siesta o descanso (nap or break)






My last class usually ends with a phrase that goes something like, “bueno chicos, es hora de ir a comer” (well guys, it is time to go eat). This is the way our professor lets us know that class is dismissed, and that it really is time to go eat. From my own experience, in the faculty I am studying in, it is common for “morning classes” to end sometime between noon and two. My last morning class ends at around two in the afternoon, and usually by that time, most of the students from the other classes have already left for lunch time.

When I head back home, I usually walk a street that is full of stores. It has all kinds of stores, anything from clothing stores to grocery stores, so this street can get really busy at times. However, by this time stores are starting to close, and only some remain open. The streets are also somewhat empty, at least in comparison to other times in the day. This is because from around two to five, many people have a “break” where many go home, eat and rest before going on with the rest of their day. Nevertheless, it is important to note that not everyone participates in this break. A lot of stores still remain open and have the more “typical” business hours without a mid-day break.

When I first started to notice this break, I was not really sure how to feel about it. It was something new to me, as I was used to stores being open all day with no common break in the middle of the day. On one hand, I thought that it was nice that there was a time where people could not only eat, but also recharge. On the other hand, it was also something that felt slightly odd since it was something I had not experienced before. I had nothing against it, on the contrary, I was somewhat captivated by this new aspect in my life. It is part of the culture, so I thought it was, and still is, important to be open minded about it. Just because you are not used to something, it does not mean it is automatically bad or that you have to form a strong opinion about it right away. It takes time to process new things. At first, I was not really sure how to use this time, but I now take this time as a down time or as a time to do my lighter work. I’ve learned to appreciate it and integrate it into my routine.

I later realized that this is the famous “siesta” people talk about. However, I think that another term that could be used to describe it is “break”. Historically, siestas provided a time where workers could spend time with their families and recharge before going to their next jobs or to their evening shifts. This was helpful as some had two jobs or had very long working hours. It also provided a break from the hottest time of the day. Nowadays, not everyone actually sleeps or naps during this time (but some might take a little nap). For the most part, it is a time for people to eat and relax before continuing with the rest of their day.