Monday, November 19, 2007

Saying goodbye

A few shots from a small party we had to commemorate our leaving...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Action shot

Our farewell event with our five flatmates was an evening of skittles, which I've taken to like a duck to water, as you can see from this shot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A goose a day

On Sunday it was Saint Martin's Day in Germany (possibly in other places as well) so we did the traditional thing and went to eat goose with my family. Or, to be more exact, watched them eat goose, with brussel sprouts, red cabbage and dumplings. Apparently the story comes from the fact that, when the people wanted to make Martin a bishop, he was so shy he hid himself in a goose stall. But the geese kicked up a fit and they found him and made him bishop. Which makes it, in my humble opinion, rather unchristian that you have to eat goose on Martins Day. But there you have it.

Random acts of meanness

In all the recent excitement of telling everyone we're leaving, receiving gifts and guilt galore from students and packing up my life of the last two years, I haven't really taken the time to reminisce about the things I won't miss about the lovely city of Kiel. So here I go:

On the weekend I was running late and jogged across the (deserted) road on the red and two young whippersnappers on bikes yelled at me to the tune of: Oi! Don't you know it's forbidden to cross on the red! Little tykes.

One morning last week riding to work in the early morning darkness with a broken headlight I rode past a lady on a bike who yelled after me once I was safely past her: Where's your light? Lovely way to start the day, I always think.

Mind you, there's a certain smugness one can assume when living in another culture which is much more socially acceptable than being smug about how crap your own culture is that I will also miss. Complaining about how the Germans complain all the time has become a favorite pastime, and it just won't have the same ring to it back home. I may well be faced with the question: well, why did you go there, if it was so bad? Which just misses the point completely.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Winter blues

It's that time again in Kiel, the dark creeps in at four thirty, the days aren't really light and it drizzles all day without stopping. It's enough to make me want to leave. Which is convenient, since I am.
It's quite amazing really, I've been here for two years, met different people, taught numerous students, travelled around (not enough of course), sprained my ankle twice, lived in three houses and now I'm heading off home. Incredible how much you can experience in a small town on the Baltic Sea.
The reaction among my students has been shock and disbelief, and I've been asked what it would take to make me stay. If I knew the answer to that question I'd be sitting on a mountain somewhere, dolling out wisdom. But I don't say that, I say that it's time to reconnect, it's time to be in Australia and see my people. Maybe that's the real answer after all.
I will miss lots of things, the transient lifestyle of living with other people's furniture and cookware, the excitement of fulfilling the most mundane task (I rang the real estate agent!), the fresh bread available everywhere, the changing of the seasons from winter iciness to spring flowers to lazy summer to the colours of autumn. I'll miss speaking another language, learning new words and expressions, discussing cultural differences endlessly. I`ll miss dressing up. I`ll miss riding my bike to work, and everywhere else. I`ll miss the cheese and the beer.
But this is life after all, changing, moving on. The Sydney I go back to is not the town I left, and neither will Kiel be the same if I ever come back for a visit. Nothing stays the same, everything changes. Not even the most powerful people on the planet can change that.