taking my last look at the land where women in straw hats nonchalantly navigate bulky carts through peak hour traffic, complete with a symphony of sirens. shopping pedestrians seem to be replaced by motorists along endless shoe streets and crossing roads becomes a once-in-a-lifetime experience: slowing down, striding confidently and acting like you own the road. the lake that has grown all too familiar to us, where the brightest colours are blooming flowers in the day and warm ornamental lights at night, where the weather oscillates between sweltering 30 deg sweat stains and biting 15 degree winds and sweater weather. a gentle language vaguely reminiscent of something which we know, some faces kinder than others but only people who have been all too willing to share their stories, hopes, aspirations- vastly different from ours. lives centred around simplicity, community, happiness, even when they have had the chance to pursue more.