Today is Friday, and I don’t have school. I lounged around all day and felt no rush to do anything. I tutored this morning, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my tutoree at a local café, and made a trip to the post office. You know what happened after that jam-packed morning? I made lunch, and I took a nap. Man, I love naps.
This is the antithesis of what I refer to as “real life” back home in the Northeastern United States. Are you kidding me? I had lists everywhere and post-its on post-its about other post-its. There was always work and school and errands and the gym and volleyball matches and social events. If you add the fact I have to calculate driving time into all of this, I was never at a standstill. I am used to waking up at operating at full tilt (ok, most days) and going to bed exhausted but satisfied. Granted, I like this. I am at my happiest and most productive when I have many projects going at the same time.
So what has Spain done to me? Here it is in a nutshell. It’s done the same thing to me that it did in 2004 when I came to Andalucia to study. Suddenly, I didn’t have to rush everywhere and be somewhere at all times. It took a long while for the running commentary to subside: Why are these people shopping at this hour – don’t they have somewhere to be? For God’s sake they walk SO SLOW .. get out of my way! There I was, the stereotypical northeasterner blazing through life on the fast track to who knows where. And then, there was Granada.
Slow down, Spain says. Tranquila. See these people in the plaza? In front of this ancient cathedral, sprawled out on the steps in the sunshine? Give it a try. It won’t hurt. Just take five minutes and sit down. Stop making excuses. Sit. Down. There that’s not so bad, is it? Wow this sunshine is glorious. It’s February and I don’t even need this jacket. Those shop windows are beautiful .. ooh watch out for those gypsies. There’s the guy with the accordion again. What book is that cute guy reading? I wish I had my camera. I could post up here and watch these tourists for hours. Maybe I will … ?
It was not at all this slow realization, but more like slamming head-on into a brick wall. Suddenly, this huge realization settled over me like the wayward pollen from the nearby rose garden. This is ok? I’m supposed to do this? Literally – do what my father has jokingly said all of these long years: stop and smell the roses. Well, hell.
So while I am still at my happiest when busy and juggling one hundred and one things .. this country has seeped into my bones here on my second tour, and I have a better appreciation for that no pasa nada attitude that my friends and I so admired several years ago.
Thanks, Spain. Keep it coming.
* in this oh-so-leisurely afternoon I managed a bit of a face lift on the blog .. let me know what you think!