Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

City mouse, country mouse

My internet-silence these last few days is not because I’ve given up on this blog, but because I was taking a much needed vacation of sorts.  Now, you might be wondering why someone who is supposedly on summer break needs a break from said summer break (how’s that for a tongue-twister?), but sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation.  Life gets routine, even when you’re not in the midst of academic deadlines, and between studying for the GRE and early-mornings at the gym, my summer schedule has been pretty monotonous.

Lounging around on a lazy Saturday with puppies and a groomsman

Lounging around on a lazy Saturday with puppies and a groomsman

So this weekend I went to a wedding.  My friend’s sister got hitched at Beautiful Run Farm near Charlottesville, Virginia, and I’ve spent the last few days soaking in the sun by the pool, puppy-sitting and playing volleyball under a lightening storm.  My stay out on the farm was a very welcome respite from “city-living” – that is, the work-work-work atmosphere that’s reflective of busy-bodies that flock to the city (aka, me).  Granted, the City mouse learned that when you live out in the country, you still have to work, and don’t get me wrong – I was put to work. I got my hands dirty hauling supplies and setting tables for the wedding, making flower arrangements and putting up signs directing guests to the farm.  But all that hard work was more than worth the pool-lounging, sun-soaking, relaxing atmosphere that I found out in the middle of nowhere.

The bridal party takes a quick huddle during the wedding rehersal at Beautiful Run Farm.

The bridal party breaks for a quick huddle during the wedding rehearsal at Beautiful Run Farm.

The drive to the farm is about two and a half hours, door to door. But when I arrived at the farm on Thursday it felt as though I had been teleported into another reality, a world so much more vivid than the one I had just driven through.  And the moment I stepped off the farm on Sunday afternoon, I was once again in a more muted world, as though my sunglasses were tinted grey.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that you sometimes need a physical distance in order to liberate yourself from whatever mundanity your life has fallen into.

I felt that when I traveled in Europe, alone, wandering without a cellphone for three weeks, no laptop and paying a couple of euros twice a week to shoot emails to my parents.  Being untethered is a fantastic feeling, and I’m happy I got a chance to taste a bit of freedom this past weekend.  I’ve promised myself to take some more mini-vacations this summer.  They seem to rejuvenate me much more than any reading or painting ever does (perhaps because while I read and paint for fun, they’re also inexorably tied to my chosen profession – architecture and research). Hobbies that are too close to home, or work, as it were, aren’t quite hobbies after all, I suppose.

This rejuvenation is quite hedonistic, some might say, taking time to do nothing but enjoy living (through good food, good friends, good conversation, good atmosphere).  I see it as rather meditative.  It allows me to clear my mind from the clutters of every day life so that when I return, I return with more focus, more determination, and hopefully with an end in sight, i.e. the next retreat.

Filed under: Around the world, Close to home, , , , , , , , ,

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