Having just returned from an amazing visit to Spain, there is always so much to take home from a travel experience. Sure, there is the obvious site seeing extravaganzas that take your breath away and leave you thinking about history and beauty.
And of course, the amazing culinary experiences which are never to be forgotten and will be replicated in my own kitchen.
However, one of my most important take homes from this most recent trip can be encapsulated in two words: Slow down!
All over Spain I noticed a very interesting and beautiful cultural habit: People, everywhere, taking pause at their meal times. Whether it was coffee, lunch, or a drink with tapas (small plate), people could be seen socializing, and pressing pause on their days to visit with a friend or loved one and really be present.
One of the most interesting dichotomies I noticed was the morning coffee ritual. In North America, we tend to grab our coffees and carry on with the rest of our days. However in Spain, when I asked for a take out coffee I was greeted with a strange look. I then quickly noticed what tended to happen in a Spanish coffee shop – a pause. People were enjoying there coffee beverage either at the counter visiting with the barista, or could be often seen visiting with friends, families, their kids, etc. Nobody was taking out, everybody was pausing. This same behaviour could be noticed throughout the day – the only people who were seen with take out food items, sandwiches, etc were (you guessed it) the tourists!
What I “took home” from these observations was the ability of people there to slow down, even stop completely and enjoy their break times. Being able to stop and smell the roses is a wonderful habit to learn from. Surely we all have an extra 10 or 15 minutes to sit down and enjoy (coffee, lunch…) and get off of our ever moving merry go rounds. I for one am certainly going to try and take some of this into my own life.
So throw away your take out mug and see what happens!