DEAR BARCELONA,

I want to thank you for the past three years of my life — for introducing me to vermouth and pickpockets, and sunburn in February, and cycling home on a broken red bike at 2 AM. For showing me the beauty of three-course meals for 11 euros, for Catalan barbeques with giant onions dripping in sauce, and for Correfocs street parties with costumed participants carrying fireworks through the old streets.

Thank you for welcoming me into a place brimming with Catalan pride, pharmacies that look like apothecaries from the 1900’s, and cobbled streets that hold a million secrets from people I’ll never meet. Thank you for offering me a city where I could choose to slow down time and watch the world go by in an old Catalan cafe or look to the future with the tech-savvy and ambitious startups creating ventures here.

Thank you for holding me in your beautifully rustic buildings, where the water might run freezing cold and then scalding hot, but I knew that the walls were steeped in the magic of history and forgotten years. And where I could meet flatmates from all corners of the globe — some crazy, some wonderful, some a mixture of both. Where, when I was lucky enough, some were people who remained in my life forever.

Thank you for the parks, where I could join a yoga class surrounded by a circus of people juggling, walking slacklines, running, or dancing salsa. Thank you for the Bunkers and its 360 views of the city. And I’m grateful for stumbling upon protests — so many protests — or drum bands marching Just.Because.It’s.Sunday.

Thank you for hosting some of Europe’s best music festivals and bringing old friends to visit and enjoy your magnetic atmosphere. For being able to run half marathons through your streets. You’re a city that loves sport as much as all-night parties on the beaches at San Juan. Thanks for being a city that doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s day, but instead honors Sant Jordi and the exchange of flowers and books.

Mostly, thank you for reminding me that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. For never actually making it to the Picasso Museum, but instead being transfixed by the immense stained glass windows inside La Sagrada Familia . For teaching me that I’m not just an idealistic creative, but also a realist. For offering me career opportunities I never thought possible. For giving me the privilege of knowing people who have taught me more about business, creativity, and life than anyone else, anywhere. Thank you for luring these people here, for a short while; they’ll always be a part of you.

Thank you for showing me that some of the best things in life are transient. You’ll always have a piece of my heart, Barcelona, but it’s time for me to become one of your transient lovers.

Love, me

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