So, we left on the 22nd of June to visit my husband’s family in Poland. I had just finished work a few hours before, picked up my son from his last day at school, zipped the suitcases and we were off! No time to think about what I hadn’t done or what I hadn’t packed. We took to the air and left everything behind.
We spent three weeks sitting in a little village, living to rhythm of somewhere else. We really went back to basics. There was a romantic charm to the daily routine: warming up water to wash ourselves and do dishes, doing the laundry early so it would have time to dry in the yard, having our tea together, washing and scraping the earth caked potatoes straight from the fields for lunch. After lunch, we would go to the river to swim. In the evening, we would play cards while nibbling on sandwiches and drinking beer. The routine, which essentially rotated around our basic needs: keeping clean and fed, was surprisingly soothing. Why is it that back home these things are such chores? Obviously, when you work all day, this becomes just ‘extra work’. Keeping house is a full-time job. I believe in the kind of feminism that strives for the recognition of what was typically seen as female.  I think that if those tasks were valued, we would find a way to make sure that a family can survive on one salary, since one of the parents (and I am not saying necessarily the woman) has full-time work taking care of the family’s basic needs.
It also dawned on me that there was something comforting in knowing exactly what you were supposed to do. Dishes had to be done, laundry had to be hung and food had to be prepared. There was no questions as to what to do. There were no decisions to make. Having leisure time is a relatively new occurrence. Our grandparents spent essentially all their time providing for their subsistence, whether by baking bread, making cheese, candles, butter, sewing clothes… Since the fifties, we have more time and we have to constantly decide what to do with that time. The options are endless and the responsibilities as well. We have to make decisions on educational activities for the kids, shop for life insurance, make eco-conscious choices, do yoga, be aware of world politics…. It is a never-ending stream of decisions that we have to make the minute we have a second to spare. It was nice for things to be simple and clear: bathing, laundry, food, rest…. We should try not to forget that life isn’t as complicated as we make. Of course, it is always easier to do that when you are on vacation!