The Good Life

First of all: Happy New Year! 2012 is up and running. It really was about time that we finished 2011, it seemed like a year that was promising so much, yet it was a bit slow to deliver. We shall see what the new year will bring, how long the resolutions will last and if our optimism is justified (yes, of course!). We will also find out in December if the world will end… But that’s another story.

With the smell of fireworks in the air and an empty glass of champagne in the hand we sometimes have a tendency to reflect and become a little bit philosophical. Also, the start of the new year marks the end of the winter / Christmas holidays for most of us. We return to ‘normal life’ with new inspiration and motivation, just to find that this inspiration doesn’t have anything to do with what’s ahead of us.

“Ana and I went to Brazil. Which for us translates into: 3 weeks of family, food and fun. Catching up with our folks. New impressions, too, of course. Some beer, some chachaça. And even more food… I’m sure you get the picture!”

“One of the places we visited again we call ‘sitio’, which basically means ‘place’. Actually, it’s a farm near a little city called ‘Promissaõ’, which is roughly 500km inland from Saõ Paulo. There are relatives living there, so we have a good reason going there.”

“But also, to me, this place is magic. It’s simple and it’s beautiful. I don’t think life there is easy (it’s easier than it has been in the past) and of course it’s far from carefree, even though you can pick mangoes and papaya straight from the trees. The main street is a dusty path that turns into thick mud when it rains. And rain is needed for the crops..

Being a farmer in Brazil is a very different world from Barbour jacket and Range Rover. Of course, there are similarities, too. Making economic decisions whether to buy more land. More cows. Or chicken. Whether to grow corn or cane or coffee. And how one’s life is affected by the bigger farms and corporations around. It would be naive to believe global economy doesn’t affect small farms… To the vistor like me, however, it’s mostly paradise. Apart from the mangoes it also means sunshine, barbecue, watching the thunderstorms on the horizon. Horse riding. And in the back of my mind the question: Can’t we just stay? Simple life is so good…”

But we can’t, because we are part of a complex and sophisticated world. We can design yachts, but we forgot how to milk a cow…