Family Weekend in Pictures

I’m so sorry I missed Friday’s post! It slipped away from me without my notice. We had my brother and sister in law over for the weekend, a last visit before the big move, and spending time with them got priority over being in front of the computer. This was also probably the last weekend of […]

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Duisburg Zoo 2.0

We’ve had precious few sunshine days this past season, so whenever we had even half a chance of catching a ray or two, we were outside. Feeling bolstered by the cloudless day, we hiked to Duisburg Zoo. We’ve been at the zoo twice before and this is my second blog about it (hence the 2.0). […]

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De Haar Castle

We’ve wanted to go to this place since we arrived in Europe, but every time we had the trip planned, something got in the way. We finally drove to the Netherlands on one sunny Sunday to feast our eyes upon the glory that is Castle De Haar. The original castle suffered major damages in a […]

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Explanations

Fair warning – this is a long post. After Friday’s big news, we’ve had a lot of good wishes, emails and questions. I thought I’d address some of those today. Most people were surprised that we’re so unhappy in Germany, especially considering how happy all of our photo diary posts look. I talked about this briefly […]

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Visit to Duisburg

Would you believe we’d been living in Germany for almost two years before we went for a stroll in Duisburg (our neighbouring town)? I couldn’t either. Duisburg is a quiet city with an abundance of fountains in the city centre. Colourful and weird, these fountains create a strange contrast to the ancient buildings in the […]

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The Big News

As a teenager, I dreamed of moving to Hollywood. At first, I wanted to act. Who doesn’t? But then, one fateful day, I saw the work of my first idol, Steven Spielberg. More than anything, I wanted to follow in his footsteps and make films. I wrote many brilliant screenplays (they were Oscar winners one […]

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When Parkruns Rain Out

Well, I’m sure some of the other runners still had their fun, but by the time we reached Düsseldorf, it was coming down in buckets. So much so that my water resistant jacket (and shirt underneath) were drenched and we had to stop to buy something dry and warm to wear. Jan and Mario would have […]

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Düsseldorf Kirmis 2017

Another weekend, another fair. Let me tell you something about this one, though – it was huge. Everything is bigger and better in Düsseldorf, right? I almost felt bad for the Saarner Kirmes we’d visited the weekend before. On a cloudy Sunday, we headed to the city to see the fair. Loud music, delicious food […]

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France Festival 2017 in Düsseldorf

One sunny Sunday, we went to Düsseldorf on a macaron-finding quest. It was France festival, after all, so it would be a likely place to find French sweets, right? Well. Hundreds of stalls were set up along the River Rhein, with long tables across a narrow walkway, filled with wine and cheese connoisseurs. The brunt of the […]

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Saarner Kirmes (Fair)

In the post about those things I love about Germany, I mentioned random fairs popping up at every opportunity. This weekend, we found one of those. 🙂 The Saarner Kirmes set up in our hometown of Mülheim an der Ruhr, on the bank of the River Ruhr (Saarn is a suburb of Mülheim). We wouldn’t […]

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What I Love About Germany (TGC)

Have you noticed that people tend to share their bad experiences online, especially in groups on social media? Well, this topic led to the post you’re about to read. A friend of mine read some really negative stuff about immigration on Facebook and I told her not to believe everything she read online. People love […]

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Trains & Tulips in Grugapark

Towards the end of April, we visited Grugapark one day. We found ourselves suddenly alone after our fabulous vacation, and needed some TLC. Hence, the visit to the park. We’ve been to Gruga a few times before, but we’d never seen it covered in tulips. Being nature-folk, you can imagine how much we enjoyed this […]

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The Random Post

This is the end. We had a blast, saw amazing things and bonded with our tribe. We miss them terribly. The house is still quiet. Going through all of these photos somehow amplifies that. But, before I get too soppy, let’s get on with the post. While I shared all the main events with you, I […]

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From Beethoven to Burg Castle

On the last full day of our vacation, we drove to Bonn to fulfil a dream. Lizanne is a muso and a massive Beethoven enthusiast. So, when she found out that we could go to his birthplace, she was pretty much out of her skin.

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Tulips from Amsterdam

We returned to Amsterdam after a day of rest, but this time, we had a mission. Tulip fields.

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Hello, Amsterdam

Oh, Amsterdam. Still one of my favourite places on earth. The sweet smell in the air (no, not the weed, the pastries :P), the buzz in the streets and the beauty of the city will always draw me to return. Add the fact that we can be understood when speaking Afrikaans and it becomes all the more […]

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Visit to Maastricht and Aachen

We love these two cities so much, we’ve visited both before. This was our second time in Maastricht, Netherlands, and also our second visit to Aachen, which is a small German border-town. I can highly recommend both. This was a lazy Sunday trip and would also be the last warm, sunny day we had while […]

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Farewell, Rome.

