Thank you for meeting me again, it has been a pleasure, like the last time. Nothing has changed, the puppy Guggenheim still stands, the mountains are still mighty, and the Basques ever so warm. In Bilbao, the air is always golden, and the rain falls gently upon your face like a warm embrace. In Bilbao, summer is forever.
Last time I was here, four years ago, I learned that light always comes after darkness (after watching a Lord of the Rings marathon in my student room). Maybe that is why “Bilbao” is Bilbo in Basque. This time around you taught me to be easy on myself. Cross that bridge when you get (t)here. Maybe that is what Bilbao’s many beautiful bridges are for.
Thank you for my (proxy) family, since my own is half a world away. I loved being a daughter again. Thank you for best friends (both near and far). Thank you for Arrate, the wonder that she is. Thank you for: meluza Bilbaina, glorious red peppers, never-ending pintxos, and my favourite pastry of them all – the Napolitana.
Thank you for keeping all my golden memories safe, and making me smile in my heart knowing that I lived here, it happened, I was happy, it was real. And that I am free. A gentle step on those green fields, a wink at Zubizuri, a small nod at the ice cream shop. A faded dream, a salute to the once-was-there. Dreams burn but in ashes are gold.
I never thought I’ll see you again, but here I am, wishing I could stay longer, wishing I could bask in your warm, drizzling embrace for one more day. But here’s a promise: I’ll carry your sun wherever I go.
Hasta pronto, Bilbao. Eskerrik asko. Until we meet again, and again.