The Constant, Reliable Sandwich is My Jam

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A version of my ideal PB&J: chunky peanut butter spread on a toasted English muffin so the peanut butter melts into the nooks and crannies, topped with wild blueberry jam. I did a better job with the proportions on the left, was a little too jam-heavy on the right. Photo by me — I need to work on my food photography skills.

I would not turn down nachos and pizza or burritos and mac and cheese, but all I really want to eat is peanut butter and jelly. Give me two slices of bread, some peanut butter and some jam, and I am happy.

I have graduated from my childhood PB&Js, made on white Wonder® bread, with Skippy® peanut butter and Welch’s™ grape jelly, but only slightly. Every once in a while, my mom would imprint a smiley face onto the bread slices, and we would unwrap the aluminum foil and find this token of her love. …


A Non-Gamer’s Path Forward for the Retailer

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A GameStop in Munich. Such a pretty building, such a garish window display. Credit ThomasAFink / Shutterstock.com

I do not consider myself a gamer, but like 293 million other people in Europe,¹ I do qualify as a casual gamer. About a year ago, I started playing the Spelling Bee in The New York Times while on a girls’ weekend with my best friend; after I returned to Europe, we formed a group with our husbands and collaborated on it daily. The game kept us together and gave us a reason to connect and socialize about something light when nothing else was; today, it is a daily connection between our families.

While I am a recent convert to…


How we escaped being confined in our apartment

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A souvenir from our “trip” to Jamaica

By early December, we realized that we would be passing the holidays in the comfort and confines of our own home, the same three rooms we had stayed in for all but 15 days of the previous nine months. The realization did not, exactly, set us alight with joy. Despite longing for a holiday, I was preoccupied by expectations of days of monotony descending into weeks of stultification.

Perhaps feeling the same way, my husband had a brilliant idea, which I of course rejected immediately, only to latch onto and expand on later. His idea was to relive our past…


Self-Preservation is a Powerful Force

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Cheetah: 1 :: Impala: 0. Credit, Wild Earth.

Over the holiday, I started watching Wild Earth. It is an amazing (and slightly addictive) program — it takes you on the safari you have never been on. The combination of the number of vehicles, knowledgeable rangers and tremendous videography means twice a day, every day, you may tune in and see the big five or big cats, rare birds or rare frogs, or sometimes just a pile of dung.

On special days, you might even see a kill. This can be disturbing; to see one wild animal killing another is tough to witness. Some days, there is the thrill…


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Another highlight was receiving this book at book club. Copyright Charlie Mackesy (https://twitter.com/charliemackesy/status/1106158094445350913)

I am not naïve enough to believe that when the clock strikes midnight tonight, the world is suddenly going to be a brighter, happier place. I am “mature” (old? practiced?) enough to know that I am forgetting some of the simple moments that, taken together, create a life.

Yes, there were a lot of terrible things that happened in 2020. But between these terrible moments, there were moments and days of joy and happiness. As I look back on the year, I could focus on everything I missed and lost, or I can be grateful for the moments and connections…


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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the House Floor. Photo courtesy Associated Press.

Last week, at least one man called one woman a fucking bitch. It’s surprising that we even notice this. We probably wouldn’t have, even though this happened on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, had not the man issued a non-apology apology. And then we had what many women, or at least this one, considers the most inspirational 10 minutes of politics this year, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez highlighted the damage these words cause not just to her, but to society.

Some years ago, in a team-building session, a colleague read her work-style assessment in front of her peers. She disagreed…


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Dawn of a new day, new realization, new perspective.

For the last five years, while I’ve been living in Germany, whenever I see other people out running, I assume they must be American. It must be a form of consensus bias — I assume that others doing activities I am doing must be like me. When I see Black people out running in Germany, I assume they too must be American, likely a latent WWII hangover and stereotype that all Germans are blond-haired and blue-eyed.

In both cases, I am mostly wrong. Just as most of the white women I see running in Germany are — no surprise here…


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Embracing the holiday spirit in our backyard. If we can’t go to the Christmas markets, we’ll bring the Christmas markets to us. Photo credit frenchieabroad.

It is tempting to say that this year’s holiday celebrations are not like the others. From the personal moments, like the family get togethers and celebrations with friends, to the awaited-for traditions, like the German Christmas markets, there is a smaller, quieter, calmer tone to the holidays this year.

I usually spend the last two months of the year time-zone changing, party hosting and market hopping. The holiday eating-and-drinking season starts in early November and ends with New Year’s Resolutions and sober January, and almost every night has a reason (or an excuse) to indulge with friends and family.

Now…


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The surprise sighting of Abenberg Castle was the first thing that made me smile on the road to Brombachsee. Even though you can only sort of see it here in the distance, I did stop to take this photo (I’m not quite confident enough to selfie while cycling).

Last weekend, I biked down to Brombachsee, a 50-km uphill ride from Nürnberg. I had just passed through Abenberg, when two fellow cyclists, who were just starting their ride, asked me if my legs were cold.

My legs weren’t cold, but they were heavy; it was one of those rides where it feels like you’re biking into the wind the whole way. I had mentally psyched myself out, as I knew the steepest parts of the up-and-down journey would come at the end. So when faced with the prospect of conversation and company, I quickly explained that my legs weren’t…


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By Getty Images

The messages came in a flurry, from every group chat on every channel I’ve ever been a part of. My friends from all countries sent notes of cheers and congratulations. My English-born (and naturalized American) husband started crying.

And I felt…nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. I’ll admit, I did get some chills thinking about Vice President Elect Harris, (whom I’ll call by this name rather than Kamala because she deserves the credit this title bestows), and the barriers she is breaking.

But the overwhelming feeling I have is numbness.

Maybe it’s a side effect of Covid-19. Some people lose their…

Kerry Summers

American living in Nürnberg, Germany, with my husband. Writing is a hobby I want to do more often.

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