Today is Sunday.

While sitting in Piccadilly coffee, a Murcian version of Starbucks, I am enjoying the feeling of air-conditioning while organizing a jungle of papers in the form prior private English lesson plans.

Outside the sun is shining and the mid-afternoon temperature is sitting at about 95 degrees Ferenheit. Back where I grew up in the Bay Area of California this number would sound quite extreme, however in this part of Spain this is more like an appetizer for three months of a summer scorcher that happens every year. A common conversation topic is commenting about how hot it’s going to be here in August, probably reaching temperatures of 120 degrees on certain occasions.

As I organize my lessons the idea of experiencing such roasting heat isn’t crossing my mind, because in four days I won’t be living here anymore.

At the crack of dawn this upcoming Thursday I’ll be taking a train seven hours northeast to Barcelona, and then the following day I’ll be flying directly to Oakland, California.

In less than a week I’ll be changing my place of residence. Today I live in San Basilio, a neighborhood of Murcia, with Emili and Eva. On Friday I’ll be back in Sausalito, California and living with my parents. Instead of hopping on a public ride-share bicycle or simply walking between places, I’ll be driving everywhere or requesting a Lyft ride. The circle of friends who I’ve established through teaching English, dinners at Lola’s house, salsa dancing, and language exchanges, will be replaced with a close group of people who I’ve known since middle school, high school, music festivals, and from various jobs. Instead of planning lessons and teaching people English, I’ll be returning to Napa Valley Burger Company to work has a food service mercenary. If this was the first time that I’ve made a transition of this scale then I’d be a little bit terrified and anxious, however this isn’t so much the case. I have made a strange habit of changing scenery and moving back with my family after an extended time away.

It will be hard to say goodbye the life I’ve made here, but it will be equally as joyful to be with my parents and longtime friends.

This summer in California will be devoted to working as much as possible, being part of three important weddings for close friends (Sebastian & Megan, Kyle & Charlie, Mike & Peggy), and making up for six months of not being around by being as good of  a friend/son/employee as possible.

I only have three days left in Murcia, but I already know that our separation from each other will only be temporary because I’ve already accepted an offer to come back as an English Language Assistent in October. Barring any issues with immigration, visas, finances, or random life-changing events, I’ll be back here in four months and staying for the 2017-2018 school year.

Back in 2014 when I moved to Spain for the first time I didn’t know what Murcia was, nor could I have imagined that I’d keep moving back. It’s now midway through 2017 and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this place.

One thing that I’ve learned, with help from my parents, is that you have to do what makes you happy. Murcia makes me really happy, the work I do here is gratifying, the life I have created here has been crafted through prioritizing things that I feel passionate about, and I feel fortunate to have made lifelong friends here.

California, and life in the United States, also make me very happy, so coming back will be a much-needed breath of fresh air. My roots will always be in the Bay Area, and the people there whose life I’m a part of are irreplaceable. This being said, I have to follow my heart, and right now it’s telling me that another school year in Spain is something that has to happen.

Maybe one day the tapas won’t taste that good, the women won’t be as beautiful, Estrella Levante beer won’t be refreshing, and the wonderful people here won’t be as welcoming. Maybe I won’t feel like a role model for local primary school kids anymore, Spanish will become a boring language, and possibly there won’t be room in Murcia to keep learning and to become a better person.

I feel slightly scared because it’s hard to imagine that day ever coming.

With a lot packing that still has to be done, cleaning, some last private English lessons, and a lot of pending farewells still hovering in my mind, the next three days will be busy with a side of emotional.

I feel grateful to have had another experience here, and to have shared memories with old and new friends. A lot more words could be said, but I’m sure you have more important things to be doing.

Cheers to you for making it this far in this blog post, you are awesome. Thank you for your time and reading comprehension skills.

To everyone in Murcia who is reading this, I hope to see you before I leave, but if we don’t get a caña before Thursday then we will share one together in October.

To friends or family reading this back in the states, I hope to catch up with you this summer!

To everyone else, I’m sure you are cool and worth meeting one day.

Have a great day/night/life 🙂

Lots of love from Murcia,

Daniel Catena

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