise how unhappy they are in a big city where everyone competes each other and always wants more, so they remember their earlier life in countryside and go back if they can afford it.

I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to live in an isolated house somewhere deep in the nature, but I still dream about it.


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