It being that time of year we submit ourselves to the will of giant metal tubes blasting through the air at hundreds of miles an hour, one begins to contemplate where they've been and where they're going to.
2016 was a bit of a wild ride: joblessness to employment, traveling to Italy and Poland, starting a blog to writing freelance. From a personal career standpoint, 2016 has been a good year.
It was time to say goodbye and head home. Leaving my partner and Berlin, I entered the calm hours of the early morning. No one here besides those who work terrible hours and the few travelers who decided to buy that competitive ticket at 5 30 in the morning.
My destination: California.
At the beginning of 2016, I was still looking for a job and getting desperate; anything to cement me in Europe. I felt I had to stay here. This is the place for the beginnings of Western beer culture and where I know I’ll eventually make my mark.
Thankfully, I was hired for a biotech job. One which lets me hone my writing skills, albeit in a marketing tone. Yet now I can plan: which schools to apply to, which breweries to volunteer for, which mentor to follow, where I want to go with my life here in Europe.
Entering the airport, you come face to face with herd mentality. Stampedes charging off to their flights, competing with each other to see who can walk the fastest. Then, full stop. Line - check into the flight - line - security - line - wait because someone let their child have a fit - passport check - then, finally to the gate. Another horde of people going to and fro, pushing their way to where they need to go. Then, turning down a corridor, I find myself alone. For some reason, no one is here. Face to face with modernity, announcements playing over the loudspeaker in different languages, planes pass by overhead, strange lighting - I begin to feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie as I reach my destination.
Time to wait, flight’s delayed.
Leaving LAX, I'm hit with that all too familiar LA air. I step into my mom’s car - which I’ve entered countless times before - feels somehow new, somehow different. The sun shines brighter down here, but maybe that's just me.
I am asked to give a talk about the archaeology of brewing to a female-only craft beer club, which, given beer’s history, is oddly appropriate. My main points: beer is our cultural heritage, requires serious study, but should be enjoyed and taken lightly. In sum: it is always about the beer; it is never about the beer.