Siesta time. Photo: Carolina Ferrer
This trip back isn´t just about buying some amazing new shoes and handbags to add to our wonderful little store, Petit Barcelona. It´s about giving myself time to recover from a pretty hectic year. Two weeks into my sabbatical I am already feeling the rejuvenating effects of a slower lifestyle.
The village that we live in is a moderate place. Its a small community that houses generations of families that continue to stay in the area and bring up their children, and children´s children. You can´t walk 5 meters down the road without bumping into a handful of people who are eager to hear how you are and your plans (though they already know as the Spanish village grapevine is well and truly alive here).
Each day the village runs like clockwork. The same festivals are held year in year out. The saints days, the non-religious days even the parties for eating onions (I´ll tell you about that later). Likewise this household also runs to a routine. Day-in day-out, week-in week-out, year-in year-out. Everyone emerges from their bedrooms around 9am (sometimes 12noon on a weekend), shops open around 10am, lunch all together at 2pm on the dot, followed by a siesta or time out and then regroup around 5pm when the shops open again. We have a very light dinner at 9pm and bed an hour or two later. We are a typical Mediterranean family that centers around food and sleep.
I slide into the routine of the casa quite nicely and I am comforted by the fact that everyone has their role to play in this game of sticking by the clock. I know that lunch will always be served at the same time, I will be told what we will be eating earlier in the day, and that after we all sit down together for lunch, I will be expected to take time out for myself (like everyone else does) shortly after.
We roam the streets discovering new places whilst everyone else is sistering
For many years the family worried why I didn´t siesta after lunch. When I tried to explain the reason was that I merely couldn´t get over the psychological barrier that siestas were unproductive, they just shook their head, dismissed my excuse and concluded that I merely needed to eat more at lunch. Instead of it being my problem, it became theirs to solve. And so their mission was to push as many plates of food my way during lunch in order to cure me of this ridiculous notion of not sleeping during the day.
This imposed ´time out´ happens everyday here, because everyone in the house does it. My life was pretty hectic before jumping on that plane 2 weeks ago. I was juggling a very full time job in a law firm, a new start up business, a 2 year old and life that comes with all of that. By stepping off that treadmill, I feel like I have granted myself some peace and quiet. Given my body and mind time to rest and recalibrate, and the most important thing, to free myself from the expectations I have on myself to do it all. Because it is only with rest and recovery that you see how little you achieve in trying to do everything, and how much more, I am gaining doing significantly less.
There is a great saying here ´Poc a Poc´ (in Catalan) or in Spanish ´Poco a Poco´. Meaning slowly slowly. It is a well used phrase in my trilingual vocabulary now and one that I am finally putting into practice again now.