Happy 2012, Long Time No See

Dear Friends,

Hi! How are you? Staying warm, I hope, or cool if you’re reading this from the southern half of the globe. Things around here are fine—and so am I, despite what the long silence around here may have led you to believe. I know, I’m sorry—I feel terrible for vanishing without a trace like that. And as delicious as that butter chicken was, well, six months (oops, actually almost seven) is an awfully long time to be staring at it.

The reason for my absence, alas, was not very glamorous or dramatic. There was no prolonged illness, family tragedy or madcap global adventure preventing me from reaching a keyboard. The rather mundane explanation is that I simply went back to school for a while. And it kicked my ass.

It actually happened very suddenly; although I’d been toying with the idea of gaining some kind of supplementary qualification for the German job market, I didn’t know what. Then out of the blue in late June an opportunity presented itself, and within a few days of finding out about it I was mired in a 6-month-long course in public relations and press work. In German. Essentially, I went from blithely practicing the present subjunctive in my evening language class to sitting through lectures and writing essays on the intricacies of copyright law and institutional crisis management in said language. Needless to say, it was a challenge. It also kept me very busy, not to mention exhausted. Most significantly for this blog, though, it kept me out of the kitchen. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked so little over so long a period; I mean, it’s not like we subsisted on pizza and takeout for half a year, but I hesitate to call most of what I did ‘cooking’. It was more like food assembly, designed to extract maximum subsistence value for minimum effort.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, in the middle of all this, our landlord decided to repossess our apartment and we spent a very stressful couple of months dedicating our limited free time to hunting for new dog-friendly digs and then moving. We’ve got a great new place that we’re all settled into now, but that was a chunk of my life I’m not in a hurry to repeat.

In spite of all this, though, it wasn’t my intention to let this space go dark. I spent the first couple of months sure that the time, energy and topic for my next post were just around the corner. But as the weeks dragged on, and nothing interesting was finding its way onto our plates, we weren’t embarking on any exotic travels and I barely had time to check my email let alone keep up with what was happening elsewhere in the blogosphere, I decided to banish the nagging in my head and make peace with the fact that my focus was required elsewhere. Sometimes we just need a break.

As of now, though, I have finished my course (and passed, more importantly!), and for the first time in quite a while I’m not only feeling the familiar itch to get back in the kitchen, but actually have a little time on my hands to do so. First, though, I wanted to check in and let you know where I’ve been. And to let you know how much I’ve missed you. And to promise that I’ll be back soon with some food. Okay?