Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

Upside Down

In the eight weeks since coming home this time, we have, essentially, been sick. Kindergarten has lovingly supplied a stream of bugs and viruses, many of which die Lüdde has effortlessly fended off as we have collapsed around her. Both kids swiftly picked up a nasty cold upon getting home – and colds here last for weeks, the snot an endless cascade – before gastro bounced off die Lüdde, gave der Lüdde a bit of a rough night, and took me out for four days straight. As we all began to feel, once more, in the bloom of full health, der Lüdde woke up with a fever and has been flat out all week. His gift, from his sickbed, was to infect his father. We have been a merry household, these past few weeks.

This morning, we awoke to snow, and not just a little dusting that melts as it lands, as we here in the north – pre this remarkable winter – are accustomed to; no, we awoke to total whiteness, laden branches, utterly confused birds and all the tough, green daffodil shoots covered. This winter is so reluctant to leave, and take with it the bugs and viruses and snot and wet boots. Its obstinance is no match for a usually plucky spring; bulbs are gamely pushing through, and some trees have the smallest of buds. But it’s entirely possible the Easter Bunny is going to have to hide his eggs in the snow, and the kids will be hunting in their snow suits.

Easter, for me, is associated with cold weather anyway. Chilly evenings, hot cross buns, Dad getting excited about using the fire again. For my whole life, autumn ushered Easter in, and the Bunny came as whatever deciduous trees we had in our garden turned, and the air began to smell a little like smoke. I don’t associate Easter with spring, with the advent of better weather, with pastels and florals and new life. There is a part of my brain that still gets terribly, albeit momentarily, confused at the change of seasons, and I think it always will. The warmth is Christmas, although I am paving over that association with the smell of glühwein and the sensation of cold fingers. In July, when summer is in full swing and life is easy and bright, I still get that residual, left over from childhood, frisson of Christmastime excitement. But that chill in the air as the leaves turn, that smell of woodsmoke as people are released from the summer fireban and allowed to light their bonfires out the back – that is Easter, and I cannot override it with pastels, the promise of spring, and coloured eggs hanging from naked branches.

I suppose there is a part of my brain that is, wherever I am, permanently upside down.


  1. Sabina

    29 March, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Yes, it stays with us. For me, October is autumn and I always have to bite my tongue when speaking of spring and autumn. I usually prefer naming the months. I have noticed others making similar mistakes…

  2. Jo Alex Sg

    29 March, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    What a most interesting perception. This is certainly related to deeper mechanisms of the human mind and the emotional aspects intertwined in the process. And the language used is an utter relish to read as well, a text woeven with a light but classy humorous style blended with a delicious touch of poetry in prose! It´s the literary equivalent of a classy cup of tea.Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    1. Jo Alex Sg

      30 March, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Sorry for the mistyping: woven, not woeven, of course!

  3. Jo Alex Sg

    31 March, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    Sorry for the delay in replying: I didn´t see you´re question about the difference between the two words in the page of the posting itself (I even went there now and still this question was not visible there, nor any other comment but the first one I had made and the one by Sabina of March 29). I only saw this by a sheer strike of luck, as an online magazine sent me to the reader section of Word Press, when I subscribed to its email newsletter and checked the reader section of WordPress!
    As it seems the reply button is having a sort of glitch and we can´t make our replies be seen (at least I wasn´t able to post mine in the comments section of the Word Press reader). I will post my reply to you here. By the way, I´m glad my sincere praise has motivated you even more!

    I´ve noticed English has a more fluid approach to the norm in general than most other languages, following more the general usage than the strict impositions of certain grammar nazis, now seen as too arbitrary, except in tests and special language exams, especially if they aim to get a certificate, etc. Nevertheless, certain things seem to have a significant consensus and are gladly followed by most native speakers. I will give you a link to the difference usually made of these words (occupation x profession) so you can check it more easily – it also has an excellent chart summing up the main traits of this difference, which seems to be based on informal versus specialized and regulated activities:
    Hope this helps!

  4. crissouli

    5 April, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

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