Except for two short weeks each August, Barcelona has been my summer companion for the last three years. Otherwise, she kept me company with her sandy beaches, her sweet tinto verano, and her natural way of just taking it easy while Jeff was at work. We had a predictable summer routine; I would greet her late morning (or early afternoon be it as it may) with breakfast on the roof and a cup of strong coffee. She would greet me with a beaming sun and the promise of a beautiful day. Afternoons would bring neighborhood strolls, window shopping, a nap on the beach, or lounging by the pool. And in the evening a drink at an outdoor cafe with Jeff, dinner on the roof, or swaying in the hammock stargazing. Barcelona was my partner in crime whose only crime was epitomizing everything summer should be. Guilty as charged.
So, why am I leaving? Like with most relationships there are sometimes factors that get in the way. In this case it’s life. I have decided to create a bit of space between Barcelona and me, not because I’m unhappy with her but because life is making it difficult to stay. With Jeff in the States I have chosen to be with him as much as possible which leaves little time for Barcelona. I hope she understands. A trip to Asia with good friends takes another slice out of summer. I hope there are no hard feelings.
I know that saying goodbye is going to be more difficult for me to say than for her, but I like to think that deep down Barcelona will miss me too.
|My personal Happy Hour|
It’s on days like today that I need a great escape. While the end of the school year brings excitement and anticipation for that just out of reach vacation that we all crave, the last week of school is one of the most difficult of the entire year. Classes are over, grades are in, and emotions are running high.
But still, order must be maintained. How does one contain the enthusiasm and raging hormones of the 100+ tweenagers spreading their uncorked enthusiasm for summer vacation from classroom to chaotic classroom? It reminds me of climbing Mount Teide in Tenerife. During a grueling hike over some of the most diverse landscape I have ever seen, one mountain ridge only gave way to another. After hours of climbing volcanic rock of every shape and color, the summit was at long last visible but the ridges were infinite! No matter how much progress we thought we made, the summit was still hours out of reach. And this is the phenomenon of the last week of school. No matter how many days get the “x” on the calendar, the last day never seems to get any closer.
So, I kick off my shoes, pour myself a drink and climb to my city oasis. Our rooftop terrace is probably the most important part of our living space. We have shared laughter, shed tears, hosted quaint dinners and loud parties here. We’ve even made snow angels and danced in the rain here. No matter the need, the terrace is always a space for mental therapy and today is no different. Today it is a rescue from stress, from noise, from life. As I gently sway in my hammock, I let my mind drift to the sound of seagulls, parakeets and swallows that dance in the sky in early evening. I watch them as they glide through the air appearing weightless, not realizing that they’re guiding me to a place of weightlessness too. Sooner or later my swinging cradle comes to an almost unnoticeable stop, but that’s all it took for me to escape the heavy thoughts of final grades, report cards, and an endless line-up of meetings. Tomorrow I’m back in the trenches, but for now I am at peace in my urban oasis.
|Monday morning rainbow. Couldn’t help but smile.|
|Montjuic from 6 stories high|