Taking off your shoes when entering a temple or a house, hostel, hotel, and even some shops in Asia is mandatory. And for me this gesture is very symbolic. To take off our shoes, to free ourselves. Having shoes nowadays is a given for us, but in my family there are uncles who walked barefoot. And aren't shoes a symbol of everything we hold on to? Uncomfortable shoes for work, for that formal act that we just want to go to, just-that-not. Shoes that remind us that we have to go running.... always taking away our freedom.
Here there are children who run without shoes. Not because they don't have them, but because they are faster, freer. There are women who ride a motorcycle barefoot, because that way they feel the taste of the wind and freedom in their feet. There are monks who do their chores in the temples with nothing to protect their feet and thus remembering how connected we are to the earth. Of how we have to feel that we are part of her and not that she is ours.
I've always loved going barefoot. But society throws rules at us all the time and they interfere more and more in our lives, leaving very little for our freedom. Taking away our creativity, making us robots, making us more unhappy and often less human beings. We are so busy obeying all the rules that we forget to take off our shoes and step on that grass that says: Please don't step! And if someone does it, we are already full of moralism. Rules, rules, rules... in Japan pedestrians don't pass the red light even if the street is blocked for works and no cars are going to pass, I saw this!
Every day we are forbidden from anything else, buy candy at the hospital, add salt to my potatoes,... with each passing day we are caged, shod in the most uncomfortable shoes.
Here the children play with a stick, the swing is a tree. At home we look at toys to ensure they meet safety standards. Leave the toys on the shelf and let the kids play with their imagination. Take off your shoes while walking on wet ground. Dance!
This was Laos for us, it was learning that freedom is life, that we don't need strings, nothing to be happy, just us and a lot of friends like us.
The country is beautiful but not the lush jungle beauty of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the temples are beautiful but modest, the people are friendly but not always smiling like in Thailand, more reserved. The Mekong River accompanies the country and its peacefulness seems to shape people's character.
The calm, the love, the willingness to help are there in every moment.
We stayed more than a week in Luang Prabang, after this trip to get here, we celebrated the new year, we walked around the city, we went to the most beautiful waterfalls we have ever seen, we woke up early to see the monks receiving food from the people and we looked for a wedding.
We did not imagine that this marriage would change us. It may be that when we return to Portugal we forget what it's like to walk barefoot, but at least one day we knew. I had no idea people like that existed. I had in my idea that someday they could have existed but I saw them so happy, with so little, dancing and laughing. So beautiful! It's the moment I want to keep the most! They had life in their souls and their eyes overflowed with simplicity!
This video seeks to summarize a little bit how we lived this marriage: