We're back, more specifically (that is, I didn't lose Tim in a bin somewhere in Warsaw or anything.)
Tim and I were really, really lucky. Our trip was amazing. We ate so much ridiculously delicious food. We felt real California sunshine in Santa Monica and spoke broken Polish in Warsaw and went to this reggae gig in Brixton and drank good whisky for cheap in Berlin and climbed a church tower in Oxford...and we were shown massive amounts of hospitality (manaakitanga, the word I try and keep in mind whenever people show up at home) by complete strangers and we managed to lose neither our expensive camera nor my expensive phone. There were some stupid times, like when we got stuck on a bus at 4am in London with three guys that seemed paralytically drunk at best and needing only the fleetingest of eye contact to start a fight. We escaped greatfully from the increasingly claustrophobic bus completely unharmed but it felt like a long, long time between stops. There was a dire moment at the Berlin zoo when the capybaras refused to show their faces. We did a fair bit of hiking round in pursuit of something very particular only to find it closed, or long gone, or actually twelve blocks in the other direction, but that kind of thing can be smoothed over like a flat-bladed palate knife by the all-applicable phrase "it's an adventure". And it was. We spent most of the time floating on a bubble-strewn bubble of happiness. Apart from that afternoon with the no-capybaras. But still.
We were picked up by mum and my godmum Viv at 5:30am from Auckland International Airport having thankfully made it safely through NZ's prickly border control with our duty free liquor and food-related purchases intact (though it's a little hard to take the entry card seriously when foreign visitors are asked to tick a box if they're going to the Rugby World Cup this year...I mean really?) and had an amazing weekend at home catching up with family and the cats (although the cats are, of course, family) and sleep. We're still completely dozy though so I'll leave it here while we still have a fine smattering of motivation to unpack our bags, and I'll be back tomorrow to resume blogging proper.
While I'll miss traveling I'm seriously looking forward to bonding with my kitchen, reacquainting myself with my favourite spatulas and mixing bowls and and ingredients and then talking about them on here, while also exploiting any opportunity to talk about the trip. I missed cooking and I missed blogging (not to the extent that I was miserable or anything, just a bit of a twinge every now and then) and hopefully I remember how to actually do it and you all retain some enjoyment from this place after my lengthy absence. Cheers for your patience!
Title via: the wildly talented and prolifically excellent Jason Robert Brown with the penultimate song from the beautiful musical Songs For A New World, called Flying Home.
Next time: a real blog post with an actual recipe. It was my birthday on the 17th and Tim gave me the beautiful Ottolenghi Plenty cookbook, it's hard not to want to cook everything in it at once...but I'm sure I'll be able to settle on one thing.