Just saying "hi"

Though it takes me about eight paragraphs to do it.

The forested Czech countryside is whizzing by like an old film reel on a sunny train ride to Vienna. I’m noshing on some leftover challah I brought for the trip and sipping a coffee.

This is my happy place.

Yet it occurs to me that I have some work to do. It’s been, I don’t know, months since my last newsletter. Every week, my calendar reminder pops up, telling me to get typing. For some reason, I’ve struggled to keep up any kind of consistency with this newsletter business. I feel like a store clerk perpetually flipping over a sign on the door that reads, “Back in 30 minutes.”

First of all, I have actually been quite busy. I traveled to Sighet, Romania to visit what I believe is my great-grandmother’s hometown, I’ve been upgraded to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency masthead as Berlin correspondent, I’ve been writing and filming recipes with plenty more to come in the coming months, and I ran the Berlin Marathon, which required 16 weeks of training. Another time-suck, albeit a happy one, has been my book proposal for a project documenting my journey through Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

Yet every now and again, my mind comes back to this newsletter. Sure, I don’t have to do it. But whenever I can just sit my ass down and type, I do enjoy filling this blank white space with words, hitting “send,” and reading some of the replies that come in. I just get a little self-conscious when those words are merely words about my inability to come up with words for this wordy newsletter.

Turds, I’ve done it again.

It’s hardly a spoiler to say that I’ve yet again failed spectacularly to come up with a focus for this space beyond occasional writing updates. Should it be about Berlin? Random stories from life in Europe? Travel stories, like my heritage trip to Sighet? Food stories? The trials and tribulations of a supposed writer trying to hunt down words with the kind of charming ineptitude that made Elmer Fudd famous?

I don’t know. But I do know I enjoy saying “hi” every now and again. So for now, consider this an eight-paragraph greeting. (Hallmark will never hire me.)