The Key to Happiness in Granada, Spain

It was a late afternoon in early September. I finished my assignment early and decided to go for a walk. I was staying in Granada, Spain. Granada is the home of the magnificent Alhambra, one of the most youthful cities in Andalusia, with tapas culture, lively bars and passionate flamenco dancers. I remember Granada mostly for its gorgeous, colorful flowers and the scent that it left in the air, so fresh and nostalgic at the same time.

I met with my good friend in the small restaurant, close to Alhambra, where we spent most of our afternoons. We barely had a casual conversation. As we were playing our satisfying mind games, the young girl came by with the basket full of roses. They were carefully wrapped, one by one. In Mediterranean culture, it is a romantic gesture for a man to by a single rose for his partner while dinning out together. I picked the white rose for me. The messenger was so young; I could not possibly think that she knew what dating was. She wore the necklace with the key that caught my eye. I asked her what the key was for. For the moment, I thought she did not care to answer. As I was turning my attention away from her, her eyes filled up with tears. Then she said: “When my dad was leaving, he gave me this necklace. He told me to always wear it, because it was my key to happiness”.

Her name was Isabel. Her dad joined the Legion of Strangers in France and never came back.

What is happiness? I really was not sure. Years later I realized that the strongest messages may’ve come to us from the random strangers that crossed our path. Those messages have the lasting impact and resurface again and again as we are moving along with our lives.

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