Part 5: Back to Weiden

Our six months in Kiel up, we packed SG’s car full to the brim – really, packed it – and drove back down and across the country to Weiden, where we’ll stay now until some time in the latter half of 2014 (fingers crossed and thumbs pressed it isn’t any longer.)

Weiden. Ahhhh, Weiden. Historically, this little town, SG and I have a stormy relationship. It’s small and landlocked and far, far away from family and friends. Nothing much happens around here. The first time round, it was hard, but hard for a number of reasons, the town Weiden itself simply the straw that broke a tired, homesick camel’s back. I wrote this around June 2012:

Moving here was the right thing to do for a lot of reasons. The last 3 and a half months have been as wonderful as they have difficult. Difficult because teaching work didn’t come, difficult because, given time and an unfamiliar context within which to think about it, I realised how much I miss home. My Mum, my Dad, my friends. My language, my places, my independence, independence that comes from being confident in a place, in a context. Able to drive, able to make oneself perfectly understood by strangers, able to sit down in a restaurant at a table of ten and engage one’s neighbour in witty, worthwhile conversation. Not being dependent on visas and foreigner offices. Not being a foreigner. I cried every time I watched a scene on TV that involved a group of girls and a bottle of wine. I conducted experiments on myself to see how quickly I could make myself cry by saying the words ‘I miss my Mum’. I cried a lot and most of the time, I didn’t really know why.

In July 2012, I got on a plane back to Sydney, leaving most of my things and my relationship in Weiden. Almost a year to the day that I left this town, we drove back into it for round 2. This time it will be different. This time we’ve been replenished Sydney and Kiel, our home towns. Kiel was a fat, colourful chapter full of new friends and time spent with family. We’ve topped up our reserves. We have travel plans and friends visiting and six weeks in Australia coming up, something to look forward to every couple of months until the countdown on this chapter will invariably start.

And Weiden offers a quiet life. I write a lot here, I cook a lot. I catch up on TV and film and reading. There isn’t the distraction of a big city, there isn’t a busy social calendar. Days are packed if we’re disciplined enough to pack them, productivity depends on me, social sanity depends on Skype. This is an entirely different life down here, one we may not live again, one we have to find the positive in. One we have to learn from.

It’s all part of the experience.

Catch up on Weiden Round 1


  1. Expat Life: There and Back Again | Young Germany

    23 September, 2013 at 11:31 am

    […] This post was originally published on […]

  2. Susan

    3 December, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Liv,
    A student of mine recommended your blog to me. I’ll see him tomorrow and ask him how he found it. I am US American and my SG is also from Kiel. I live in a dorf outside of Bayreuth. My kids and I s.times trek out to Weiden to swim on these gray winter Sundays… I like reading your blog. Let me know if you ever get to Bayreuth, or want to meet up for a swim in Weiden! I also have a blog but it is still top secret!!

  3. Monika

    10 December, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Hey Liv,
    that’s so cool because a friend of mine posted your “What I know about Germans” on Facebook so I just landed here on your blog. And the weird Thing is that I’m from Weiden :D. I was born and raised here but at the moment I’m in France for an Erasmus-Semester. The only thing I really like about my hometown is the “Altes Rathaus” 😀

    1. Liv

      12 December, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Ooh a fellow Weidenite! The Altes Rathaus is gorgeous, and the Altstadt itself is really lovely.

  4. Daniel

    12 December, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Just stumbled across this blog (the usual way: A facebook post of what you know about germans 😉 )…
    Hilarious on one side, interesting on the other, both because it’s funny to hear about everything that seems normal from someone who thinks it’s not and because I’ll have to do 2 semesters abroad at the end of my bachelor studies.

    If you like history and all that, you should give my hometown Trier a try, the oldest city of germany… 😀 Oh and we’ve got lots of wine, Riesling especially.

    So: Thanks for this page, as we are “accepting lists like the very one you’re reading.” I am having a great time here.

  5. stef

    31 December, 2013 at 2:32 am

    hi there liv,
    great blog. i am originally from weiden and obviously understand your struggle, although i hardly ever speak badly about the town. i do enjoy my visits. i thought i’d give you a few tips that may help improve your experience.
    check out the bar ‘neues linda’ – you are likely to meet cool people there, especially during holidays. right above it there is an art gallery run by a friend of mine, which is totally worth a (regular) visit. get in touch with the people there.
    not the best timing but if you ever have the chance during christmas time, go to a party called ‘back for good’ in the jugendzentrum and you will no longer feel like you’re in a small town.
    the ‘beanery’ has become a nice place too.
    in general, speak to people that seem interesting to you, even if they give you the weird stare. just smile at them and chat them up. they will not do it because they were never taught so, but they do appreciate it if you do. in most cases they will be happy to try and speak more of a high german or english with you.
    in the summer, find a place nearby that is called ‘paradis’ – it may remind you a bit of australia.
    generally, go to the surrounding woods, hills and lakes. try out the ‘waldnaabtal’.
    check out the freilandmuseum in nabburg, it’s worth the trip.
    and if you like, feel free to get in touch with me and i’ll try to hook you up with some good people. also, i will be there some time soon (january) if you like to get a cup of tea.
    hope this helps a little. best wishes and happy new year!

    1. Liv

      4 January, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Thank you very much for your tips, really helpful. We have made the most of being down here. Really explored the region, other cities and towns, driven across the border to the Czech Republic a couple of times. SG has had plenty of beer, we have located our favourite restaurants and cafes. Living here has been extremely different for both of us, him coming from the far north, me coming from Sydney. But it has been very good for us to see more of Germany, to learn more about the different cultural aspects of life here (although neither of us are cool with Oberpfälzisch!) For me, mostly, it has been about the geography. I am not good being so landlocked, I have found that to be almost claustrophobic. But Weiden has definitely had its charms. A tea would be lovely, let me know when you’re in town!

  6. Francesca

    7 January, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    You are very brave! We (my American husband and Me-Italian) landed in Cologne and we were so lucky to arrive here. We love it and now we will need to stay here at least until our kids finish school (5 years longer).
    In your next move, or just if you do some travel, come and visit this city. You will be able to add a lot of more experiences to your list. And maybe fall in love of the Rheinland.

    1. Liv

      10 January, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I lived in NRW for 18 months or so, in a city called Münster (a couple of hours from Köln) and have managed to get to Köln a couple of times. I do like the people, so open and chatty. And I love Kölsch! I think our next move will take us back to the sea, which is where I feel most at home. What stops me from really, totally wanting to settle in parts of Germany is simply the feeling of being totally landlocked. I can’t do it! But NRW will always be special, and I really do like a lot about Köln.

      1. Lutz Mowinski

        15 January, 2014 at 2:14 pm

        If you are ever in the Rhein-Ruhr Area, you should come and visit Düsseldorf.
        I’ll show you guys the Altstadt and all the sights to see 🙂
        Best would be in the summer, we have a few lovely cafe’s by the river Rhein, and there is also the Bolker Straße which is known as “die längste Theke der Welt” since there is a bar next to a bar to a bar and so on 😉

        Also, sorry to hijack Francesca’s original post this way ^^;

  7. scout1067

    21 February, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I stumbled upon this blog through a link from The Local. I am surprised that anyone who was not born there likes Weiden. I have lived in the area for almost 6 years now and find Weiden to be an extremely boring town. Maybe I was spoiled by all the time I spent in UnterFranken. We almost always go to Bayreuth to shop.
    I am glad you like it here but as for me, I cannot wait until my kid finishes school and I can return to the US. Germany is nice but it is not and never will be home.

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