04 February 2010

Siestas, Saucers, and Fresh-Squeezed Juice

There is so much to love about the way Spaniards do things. While I have come to terms with the fact that living here is temporary, there are a few things I love and want to bring back to America with me.

First, the siesta. It's not so much the sleeping (although it's a definite bonus) that I love about the siesta. What makes me really happy is the fact that people find it more important to have a chunk of their day set aside to rest than to be working and making money. Coming home to a home-cooked meal every day at 2 is a wonderful thing. You have time to rest if you need it, and it doesn't come at the end of the day when you're too worn out to enjoy it. Also, instead of hating the afternoon and its tasks, you're energized by the couple of hours relaxation and ready to tackle whatever it is you have going on later in the day. Some people do not like the fact that most of the stores around here close during the siesta, but I support this. If I need something I can get it later when things open again. As far as I'm concerned this forces people to enjoy some free time, and sleeping is optional.

It's not just the siesta either. I'm convinced that coffee in a cup on a little saucer is superior. I don't know what it is about the plate, but I love it. In some ways it's another device to slow you down. You're not getting your coffee and running to your next task; instead, you sit down and enjoy drinking it, often times while also enjoying the company of others. People take time to eat and drink here rather than eating or drinking just because they have to in order to survive. It doesn't appear to affect getting work done, and if you ask me everyone just seems better off because of it.

The fact that everything closes in the middle of the day and coffee breaks are meant to be long might give you the idea that Spaniards are lazy. This is a false impression, and I offer you orange juice to prove it. I'm sure if I looked for orange juice in a jug/carton/some other container in the store I could find it, but I can say that in the almost 4 weeks I've been here I have ONLY seen fresh-squeezed orange juice. In restaurants and at home, if someone is drinking orange juice, it came from real oranges right before they started drinking. It's a little more work, but there's something about it coming straight from the orange that just makes it better.

This is only my impression, and I don't know how the Spaniards themselves feel about their lives. But what I'm learning here is that it's possible to enjoy life in the midst of work and being busy. It doesn't really make a difference here if they take a break from about 2-4:30. Things still get done. People still work hard and efficiently. I hope when I get back to the states I can start a siesta movement (or at least work my own schedule out that way), and I am sure I will be drinking my coffee with a saucer underneath my cup. I don't drink much orange juice here or anywhere, but I plan to live with a fresh-squeezed mindset. Work is important and unavoidable, but it isn't all there is to life. Spain is showing me you can have your job and your siesta, the equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.


  1. Inspiring :)

    I like to hear of this.

    It does makes America seem busy and rude, though.

    And I'm also full of shame that I do not even own one saucer. :(

  2. I don't own saucers either, but I will.

  3. I just have to say...I think being in Spain with you would be the most amazing experience in the whole world and I'm super bummed that I'll probably never have that chance. But I'm glad you're enjoying yourself and I can't wait to adopt siestas with you when you get back :)

  4. Like the OJ concept - reminds you to slow down, but on other hand if some folks slowed down they would be comatose. While in Spain try to discover what is important to the people. You can only tell what really matters in someones life by not only what they live for but also by what they are willing to die for. Search for Truth and wisdom will be close.