Yoga. My Love Language.
I’m 3 days in and finally made my way to my mat. This evening found me on a rooftop in the heart of Barcelona staring at a brilliant blue sky as the sun began to fade. And wait for it…I cried happy tears.
For the first time since I stepped off the plane at BCN, I felt at home. I always feel at home on my mat. Yoga is a universal language. You don’t need words, just movement. My body didn’t have to translate, it simply moved. And that was the most beautiful thing.
Since my arrival, I have been completely humbled in more ways than one. There were amenities in life I most certainly took for granted. As I walk through the streets, I am proud to be an American, yet also feel very spoiled. We tend to overindulge in everything, and it’s becoming very apparent to me. Here are a few of the things I know I certainly took for granted:
English Speakers – When I travel throughout the US, I love nothing more than striking up a conversation with a waitress, bartender or store clerk. I don’t have that luxury here. It’s been tough finding English speakers, but I’ve got some things in the works to help with that. I definitely took for granted my language. Fortunately for me, many countries have English as a second language so people I run into know enough to help me. It definitely makes me empathize with foreigners living in the US. Most of us don’t speak their language to help translate. Instead, we often expect them to learn English. I’m extremely grateful for those who are bilingual.
Clean Drinking Water – I definitely took something as simple as drinking water for granted! How easy is it to walk to your sink, turn on the faucet and get something to drink. Thirsty in the middle of the night? No worries, walk to the kitchen and get cold, filtered water right from the refrigerator. Not here. Their water isn’t safe for consumption. Instead, the 24-hour super mercat below my apartment sells agua by the liter. I’ve already gone through three. Those of you who know me know all I drink is water, and lots of it.
Safe Streets – Let me start by saying I haven’t felt unsafe yet. There are tons of people out and about. In fact, it’s 22:24 and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. Many stores and restaurants close in the late afternoon, then open again in the late evening for dinner. However, I read all the blogs and did my homework. Pickpocketers are real here. As I visited the touristy areas, I had two hands on my purse at all times. I left money locked up in the apartment. I put locks on my backpack. I never felt the need to hold my belongings so tightly walking the streets of OKC. True, we do have occasional muggings, but we aren’t warning convention attendees to hold their items for fear of pickpocketers.
Space – My bedroom is the size of my cubicle at my former office. Wait, the cubicle may actually be bigger. I’ll have to see if Carrie can measure it for me! Americans LOVE our space. And our stuff. One of the reasons I did this trip was to downsize – to get back to living life, rather than buying things that fill a void and make me think I’m happy. I put everything I need into a single 25″ suitcase and a backpack. That blew my mind and might have made me cry a bit. Yet, it all fits in the small room I have. Sure, it’s definitely cozy, but it works.
Air Conditioning & Toilets – Okay, this one sounds dumb, but I definitely took both for granted. The apartment doesn’t have AC. We have all the windows open, which I love! However, the breeze was so still the first night that I woke up drenched in sweat. The fan was little help. And toilets….let’s talk about these. They’re so accessible in the US. You always know if you’re on a road trip or running errands, you can pop into a QuikTrip, WalMart, Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. to use the bathroom. Even if you don’t use it, you know it’s accessible to you. After a full day of exploring, I was having a hard time finding any place with public restrooms. Shoot, even as a paying customer I couldn’t find restrooms. Odd, I know. It just made me think of one more simple luxury we have back home.
With all that said, I’m very grateful to be here too. I’m learning to appreciate the small luxuries, as I said, but also embrace other cultures. This is their way of life. It isn’t wrong to them, it’s just what they know.
Life feels slower here. Maybe it’s simply because I have nothing to do except explore all day (that’s not true, I’ve actually done a lot of work since getting here). Life doesn’t begin at 6 a.m. School starts later and goes longer. Stores close in the middle of the afternoon for siesta, which I am fully learning to embrace! Even yoga was slower paced this evening.
In OKC, we flow and with each sequence, we add a posture or two to challenge ourselves. We’re always pushing ourselves to be faster, stronger, smarter, work harder. Me, I’m slowing it down for a bit. Yeah, I’ll definitely feed my hustle. My new gig won’t plan itself. But like yoga this evening, I’m going back to basics – no sequences, no flow. Just basic postures held for lengths at a time. You know what? It was still extremely challenging, just in a different way.
What are the foundations of a life well lived? I challenge you to focus on those for a bit too. Hold them a bit longer. Don’t try to make them into anything more or less than they are. Just be.
P.S. I’m sitting here watching Jessie on Disney Channel because it’s the only thing in English. Don’t judge me!