Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel, Travel + Life Abroad

Kicking it up & letting it fall

The dust is on its way down. It is yet to settle, yet to shake down into a discernible pattern but it’s on the way down. I kicked a lot of the stuff up moving over here, more than I realised at the time of footloose and fancy free dredging. I forget, every time, the mental shift involved in moving. I have written before how much making the foreign the familiar is part of the buzz, the fun of new cities, new homes. And it is. But it’s also the hard part. And I always forget to slow down and give that process the time it needs – I run in and go, go, go and expect my mind and body to keep up. Although, it has to be said, I am getting better at sleeping, shamelessly sleeping. My God, what a wondrous thing sleep is. What a solid, smart decision it is to listen to yourself and turn the lights out at an uncool, early hour most would sneeze at as a ‘luxury’ because you know you’re done for the day and there’s no point in pushing it.

Routine is beginning to making itself known, in bits and pieces, poking its nose into the everyday and making itself comfortable. There’s a regular coffee shop, a Penny Markt for normal things, the Schlemmer Markt for ‘gourmet’ things (there is such a supermarket divide in this country) and an Asia Laden for ‘exotic’ things. I have keys to my new workplace, and a desk at home to work from. I’m used to it being dark for a couple of hours after waking (largely because SG gets up at a truly ungodly hour). I’m used to rugging up to go outside – the novelty still hasn’t worn off. And every evening there’s an episode of Germany’s Come Dine With MeDas Perfekte Dinner – which is as weird, awful and watchable as its British counterpart. A new normal is slowly but surely emerging.

And things are coming back to me about living here. I have been routinely reminded by sub par beverages that Germans don’t make the best coffee – but you can’t win ’em all. I had forgotten how easy indulging my book habit was – 8€ for a fresh, crispy new hard back means a new book a fortnight. I had forgotten how thrilling the cheese aisle was in the supermarket; abundant, affordable. I had, after teaching Brazilians back in Sydney, almost forgotten the punctuality of German students. And I hadn’t forgotten, but was cheered nonetheless when confronted with the utter German refusal to jaywalk. Winter, a season I am not known for loving, is slowly petering out, but you know what? This time round I am quite enjoying walking to work amid tiny little swirling snowflakes. I have embraced hats and scarves. I can do this winter thing. Australia recharged me sufficiently, I have enough battery to power through the remains of the frost.

This particular process, moving to and making a home out of Kiel, a familiar one yet quite distinct from Münster, Weiden and the stint back home, has gotten off to a flying start. It has been less than 2 weeks since I touched down in Germany, just ten days since unlocking the door to this little apartment. The to-do list, always long and prone to multiplying when you move, has been whittled down to ‘get new SIM card’. The t’s have been crossed, the i’s dotted by a thorough, paperwork-loving bureaucracy.

It’s Friday tomorrow. I think I’ll take a deep breath with a bottle of wine. Let the dust settle a little more.



  1. MegsFitness

    22 February, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I read your entry this morning and it was the perfect way to start my day. Now I’m at the half-way mark and coming back to share a laugh with you…:

  2. MegsFitness

    23 February, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Hi Liv,

    I’m currently looking for guest bloggers and thought that an entry from your perspective might be just the thing. You’ve gone through a lot of adjustments and so your experiences could really speak to the overall picture of fitness through transition. If you’re interested, I posted a casting call entry here:

    Thanks for your consideration 🙂


    1. Liv

      25 February, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Oh I would love to, but am a bit flat out at the moment. If I have a moment and come up with something I will definitely let you know!

  3. Gaby

    24 February, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Great post! I’m headed back to Chile for the summer (well, winter there…aren’t north-south hemisphere transitions awesome?), and I’ve been wondering about what the transition back will be like, since I’ll be living in the same house, but another American will be living there as well, and I’ll only be there for a few months. Hope your dust settles soon!

    1. Liv

      25 February, 2013 at 5:08 am

      Good luck with everything and most importantly enjoy going back!

  4. Isa

    25 February, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Say cheese – not in the supermarket, though, surely. ‘Spose it’s all down to personal taste, like anything else, but I always had to go to speciality shops or the Märkte for my favourite cheeses – bog standard Stilton – Cheddar – lark, boring I know. The Gouda alt or Amsterdamer alt (showing my heathen attributes – I don’t actually recollect any German Käse…. perhaps you could englighten me?) never quite hit the mark so the Dutch and French (the blues and creamies) were there to the rescue if the staples had run out. Käsefresser ! That must be a compliment, I guess cos Dutchies make quality cheese ;). Seriously, can you recommend any German cheese please? Reading this exerpt has prompted a hunt for German cheese, I’ll ask the Germans as well! Ah, there’s Hartkäse or summat – looks disgusting – never met anyone who ate it. Ramble over and out.

    1. Liv

      28 February, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Hmmmmm good QUESTION – I would say the Germs do a good trade in any sort of creamy/spreadable cheese. The rest of the good stuff is usually, let’s face it, Dutch, French, Italian or Greek. But at least it is brilliantly cheap in Germ supermarkets!

      1. Isa

        1 March, 2013 at 7:30 pm

        True, it’s cheap. The cheese I was thinking of is a kinda cylandrical shape and looks like yellow snow, pardon my French. It’s not Hartkäse, it’s called summat else. I’m googling, now….here we have it: There’s also: which look decidely more appetising that Harzer. Never had it. Easter beckons: the great German Cheese Hunt.

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