Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Travel + Life Abroad, Travel: Australia


Just last night, it hit. Suddenly, sneakily, with quite unexpected force. Right up in the sternum, like a sharp punch. I haven’t felt it at all this year. Instead, I have felt fond, lucky, safe in the knowledge it’s there, I can return to it whenever I want to. But I feel it now. Oh boy.

Even though, with my parents here, we hit several Christmas markets (Nürnberg … wow …) drank glühwein, wore big coats and thick scarves, warmed our bellies with bratwurst and mustard in brötchen … even though Christmas hasn’t happened yet, we haven’t cracked out the fondue, sung the carols … even though I promised myself that this Winter would be different, this Winter I would revel in all things wintry, I would survive and thrive, I would win … I am so ready for Australia.


I thought, at the rate I was going, I’d glide through this festive season and onto the plane, without so much as a nip of longing for the sunburnt country. I thought I was nailing this Winter. But last night, lying in bed, a Cruskit topped with a slice of Bega tasty cheese, wandered into my head and bam. Longing. Not homesickness, no, that’s too strong. Just that longing for something that is loved, that is understood and warm and familiar. And so, so close within reach.

Longing for sun and sand.


For juicy burgers (with beetroot and a fried egg.)


For colour and space and huge blue skies.


For birdsong and barbecues and bare feet. For swimming and salty skin and sunscreen.

For evening sun on the trees.


For excellent coffee, Thai and Indian curries, fish and chips, sushi, hell, I’d even go a meat pie with plenty of tomato sauce right now.

I know there is still Christmas to be had with my German family, and more wintry weather to rug up against, or provide an excuse to stay on the couch with a huge bowl of carbohydrates. I know there’s more magic to be found in this season, before we fly to the other hemisphere and skip out on the worst of it (February, see ya sucker).But the longing, it has started.

And, perhaps because here has become home enough to hold sickness for Australia at bay, this longing – it feels surprisingly good.





  1. MontgomeryFest

    18 December, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Oh man. I feel it just reading this. And those photos! The space and the oh man.

    1. Liv

      18 December, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      I can feeeel the colours and the space and the blue skies!

  2. Gaby

    19 December, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Oh, so many feelings. This longing has been happening a lot lately- for my childhood home and for my Chilean home. I had to choose one for winter break- I was just offered a grant to go back to Santiago for a week to do thesis research- and I decided to choose the States. I’m sure you’ve had to make choices like this before. It’s not easy. But alas, this is what happens when you have your heart in two (or more!) places.

    1. Liv

      19 December, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Ohhh what made you go for the states?

      It isn’t easy, and as you said, entirely symptomatic of all of the choices I have made.

      And am feeling pretty bloody lucky I can head back to Aus for the summer – that helps!

      1. Gaby

        20 December, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Essentially, I need a break. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my last long vacation before graduation and the future if I went on this trip, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time in Chile, and there were no guarantees that it would indeed advance my research. I know time at home will do me good. It’s just not the time to go back yet!

        1. Liv

          24 December, 2013 at 11:16 am

          Very smart – you know what you need, and when the time will be right. And you’ll get back there for sure.

  3. Mike

    19 December, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I know how it feels. For me it is just the other way around. I’m a German living in Australia and once in a while you get that longing. It’s the same for me at the moment I would really like to be in Germany even just for a few days. Seeing the Christmas Markets and having a Glühwein and a Bratwurst with friends and family. It would be nice if Germany and Australia weren’t so far away :).

    PS: I really like your blog. Especially the “What I know about Germans” section. It made me laugh and remember how much German I still am.

    1. Liv

      19 December, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      We can strike a deal Mike – I shall eat bratwurst and drink glühwein for you, and you soak up the warmth, listen to the cicadas, and eat mangoes for me. Okay?

      And I love that you felt German reading What I know … you can take the German out of Germany, but you can’t take Germany out of the German.

      1. Mike

        21 December, 2013 at 4:01 am

        Just got a bunch of Kensington Prides from the market. So I’ll try my best.

