Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

April, April …

Early this morning, when it was still dark outside, snow fell silently and furiously, caught by the yellow light of the streetlamps. After weeks of relatively mild weather, and a sprinkling of some truly stunning days, this sight that is otherwise strangely beautiful, hurts. It bodily hurts. Late-March snow, like any April snow, is a sharp, well-placed kick to the guts. You can feel the whole city collectively doubling over and groaning, begging Spring for mercy. You can hear Winter having a good laugh as it heads down under at a glacial pace, seemingly both reluctant to reach Australia and determined to torment central Europe just a little longer. Sadist.

Right about now, Germans stop saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes’ and start saying the equally as irritating, ‘April, April, der macht was er will.‘ As if having a pithy little phrase makes it better. Soaking wet and freezing cold, while gazing mournfully at a little patch of purple blooms struggling to peer through a coating of ice? Caught short in inappropriate shoes because it was sunny this morning and it now appears a flood is on the way? Come on, don’t be such a negative Nancy. You know, April, April …

One day.

One day.

The next.

The next.

And while the Germans are chanting their new seasonal mantra, the non-Germans (or at least the ones from warmer climates) are preparing to up their complaining a notch. You think we sound like irritating broken records in February? Haaaaaa. Come April, if that sun isn’t out and shining, if that sky isn’t as blue as the warming sea, if we can’t stop wearing boots and scratchy woolen scarves, if it starts snowing, we get really, really insufferable. This is also around about the time when, whenever someone asks me why I am living in Germany when I could be living in Australia, I respond with ‘I don’t know’ and then a really high-pitched, slightly manic laugh.

The word ‘changeable’ as applied to weather takes on a whole new meaning in this corner of the world. I used to think Melbourne’s weather was changeable. Then I moved to a city that can serve up gale-force winds, snow-rain, actual rain, dazzling sun and blueberry skies, and heavy, grey, stormy clouds all in the space of an hour. Yesterday, I cowered under the tiny tent of the market’s resident coffee bike, waiting for a particularly nasty shower to end, and wondering if my icy, leathery little hands would actually lock around my cooling flat white in the bitter, bitter wind. I also wondered if the coffee bike’s little red tent would remain on the ground, or soon leave it, carried away in a particularly violent gust, out to the choppy grey sea.

The tent survived, the rain stopped, the sun came out, the wind whistled, the clouds scudded. Die Lüdde and I raced home, her pram’s rain poncho flapping in the wind. I arrived home to a message from my parents, who are visiting this week, asking how the weather in Kiel is. I tried very, very hard not to respond with ‘April, April, der macht was er will.’


  1. Miri

    31 March, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    ” gale-force winds, snow-rain, actual rain, dazzling sun and blueberry skies, and heavy, grey, stormy clouds all in the space of an hour.”

    This is a decent description of this morning actually. I *think* it was raining 10 minutes ago. Sun’s blinding right now. Or was. By the time I finished typing, it’s clouded over. The gales haven’t stopped since last night either, bloody wind woke me up.

    Unlike you, I just love April weather however. The winds feel invigorating, because it isn’t the icy wind of winter any more, it might be still cool but the sun starts giving off a more summer quality light, and not the cold white of winter. The bits of rain here and there don’t bother me, because I know it’ll be sunny again in a short while. April might just be my favourite month, along with September and October 😀

  2. Hemborgwife

    31 March, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Yes this is exactly the time of year I think wait I used to live in Southern California and now it snowed 5 inches this past weekend what is wrong with me!!!

    1. Liv

      31 March, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Oh my God … southern California sounds VERY GOOD RIGHT NOW

  3. Carmel Blanchard

    1 April, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I’m right with you on all of this Liv, I used to complain about the ‘changeable’ weather in Auckland but I didn’t know how lucky we were 🙁 I can’t believe we are about to go off on our Easter break (booked back in winter) and the forecast for Lake Constance is for winds, rain and a “high” of 8 degrees (God help us). I’m also sick of seeing my family and friends back home raving about the wonderful autumn weather they are enjoying…grrrrrr!

  4. Marie-Thérèse Kübel

    3 April, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I don’t know what you’re all complaining about.When I came to Germany 41 years ago, I wished the weather would be a bit more changeable, like it was in Auckland. Then Hamburg had leaden skies and drizzle for WEEKS on end. At least now I can depend on the good old sun to show its face at least once every day. That, at least, is a positive effect of the climate change.

  5. Sarah

    5 April, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Ladies, I’m very sorry to say Southern California is just that- Very sunny and quite Beautiful right now! I am happily joining you all, however, in Germany soon so I get to learn of this crazy weather you speak of!

  6. JuLi

    7 April, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Geboren an einem verschneiten Ostermontag am 20. April, finde ich Schnee im April eigentlich eher amüsant. 😉 Das Wetter macht eh was es will, da sollte man einfach immer versuchen, die jeweils positiven Seiten zu entdecken, wie den Geruch bei Regen, das Wunder der fallenden Schneeflocken oder die hüpfenden Hagelkörner, und dann wieder ein warmer Sonnenstrahl, der die Regentropfen glitzern lässt… Gegen graues Wetter hilft nur ein sonniges Gemüt. 😉 Aber wehe, es friert jetzt noch mal! Ich will endlich in meinem neuen Garten mit dem Pflanzen anfangen! 😀

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