5 tricks I use to help my son become bilingual

I have been learning the German language on and off since I was seven years old. We had lessons in primary school, I took German in high school, I even continued German during my first year at university. When I lived in Bratislava I took lessons from a German teacher there (Hallo, Elisabeth!) and … [Read more...]

German books for toddlers: Our favourite German children’s books for age two and three

As the age of two approached, my son certainly began to demonstrate his own particular interests. Choosing the German baby books to read him was a bit random, but as he became a toddler the kinds of books and topics he was interested in became more specific to him. So if you have a son (or daughter, … [Read more...]

German books for babies: Our favourite children’s books auf deutsch for age zero and one

When my son was born I decided I wanted him to be bilingual - his father's first language is German, and I am reasonably fluent too. I needed to get hold of some great German children's books. My goal was basically that more than half the books in his book shelf should be German kids' books. I … [Read more...]

Saying goodbye to a country is hard – I know, I’ve done it three times

I am NOT a good goodbye person. I'm way overly sentimental, I'm all too acutely aware that once you say goodbye to a place you've lived in that even visiting will never be the same again, and I miss both people and things long and badly. I blogged just recently about the sadness of leaving … [Read more...]

The sadness of leaving new homes abroad – the perils of expat life

It was a week or two before I would leave Japan, and I was teaching a one-to-one lesson with Ami, a little girl who'd been coming to individual English lessons at our school for a year or so; she was three by now. At two she had absolutely hated coming to our lessons and we had spent many lessons … [Read more...]

So I went to a conference and I won a few frequent flyer points …

I went to the Gold Coast again last week for the Problogger conference. Astute readers might remember I wasn't a fan of the Gold Coast last time round. Well, it turns out I can totally be bought and I will forever have a VERY soft spot for the Gold Coast. For a few reasons, but mostly because this … [Read more...]

How to get brave enough to speak to a local in a foreign language

Some people grow up knowing two or even more languages and thinking nothing of it. In fact, lots and lots of people in the world grow up this way. But in English-speaking countries, we tend to be a bit limited in our language thinking. After all, the "world language" is English (or so we think - and … [Read more...]

German village life: Pfullendorf and Lake Constance, via Instagram

Here in Australia, we like living in huge urban centres. Nearly nine out of ten Australians live in an urban area - which is pretty amazing considering how large our country is for such a small population. When I moved to Germany, it was a huge mystery to me when my students told me where they … [Read more...]

The shock of no culture shock on arriving in Germany

When I first moved overseas to Japan, I definitely experienced a degree of culture shock, as anyone who's been to Japan can understand - they do lots of things differently there. I soon adjusted and loved living this different life, and when I moved on to Slovakia I found another complete set of … [Read more...]

Exploring my “privileged places” and how Vienna’s stations confused me

I'm a big fan of Gretchen Rubin who writes and researches about happiness (what a lovely job!) and in her newest book Happier at Home a passage she quoted from historian Mircea Eliade really struck me. It's about what he names "privileged places": a man's birthplace, or the scenes of his first … [Read more...]