Two week packing marathon (or 24 hour frenzy, depending how you look at it) behind me and I am on day 4 in my new home: Berlin, Germany! Man it was a long journey to get here, but I finally made it through, not too much worse for the wear.
I arrived after an exhausting 11+ hour journey and very little sleep while on my two flights to a very comfortable hotel room in the middle of the city. Thinking I would be exhilarated upon landing and ready for action, I was slightly disappointed that I spent the better part of the day lying in bed wondering if I should give in and let the ZZZ’s take over, or fight to keep the zombie in me awake just a few more hours.
But my stomach began leading me astray from my grand plans to take in the sights and sounds of my hotel room, and I finally ventured out around 7 PM to see what was around for dinner. Hackescher Markt, where my hotel is so conveniently located, is filled with bars, restaurants and, (as much as I hate to admit I loved hearing them,) obnoxious American tourists. It was strangely comforting to hear my mother tongue, not spoken with a strange pompous accent, in a place that seemed so foreign to me.
I wandered a few streets before deciding to stop in a Spanish Tapas restaurant, partially because it was food I was familiar with and partially because it looked packed and cozy inside.
I was seated at a table by the window until bar space opened up (the table was reserved but the hostess wanted to make me comfortable as early as possible.) I then ordered a glass of Syrah and a veggie tapas platter, which was prepared right before me by the man behind the bar. He took such care to pick each olive, each caper, and each piece of cheese. It was as though he were imagining what specific morcel would be most pleasing to my senses. And he did a great job, for the most part, except for the pieces that burned my tongue like hell!
While the food may look unrecognizable, let me point out for you the sun dried tomatoes to the left, the block of fresh feta cheese to its right, large spicy green olives intertwined with yellow peppers, large capers, queso manchego, sauteed mushrooms, black olives, and a red pepper stuffed with cheese.
I was so happy that the people of Berlin spoke my food language, that I wanted to tell the world, (and so here we are.) But the meal that night just reassured me that the packing was finally done, the anxiety over leaving home, the worry about what it would be like when I arrived…the wait was finally over. And with a delicious meal like that, I knew I could survive here. And so it’s on to the next chapter…