La Siesta

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The siesta time is taken very seriously at my mother-in-law’s home in Sevilla. In the morning you get all that you have to done. By 2:30pm you must be at home. This is when lunch is ready and on the table. Lunch is usually a delicious feast- gazpacho, lomo, jamón Serrano, salad, boquerones en vinagre, meatballs, shrimp, cheese, bread, wine, beer and water. For dessert there is fruit and some times ice cream for special occasions. After we are sufficiently stuffed my mother-in-law ushers us out of the dining room and tells us to “echar una siesta” – take a nap. She takes hers in an easy chair in the living room where she will dose off for about thirty minutes. For the rest of us we go to our bedrooms and we can happily sleep for up to almost two hours.

Ale, my husband and I are on vacation so this is a great welcome. Our first day here the three of us climbed into bed and passed out for an hour and a half. We all slept deeply for that time. We were exhausted. Exhausted from the trip to Spain from New York, but also exhausted from our lives in New York. We don’t stop. We just keep going, and going. Even Ale who naps all the time sleeps better here. He is not picking up the stress of our daily routines.

When the siesta is over it’s like a new day begins. We might have a cup of coffee and a piece of pound cake to get us going again. Then we are off to the park, or strolling around the city. We finish off the night with conversation and a dinner that was meant to be light. My mother-in-law wants to make sure we are all well fed and jolly. Then it’s bedtime again around midnight. Ale goes to bed around 10pm instead of his usual 8pm. He wants to join in the fun as well and play with his cousins and laugh at his uncle’s jokes, (Mama, he’s funny!).

It’s impossible to replicate the Spanish way of life in bustling New York but I can learn from this. We need to just stop, rest and take time for ourselves to recharge our batteries. To take a moment or two to just stop moving, running, planning, thinking, or whatever. Just stop and breathe and have a siesta moment. It’s ok. The planet will keep spinning. I have to record my mother-in -law her to remind myself- “Venga! Hala! Iros a dormir!” (Go, go on! Go to sleep!).

Photo from Hotels Monte

Welcome to España!!!

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A few days ago we arrived in Madrid, Spain. We are here visiting my husband’s family. This has become a yearly pilgrimage now that Ale has come into our lives. I want him to know his family better beyond faces that appear on the computer screen via Skype. I am also hoping that he will pick up a few more words in Spanish.

International travel with a toddler is cruel and unusual punishment. Ale is a fantastic little traveler but the first days were very hard. The jet lag made him very sleepy and super confused He would wake up and not know where he was and would ask for Grandma- my mother- and his friends from daycare. Then he would walk around the apartment looking a bit lost. Last night he took his backpack and said he was going home.

My fear of Ale getting sick almost became a reality. Our first day here poor Al ate half a shrimp and came down with a low grade fever and hives covered his body. The solution was ibuprofen and Benadryl. My husband and sister in law had to go out at 11pm to the 24hr pharmacy to get these meds. Since then he has been ok but I’m still nervous!

Yesterday, Ale had the best time of his life. We went with his Aunt to the Museo del Ferrrocarril (train museum). Ale was in heaven running, jumping and dancing for joy! So many trains!! We even had a snack of potato chips and pineapple juice in an antique dining car. The best snack ever!

Today we are on the train going to Sevilla to see la Abuela- my husband’s mother. More adventures await!

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