Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

Settling In

It is like we collectively exhaled and out came 37 Ikea Billy shelves and piles of dresses I fit into a decade ago when I wore heels all the time and hadn’t had two kids. And three million books. And four million moving cartons that are currently and irritatingly wedged between a wall and the washing machine. Does anybody need moving cartons? Has anyone seen my sanity? It was slim and weak and a little pale, but I swear I had it.

Die Lüdde asks to go outside every morning, straight after breakfast. We have planted wild strawberries and mint and are waiting to see what the pruned stumps with fresh green growth will turn out to be. There is an apple tree and a plum tree and enough room in our little yard to build up a sandpit. It feels nice to be outside in the cool mornings, and nice to have the doors open in the warmer evenings and hear only the birds. The drive back into the city winds through two tiny villages with old Reetdachhäuse and vast Rapsfelder which can be the most blindingly beautiful things.

I drove alone this morning, for the first time since moving to Germany. I am not afraid of many things, except angry German letters in the letterbox and, I guess, dying, but I was always afraid of driving here. I have never really had to, I have always lived pretty centrally and I am one of those people who loves public transport and the reading time it affords. I could still avoid it, we live near the train station, and the busses are regular, but as much as anything, it was time to stomp on that fear for once and for all.

So here we are, the fifth home I have had in this country; the roots are digging deeper, spreading. One set of neighbours has already given us the customary bread and salt and penny, and the BBQ has had its maiden voyage. A summer of settling in and strawberry picking and finding all the right little nooks for our boxes of stuff awaits. And perhaps reclaiming my sanity, although I can wait a little longer for that. Perhaps another twenty years or so.


  1. Abby

    9 May, 2017 at 10:25 am

    First comment, but long time reader. Being scared of the German mail really struck a cord with me! I am the same, whenever I see a letter that I don’t recognise I dread opening it. I think my fear stems from my downloading fine I received when I first moved here (lesson learnt). We also moved on the weekend too! Fresh start for Spring, new beginnings. I hope you enjoy your new home 🙂

  2. Carol McDonald

    9 May, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Driving in France is much worse ! At least in Germany you know what to expect, fast and aggressive, the French are unpredictable, stopping in the right lane to buy cigarettes.

  3. Sophia

    9 May, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I bought and sold my moving boxes on – people even came to pick them up. Maybe that’ll work for you as well, since you are still pretty close to the city.

  4. Jim

    9 May, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Liv, thanks for such a lovely and lively report. I don’t like to drive in Germany either. In Germany and Austria, I always avail myself of the outstanding public transportation. It’s the most sensible way to get around.

  5. Jordan Beck Wagner

    9 May, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    I can’t wait to see more of your new place!!! I am actually exchanging my USA license for a German one on Thursday…cross your fingers. Like you, I’m petrified of driving here! The road are so narrow and crowded compared to the wide, leisure highways of the USA 🙂

  6. Renate Barreras

    9 May, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Enjoy your home sounds wonderful with the fruit in the garden.

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