Last year, around about the same time I booked my ticket home to Sydney, SG found out he was going to have to do a six month stint in Kiel, his home town, in 2013. Whether or not I would join him would all depend on how long I’d stay in Sydney. There was a period of time were so much was uncertain – how long I would be home for, when SG would be sent to Kiel, whether I would skip out on that entire thing and re-join him in Weiden or whether I would make a third German city home for a little while. Then his dates were confirmed – the first half of 2013 – and, soon after, replenished by sun and colour and family, I felt my lust for German life returning. By November we were making plans for Kiel 2013. Another city, another home, another chapter to write.
The day SG left Sydney to fly back to Germany and start getting things ready to close up shop in Weiden, albeit temporarily, and head north, I booked my ticket back to Germany. I gave myself a month to finish work, pack everything up and say goodbye again. Then it would be back to Germany where all that was old would be new again. The quiet, east Bavarian sleepiness of Weiden would be swapped for the seaside, sailing city of Kiel. I would need a new visa, a new job, to open a bank account (after cancelling the other one during the fit of uncertainty) get a new number, new health insurance, new friends. We had an apartment lined up, a tiny loft thing tucked up in the slanting roof of a building just off a charming, cafe-and-shop riddled main street.
So here we are. It’s February 2013, cold and snowy. 50% of my stuff is back in Weiden, in the apartment we still have and will return to in August. 20% of it is here in this little studio. The other 30% is in boxes, still en route from Sydney. SG’s family is close by, my own is back on the other side of the world. Things feel different this time around. I am not coming at this as utterly fresh and clueless as I did Münster, nor am I coming at it tired and anxious for change, for inspiration, as I did Weiden. I’m a little bit older, a little bit wiser. My reasons for being here, for staying here have evolved, are bigger, heavier. And I know more. I know what I can and can’t do. I know what sucks at my confidence and what reclaims it and sticks it in place. I know what makes this harder than it needs to be, I know what makes it easier. I know what I have to do. I know that bakeries are my frenemy.
But Kiel, nevertheless, is newness, freshness. And I am still, I will always be, learning, making most of it up as I go along. We’re here until August, at which point we will pack up again and head back down south for Part 5: Back to Weiden. After that? I don’t know. But I don’t need to. Let’s just focus on this, this new chapter, set against the Baltic sea with its big, Scandinavian ships and wheeling seagulls.