Spanish work to live…


Spanish work to live, while the rest of the world lives to work.

Spanish Ron (Tony)

I have been wrestling with this phrase for the past day since the Spanish equivalent of my Uncle Ron proclaimed it boldly whilst shoving watermelon in my hungry face (Actually comparing him to Ron is not quite fair, my uncle is a very nuanced and intricate man, but they do both love watermelon). We will call our friend Tony.

A little context, Tony lives in the shade of the once great main moninstary for the monks of St. Anthony. The roof, artwork and a great deal of the structure are now gone. However its tall walls and recesses where they used to put bread and wine for pilgrims are still there. It is there where Tony makes his life. A few feet past this building he setup a nice little respet from the heat for the many pilgrims passing by. In his outdoor courtyard he has a bar, refrigerator and lots of melons. Also, what appeared to be his whole life. Behind a side curtain is his apartment and belongings. It is nuzzled in the corner of the courtyard.

Tony’s shed house

The first thing that stuck me about Tony was his enthusiastic attitude. He definitely enjoyed meeting the people that came through and his broken English was certainly warm and welcoming. The lady next to us accidentally dropped a plastic wrapper. As she got up to retrieve it, Tony corrected her quickly, “Oh no you don’t, this is my house. Relax, enjoy. I will take care of you.”

As I took this experience with me toward the next town. I was questioning my motives. Tony had everything he wanted. He was content and seem to make more than enough Euros to get by. Does Tony have it right and am I misaligned?

As I thought more about it, I realized that I am driven by a different need. Some like to serve, to care, to protect, to maintain or to grow and harvest. I am not them. I love to solve problems. To fix, build and improve. I love lots of things and of them is working. I wake up excited to get to it.

If I was Tony, I would probably love the little watermelon dispensary for about 3 days, but then I would be trying to franchise it to serve even more people and underserved parts of the Camino. I would be advertising in advance of peoples arrival. Then I would drive down prices with suppliers so I could drive up margin. That’s probably not what Tony had in mind.

So my take away? I think I work to live, but part of my life right now is the enjoyment of work. I am blessed to have a way of life that allows me to solve problems, to fix and to build. Part of my “living” is working. Obviously, I don’t want to constantly be at work. I love to be with friends and family. But for me, work isn’t something I just do to get more money (it is a nice side effect). Maybe Tony and I aren’t so different after all.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Teresa J. says:

    I wasn’t going to comment while you were gone but this is too good to leave unsaid. We visited the zoo this morning and on the way home, our 3 year old had an all out temper tantrum. She fought getting in the car seat. She screamed all the way home. She refused to get out of van when we got home. Then my most favorite tag-in-tag-out parenting moment of our marriage happened. As the 3 year old was steaming hot, fists clenched, still in the van, a flower delivery truck pulled up to the house. A beautiful bouquet of flowers from my husband were handed to me as the delivery man tried to ignore the howling 3 year old. Even miles apart, you’ve got my back. We’ve got this! Love you, babe and Buen Camino.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *