Embracing Germany on a low budget

Some friends just came back from Berlin and they reminded me that it's insanely cheap to eat out there - especially compared to the exorbitantly high prices we have here in Perth. And in fact, there are a lot of ways to explore Germany on a low budget, something that surprised me no end when I lived … [Read more...]

5 more funny mistakes foreigners make in Germany

Ah, Germany. The land of long lists of rules and home to 80 million devoted rule-followers. The rules are one of the reasons I love Germany, but as you may remember from last year's post on the 5 funniest mistakes foreigners make in Germany, the abundance of rules does lead to a high number of … [Read more...]

Four different homes abroad and what I’ve learnt from them

I'm not a massive fan of moving house. (I mean, really, who is? It's a lot of work!) However, I have moved plenty of times in my life and in particular, I have had four different homes abroad - two different flats in Japan, one in Slovakia and one in Germany. When I read a recent Kiki and Tea post … [Read more...]

The funniest 5 mistakes foreigners make in Germany

Germany is a wonderful place to live and I thoroughly enjoyed my three years there: it's an organised place, they have great beer and long summer nights, they are experts at Christmas, and so much more. However, one thing most foreigners soon realise is that there are quite a lot of rules in … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Visiting Heilbronn, Germany: What to see and why to go!

Even when I meet people who know Germany well, not too many of them know anything about the town I lived in - Heilbronn. To many who've driven around the south-west of Germany, the name is familiar only because two large Autobahns intersect there! Otherwise, it's probably considered a bit of a … [Read more...]