On our last day, we had to leave the apartment by 10. Since we had to keep our luggage with us until we left for the airport, we decided to treat the kids. They’d been such little troopers with all the sightseeing, after all.

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Rome – Day 4

By this time, we were knackered. Four days in Rome, walking off your toes will do that to you. Having said that, we were still just as in awe of the place as we were upon arrival. Rome, folks. It’s magical.

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Rome – Day 3

After the excitement from the night before, we returned to the Pantheon first thing on the third morning. Well, first thing is relative. The Groenewalds are early risers. An admirable trait, I tell you. Kayla and I, though, *are not* early risers. In fact, we’re some of the grumpiest morning people you’ll ever meet. Nobody wants […]

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Rome – Day 2

In an unfortunate turn of events, we seem to have lost some of the vacation photos. Don’t hyperventilate yet, though. All my photos are still intact. We’ll get the rest at some point in time, but you probably won’t get to see them. Meh. Our second day in Rome (day one here) was sunny and […]

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Rome – Day 1

So, Rome. Folks, you don’t even begin to understand the spell this place has me under. Even now, I can’t get it out of my mind. But then, Venice was amazing, so maybe I should have known how bewitching I’d find Rome.

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Cologne 3.0

There’s a feeling that fills your chest when you round that corner, or take that step out of the train station in Cologne. The first and most undeniable structure in the heart of the city is the Cologne Cathedral – majestic, impossible and awe-inspiring. It claims your every thought and emotion with its sheer size, […]

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The House is Quiet

Well, I’m back. This vacation was one for the record books. Having friends over was seriously special, and more so because we experienced so many new things together. It was an honour to have them fly half-way around the globe to visit us. All the warm and fuzzies were felt. Having said that, I’ll try […]

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Kaiser Animal Park

With the weather in Germany finally turning, we’ve been seeing some sun. Though, that thought barely crossed my mind when the rain arrived. As I type this, it’s dristing outside. No, that’s not a word. It’s a weather phenomenon that is neither drizzle nor mist, and is so definitive of Europe that you probably have the exact […]

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Surviving German Christmas Markets

So, the time of year is officially here, as I mentioned the other day. Today I want to talk about the markets in depth, and maybe give some advice to first-time market-goers, because this stuff can be a little overwhelming. The markets are a pretty amazing part of the German Christmas experience, even if you […]

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Germany – Things I Don’t Understand

As you can imagine, culture shock is a massive thing when you move to another country. Germany is no exception. In fact, some of the stuff that we see here is completely unique to Germany, like the German toilet. Yes, you read that right. Today I want to talk about some of these weird-ass things, […]

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TGC – A Year

It’s difficult to believe, while it feels much longer at the same time. We’ve finally passed the year mark. I’ve been turning this post around in my head for weeks now, but I still don’t really know what to say. I’m late in posting as it is. 🙂 Tomorrow we’re already at a year and […]

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There and Back Again

I totally just used a Tolkien plug. For some reason, this post intimidates me, so I’ve been putting off writing it. I can’t explain why, I only know that every time I sit down to type this, I feel the need to run. Let’s see if I can get through it today. (At the time […]

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My Weekend In Pictures – Carnival in Düsseldorf

This weekend was a sunny one. After the rainiest two months of my life, we’ve been extra thankful for every ray of sunlight coming our way. Hopefully, that statement didn’t jinx it… Anyway, all of the sunshine means a lot of outdoors activities, even if it’s still chilly out. This weekend, we went walking a […]

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First Snow

Coming from Johannesburg, I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t seen real snow before in my life. Sure, there were two occasions, but I’ve never seen enough of it to cover the ground. This is why moving to Europe had me hopeful for some snow this winter. Of course, it doesn’t really snow in our part of Germany. […]

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Random Vacation Photos

This post is to show you all of the vacation photos that didn’t make it into other blog posts. Because if you know my family at all, you’ll know that very little is ever done without cellphones or cameras in the air, clicking away. Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? So here are some of […]

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New Year in Germany

We used to live in a country where fireworks are illegal. So imagine our surprise when we first saw different kinds of fireworks for sale in basically any shop you can imagine in Germany. Here, it’s a massive tradition to shoot fireworks on New Year’s eve (more than anywhere else I’ve ever heard of). The […]

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Five Months – The German Chronicles

Yesterday, I hit the five-month mark in Germany. It feels as if I’ve lived here years already. I spoke to some friends and family about it yesterday, and they all feel the same way. It doesn’t make sense, you know. It hasn’t even been half a year, but it doesn’t FEEL that way. We’ve seen […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Schloss Burg

Everybody who knows me is aware of my absolute fascination and obsession with castles. There is something mystical and magical about castles and the age they were constructed in.  I often find myself at the base of one of these structures and I wonder how it’s even possible that they exist. How did those people […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Amsterdam

