I am relieved that this blog isn't accompanied by a webcam because if you could see inside my flat right now, you might be shocked by the chaos. Half filled boxes piled on top of one another, bags of papers to be recycled, piles of books to take to the charity shop etc. I have little less than two weeks in Berlin but still a long list of things of get through and if you were wondering what I have been doing these past few weeks, the truth is, I feel rather overwhelmed by it all. Taking your life apart after 5 years in a place is a complicated business; there are moments when it doesn't seem quite real and others when sadness weighs down upon me. Last Wednesday was my final day at work and all last week I was busying myself in the kitchen making chocolate cakes and whipping up batches of amaretti. In return I was taken out to dinner, given beautiful bouquets with Emily roses, boxes of chocolates, a whole carrot cake and even a personal file with the students' favourite recipes. Saying goodbye affected me much more than I could ever have imagined, though strangely only when I got home and today there's still a whirlwind of emotions pulling me in different directions. I keep looking round, thinking of all the things that I love here and wondering how I'll be able to get by without them. Yet I know if I stay, I'll never be able to accomplish certain things.
My mum's visit at the end of May seems like an eternity ago when summer arrived in the city and boots and tights were exchanged for sandals and dresses. A final respite before the serious work began. The highlight was her birthday when I made a Linzer Torte and we returned to the Gemäldegalerie before catching Wes Anderson's latest film, the wonderful Moonrise Kingdom which managed to be as delicious as the soufflé at the end of this post. It was perhaps the perfect week, even though that made it even harder when she left and grey clouds and rain returned the following day. Just looking at the photos fills me with a longing for those sun drenched days.
Luckily I have enough wonderful friends to take me out and cheer me up when it all gets too much. Last week one of them gave me a little Iittala jar filled with Berliner Luft (Berlin air) to be opened whenever I miss it here. I thoroughly intend to take great gulps of it regularly.
Some photos from the perfect week:
|On our way to visit the Reichstag|
|The best place to catch the sun's rays on the Reichstag terrace|
|Looking towards Potsdamer Platz|
|Tomato caprese at Va Piano for lunch before going to see the Avengers|
|A stroll in Tiergarten|
|The view from the top of the Siegessäule is pretty nice too - looking west|
|Golden Else from the top....|
|...and the bottom|
|The cinema at the Sony Centre|
|Visiting the Max Liebermann villa where the garden is so beautiful it makes you cry|
|The birch path - my favourite part of the garden|
|Looking out to Wannsee|
|The Garden of Exile at the Jewish Museum. Sadly too crowded with school parties these days.|
|A birthday cake for my mum - Linzer Torte|
|At the amazing Stasi Museum|
|The different stamps showing the complex hierachy|
|Mielke's offices (infamous head of the Stasi)|
|The meeting room|
|Where the canteen and supermarket were located in Stasi times|
|Café Moskau - sadly closed|
|The pelicans at the Tierpark|
|The villa at the Tierpark|
I made David Lebovitz's fromage blanc soufflé (recipe here) the day my mum arrived and even though we couldn't eat it warm, it was still amazing - rather like a cheesecake and perfect alone or topped with a few strawberries to offset the creaminess.