It was only supposed to be a morning of horseback riding in the mountains. At least, that’s what I thought. But it was a day long Spanish kidnapping, and a day of living instead of doing.
We started out late, so it was a thrilling ride to the small town where we would get our cowboy/cowgirl on. Three hours later, covered in sweat and dust, with aching inner thighs and weak arms from swatting away clouds of flies, my friend S and I, the two Americans, were ready to eat then head home. Ha! After a year out of the country I had forgotten what happens when you make plans with Spaniards on the weekend. It turns into an all day affair.
After finally settling on a place to eat, we drove over to the town where it was. Delicious food, I don’t regret that choice at all. But when you’re in Spain it’s not just lunch, it’s a two hour lunch and you must get a coffee/tea/drink after. But heaven forbid it be in the same restaurant where you had lunch. You head to a different spot. So naturally, we got in the car yet again to head to another town for our post-lunch drinks. Seven hours later, what was supposed to be a morning excursion turned into a day long adventure. In other words, what my other American friends and I jokingly and lovingly call a Spanish “kidnapping.”
What I simultaneously love and am sometimes frustrated by about the Spanish is their non-linear sense of time. It was September, it was a Saturday, I didn’t have anywhere to go. Was I upset or feeling like I was wasting time? Absolutely not. It was an adventure. Was I exhausted and ready to go home after the fourth hour? Yes. Absolutely.
Maybe it’s just me (take pity on me, I’m a New Yorker), but this open-ended day of exploring has been foreign to me till my move here three years ago. In New York every minute of my day was structured. Even on the weekends the restaurants, bars, museums, etc., were decided ahead of time. If I didn’t have to be somewhere by the morning, I definitely had to be somewhere the afternoon. Bar-hopping is a thing, but for a typical night out. Day time adventures were something that usually happened on vacation or trips to new cities.
There are so many things I learned about slowing down here in Spain. From how to enjoy a leisurely drink in the middle of the week to enjoying for the sake of enjoying, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not plan every single second of my days. Not even every hour. Things happen as they happen, the day unfolds as it unfolds. And while I’m not ashamed to admit that I can get my serious couch potato on, especially during the winter, I came back to Spain to once again remember how to savor my days and get out to explore.
The Spanish have a great way of procrastinating and not always getting things done right away, but I also have come to appreciate their knack for living instead of doing.
Do you ever have days where you have no plans and just see where life takes you? If you don’t, would you be able to “make time” to not have to “make time”?