I recently went back to Madrid, my home of two years, after not having set foot there in almost that same amount of time. That much time away is a reminder of how alive a city is, how it breathes and thrives and changes. Walking those streets and spending time with friends there was like walking a dream, moving through an echo, a shadow of what was. Every sight, every smell a trigger for the memories that were, the moments that made the city come to life. And while yes, the city lives and breathes, it gets that life from the people within it: the friendships, and relationships, and loves we form there. As those change so does the city; it is simply not the same without those friendships, and relationships, and loves. Without them, the city is simply a city --buildings, and streets, and people; it is still alive, but without those connections, it is a shell of its former self. Those two weeks breathed new life into Madrid for me, new memories of old friendships. But now filled with a sense of the bittersweet: because though the friendships are alive and true, my life in that city is a memory; we have to move on and change. But that's life --constant flux and flow; it should never remain static. You should always find something new and exciting, something that makes you thrilled to wake up in the morning, and go explore. And so that city now lies, a shell again, waiting for someone new to walk those streets and awaken her from her slumber and discover all she has to offer.