Several days ago, I wrote a blog filled with the “hardships” of living together while cycle touring that was really meant to be factual but obviously elicited sympathy. This was really not my intent, and when a friend wrote“OK…but are you having fun?”, I knew I needed to work on my voice and tone.
Her question gave me pause. “Am I having fun?” I asked myself.
I immediately thought about the term “fun.” I’ve asked many students similar questions:
“Are you having fun?”
“What is fun for you?”
“Did you have a fun time at the ______?”
“Do you have fun doing ______?”
Those types of questions are often met with blank stares, especially in the two countries where I’ve taught ESL, Malaysia and Turkey. I think fun can be idiomatic.
I get much better response with questions like:
“How do you spend your free time?”
“What are your hobbies?”
I think our American culture understands the concept of fun, likes to have fun, and can make fun. There may be several reasons for this but I’m guessing that we have weekends and leisure time and we have the economic resources that allow us the time “have” fun. In many cultures getting an education to earn a living that might afford time for leisure are full time jobs. Many of the students I’ve taught attend school six days a week and take extra classes for their free time. Many of their parents works 6 or 7 days a week to make ends meet. Fun might be defined by watching television or playing on their cellphone.
But back to the question about cycle touring and fun. I can give a definitive “yes!” I am having fun. Here are some things that are fun:
Riding early in the morning before the traffic and the heat of the day detract from the peacefulness and scenery.
Stopping for interesting snacks like fried bananas and fried purple sweet potatoes and meeting interesting people like the two cycling couples from Holland that we met tonight.
Feeling like a “win” when the downhill is longer than the up.
Meeting a cute 10 year old boy who taught me some Thai words while Eric changed my flat tire.
Hearing many, many children yell “Hallo” from dark palm groves, shady porches, or their parent’s roadside restaurant while we pedal by.
Finding inexpensive bungalows with sea views and ac and hot water for our lodging.
Reading interesting road signs with spelling or grammar errors like today’s favorite: CITY AHEAD – PRODUCE SPEED
Reading a book in a shady place in the middle of the day while Eric takes a nap.
Writing this blog.
Drinking beer with ice cubes.
Thank goodness for Eric’s retirement so we can have fun!!