Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel


Back to the needle rain and white skies, back into boots and blanket scarves and piping hot showers that make your skin prickle, but your feet warm. But something shifted while we were away; on the way back from the shops yesterday, I realised it was still broad daylight at 4.30pm. And when I looked out the window last night, as it was nearing 6pm and our tired little household were preparing for bed, there was still light in the cranky sky. The worst of winter – those immeasurably long dark days that bleed into one another, making it impossible to discern when day breaks and night falls – has receded. (I say that fully aware that by skipping out on 25 of those days, we cheated a little bit.)

Trips away are funny things, like windows of time that only really mean something to you. You come back home and go to doctor’s appointments and do grocery shops and make your coffee in the same coffee mug every morning, as if nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Those few weeks you were on the other side of the world somehow muddle in with everything else after you close the door on them and slip back into the everyday.

Home does seem fresher, though, after you’ve been away, even if only for a short time. The clothes you wanted to burn (does anyone else want to burn their winter jumpers and coats after a while?) are a tiny bit exciting again. The view out the kitchen window doesn’t seem so stark, but quite lovely in a wintry way. And that first brisk stroll out in the zero degree temperatures is bracing in a novel way. I remember returning to Germany in February of 2013, after six months in Sydney. It was arschkalt and snowing, and I was thrilled. I skipped down the streets and almost relished the snow on my face, while the rest of Kiel glowered behind their fur-lined hoods.

Yesterday, I put SG’s entire wallet in the wash, clean forgot my bank card PIN at the supermarket checkout (with a large queue of people behind me, not a jot of cash on me, and a trolley full of food) tried to leave another shop having not signed my credit card receipt, and spent a long time wondering where the onions were while unpacking groceries at home. In a bag, it turns out, sitting in plain sight in the hallway, that I had entirely forgotten existed. Jetlag is a little shit of a thing when flying from Asia or Australia back to Europe. (Flying in the other direction, it is a sledgehammer and a bus combined, and leaves you comatose or manically awake at 3am, for a solid week.) But flying back, it plays little games, makes you think ‘oh it isn’t so bad, I feel fine’, and then wipes your memory clean at key moments, or leaves you staring at a wall for a while, wondering what your name is. Or googling how to spell February.

Naja, we’re home. The weather is nasty, but since when is it anything else in February? Tulips are appearing in the florists, but at some extortionate price, like strawberries in May. And we are making some preparations for the next big adventure; welcoming die Lüdde’s little brother in three short months. A Spring baby, who will arrive with the sun.


  1. Jo Hambrett

    14 February, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Le petit roi du Soleil

  2. Cristina

    14 February, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Congratulations on the impending arrival 😍 Wonderful news, Liv!

  3. sarahstaebler

    14 February, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Ohh, jet-lag. I, too, am happy that the weather has shifted some. Having more light and ever-so-slightly-longer days makes so much of a difference in my mood!

    3 months will fly by! Just over 3 months for me, too. 🙂

  4. Robert Hegstrom

    14 February, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Always glad to hear your adventures!
    Weather across the pond is similar (hope same is true in AUGUST for my Eastern Europe Amras River cruise)! Here in Princeton, NJ area it is 0 degrees Fahrenheit, but this time NEXT week I will be at my condo in sunny Florida for the 70’s, perched on my 4th floor veranda above the cabanas, a few yards above Gulf of Mexico.
    I do it again in DECEMBER to escape routine.
    JUNE is Provincetown on Cape Cod + NOVEMBER is Miami RT to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Reflection again with many buddies. –I am thrilled to have included some former Soviet-dominated territories this year as I celebrate my 6th year of retirement and volunteering. –Oh, happy St Valentine’s Day 💝!

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Ooh a condo in sunny Florida sounds perfect. I hope you are enjoying the warmth and sunshine as we speak!

  5. andreaypich

    14 February, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    As much as I love travelling, the feeling of being back home is always great 🙂 But you know what’s greater? The feeling of spring approaching. I live in Spain and here it doesn’t get dark till 6pm, but I still notice it a lot. When I lived in Munich the difference was not too bad, but living in the UK the lack of light really made a difference on my mood. Congrats on the new baby!

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you!

      Yes, the lack of light, it is a KILLER. Even though it is still pretty grim weather today, knowing that it is still light at 6pm is a big bonus.

  6. Rebecca Raspberry // The Rebecca Project

    15 February, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Congratulations, Liv! Wishing you all the best on the safe arrival of the new little one.

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much! xxx

  7. Karin@yumandmore

    15 February, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    What exciting news! Congratulations! A little boy sounds like a perfect addition to your little family. Be well and gute Kraft for the next 3 months xox

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you! I need the Kraft, I can feel myself slooooowly slowing down. Thank goodness for coffee and cake.

  8. Bailie @ Brightly Bailie

    15 February, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Ugh my winter coat can happily be stolen at this point!

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      I have probably about another week of this pregnancy, before the winter coat won’t do up anymore. So I am praying March warms up, because like hell am I buying a new one just to fit the belly. I want to BURN this coat when winter is over. I always want to burn my coats in March hahahaha.

  9. kieliscalling

    16 February, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Oh have I missed something or have you dropped the bomb on the last sentence?

    Congratulations 🙂

    1. Liv

      2 March, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      It was a cunning bomb-drop! Thank you!

What do you think?