9 Months

To be exact, we hit the nine-month mark last Thursday. It’s the strangest feeling, looking at the calendar and realising how long we’ve lived in Canada. I can still recall the exact mix of excitement and grief when we had to say goodbye to our loved ones at Düsseldorf airport, then board the plane to […]

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A Comparison – Shopping

Let’s keep chatting about the differences between the cities where we’ve lived today. If you want to go back to the post that started it all, click here. Okay. Shopping in Johannesburg is simple. The shoppers are mostly laid back and the cashiers are friendly. There’s no rush either. People wait in line patiently and […]

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A Comparison – The Weather

The greatest of all the FAQ’s we are asked remains ‘what’s different?’, especially now that we’ve lived on three continents. The short answer is a lot, but that doesn’t seem to cut it with the asker. 🙂 So, I’ll do a series of posts that look at these differences in depth. Please do keep in […]

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Braving the Weather

This never gets old. If you, like my little family, have immigrated, or are planning to, brace yourself. Winter is coming, as are the questions about it. Moving to a country with a radically different climate from your home country is always interesting. I say interesting, because there’s something magical but challenging about the whole […]

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The Stages of Home – Maple Mondays

The time directly after immigration comes in five stages. Okay, fine, I made that up. This is based on personal experiences and conversations with many other immigrants from all over the world. Turns out, we tend to have the same emotional responses to this immigration-thing. Each person will experience the span of these differently, even […]

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Things I Miss About Germany

Nobody saw this post coming, right? 😛 Truth is, Europe was our home for two years. I don’t believe you can spend extended periods of time in any place and leave it exactly the same as you were when you entered it. People and places change you, whether you want it to or not. For […]

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Growing Pains

So, Kayla started school this week. Kindergarten in the rest of the world (well, the parts I’ve lived) and kindergarten (nursery school) in South Africa are vastly different concepts. ◄ This is something we’ve been learning really quickly. I also know how much some of you loved the differences posts I did while we were […]

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I’ve been MIA again…

And I’m sorry. It’s been just a tad on the chaotic side of the spectrum here in our new home. You’d think I knew this by now, considering our recent history, but I’ve just realised that people have a distorted view of immigration. Many of the people we’ve spoken to recently picture the whole thing […]

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Boxes and Suitcases

Boxes and suitcases everywhere. This is my current reality. Those boxes we’re not shipping to Canada are full of stuff for charity. It’s a minefield. The clutter makes me anxious. It’s a combination of excitement and being totally overwhelmed, so every now and then I find myself disengaging to regain some semblance of focus. I […]

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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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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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Ten Pin Bowling

Life is full of little firsts. A while ago, one of these came up for Kayla, when we took her bowling for the first time. Jan and I used to love bowling back in SA, but haven’t played in about 5 years. Thinking about it now, that puts the last time we played at before […]

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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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Little Differences (TGC)

We’ve been playing house in Germany for almost two years, but friends and loved ones still ask how living here differs from living in South Africa. The first ‘differences’ post was uploaded within the first two months since we moved to Germany, then I told you about some of the strange differences, like the German […]

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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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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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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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The Rain is Late

Last year this time, we had maybe an afternoon of sunshine every two weeks. The drizzle was constant, predictable like the beat of my heart. Depressing too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of rain. I come from a place where the thunderstorms are legendary, with rushes of rain like waterfalls and crashing thunder […]

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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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Unexpected, but Fun

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m the obsessive type. Whenever I do something, I hurl myself at it until it’s done and I’m exhausted. Then I go into a weird, anti-climactic ‘what the hell now?’ state. That’s what I’m combatting now. So, since finishing the latest revision of The […]

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Ice Cold

Last week, I bombarded you with images of snow. This week, it’s ice. You see a theme here? This winter has been more than a smidge colder than last, but the weather brings many new experiences for those of us originally from warmer parts. So, ice. We live close to the River Ruhr, but we […]

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Kindergarten Fun (TGC)

Yes, this is a German Chronicles post on a Friday. My week has been kind of topsy-turvy. For the first time in a long time, I have a FAQ that I want to answer. Why isn’t Kayla in a preschool/nursery school/kindergarten? The short answer is because Germany. I’m guessing that’s not what you want, though.

