Laos, I will miss you.
I will miss the haunting sound of drums and gongs at 4 am from the temples: a mystical, dreamy way to wake-up.
I will miss the way the people of your town give morning alms to the monks in the mist of dawn, and how the monks turn to their friends and family and chant to say thanks.
Laos, I will miss your extensive menus at restaurants, and the way you’e able to still serve food even when the power is out.
I will miss the way you cook with such fresh herbs and spices, the way your culinary treats are as much about aroma and color as taste.
I will miss the way Laotian families walk along the Mekong on Sunday evenings and sit together at temporary sidewalk cafes to have dinner over an open flame.
I will miss riding your prehistoric elephants and bathing them in the river.
I will miss the way the novice monks compete with their rival Wats, playing drums and gongs as loudly and as rhythmically as possible at 4 in the afternoon.
And I will miss the way those same novices calm into chanting later that evening while I eat noodle soup across the street.
Laos, I will miss the colorful and ornate spirit houses that protect families perched outside of every home.
Laos, I will even miss the way it rains so hard here that the river swells 15 feet in three days and takes away the boat we needed to cross the rushing waters.
I will miss the way the temples rise above the tree-line as we drive away from a town on a Tuk-tuk or a boat. And I will surely miss the way your people guide me down muddy roads and up steep hills to the temples I can’t quite find on my own.
I will miss dinner and beers on the banks of the Mekong as the sun sets over your stunning landscape.
But most of all Laos, I will miss you. I will miss the way you have taught me how to wait, how to be patient, how to fall into the rhythm of a life that’s not so fast-paced. I will miss the enchantment of saying, “things will work out, if not now then in a little bit, if not today then tomorrow.”
Laos, thank you.