While my folks were here, we spent a day in Amsterdam. The last time I was there, the place absolutely stole my heart. I mean, it’s not only beautiful, but the people were incredibly warm towards us and understood when we spoke Afrikaans. I loved the sights there. This time was no different. I still […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Aachen

Aachen is a beautiful town in Germany on the border with Belgium. It’s one of those typical European places, with the most beautiful building style and cobbled streets. The Aachener Dom is a picturesque cathedral, though not nearly as magnificent as the Cologne Cathedral. It’s still pretty though. It was being renovated on our visit, so […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Cologne Cathedral

Am I addicted to great architecture and lead-glass installations? Why, yes, I sure am. That statement means cathedral and church-hopping is on my A-list of things to do and sights to see. The Cologne Cathedral (Or Kölner Dom, as the Germans call it) is AH-MAZE-ING. It is, without any trace of a doubt, the biggest structure I […]

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My Weekend in Pictures – Fun with my Folks

The title should probably have read ‘all the same places’, because that’s where we went. But we wanted to show my parents the places we like to go, so that means Christmas markets. We had some delicious gluhwein and gluhbeer, some traditional food and sausages, and just enjoyed the sights. The only difference is the […]

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Amazing Fun in Oberhausen

Continuing from yesterday, I’m going to share more pics with you from my brother in law’s visit. On Sunday we went to CentrO’s Christmas Market and on Monday we visited an amazing indoor kid’s playground in Oberhausen. Kayla had a blast, but I have to admit that we ‘adults’ had just as much fun. I know […]

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Playground Fun and Christmas Markets

Hiya folks! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a visit from my brother in law. It’s been amazing to catch up and explore Germany together, with the added bonus that Jan’s taken a few days off to spend with us. We’ve done all kinds of awesome things, and before we head out again for the day, I […]

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Three Months – The German Chronicles

It’s probably about time I give you an update on how things have been here in Germany. It’s been almost three months now (we’ll reach the official 3 mark month on the 25th of November) and a lot has happened in that time. First of all, we’re going to stay in the furnished short-term rental […]

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Sightseeing in Gruga Park (TGC)

So, last weekend, my Weekend In Pictures post got away from me. Sorry about that. I mentioned last week that some stuff exploded in my face and the greater part of the week was spent fixing that. As a result, I was revising my novel, trying to get it as ready as I can before it […]

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TGC – Why we Decided to Immigrate

This wasn’t some overnight, half-baked scheme. Oh no. Years went into this endeavour of ours. Years. You see, my brother in law left South Africa in the year Jan and I got married (2008). He quit his job and set out to London a month later, just following his gut. I’ve always admired him for […]

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What’s Different? (TGC)

The question I get asked most at the moment is “How different is living in Germany from living in South Africa?” The answer is, it’s different. But seeing as so many people don’t like the vagueness of that statement, I thought I’d quickly highlight the basics. Or at least the things that stand out to […]

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My First Week in Germany! (TGC)

Wow. Here we are, aren’t we? Last week this time, I was getting ready to get on a plane. I was a bundle of nerves mixed with insane excitement. Since then, a lot of people have asked how we are and if we’re adapting. The answer is good and yes. But I’ll get there. The flight […]

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Here we go… (TGC)

It’s weird, this feeling. I’m leaving home. Sights and smells will always be imprinted in my mind; the way I feel today. It’s a big day, after all. I’m leaving home. I barely slept last night, because a haze of excitement, bitter-sweet goodbyes and anxiety whirled in my head. And here it is. D-Day, so […]

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Update Version 2.0 (The German Chronicles)

This was the post I typed for you yesterday : “I’m still in South Africa. That’s all I have to say about that. I’ve been quiet, I know. Currently, I’m in limbo. Being a creative kind of person means that life events have a profound impact on my mood. I know that life events impact […]

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The German Chronicles – an Update

I’ve been without a computer for a while now and I’ve barely switched on my laptop. It’s been so hectic here that I’ve only visited social media sites maybe three times in the last week and a half. I would say I’m sorry, but I haven’t had time to be sorry since we moved into […]

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The German Chronicles – What’s it Like?

People want to know how I feel and what I think at the moment. As in “Is it difficult to pack up and leave?” or “What’s going through your mind?” or “Aren’t you sentimental about the stuff you’re leaving behind?” One I get a lot is “I’m too attached to my family to leave them […]

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The German Chronicles : Our Experience with the German Embassy

If you didn’t pick up on it in the title, I’m going to call the posts relating to our move to Germany ‘The German Chronicles’. Hope you like it. 🙂 Obviously, one of the first things you do when you go to a new country is to get a visa. Or not, depending on what […]

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I’ve Been Keeping Secrets…

I’ve been hinting at the fact that my life is about to change drastically. No, scratch that. Not hinting, telling you right out. 🙂 Today I can finally let you know what’s happening, and it’s not what you think. No, I’m not pregnant. My husband was offered a position in Germany and he accepted it. […]

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