Thursday, August 16, 2012
Take-aways from our summer abroad
At the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris.
We've been back from Europe for a week now, but it feels like longer. Funny how that works. The 7 weeks there feel like a dream already. There are several things though that I've brought back with me: things that I want to hold on to. In no particular order, they are:
Be less busy. Without realizing it, we completely changed our pace to match those of our friends in Europe. It's easy to do when you don't have school, camps, work, and other commitments. Coming back and seeing how overbooked (and often stressed) our friends are here makes me realize I don't want to get back on that treadmill.
Linger over meals with friends. Every single meal we had with our friends in Europe lasted hours. With kids, regardless of their age. There was no stress, no pressure: just good food, good wine, and good company (thank you Curtis & Leila, Eric & Rebecca, Clinton & Chavi, Anne & Theirry!). This one will be harder, because it depends on our friends here to try to let go a bit and relax the pace. We'll see if anyone's willing to play.
Be inspired. Man oh man was it great to immerse myself in art again. I've got a tendency towards art snobbery and so I don't bother much in Portland with museums, galleries, etc. And, in reality, there's nothing here that compares to the museums in Paris or Barcelona. But there is inspiration to be found, and I need to make more of an effort to find it.
Walk more. For 7 weeks I didn't worry about what I ate or drank. I ate tons of amazing cheese, patisserie, wine/cider, butter. I also walked an average of 20 hours a week, with a major hill every single day. I didn't do yoga or pilates or the elliptical. I also didn't gain an ounce. In order to make the time for this, I have to honor my first goal of not being so busy. It was easy to walk for hours when I had no where I had to be at any particular time.
Be late. I am chronically early. I am also chronically stressed out about being late. The truth is, I am never late, and my stress about doesn't help anything. In Europe, everyone's late. So much so that I had to force myself to wait 15 minutes past the time our friends told us to come for dinner just so that we'd be late enough to be socially acceptable! (It was really hard.) In truth, I'll probably rarely be late anywhere, but if I try to be late maybe I'll be on time and less stressed/rushed. And if I'm late to meet you somewhere, I apologize in advance (and you should congratulate me!).
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Simpatico. The points you made are some of the same that I see my family needing more of. We've been running at a crazy pace for too long and some things have to change. I think you're exactly right that it starts with being less busy. Spending time on things that matter and also letting some things go. That ones tough for me. But I have to admit, being late is something I do fairly regularly. Guess I'd fit right into the European culture. ;)
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