Spain on the Brain

imageHaving just returned from a few-week long trip to Spain, I cannot help but romanticize the Spanish way of life. As we traveled through central Spain— from big city Madrid with its world class art museums, through Segovia to Salamanca for a few-day stay and a mid-day stop in the palace-laden Renaissance town of Caceres, the expansive plains stretched to hills and eventually to the beautiful mountainous countryside. We continued our journey to southern Spain, exploring the cities of Seville and Granda, where we were fortunate enough to experience the awesome sights and timeless beauty of the Alcazar and the Alhambra, respectively. The deep sense of history and culture permeates the towns and cities and seems to connect the people to one another in ways that made me envy them. Family and friends spend time with one another in the middle of the day, eating and drinking; children play soccer (football) nearby in the streets; mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, gather together at restaurants, playgrounds, or just outside of their homes. People seem serene. There is a sense of joyfulness, a simplicity to life that felt so attractive, even necessary, to me. After the big afternoon meal, shops close for several hours, as everyone retreats, either to take their siesta or find some other form of rejuvenation. What a concept, right? Then, later many come out again from about 8:30pm and into the night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. The people of Spain seem to be truly happy and relaxed, taking the time to celebrate, and appreciate, what they have… and sharing what is important with one another. Call me a romantic —but who wouldn’t be swept away by the notion of living a life that brings one a sense of joy, serenity, and liveliness.

imageI may be suffering from “the grass is always greener” syndrome, but wow, I must take pause here, and consider how I might integrate some of what I saw and felt in sunny Spain into my own daily life. Back here, we are all so busy; we often talk about how overwhelmed or stressed our lives have become. Maybe it is time to do less and breathe a little more. Maybe it’s not so much about how much I accomplished in one day but how much I enjoyed this day.