vísteme despacio que tengo prisa [proverb] – more haste less speed
Do you have a tendency to take on too much, and then find yourself flying by the seat of your pants at the last minute? Nope? Just me then? Last week was a classic example. Alejandro was away on a rare business trip for most of the week. On Wednesday night, I threw out a semi-spontaneous invitation to seven mum-friends to come to dinner the next evening. On Thursday morning, seeing the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom at our local park and knowing that the weather was going to get colder again at the weekend, I got in touch with my Japanese friend Yuri to plan a hanami picnic underneath the cherry trees with our boys, after school pick-up the same day. (I lived in Japan for three years, many moons ago, and hanami cherry blossom picnics are my favourite Japanese tradition by far).
So it’s three o’clock on Thursday afternoon and I haven’t done the shopping yet for either the picnic or the dinner, and school pick-up is just over an hour away. Yikes. I whizz around the local supermarket with my list in one hand and my trolley-basket flying behind me in the other, and when I get to pay at the counter I am all fingers and thumbs and can’t get my credit card in the slot properly. The checkout girl smiles and says, “vísteme despacio que tengo prisa” (dress me slowly for I am in a hurry) which –I’m sure you’ll agree– is far more eloquent than its English equivalent “more haste less speed“.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard this expression (and I’m sure it won’t be the last!) but I thought I’d add it to my blog, because I was curious about where it comes from. Different sources attribute it to Fernando VII, Napoleon Bonaparte and Carlos III. I’ll go with good old Wikipedia though, which tells us that the adage has its origins in ancient Greek and was one of the favourite sayings of the Roman emperor Augustus, “festina lente” being the Roman translation (hasten slowly). So that’s my “something new” learnt for today.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, both the dinner and the picnic were delightful and heartwarming experiences, so it all came together nicely – for the most part. I’m not telling you what my one whopping oversight was, in pulling off all of the above. Because what happens on a girls’ night in, stays on a girls’ night in. 😉
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41177682@N04/6305482857 Surprised businesswoman with Coffee http://photopin.com https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
For my non-native English-speaking friends:
to fly by the seat of your pants [idiom] – to find your own way
of making things work when doing something challenging
many moons ago [idiom] – a long time ago
to be all fingers and thumbs [idiom] – to be (temporarily) clumsy
to hasten/make haste [verb] – to hurry
whopping [adjective, colloquial] – big, enormous, ginormous
oversight [noun] – a mistake, failure, omission