Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

Quiet & Slow

Temperatures plunged, the roads turned icy, and any lingering resolve I may have had to go outside disappeared over the weekend. On Saturday we postponed plans with family because the Feuerwehr advised against driving and, as I get older, and my children weigh heavily on my heart, I make almost all decisions based on variations of the ‘those parents’ question: in this case, ‘do we want to be those parents who go driving, have an accident and get asked by the police why we were driving in the first place?’ Having cancelled our plans, I set out on foot to buy nappies, or something equally as urgent, and nearly fell on my arse, twice. I turned back and handed the job to SG. I am in no mood, at this time of year, to fall on my arse carrying nappies and cast about wildly for someone’s hand to assist in heaving my Christmas-fattened body back on its feet. I am in no mood to do much at all, mid January, except eat, watch my jeans tighten, and plan imaginary holidays to Greece.

(Actually, on the note of planning imaginary holidays, I thought about exploring the possibility of a little long weekend break in Denmark. So I hopped online, looked at houses, and over the course of doing about ten minutes of research, my subconscious spun through the logistics of an easy breezy weekend with a baby and a toddler – travel cots and baby food, and a toddler who is very much wedded to the idea of sleeping exclusively in her own bed, toys for indoor play, snow suits and boots for freezing outdoor adventures, groceries … And I stopped. I closed every window I had opened and went and made myself a coffee. I think I’ll wait a bit for easy breezy weekends away to become a thing again.)

But, there is beauty in the cold air. And each day brings us closer to Spring, even though I am sure there is snow waiting in February’s wings.  I almost hope there is, because die Lüdde is completely obsessed with it. If and when it falls, I hope there is enough for a snowman, or a sledding situation with Papa. Perhaps, quite like the spell they cast on Christmas, children can make winter a little more magical too.

Januaries are always quiet and huddled, here. it almost feels like the volume gets turned down. Many of my non-German friends fly home for the weeks over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, cleverly skipping the grey, post-Christmas letdown. The past couple of years we escaped too, but not this time. And that’s okay. We can huddle too, play with Christmas presents, drink tea and brave drizzly morning walks to playgroup, the air wet and cold. With each winter I spend in this part of the world, it gets a tiny bit easier, the hibernation a little more restorative. And there is something quite nice about being forced to stay inside and laze about without feeling guilty about it. I mean, if the Feuerwehr say ‘don’t drive anywhere’, it is a very small step to reach ‘stay in your pyjamas all day and watch Netflix until Netflix itself asks you if you are sure you are still watching.’ Very small.

That being said, come February, I will be singing a very different, far whinier tune.


  1. Ute Antje Seemann

    10 January, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I believe it snowed just now … have you got a sledge yet, a simple, wooden sledge? Is there ice on the ponds? think of ice skating to come …. love your winter pics …. lots of love from Ute

  2. heioett

    11 January, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    January for sure is a lousy Month in Germany, even more in the area of Köln where we live with no snow but a lot of ice and rain.At the Moment there is storm and hale bumping against the windows and I am doing exactly the same you did , staying inside with a cup of tea and my iPad on my knees.
    I like your blogs very much and I also enjoyed reading your book Heimat. I like your writing stile, each story has some possitive aspects and you are a very good observer, too. Keep blogging!

  3. Roy McCarthy

    15 January, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    You had me laughing there Liv. January summed up perfectly in one post. It must be strange to see pics of your fellow Aussies on the beach, but you’ll be getting used to it now.

    On our little island the weather rarely gets so severe that we can’t get out for a beach walk, a jog along the cliff paths etc. In a town or city it’s not always so easy not to feel trapped.

What do you think?