I made it. Somewhere in the fourth hour of nearly non-stop turbulence over the Atlantic I wondered if that would actually be the case. But you know airplanes these days — built to last.

So I landed in Berlin just after noon to a city drenched in cold and wet. I’ve associated miserable weather like that with this part of the world since at least 1988, when I was 12 and my parents took me to Amsterdam, and for three days the city was blanketed in a dark quilt of threatening clouds. I suspect I’d think something awry in the universe if Berlin was sunny and pleasant. 

Fortunately, I found a little warmth this evening at a bar called White Trash where I had dinner with Elina Tilipman, an ROI alum and the manager of the Yiddish pop band Jewdysee. The bar is done up in Asian lettering, which probably should give rise to some wise cultural insight about contemporary Berlin, but my brain is fried from the turbulence, a fitful nap, a double espresso, and two gigantic German biers. 

Tomorrow, I’m off for Osnabrück, a medium-sized city in the northwest state of Lower Saxony. I’m going to visit a community transformed by the Russian immigration over the past two decades. Till then …

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