Things are not the way they used to be. The wise words of Bob Marley are worth contemplation.
I have been home now for more than three weeks. It has been remarkably different from my other summers that I have been back here during college. For one, I have a full-time job: unemployment. This keeps me busy doing whatever I want. Another is that I know I have a job waiting for me back in Madrid. Thirdly, I only have a limited time here. This means that I have to enjoy every moment of my roughly eight week “vacation” to Berkeley.
When I walk around Berkeley, things are a little bit different. There are new sports fields on Derby Street, the South Berkeley Library has undergone a makeover, a CVS has replaced the Andronico’s near Willard. But obviously, things change when you move away and come back. Are my surroundings not the way they used to be or have I changed? The answer is probably both.
The New Tim Moellering Fields on Derby Street in Berkeley
I have just come back from one of the most amazing experiences abroad in Madrid for a year. My perspective on many things I used to take for granted have changed.
My dad and I in front of a painting of Miguel de Cervantes at a Celtic-style bar on Calle Leon in Madrid
One such thing is the dining experience in the US. When I go to a restaurant, it really bothers me when a waiter/waitress constantly interrupts your meal. For example, two weeks ago, I was with my dad at a mediocre Japanese restaurant in West Berkeley, called Tomo’s. The waitress brought all the food over really fast and would always interrupt and tell us what the dish was and ask us how everything was. I do really appreciate the Spanish style of just asking what you want and putting it in front of you. No nonsense. It is much less intrusive to the conversation and honestly, the reason you go out to get food is usually to catch up or chat with someone. Another thing that bothers me is how American restaurants typically will ask you if you want the check if you stop ordering food or drink. That really bothers me. If you are sitting chatting with a friend, and there is nobody else in the restaurant, relax. But this has been how the environment has always been. It is me who has changed.
I have been keeping myself really busy recently. I have seen a lot of live music. Two weeks ago, I saw Shakey Graves, a one-man band from Austin. His music is unique and dynamic. I also went with some friends to the Outside Lands Music Festival. Paul McCartney did an amazing job, playing mostly Beatles songs but also a few solo songs and songs from Wings. I really enjoyed “Your Mother Should Know” and “Something” (on the ukelele). It was also amazing to see Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, and Jurassic 5. Tomorrow, I am going to the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley for the Good Vibes Summer Tour and see Rebelution, Matisyahu, and Zion I. I have not been back to the Greek since I graduated there in high school. It will be fun to see some live music there.
Next week, I am going to visit some friends in New Mexico. I can’t wait. Until then.
Un abrazo fuerte, Rio.