I've missed you, M.

July 19th, 2013, 1pm

It was 32°C with clouds and visibility OK. The breeze was light.

Having spent the first eighteen years of my life in Madrid, it was surprisingly easy to switch home to Beijing, only to move one year later to London. In retrospect, I’d say it has been the new faces, the new smells, the new routines that have seduced me and keep doing so; there’s a little magic in the risk contained in the unknown, in the challenge of starting a new life, in the controversial feeling of leaving so much behind in the previous chapter. I’ve come to think that being a long-term stranger and a temporary friend to what’s around me is the way to be.

But then, I come back to Madrid. The city that I all too often forget about when I’m away, the city whose streets are never too wide like those that host Beijing’s rowdy street chaos, and never too crammed like London’s Oxford Street. Its parks are far from as ‘immaculate’ as Regent’s Park or 日坛公园, its trees rising up in all directions, so high and so many of them that you could easily anywhere but in the heart of a capital city. Madrid is a more than the city I grew up in; I could call ‘her’ a friend. If Madrid were a person, she would be a beautiful, humble woman who is as easy to understand as difficult to get to know.

The uncertainty inherent in new cities may drag me around for a bit, but I’ve got the feeling I will always come back to Madrid, looking for more and finding it.

Amal, Gabrielle and Gen said thanks.

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Virginia Alonso Navarro

Part-time waiter. As in I wait. And observe.

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