Mary Ellen Rae's Cardamom Pistachio Cookies
Russ Parsons's Cauliflower and Potato Gratin

The Arrival

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Well, hello there! Or should I say, Guten Tag! That's a little formal, though. How about just hallo? Hallo! I'm here! And I brought you two Pfannkuchen! It's New Year's Eve, after all, and that's what Germans eat on New Year's Eve. Jelly doughnuts, that is. Ooh, and these ones are the best. Handmade, filled with sticky plum jam or a tart berry jelly, and light as a feather. You can have both! Go on, then. I don't even mind.

Oh my goodness, I've missed you so much. Yes, you, dear reader. And you, and you, and you. I missed you! Oof, I cannot ever go that long without blogging again. But I have a good excuse, I do. Let me tell you, transatlantic moves? Not for the faint of heart. Not even for the sturdy of heart. Transatlantic moves are a kick in the pants. No, a kick in the head! I do not recommend them, no sirree bob, not unless you enjoy a little bit of existential torture.

In addition to being responsible for a million forms being signed and faxed and emailed and who-knows-what-else, you have to sell your furniture (well, most of it anyway), which can be a little gnarly if you're like me and attached to the pieces that you painstakingly bought over the course of many years and that seemed to fit just so into many apartments, then you have to watch two pleasant enough dudes come and pack up what remains of an entire life, let's face it, and you aren't even allowed to help because then the insurance wouldn't apply, and then after saying goodbye to your friends and your streets and your city and that life I just mentioned, you still have to arrive. You know? I mean, actually get off the plane, adjust to the new time zone and realize that you don't have a return ticket. Ahem.

So I guess that's where I've been. Adjusting, unpacking, looking for an apartment, dealing with the absolute hell that is understanding bureaucratic German, buying health insurance, opening bank accounts and trying to quell the heartache I feel for just a moment every single time Jay-Z and Alicia Keys start singing about New York on the radio, the jerks.

And now here we are, just a few hours, in Berlin anyway, from a new year. And before we leave this old one behind us, I just had to write, to check in and let you know that I'm still here and that I cannot wait to get back to work. For the one thing that remains constant in this incredible, wonderful upheaval is you and this space. And let me tell you, I could cry when I think about what joy and peace that gives me.

So, don't let me keep you too much for now. It's a big day, after all. Make sure you have enough Champagne or Prosecco chilling in your fridge and enough loved ones around you to squeeze tonight, and then at some point today or tomorrow, or a few days from now, whenever you have a chance, remember that there's a girl in Berlin who is very, very grateful indeed that you're in her life. Thank you. And Happy New Year!

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