Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel, Travel + Life Abroad

A Click, A Morph, A Something

Three days of sunshine, of the crispest, clearest blue skies that turned pink in the evening, mother nature’s way of letting us know the sun will be back tomorrow. And then, today, a stinging wind skidding in off the Baltic, pinching ears and cheeks. But still, things are light and bright and cafes have put out their outdoor furniture. Walking home from work in the afternoon, as the temperature drops well below let’s-enjoy-a-macchiato-outside levels, there are delighted Germs, laps covered in blankets, sipping and soaking up the fading minutes of Spring’s early, promising debut.

I do, of course, speak of Spring’s debut in extremely wary tones … snow is forecast for this weekend so, you know, let’s keep our weather hopes in the mud. Battered and dirty, where they belong. In the meantime, some of my students complained this week about frühjahrsmüdigkeit which is, essentially, ‘Spring lethargy’ something that apparently occurs after an excess of 2 days sunshine. I mean, have you ever? The Germans have a ghastly relationship with the sun.

Yesterday I went and opened a bank account, able to do so in my unattractive German largely because a German lesson I had two weeks ago focused almost exclusively on banking vocabulary. I was thus able to nod along as the lovely woman told me all sorts of wonderful things about a bank account one can open to save for a house. I have a feeling she’s expecting SG and I to make a couple-appointment and chat about house-buying because the only answer I could grammatically and clearly form in order to take the wind out of her sails was ‘mmmm I will speak with my partner …’ – which, arguably, put extra wind in her sails. But it brought that part of the appointment to a close, which was appreciated. Really, all I wanted was a savings account and an EFTPOS card.

And somehow, a month has passed since I left Sydney. Do you know, I miss her. I miss Sydney, I miss Australia with a solid percentage of every little cell in my reasonably sized body. But in a good, healthy, solid, honest way. In a way I am more than happy to admit to because it has no bearing on the fact that I am still here and I do really, really like this country. Sometimes I love it. And I feel, most of the time, like these Germs are my brethren. And that is the case regardless of how much or how little I miss Home Home. In previous times, I have felt the need to laugh off or wave away missing Australia in this sort of fearless, woman-of-the-world, who needs strings, who needs home kind of way. But nup, not now. Do I miss home? Like hell. Do I like living here? Yes I do. Look at those two fundamental facts, look at that conflict they create, co-existing in relative harmony. Isn’t it great? It feels great.

Something has clicked or morphed or perished and dropped off or been filed and buffed into a happier, more pleasing shape. Perhaps it was that six months back home spent so fully with and aware of my people and my Australian-ness. Perhaps it’s just that I’m a few years older than the last time I did this. Perhaps that fresh, salty breeze that blows in off the Baltic is re-energising my relationship with this country. It’s probably all of the above, a lovely collision of age, its rations of wisdom, a sea-change, and the recent reconnection with home and all it yields for me.

Whatever it is, it feels good. It feels great. It feels better.

P1000081 umschlag12




  1. Andrew

    10 March, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    That conflict held in balance is pretty much the lot of an expat as I have come to understand it. I have no interest in leaving and actual distaste about the idea of living in the US again. And yet Germany drives me up the wall and I miss the comforts of America greatly. These are all true and do not contradict in me. They make things difficult sure, but whatevr. I know I would have the reverse if I went back.

    And ,spring lethargy?? That is insane. I see Germans lounging in pools of winter sun. I think the Germans are conflicted too. By the primal urge to be a part of nature against the modern society of produce/train/engineer.
    Glad spring is coming here too. I need some light in my life.

    1. Liv

      12 March, 2013 at 4:04 am

      Exactly. I think the two coexisting is just how it is from here on in, how it has always been (save for the really bad bouts of homesickness). Although, I would, should the opportunity arise, absolutely live in Australia again. And likely, no, absolutely miss living in Europe. My Uncle, who lived in the states for 7 years once said to me something along the lines of, ‘now that you have lived in another country, you have ruined everything for yourself.’ Ha!

      Bring on Spring!

  2. bubisch

    12 March, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    As I often said: conflict is tension, and tension is energy. All those questions of identity and of “zwei Herzen schlagen, ach, in meiner Brust” are in one view a burden; but they also are a gift, a source of energy and the advantage of always having another point of view on life.

    1. Liv

      13 March, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Absolutely spot on!

What do you think?