Ohio University’s campus is known for its beauty, with its brick roads, gorgeous scenery and small-town feel. Ironically, Toledo is similar, except it possesses buildings and hidden treasures that have withstood the test of time. Walking in Toledo is like taking a history lesson each time you turn a corner. One would think that the daily life for a typical Toledo citizen would be indulging in this history every single day; however, the typical Toledo citizen is accustomed to this antique setting.
Understanding the typical day of a person born and raised in Toledo can be seen greatly through the life of my eleven-year-old Spanish sister, Paloma. I can honestly say that I have never met someone so full of life. She complains little and opens her heart to all. Since my arrival in Toledo, she has made my transition a smooth one. Her schedule is much more demanding then my own and I applaud her for this. She wakes up every day at 7:30, splashes some water on her face, heads down stairs and plays a challenging song on the piano effortlessly. It wakes me up, but I don’t mind because I know soon its soothing sound will put me to sleep again. Paloma doesn’t start school until 9:30 and we share breakfast together every morning. She greats me with a smile and a “beso,” or kiss on the cheek, and then we talk until the time she has to leave. We don’t see each other again until 5:30 in the afternoon because 5:30 here is not considered evening quite yet. Her school schedule demands that she be in class for much longer than the normal eleven-year-old. At 5:30, we discuss our day. We talk about her friends, her courses and even Justin Bieber. However, this time is also brief because at exactly 7:00 she has to go to piano lessons that sometimes go all the way until 10:00 in the evening. Not the common day of your average eleven-year-old, now is it?
Sometimes if I am lucky, we will have lunch together, too, but this is rare. Here, we eat breakfast at 9:00, lunch at 2:30 and dinner must wait until the late hours of the evening between 9:00-10:00. Upon Paloma’s arrival from piano lessons, one would think that she would be exhausted, but this is not the case. In fact, Paloma runs up to my room with an overflow of excitement to teach me something new. I have had the pleasure of participating in dance lessons with her, learning various songs on the piano and even watching a “pelicula,” or movie, with her from time to time. The most important thing I should note about the typical day of Paloma is her lack of the sense of time. She knows what she must do within the short twenty-four hours of the day, and never once complains about how she needs more time.
Time in Spain, in a sense, is frowned upon. A typical Spaniard carries an internal clock and lives in the moment. They don’t believe anything needs to be rushed, deadlines can be changed and, if needed, a 24-hour day can be adjusted to 27. So, the typical day in the life of a Toledo citizen is simple, not rushed, but fulfilled. The day can be summed up in three simple Spanish words, “disfruta el momento,” enjoy the moment – which I watch Paloma, and many of Toledo’s other citizens, do with a smile each and every day.