This has been an extraordinary year of change for me, some of it deeply painful (lost love, and yes it still hurts) but much of it richly transformative. Am I really writing from Berlin?
Yesterday, I was cycling from the home of my lover, a wonderful man for whom I am more than grateful. I was on my way to work, admiring the densely tree-lined streets, the bridges over sparkling rivers and the lakes worthy of postcards. I wanted to pinch myself. Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch, aber I live comfortably (even joyously) here in one of the most vibrantly alive cities on the planet.
Tonight, I will have new friends here to celebrate my 38th birthday with me. No, it will not be the same. I remember last year's party: Maya arguing politics in the front den, Doug and Harsha debating the merits of American football and British cricket in the bedroom, and various folks spread across the living room floor nibbling on yet another fabulous cake creation from Meg. I miss you all more than the physical living of 13 years in D.C.
Still, I have done my best to create happiness here for the day. My mother (Vicki called you Ethel, mom!) sent Duncan Hines cake mix and frosting. My friend Martin will, by popular demand, whip up another fantastic dinner for guests. (It won't be his jambalaya though!) And then, some of the more hearty of us will dance till dawn at the Berghain.
The Berghain deserves a special side note. This is one of Berlin's most famous gay clubs and an industrial dream unlike I have ever experienced before. Otherworldly with its three floors of beautiful people (gay, straight, bi and "what *are* you anyway"), bars that keep the drinks flowing all night and all morning, techno music spun by award-worthy DJs and an atmosphere that any D.C. nightclub owner would kill his mother for.
I went there for the first time last weekend with Caroline, a fellow American that I had met just a week or so before at the bloggers' Stammtisch organized by Mike "not-to-be-confused-with-THAT-Michael" Moore. Caroline and I showed up there at sometime after midnight and danced until 7:30 in the morning. On our way out, we saw people stumbling IN from other clubs. No lie.
We learned later that the Berghain's Saturday night party runs until 8 p.m. the following night. That means we left too early. Won't make that mistake tonight!
In praise of dancing, music and my birthday, I have been trying all day to upload a special folder of 13 of my favorite tracks of this last year. Yes, another Tammi mix tape. :) Half atmospheric electronica, half shake-your-groove-thang tracks. And all of them linked to memories of friends, lovers and family. When I get it finished, this link will only be good until Monday, for those of you reading this blog from your offices. Just a birthday gift teaser, please go out and buy the full albums. (Had to say that, but they *are* worth it.) Artists include Thievery Corporation, Frou Frou, Air, Röyksopp and, lol, Wayne Newton (thanks, Keith!).
Note, both the mp3 and mpeg-4 audio files can be played by popular audio players.
Now please go out and make goofy joy in memory of me on my special day.
P.S. Whew!!! Ok, it's been zipped as Tammi's 38th Music Mix. [Too late! Link removed as pledged!] Large file so high-speed connections only. Enjoy!
Addendum: Martin and the cake! :)