“This place is wonderful but it is not for kids. NO TV!?” I explain the customer that Julian, mut mee’s owner, likes to encourage guests to meet on the garden to talk to each other. “Well not if you have children. If you have children you have to have a TV otherwise they drive you crazy. They move too much. Hearing this I do not know whether to laugh or cry.
But this man is wrong. Working for the little time I have here I have noticed an amazing trend. The parents who do not want to be bothered with their children have this crazy children running around, who get very angry at the absence of a TV. Those are usually on a holyday looking desperate to go back to their comfortable homes. On the other hand I have met a few other families. Families of travelers going around the world, hoping to get more time together, and pleased to be able to show or discover the world in its diversity with their children. These families have the most amazing children.
I met for instance a French couple with their 10 year old daughter. They had left France because they did not want her to grow up in a place that was so “pessimistic”. They first went to Guadaloupe, then to Madagascar, and then here. In each place they stayed for a while. The girl Eva was one of the nicest 10 year old I have ever met. She was curious about the world. She told me about the places she had been. She wanted to learn about my travels.
Then came another French family who I had less time to spend with as I only met them on the last day they were here. It was their second time at Mut Mee. But three years before now they had been on a 14th month family trip around the world. The now live in San Francisco. It was the exact same feeling. They were curious, lively, and bright and had even before their teen years seen the world, and so many different cultures.
In India I encountered a few families as well. They always amazed me.
But just as I was pondering about the crazy children who needed TV, I see arrive a really lovely family: parents traveling with 2 children. One is 3 and a half and the other 9. Even before I talk to them I know they are travelers and not tourists.
When I show them the room the Raphael, the 3 year old is excited because there are pebbles in the shower.
“it is so Beautiful”
He gets to the garden and realizes there is a Buddha.
“We must water it”
I get him a little pot with water and there he goes watering plants and Buddhas around.
Every single person in the garden is marveled by the cuteness of the boy. His 9 year old brother is talkative. He is intrigued by the plants. He helps Raphael. They do not ask me if we have TV. They are amazed by the trees.
When I get to talk to the mom she tells me they are on a 2 year old trip. They have finished the 1st 6 months. I asked her whether it was hard.
“Much less than I anticipated. It took 2 months for all of us to meet. We were all used to our own lives. We both had jobs; the boys never spent that much time together. It was strange at first but now we are a family. A family that travels together.”
Little Raphael comes back with his empty pot. He does not ask for water but I refill it so that he can water everything else. Suddenly, as I look back at him looking at things I suddenly realize what I think it is. These children who do not watch TV all the time they seem to really SEE the world. They are intrigued by the pebbles, the statues, the trees, the tuk tuk, the rooster singing. These children seem to be simply more present.
I reconsider. That man (who needed the TV for his children) in being wrong was very right. Children without TV move more. As Raphael comes around with his little Ukulele composing a song about everything that is around I am really happy he moves, and talks and is not paralyzed in front of a machine.