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Sightseeing in Pöking and Munich

I mentioned on Wednesday that our journey to Munich began on a rainy Sunday morning. We’ve never been to any other German state, so this was a big trip for us, especially considering how much we wanted to see Bavaria. We’ve been told on many occasions, by both Germans and non-Germans, how incredibly different Bavaria […]

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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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Day in Düsseldorf

Hi there, folks. Good to have you back here! After dashing off to write on Friday, a severe case of writer’s block made my life miserable. I pretty much wrote a few words, deleted them, wrote a few more and deleted them too. It sucked. Jan saved the day on Saturday, by arranging a Dad […]

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Learning German

I’ve mentioned many times in my recent posts that I’m being tutored in German now. Everybody wants to know how that’s going. Well, it’s crawling. I can speak rudimentary German and I can understand the basics, as long as the speaker speaks slowly. Learning any new language is difficult, especially as one gets older. Ha. […]

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Oktoberfest Facts

Yes, folks, it’s officially that time of year. Oktoberfest is in full swing and ends on Sunday. Now, I’m not a beer drinker, but I would love to go over to Bavaria and experience this festival at least once. Until then, I’ll write about it. Going on with the theme from last week’s post, here […]

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Visit to Kaiser Park

So, Oberhausen has a schloss (this word can be used to describe anything from a castle to a manor house – in this case, it’s a manor house) and a park, but we’ve been putting off going there. First of all, the schloss is not that impressive (in our opinions) and we had no idea that […]

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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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Castle Hopping – Part Two

This second instalment of castle hopping reached over two countries. So exciting. 🙂 You can see day one here, if you haven’t yet. Maastricht in the Netherlands was our first destination. This is a pretty amazing place, with cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings. You must be getting tired of the words ‘cobbled streets’ and […]

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Castle Hopping – Part One

Friends – castles. Over the weekend, we saw three of them. OK, fine, we saw one castle and two palaces, but you get the general idea. We also visited some monuments, a small fort with an actual moat and drove between two countries. It was amazing. Here’s how it went down.

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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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A Visit to Schloss Broich

These photos are actually from my Mother’s Day weekend. It’s late, I know, but I was writing a novel! Yes, the keyword in that sentence is ‘was’. More on that soon. 😀 With the amazing spring weather, we’ve been sightseeing a lot lately. There are some pretty awesome sights to see right in our back […]

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Visit to Werden

On Ascension Day, we hopped a train to Werden. This picturesque place is a suburb of Essen and is seriously gorgeous. The buildings are still in the old style and there’s almost a fantasy-type vibe to the old taverns turned cafés. Walking through those cobblestone ways certainly piqued my creative flow. Then, there’s the parks […]

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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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Tips to Help You Adapt After Immigration – Part Two

Yesterday, we chatted about things you could do to make the immigration process easier before you actually get on the plane. Today, we’re going to chat about things you can do to adapt more seamlessly once you get there. This is obviously going to be different for every person, but these are the things that […]

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Tips to Help You Adapt After Immigration – Part One

Can you fathom this: Jan’s officially been in Germany for 6 months, and Kayla and I will have made the 6-month mark on the 25th of Feb. Mind. Blown. I bet I’ll say this with every milestone, but I can’t comprehend that it’s been ONLY six months. It feels like we’ve been here forever. Obviously, the people in […]

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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 : 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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Dortmund Christmas Market

Yeah, I know. ‘Yesterday‘ ended up being a week. Humblest apologies. Our pictures with Willem from the Christmas market at Dortmund will feature today. Can I just say that I love Christmas markets? One thing we’ve noticed fairly quickly here is that Christmas celebrations in South Africa pail in comparison to those in Germany. Goodness, […]

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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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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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