Robin Laub, a Life Stylist

Introducing The Report's RSVP Guest Blogger Series

I love blogging for The Report each week, but I thought it would be fun to invite others to guest blog and give you a different, fun and fashionably perspective on style, food, décor, and life in general.

The first guest to RSVP is Katherine Harris. She’s a Bay Area native and recent graduate of Middlebury College currently pursuing a Master in Food Communications and Culture at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Northern Italy. You can read all about her edible and educational adventures across the globe at her blog.

Now, without further ado, here’s Katherine’s post about slowing down…

Life in a “Slow” City: Bra, Italy

In the New Year, I find myself thinking a lot about time — how I spend it and how I don’t spend it. I just came back from a lovely three-week holiday vacation back home in California and I spent a lot of time in my car driving to San Francisco, driving to the yoga studio or driving to the grocery store. Some days, I would look down, it would already be 4 PM and I still hadn’t picked up my prescriptions at the pharmacy…or even really talked to my parents.

When I came back to Italy to continue with my Masters program, I realized how anxious I feel about idle time. I always feel like I should be doing something productive. Ironically, I’m living in the very place where the Slow Food movement — the antithesis of the fast, convenient methods of food production — was born. This region is known for wine, truffles, cheese and simple, handmade pasta dishes. More than anything, it’s a really special place where knowledgeable people from all over the world come to discuss food and I feel lucky to be part of it all.

Even though I’m in graduate school, it’s not as academically rigorous as my previous course of study, so I find myself with evenings free to do other things besides homework. I have some ideas of the self-improvement variety — learning Italian, reading “for fun” and writing more. But somehow I end up seeing these things as another list of “to do’s” rather than nice ways to spend some time on my couch with a cup of tea.

One Sunday, I returned from the gym at noon (mine doesn’t open until 10 AM) and realized that my fridge was empty — there was only water in there. So I roamed around looking for any restaurants that would dare serve lunch on a Sunday. Almost everything was closed, as Italians want to be home with their families rather than at work, which I have to say makes sense. I ended up in a pizza place stuffed with extended families. At first, it made me a little bit sad to be in there all alone, but then I thought, “Hey, I’m really hungry, it will be ok.” I sat by the window for a while reading Food Politics by Marion Nestle (if you know anything about food studies, you know this is not light reading) and then eventually closed it. I didn’t need to keep myself busy while I ate. I just ate. And I just thought.

I thought about how excited I am to travel to Calabria and taste spicy peppers. I thought about how in all of the yoga classes I have been to where the instructor says, “Stay in the present,” I usually wander back to the past. I looked around at the tables of eight all around me chatting and sharing their plates. Afterwards they would all probably go home and have a nice nap.

I’m not saying that I want to become a lazy person. But one of my goals for this year is to learn how to just enjoy the natural rhythm of things. Maybe I’ll go for some nice long bike rides. Maybe I’ll “forget” my smartphone at home one day. I’m going to embrace life in a “slow” city.

If you’d like to RSVP to be a guest blogger on The Report, Just Ask!