When Kennedy gave his famous speech declaring, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” some pesky linguists claimed he had mistakenly called himself a jelly donut. It turns out his grammar was correct since President Kennedy was speaking figuratively rather than literally. It also turns out that either interpretation now applies to me. After a couple of sunless months and a week of German food– flammenkuchen, wiener schnitzel, kartoffelpuffer, spaetzle, rotwein, weißwein, glühwein– my flesh now bears a striking resemblance to a powdered sugar-covered, Mr. Donut raspberry-filled. I’ve also decided, largely on the basis of a pastrami sandwich (step aside, Canter’s), to accept a job in Berlin in the new year.
If only the decision was that easy. The truth is that husband and I flip-flopped as many times as John Kerry during our four-day “decision visit” to Berlin. There was, of course, trepidation about turning husband into a trailing spouse, which I recently learned is the official diplomatic term for those in his situation. It also didn’t help that there was so much snow on the ground that my lingering impression of the city is of an upturned cola slurpee. But it did help that we found a great neighborhood with a great apartment in former East Berlin, five minutes away from the office and the purveyor of that pastrami sandwich. And so, shortly into the new year, the strapline for this blog will get an additional clause: “One woman’s journey from burritos and margaritas to tea and scones” will become “One woman’s journey from burritos and margaritas to tea and scones to bratwurst and bier.”
Our year has ended with a bang after eleven months of mostly blips. Perhaps the most important thing in the year was what didn’t happen at all: any further recurrence of the neurological symptoms I experienced last year that put me at risk for multiple sclerosis. The only thing related to multiple sclerosis that did happen this year was our London to Paris charity bike ride which so many of you graciously supported and for which we are grateful. We also made a return visit to France in the autumn to cycle through Provence, which husband now refers to as the broke-down seventies holiday thanks to the general state of modernity of the hotels we patronized. But the important things — wine and food — were good. Back at home we enjoyed showing off the Cotswolds to friends and family on a couple of weekends. We will miss it but we plan to visit once a month, and we hope to welcome you in both places.
Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!