Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Weiden, Travel + Life Abroad, Travel: Germany


It has been a quiet, mild slide into the new year. In fact, it has been a very mild winter. 2014 has opened with 5 degree days, nights only falling to 0. There isn’t a snowflake in sight, hasn’t been since those few days in early December that were entirely white. Some days, there’s even a little sunshine. And it isn’t dark at 4.30pm anymore, nope, we’ve turned that corner. Now we have light until at least ten to five. Those twenty minutes make a big difference, you know, when you’re a hater of all things winter, like I am. And I have tried hard with this winter. I thought we could, perhaps, change our relationship, come to a better agreement. But it’s still very bad, I am sorry to report, horribly strained and cold. We deliberately misunderstand each other, and ascribe terrible characteristics to one another, that other people can’t even see. I don’t think we’ll ever get on, really. But that’s okay. You cannot love everything, nor be loved by all.

This time last year, I was in Australia. And on that side of the globe, I love this time of year. It isn’t persistently grey and cold and dark, the people curmudgeonly because the weather is wearing thin and the bubble of Christmas popped. It’s warm and light and relaxed. People are satiated by the overlapping celebrations of Christmas and Boxing Day and NYE. Half of Sydney has scampered off on a quick beach holiday. We’re still eating leftover Christmas ham and cheese toasties for lunch. The cricket’s on, so’s the tennis, constantly, even when nobody’s in the room. Our feet have forgotten what real shoes actually feel like.

The first few days of the new year, indeed the first month of the new year at home, has a completely different feel. And it is, to be honest, usually the month where I miss Australia the most. Any other time of year, I am quite content with life in Germany. Spring here is truly something. Summers up north are beachy and chilled. Autumn is remarkably pleasant. But in January, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be, than down under.

We have been holing up down here in Bavaria, bracing for 2014. Something tells me it is going to be a big one, bigger than usual anyway, so I don’t mind having a quiet slide into this year as we count down to jetting out of Frankfurt and into Melbourne. Count down to six weeks in New Zealand and Australia, to weddings, the Australian Open, an NZ road trip, BBQs with friends and family, my birthday. We’re catching up on movies we missed in 2013 and TV series, eating as many vegetables as we can, because few pass one’s lips during the German festive season, and going for walks like an old couple (only without matching Jack Wolfskin jackets).

Things won’t stay quiet for long, so we may as well enjoy it while we can.


  1. kai

    4 January, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Liv,

    I am german, and I would like to contribute to your web-site by sending you a true anectdote concerning our forming chancellor Helmut Kohl:

    In the 80’s, when George Bush became president in 1987, he invited Helmut Kohl, former german cancellor, for a state visit to Washington D.C.

    When Kohl first saw Bush, he offered him a presonal relation by saying:

    „You can say you to me“ – as you live in Germany, you know what he had intended to say: „Wir können uns duzen“.

    This is an excellent example for „Denglisch“, as we say in Germany: English words and phrases that sound cool, when they have this english vocal coulor…

    Another good example ist then Denglisch expression „Handy“ for a mobile phone.

    Please tell me, if you do find Kohl’s phrase ridiculous too – I was actually laughing quite a long time about it.

    Kind Regards


    1. Liv

      5 January, 2014 at 11:54 am

      I love it. I think the formal/informal divide says a lot about the way Germans interact and their social norms. I always accidentally ‘du’ people, because I am concentrating so hard on getting my words out (in the right order) that I completely blank on the du/Sie. And handy makes me laugh every time I hear it.

  2. vegasmike433

    4 January, 2014 at 6:43 pm


    Happy Holidays to you and all of your Loved Ones.

    Your post , like so many others that I have read, touches my heart because of the honest sincerity with which you share your experience. When you explain your homesickness in January, it begins to bring tears to my eyes.

    I am a HUGE FAN always.

    Thank You Kindly,


    1. Liv

      5 January, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Happy Holidays to you too, I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends.

      Homesickness shall have a little salve applied soon, we’re flying to Aus in 2 weeks for some sunshine and family time. Cannot wait!

      Stay happy and healthy.

      1. vegasmike433

        5 January, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        Have a great holiday. Via con Dios

  3. DCTdesigns

    4 January, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I love this post. Germany sounds like Seattle in the winter well as far as dark and grey goes. We don’t have the subarctic temps. You sure have given loving winter the old college try. Though you’re adoration of Australia is contagious. After reading this post I suddenly have the urge to hop a plane.

    1. vegasmike433

      4 January, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Yes, Go to Australia. I have not been there, but I will go because all the people I encounter from Australia are awesome, and everyone who goes there has a great time. I am sure you will Love it there.

      1. Liv

        5 January, 2014 at 11:48 am

        Aaaaabsolutely right!

    2. Liv

      5 January, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Ooh Seattle (so pretty) but definitely grey and gloomy. How do you do it? I think the grey and gloominess here is compounded by not really loving where we live. I can’t seek refuge in a cinema, for example, nor do I have a big social network down here. So it makes winter even more hideous.

      I think an Aussie summer is pretty much unbeatable. It isn’t just the weather, it’s the whole feel. And the summer of sport, which the whole nation pretty much gets into. And everything is outdoors, all the time. It is just lovely.

      1. DCTdesigns

        8 January, 2014 at 9:04 pm

        I actually don’t mind the grey gloomy dark winters. I hole myself up inside and loose myself to art. Then the summer months are glorious. In truth the fact is Seattle winters on the scale of things are mild. And I do indeed have plenty to do to entertain myself. Though as already admitted I’m a bit of a homebody.

        But an Aussie summer sounds spectacular. I will make my way there someday. Though I will have to avoid any poisonous creatures that might lurk in my boots. 🙂

        1. Liv

          10 January, 2014 at 10:00 am

          It is true – one must very carefully check their boots in the summer, you never know what might have popped in overnight.

  4. Gaby

    6 January, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    While it is positively ARCTIC here in the American Midwest, at least it’s sunny and there’s still lots of glistening white snow to look at from inside our cozy little homes. I will be significantly less happy when it’s the middle of the semester and it’s been grey and 34F for a month.
    Sliding into the new year is nice, isn’t it? I think resolutions and things are more successful if you don’t jump in gung ho right away- let yourself get settled into the new year and think about it a little more first. (This may or may not be an excuse to keep indulging…)

    1. Liv

      10 January, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I am watching all of the weather news coming out of the states – HOW are you doing it? I couldn’t! I would be hibernating, pure and simple, with a lot of pizza.

      The slide has been good, actually. We have a big trip ahead of us, an impending move – once it all kicks off, it will kick off, so it’s nice to have a slow introduction!

      1. Gaby

        11 January, 2014 at 1:41 am

        Oh, we hibernated. I didn’t leave the house- as in, I literally took one step outside my front door- for nearly three whole days. We ate a lot of food- a lot of hot, heavy food.
        Good luck to you in your new year! I’m excited to read all of your stories, since you always have something interesting to say. And thanks for connecting on Instagram! I’ll be very jealous and wistful when you start posting photos of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

  5. Meret V

    9 January, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Grüss Gott ! Just started reading your blog thanks to The Local. As a Sydney native living in Germany (19mths so far incl 6mths in Austria) I can identify with many experiences….have a fab time in Oz and go throw yourself into the rockpool at Bronte Beach for me!

    1. Liv

      10 January, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Hello fellow Sydney native, lovely to hear form you. Judging by your greeting, you’re somewhere down south? Shall definitely throw myself in as many rockpools as possible, when home.

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