I’ve asked my dear friend Dayle to write a post for this month’s Healthy Teacher installment since she is all about bringing balance, movement, and a joy to people. I love the insight she offers as an opportunity to transform our crazy lunch schedule into something meaningful and calming.
Adult children, arm-in-arm with parents, walking granny pace down endless stretches of boardwalk; couples smooching as they wait for the light to change at a crosswalk; café patrons in pairs, leaning toward one another over a single small plate. That is to say, one appetizer-sized order of calamari for two people for thirty-five minutes. Wine not included.
What do these have in common? They are small instances of the Spanish habit of lingering.
I had the privilege of exploring Spain, land of the siesta, this summer and although I’m not (yet) napping during my two o’clock class, I did acquire a few Spanish habits that I am clinging to since my return to the States.
Four ways to bring a little lingering to your lunch life:
Dine al Fresco: I have a co-worker who makes a point of lunching on a bench right across from the building. It’s close, yet she gets renewed by the breeze, sunshine and fresh faces walking by.
Even if it’s not outdoors, try eating someplace other than the lunch room; an alcove, foyer, corner or car where you can close your eyes or enjoy the view. A change can be as good as a siesta.
Have quality snack or lunch wares for a special guest – you!
This means plating your lunch from your Tupperware instead of eating from it directly with plastic utensils.
A “good” plate is any one that you enjoy looking at. It doesn’t have to be a full-size supper plate – just a plate with some heft.
It takes me two minutes max to clean and store mine when I’m through. The Tupperware gets rinsed and taken home for washing.
Miniaturize your dinnerware.
The forks that Spanish friends use when eating tapas permit a diner to parse out an amount a bit bigger than two teaspoons at a time.
In lieu of the tapas fork, substituting a dessert fork in place of the standard dinner fork works just as well. Taking small bites slows down the process and allows you to taste, really taste and savor the texture in each bite.
Offer to share your lunch with others.
Plan for this intention in advance by bringing extras of something you enjoy yourself. You can double (or triple!) your pleasure by sharing olives, chips with salsa, a sweet apple cut into pieces…it’s a delicious way to make friends and most likely you will soon find others thinking of you when they pack their lunches.
Why this matters
In closing, let’s remind ourselves that while we are “on the job” in the classroom (or anywhere else) there is no pause button on it.
Lingering matters because it’s your time being spent. Your life being lived. Are you enjoying it? Lingering matters because it is about making the ordinary, delicious.
I would wager we are worth the linger. (say that, twelve times fast, s-l-o-w-l-y)
Dayle Paz has been a piano teacher in Canada and an English instructor in Mexico. She has run a science club for preschoolers out of her home and currently teaches after school art and readers’ theatre classes to children in grades K through 6. She specializes in peace-producing products for teachers and other service-oriented professionals.