        Nah, you can’t take Germany out of the German especially after so many years.

        I hope you enjoy your Christmas (especially the food) in Germany.

        1. Liv

          24 December, 2013 at 11:15 am

          The fondue is being fired up as we speak hahaha.

  4. Ada Hambrett

    19 December, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Mike, I know exactly where you are coming from – I never “long” for Switzerland from where I originally come from during any other time throughout the year. But Christmas time does it to me every time – every single Christmas time – and I have lived in this beautiful country I now call home, Australia, for 36 years! If you ask me, there is just nothing as special, magical, cosy and wonderful as Christmas time in Northern Europe! Liv, enjoy!

    1. Liv

      19 December, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      It’s funny Ards, because as things were getting cold and festive over here, a friend posted something on Facebook about it being warm, the cicadas were singing, and she was wrapping presents and … that for me is Christmas. It is what you grow up with, isn’t it? I see the magic in Christmas over here, and the markets and hot wine and snow (which I am not fond of) but the feeling of Christmas, that buzz – I don’t get it from those things. I get it from the warm weather and the cicadas, and the Christmas beetles. Just this summer past, I found myself, as the weather warmed, feeling oddly festive and I realised I was reacting to the change of Spring to Summer, by expecting Christmas!

      But I can totally see how you, who grew up with this as the most magical time of year, would find it to be ‘really Christmas’.

      1. Mike

        21 December, 2013 at 4:21 am

        I agree with you. It probably strongly depends on what you grew up with. I for example didn’t like the winter in Germany at all just three days of snow around Christmas is all I would need. But I miss the atmosphere and all little things coming with it (and of course family). And even after 4 years now preparing the Christmas feast and Christmas cookies in > 30°C feels odd.

        And Ada, hearing from you that it is still the same after 36 years sounds like a double-edged sword to me. So it is not getting better the next few years but it also shows that there are still strong bonds. Might have to plan for Christmas 2014 in Germany now.

  5. Lutz Mowinski

    21 December, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I know that longing for Christmas in a different location.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like living here in the place of my birth, but sometimes i’d like to escape from the wet Christmas we are getting here in Düsseldorf. They say that we will have about 14°C max on Christmas… that for me is not a real Christmas.
    There has to be snow, but that hasn’t happened in years, so i’d like to have Christmas in a warm location, where it is warm by nature’s design 🙂

    1. Liv

      24 December, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Oh yes, you should definitely experience a warm Christmas just once. You can swim, eat lots of delicious food and take a nap in the warm afternoon. For me, Christmas will always be warm, always mean summer, cicadas, pools, hot Boxing Days (Dec 26th) spent eating leftovers – even though I can appreciate the cold Christmas thing over here.

  6. Megan

    22 December, 2013 at 8:20 am

    i completely sympathize with how you feel (although im longing for the US, not australia of course). there is just something special about home…the smells, the people, the familiarity, the traditions….that will always hold a piece of me there. and it becomes more imminent during the holiday season 🙂 have a great christmas and i know youll be kickin around in the sand and at bbqs soon <3

    1. Liv

      24 December, 2013 at 11:10 am

      So true, the holiday season heightens all of those otherwise normal feelings. Will you get back to the states for Christmas or a little break? Merry Christmas to you too, enjoy it! xxx

  7. Sarah Ayoub (@sarahayoub)

    27 December, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Liv, I just love the way you write. And the triggers! I love that it was a cruskit with a slice of Bega Tasty (a snack I love, though with schmears of butter and vegemite before the laying of the cheese). I love that you nailed the best things I adore about home and the things we take for granted but miss during our travels: the sunshine, the salty sea, the coloured sky, juicy burgers, the thai and the sushi….Lucky you get to come back home soon to enjoy it (and as you say, escape the worst of winter) xxx

    1. Liv

      29 December, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Oh I cannot wait. The food and sun is what we’re looking forward to the most (apart from friends and family, obviously!) But bring on the Thai and burgers, and the variety of fresh, authentic cuisine. And the sunshine, the beach, the space. Can you tell I am counting down the days? xxx

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