Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life, Life in Kiel

To Give a Little Colour

At some point during trips away, usually in the latter third, I begin to feel a sense of refreshment in regards to home. Home as in where-I-lay-my-weary-head home. The one I have a key for. Something about being away from where you spend your run-of-the-mill days doesn’t just up the comforting familiarity factor when you return (your own bed etc), but gives it a new shine. It sort of feels new again, at the same time, I suppose, as reassuringly old. I find being exposed to a constant stream of different aesthetics seems to reaffirm your own preferences. Any ideas I have for giving the apartment a quick spit and polish, that have hitherto been floating somewhere on a to-do list, seem to solidify while I am walking down a foreign street, and upon arriving home, jetlag provides an energy injection that has been known to deliver me to the aisles of Ikea 24 hours after landing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose, and perhaps also the urge to feather the nest for when you next nestle within it.


Likewise, the first shop after a spate away is always a good one. I love grocery shopping at the most normal of times, even when die Lüdde is putting pet food into a mini trolly, despite us not having a pet, or demanding ‘tea’ from the drink aisle. To be quite candid, part of my love of grocery shopping lies in the weekly surprises Aldi serves up in those wire baskets in between the frozen fish and müsli aisles. Plus, each shop, I make it my mission to try a new treat in the unending world of German treats. But a post-trip shop is always a special kind of satisfying. Pre-trip, I empty our fridge and give all suitable products to a friend (so as not to be wasteful) so we have not a crumb upon returning home. (Note to self; start leaving a milk in the freezer so you can at least have a coffee or a cup of tea upon getting home.) Thus, post-trip, I hit that supermarket with zero limits on what we need, and piling that trolley with everything results in one of life’s simplest, most cockle-warming pleasures; filling the cupboards. (On a similar cockle-warming level, is that first coffee after you wake up after the first night in your own bed. Always lovely.)


There are other delights about coming home, that ease the innate sorrow of leaving an excellent holiday, or a special window of time spent with dearly missed people. Pre-children, one of these for me was laundry. Oh the smell of softener, the snap as you unfurl a freshly-washed tee shirt with a flick, before hanging it on the line. The feeling of immense satisfaction when your whites, darks, and colours are all evenly matched piles. Post-children, I am beyond glad we did almost all of our laundry at Mum’s before flying home.

And, as much as I deride the rain, the cooler days, it is nice to have a change in weather after the humidity and sweat of the tropics. The clear air, the blue sky, even an afternoon or two of rain. It all gives life a little scrub, a refreshing douse of change, that finishes the job a holiday sets out to do – give a little colour to whatever was starting to fade.

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  1. Ute Seemann

    2 August, 2016 at 11:48 am

    you are soooo right – the most exotic and satisfying holiday cannot compare to “coming home”. I am soooo glad you call Kiel “home”. and the photos are so evocative of the smell, feel and sights of that beloved town/Foerde.

  2. Eileen Monagle

    5 August, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Liv I am an Australian grandmother currently in Kiel awaiting the birth of a grandchild. I just love your blog and have been reading back through many of the entries. I have only been here a few days and am trying to get to know Kiel. However I am not sharing your enthusiasm for the rain, having come from cold and damp Melbourne. Hopefully I’ll get to see the sea sparkling against a blue sky.

    1. Liv

      6 August, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Eileen! How exciting – another little Aussie Kieler/in is on the way! I think I know who the Mum might be, we have communicated by email. Yes, the rain is pretty hideous after a day of it, especially in August. It has been a really odd summer this year. Perhaps late August and September have some sunshine in store. Best of luck to the mum-to-be, and the Nana-to-be, of course. If you need any help, or have any questions about how it all works here, please drop me a line.

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