The pace here in Puerto Escondido is much different than that of Toronto. Sure, we are not working at our regular jobs but it is more than that. Everything moves slower here and I am really enjoying it but it has taken some time to get to that point.
This morning I did an Instagram story for my personal account. And then I did another for a business one. When I went back to my personal account, I realized that the story had not uploaded and now it was lost. And now I had to do it all over again. At first I was annoyed, but then I decided to use it as a test. My first Instagram story didn’t upload because I had not given it the time to. Because I had rushed forward to the next thing, as I so often do. Finish one thing, immediately move onto the next. Except, that I hadn’t taken the time to actually finish that initial thing. A sign to sloooow down.
Then I posted a photo on yet another Instagram account (Sidenote: Just how many Instagram account are too many? I am rolling at four at this point!). I then did my usual comment of hashtags. Went to refresh and realised that they never posted and now they were forever gone and now I had to redo them all. Except that I couldn’t.
And I couldn’t do this next step because I realised that there was an eery quiet even amongst the morning sounds. The white noise of humming refrigerators and anything else electronic was missing. Our power was out. No more internet. No more hashtags. Sloooow down.
So now I sit here, typing this in Word, when normally it would be written directly into WordPress. I have about twenty tabs open in my browser but none will work. And I suspect the power will be out for a while. Mexican-style. But I see this nuisance as a positive. As a push to do other things, rather than be distracted by the Internet. A forced disconnection. A call to sloooow down.
Because even if the Internet was currently working, those twenty tabs of data would not be. Because here the Internet works at a 1/10 of the pace that the one at home does. At times it’s frustrating when you are used to flipping around between them all, doing a million things at once which is my regular speed. This Internet speed (when it is working) means that you can only do what is important to you at that moment. You can only do what needs to be done at that moment. And for this lesson, I am grateful.
Before coming here to La Punta, I took a quick look at the restaurants that were nearby. Full confession, I love reading reviews. I love reading the reviews of restaurants and hotels and places that I have been to, and those that I haven’t. I find them entertaining. (And if you want some true entertainment, look up the West Queen West “hotel” in Toronto and read those reviews. They are gems! On bad days, that is what I read. True story.) So I read the reviews of all the travellers before and the common thread of all of them, of all the travellers, of all the restaurants was this: service was slow.
Service was slow? But, where are you? You are presumably on vacation. You presumably have no true schedule for the day. I will presume that time is essentially irrelevant for you while spending time in La Punta of Puerto Escondido. You are eating at a restaurant that has a sand floor. Where one woman cooks for the entire room. And where her ten year old son takes your order. Slow service? If that is your greatest concern, I would say you are not doing it right.
Sloooow down. Take your time, order an extra Cerveca (only 25 pesos!) while you wait. Enjoy the homemade food when it does come to your table. And eat it slow. My friend Amber taught me this. She is one of the slowest eaters and it is because of this: she enjoys every moment of the meal. She enjoys every bite of food, every sip of wine, every snippet of conversation. For that meal, she is 100% in that moment and there is something to learn from that. Sloooow down. Be grateful for that extra time that it takes for your food to arrive. For you to anticipate the delicious ingredients for a little while longer. For you to have time to sit. Just sit. While it be with your lover or your group of friends or on your own. Sloooow down.
And when you have “slow” (or no!) Internet, it forces you to think differently about how you watch that Netflix. Instead of binge-watching an entire season, you are only able to watch one – on special nights two – episodes a night. Remember back before the days the streaming movies and shows, how you would be tied to the station’s schedule? How your favourite show would air only once a week at a specific time. Remember how you set your schedule to be sure that you would be there, in your living room, to watch it at that time? And then the following day you would go to school or work and talk about what had transpired in that TV land? Oh the joy! Watching only a single episode a night has forced us to limit our show-watching time. It has allowed us to really dive into a series. To actually talk about each episode in the day following the airing. We actually discuss it and the whole thing becomes more memorable thanks to this. And we eagerly anticipate watching the next episode with this 24-hour pause between them. Peaky Blinders was a much better series given that we spread it out over weeks instead of just a couple of nights. Sloooow down.
And when you don’t have the Internet, you start to realise what is truly important. Is it reading everyone’s status’ on Facebook? Is it scrolling through the Instagram feed so that you then see what you’re missing? Or is it more important to be present. To truly soak in what is here in front of me. The slow breeze blowing through the palm leaves. The call from the Agua man. The rolling waves on the beach. The calls of birds. The way all of this feels. Soaking it in. Documenting it with words, with the camera. Being here. Truly here. This is what is important.
Our time here has taught me these lessons. Has taught me to adjust my pace. To stop being a maniac and a super Virgo by getting everything done immediately or else. To realise that there is value in the waiting, in the time dedicated to all parts of the process of what you are working on, to enjoy every bite (when it comes). To be grateful for every moment.