Part 4: Kiel

Last year, around about the same time I booked my ticket home to Sydney, SG found out he was going to have to do a six month stint in Kiel, his home town, in 2013. Whether or not I would join him would all depend on how long I’d stay in Sydney. There was a period of time were so much was uncertain – how long I would be home for, when SG would be sent to Kiel, whether I would skip out on that entire thing and re-join him in Weiden or whether I would make a third German city home for a little while. Then his dates were confirmed – the first half of 2013 – and, soon after, replenished by sun and colour and family, I felt my lust for German life returning. By November we were making plans for Kiel 2013. Another city, another home, another chapter to write.


The day SG left Sydney to fly back to Germany and start getting things ready to close up shop in Weiden, albeit temporarily, and head north, I booked my ticket back to Germany. I gave myself a month to finish work, pack everything up and say goodbye again. Then it would be back to Germany where all that was old would be new again. The quiet, east Bavarian sleepiness of Weiden would be swapped for the seaside, sailing city of Kiel. I would need a new visa, a new job, to open a bank account (after cancelling the other one during the fit of uncertainty) get a new number, new health insurance, new friends. We had an apartment lined up, a tiny loft thing tucked up in the slanting roof of a building just off a charming, cafe-and-shop riddled main street.


So here we are. It’s February 2013, cold and snowy. 50% of my stuff is back in Weiden, in the apartment we still have and will return to in August. 20% of it is here in this little studio. The other 30% is in boxes, still en route from Sydney. SG’s family is close by, my own is back on the other side of the world. Things feel different this time around. I am not coming at this as utterly fresh and clueless as I did Münster, nor am I coming at it tired and anxious for change, for inspiration, as I did Weiden. I’m a little bit older, a little bit wiser. My reasons for being here, for staying here have evolved, are bigger, heavier. And I know more. I know what I can and can’t do. I know what sucks at my confidence and what reclaims it and sticks it in place. I know what makes this harder than it needs to be, I know what makes it easier. I know what I have to do. I know that bakeries are my frenemy.

But Kiel, nevertheless, is newness, freshness. And I am still, I will always be, learning, making most of it up as I go along. We’re here until August, at which point we will pack up again and head back down south for Part 5: Back to Weiden. After that? I don’t know. But I don’t need to. Let’s just focus on this, this new chapter, set against the Baltic sea with its big, Scandinavian ships and wheeling seagulls.


  1. Hans-Jörg

    11 March, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Good day, Liv. Somehow, your blog found me. I am greatly enjoying reading it and I will keep coming back for more of your funny and genuine insights about my home country, and particularly ‘die nördliche Oberpfalz’ (when you get back there). Tirschenreuth left me over 30 years ago and Canberra came into my life, but I still need to go back often. The two places, my emotional north and south pole. Something I didn’t understand until not too long ago.

  2. Joy U.K.

    18 June, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Oh gosh I guess I should have looked at part four before commenting on part three haha
    I hear Kiel is lovely! All the best in the north 🙂

    1. Liv

      19 June, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      It is lovely, I am really enjoying it! And being by the water … perfect.

      1. Olaf Dabels

        20 June, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        And just two days before the Kieler Woche you probably are pretty excited already. Best time of the year, especially in Kiel! Enjoy the week, I will do the same! 😉

        1. Liv

          20 June, 2013 at 9:41 pm

          The city is abuzz! I cannot wait to experience my first Kieler Woche!

  3. Andreas

    25 June, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Ich glaube als nächstes Ziel solltest du dir überlegen mal nach Sachsen zu kommen. Zur Weihnachtszeit ins Erzgebirge Annaberg-Buchholz vielleicht auch Aue. Es lohnt sich und bringt dir sicher auch mal Erfahrungen mit dem Osten von Deutschland 🙂

    1. Liv

      27 June, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Dass klingt gut!

  4. Heinz

    26 June, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    “Do you come from a land down under?
    Where women glow and men plunder?
    Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
    You better run, you better take cover.”

    1. Liv

      27 June, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Doo dooo dooooo do do dooo (the flute solo)

  5. Konrad

    29 June, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Very interesting what language teachers at inlingua do in their free time. 😉
    Nice blog. Like it!

    1. Liv

      29 June, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      We have secret lives! Language trainers by day, running around Germany by night.

  6. Dani

    16 February, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Hey Liv, I just read your post about the north and the south of Germany being so very different, and I’m impressed with how good of an observer you are. It is so true! I’m from Baden-Württemberg and I moved to Kiel this summer… i cannot get used to it. I tried. Very hard. And I have never not adapted well to new places and new cultures…until now. I’ve lived in Canada, in Australia, in Honduras, in Iceland, I have travelled, but I have never felt more estranged from a place than I do now. I have never thought that the biggest culture shock I would ever get would be triggered by moving within my own country.
    Give my love to the Alps 😉

  7. Paul Heffer

    2 August, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Moin, moin! absolutely love Kiel! originally from near Melbourne I found my way to Keil from nearby Rendsburg where my “SF” is from. 5 years on, ne, and each visit I’m still adjusting to the northern customs! ne. aber, weißt du (Entschuldigung, wissen Sie) ich hab gedacht Deutsch viel einfacher zu lernen wurden (damn!) Jo.

    1. Liv

      6 August, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Hello/Moin, moin fellow Aussie! Are you still here? Ich habe auch gedacht, dass Deutsch ist (ein bisschen) einfacher zu lernen wurden. Aber jetzt weiss ich … ich hatte keine Ahnung.

  8. phb

    23 November, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Really cool, Liv / am glad I found you here. Am German living in QLD and I come from Kiel. Wrote you an email – well observed and well written, your notes on THE GERMANS …

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