Living Life According to your Means


Read article: From earning six figures to hoping for $7 an hour

With today’s economy, I think many of us find ourselves living according to our means whether we like it or not.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything this bad, many businesses, stores and restaurants in our area are shutting down, and the latest shocking news/rumors is that the mall might be shutting down also.  I think it’s very scary out there,  people don’t know what to expect, and many don’t know how to go back to living the simple life and might be that they’ve never lived that kind of lifestyle before.


This made me think of my cousin in Thailand, they’re older couple, and they don’t have a lot but they seems happy, and they have plenty of fruits and vegetables in their backyard.  Seeing this inspires me to plant a garden this year.


Papaya tree

If I’ve this in my backyard, I’d have a spicy papaya salad everyday.


papaya tree

peppers thai fruit

coconut tree

Phu leaves

Still very common for the elder Lao/Thai generation to practice betel chewing, my cousin is preparing one for herself, and she gets the betel leaf from her garden (above photo).  She used to sell them at the market, but now only sells to her neighbors that would stop by to buy every now and then.

betel chewing betel chewing

steaming rice


This flower is called Dok Kem, commonly seen in Laos and Thailand and Kem means needle for both Lao and Thai word.  The flower is often used during Wai Kru Ceremony (Teacher’s Day) where the students would give flowers to their teachers to give thanks, and by giving Dok Kem, the students in return will be sharp-witted and brainy.

tropical flower

Primary 1 student, Balley photo by jbruntthailand
Primary 1 student, Balley photo by jbruntthailand



  1. the papaya looks delicious. My mom has dozens and dozens of papaya trees in her back yard. When Spring and Summer comes, we have an abundance. That means Tum Mak Houng every day.

    The way that the woman in the picture lives remind me of our years spent (12 to be exact) practically living on the farm in which my mom worked. We had a little hut like that and we cooked in an open fire. It was quite fun… I missed those days.

  2. lady0fdarkness, we used to live like this when I was little living in Thailand. One thing that I noticed about her house is that even though it’s small but it’s extremely clean and it has been like this as long as I could remember.

    As for today’s economy, I’m not too worry for some of us that have been there and done that before, but for some that have never experienced the hardship, this is the test of their survival skill. This is very much like Survival (which I’ve never watched but only heard about it), when it’s your turn to leave, then you’re told to put out the torch and leave the island, but where would you go if this is your daily life.

  3. THe simple yet beauitful life! ahhh, if only we all can live that simple it would be all good. But in todays world, in American it’s not so easy to live like that. THere are too many bills and too many other things we must worry about. But I would love to live my life like that, it would be very nice.

    YUMMM, i want some papaya salad now..

    The enconomy has been crazy, for how long must this keep going on. I have a good job that I am sure I wont loose, that is unless I do something stupid to get fire, but then the hardship of the economy is effect all of us.

  4. mozemoua, living the minimalist lifestyle is attainable, but the sad part is that the bills are still there, I guess it comes with the territory. Who said being an adult is fun, at the moment, I want to be a kid again. 🙂

    Sometimes I feel that the bigger the company, the scarier it is, but we all must do our best to attain the current job that we’ve, as for some they don’t even have a job to go to.

    Our area is too cold to grow papaya tree, and if we do, it’d not be big enough to bear fruit.

  5. ‘Helen of Troy’ was the face that launched a thousand ships. But the 2nd picture to the last one, of the kids with the flower, after much studies, brought on quite a few laughs.

    1. There are 3 to 4 kids that looked straight into the camera, one with a puppy-dog face
    2. A kid digging his nose…”Man, there’s a hard one in there.”
    3. One with his left hand up, proclaiming “Get on with it, my a%$se is hurting”
    4. It seems only the ‘chubby kid’ loved the teacher enough to bring all the ‘Dok Kem’ from his grandma’s garden, who later went outside and proclaimed ‘what happened to my beautiful flower?’
    5. And of course, one kid getting caught stealing…classic!

    • I agree, those kids are so funny and cute.

      Giving flowers to the teacher is a good way to show appreciation. I don’t know if teachers in America get half the credit for all their work. Maybe an apple or two. 🙂

  6. PaNoy, I think it’s very hard getting everyone to look perfect in a photo, I often take at least 5 or 6 of group photos just in case, but in the kids’ photo, the photographer jbruntthailand captured the image well, the photo tells a lot of what it’s like to be a kid. 🙂 I recalled being in the same shoes as these kids having to give flowers to the teacher in the Wai Kru Ceremony, but I don’t recall digging my nose or anything like that. 🙂

  7. Wow, those papayas look so healthy! Your cousin really know how to simply live. We in America can all learn from her. 🙂

    That cat sure looks like trouble. And enjoying the easy & relaxing life too.

    And the flower is very pretty. I noticed it comes in many different colors. It probably only grows in tropical places like Thailand and Laos. But still very nice in any garden.

    • Salat, I’d love to grow papayas, but it’s too cold to grow in our area, and growing in pot would be too much work and storage in the winter months would be a problem. It is different life style in Thailand and Laos, but surprisingly most don’t keep a garden, might be that it’s easier to buy, same mentality as in the US.

      I think working in a garden gives you a good work out, and you can also grow your own vegetables too.

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