Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

The Fog Clears

You could be forgiven for thinking I had run off, since my last blog post, and drowned in a sea of Vegemite toast and back to back episodes of My Kitchen Rules. But you’ll be pleased to know, it’s quite the opposite. Except for the My Kitchen Rules part, which I am not ashamed of. That show is like balm to my soul, as were this year’s Mt Isa contestants Jac and Shaz. Their upward inflection was like a warm Aussie hug, 447 times an episode.

There is no solution for homesickness, including going home. I’ve actually tried that, back in 2012. I abandoned ship, left SG at the helm down in Bayern, and took myself back to Sydney. It was wonderful – except for having my boyfriend on the other side of the world – but, spoiler alert, I came back. I came back because I missed my German, and German life, and the little niche I had carved out for myself over here. So, moral of the story; when you make a bed, you must lie in it.

With no proven cure, one must simply ride out these bouts. Comfort can be found in those also in your boat; it helps to mope around with someone who knows the colour and the weight of the mope, to get it out of your system with another soul whose life story reads ‘and then I wound up in Germany.’ Brisk walks also help, as does wandering into a new part of the city. And wine. Homesickness, like hormonal spells, ebb and flow. The main thing is you know, at some point, the fog clears.



Mother’s Day here is a similar affair to Mother’s Day everywhere. The florists make a killing, the bakery lines are long, the Kuchen flowing.  Ours culminated in much the same way most of Kiel’ did – with a stroll down by the water. We didn’t bargain on the annual rubber ducky race having just occurred, nor the final day of the annual Kids Festival. No one loves a festival like the Germans.

Millions of rubber duckies.

Millions of rubber duckies.

Father’s Day, by the way, is a different kettle of fish. It is curiously amalgamated with Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt … Christ’s Sky Drive … gets me every time) which I suppose is rather fitting. One can easily justify celebrating fathers and Jesus driving up to see his, in one fell swoop. However, it must be noted that Father’s Day in Germany also goes by the name Männer Tag/Man’s Day, and this is where it starts to lose me a bit. Tradition dictates that on Father’s Day/Man’s Day/Ascension Day, men gather together and walk around pulling a little cart of alcohol behind them, descending into inebriation with each step. Whether you are a father or not is completely immaterial. So, in summation, the day is essentially a giant celebration of men (Jesus included) and grog. My question is, why can’t Mother’s Day entail gaggles of women roaming the streets pulling carts of alcohol behind them and getting pissed?



  1. anmarno

    11 May, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Good point Liv, unfortunately mothers seem to be expected to function as such on their celebratory day whereas fathers on that day do what some do anyway and others dream of: inebriated absentism.
    Oh yes, the homesickness simply strikes anytime, but like all other emotions it will fade or just disappear eventually but a good wallowing in it has reviving effects, maybe like a mud bath or so. What really flabbergasted me was that I still get bouts of “Fernweh” even though I am living abroad. Never expected that one, but obviously even weird and wonderful rural Ireland gets too familiar after a while.

    1. Liv

      13 May, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Yes! Fernweh has recently struck for Greece!

      As for ‘inebriated absentism’ – this is a brilliant expression.

  2. Jukia

    11 May, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Fathers Day (Herrentag) always used to get me. Until one day we decided that the whole things a wash anyways and just went WITH the guys. 🙂

    As a German living in the U.S. I hear you about the homesickness. That sure is a bed you (occasionally) just have to lay in.

    Love your blog and your observations about us Getmans!

    1. Liv

      13 May, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Excellent way of doing it! This year, I think we will have a Frauentag in the park, with some wine. I prefer my alcohol to be stationary!

      Thank you for reading!

  3. Cass

    12 May, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Wonderful writing, as ever Liv! Just a massive thank you for this blog, which has soothed, had me nodding manically in agreement & brought a smile to my face many times. Unfortunately for us, the homesickness won out & we head back to the Sunny Coast in drei wochen.. a devastating decision, which sees me dissolving into tears on a daily basis, for Germany is truly home also. Our boys are too young to comprehend, however my German Mann is comforting me as best he can (a bizarre reversed scenario to say the least!) Again, many thanks & all the best for your family. I shall continue to enjoy your work from there & think of you when My Kitchen Rules is on (The Mann loves it, especially Mocking Manu Quotes?) Tschüß!

    1. Liv

      13 May, 2015 at 9:14 am

      Oh no, we’re losing you! I can only imagine the cocktail of emotions you are feeling right now. Going home to the sun and family and all of that familiarity … but leaving it all behind here. Argh, the push and pull!

      BEST of luck with the return. Please keep reading and stay in touch!


    2. Liv

      13 May, 2015 at 9:14 am

      ps: My Mann also does a LOT of Manu impersonating.

  4. James Andrea

    13 May, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Margaret Atwood offered the opposite of homesickness, that the living in a different place – that one likes – the experience is like being on vacation.

    1. Liv

      13 May, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Ooh, weirdly, I am reading an Atwood right now. But, I would have to respectfully disagree with that notion. Perhaps for the first year, yes. But then it becomes simply another home, in which you live your very normal, un-vacation like daily life. However – living where I do, does mean taking holidays in other countries is far easier than it would be if I lived in Australia. So that’s a plus!

      1. James Andrea

        13 May, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        I believe in was in “Cat’s Eye” where Atwood said that (above); it is more about a bad case of girl-on-girl bullying, very convincingly rendered (recollected?). I guess it would vary from person to person how long it might take to become un-vacation-like, even inured…and the new locale might just be more stimulating…or the “right fit” even in a more prosaic way. One old (North New Jersey) friend said he felt he “belonged” in San Diego when he first got there. OK, not a hard place to like, but I had the same feel about Toronto (before Mayor Ford). He comes back to NJ/NY more I think to remind himself of what he’s not missing (what Andy Warhol said about going out to clubs). I know I stayed in the old neighborhood too long, and whatever homesickness I experience is more tinged with nostalgia for what’s changed. And now, my beach walks have been marred by Hurricane Sandy, with damage still on the land side, and as for the water side, there is a purported Persian idiom in “House of Sand & Fog” about the ocean (Caspian Sea) view not being all it’s cranked up to be. But my dog likes it.

What do you think?