It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town, as in much of Germany, "ordnung" (or "rules") are strictly adhered to.  Ordnung is everything in Germany.  You might have got an idea of this from the little series "In My Town ..." that I've been running.  I've been to a lot of places, and have been lucky enough to live in a few, and I've not experienced anything quite like the ordnung that is in place in Germany.  There is a rule for everything, and everyone follows these rules.  Now, whilst that might sound living in Germany is a bit "challenging" for an Aussie that doesn't really follow the rules, let me just say:-

  • In my town we don't have crime (touch wood)
  • In my town we don't have litter
  • In my town we don't have grafitti
  • In my town, when you see a gang of teenagers walking towards you on the street, you're not afraid of what's going to happen
  • In my town I can walk home alone at night from town without a care
  • In my town IT'S SAFE!

So, ordnung might drive me a little bonkers (don't even start me on my experiences with government employees at the Rathaus), but, in my town, it certainly works.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town you can take the "Kur" (aka the "Cure").  People come from all over Germany to Rado, more specifically my little part of Rado, the Mettnau, to take the Kur as the air here is so very good.  Apparently a 1-2 week stay is the norm.  Here's some info from one of the providers:-

Prevention and rehabilitation are the cornerstones of our philosophy. On the basis of a thorough medical examination, we put together for you an individual therapy and exercise plan that you neither under-nor overwhelmed. A wide range is supplemented by exercises and endurance training, relaxation techniques. Our doctors / physicians, physical therapists and sports / inside and psychologists / inside will show you how you can overcome stressful situations in everyday life with ease. 

A healthy, balanced diet and enjoyment of food increase the performance from the inside. On medical care also offer the nutritionists of Mettnau discussions in small groups and individual counseling.The claim of Mettnau is high: the stresses of everyday life has grown to be. To know their risk factors and learn to deal with them. Recover after an illness of the heart and circulatory system, energy and vitality, with more movement and less "medication". Prevent serious damage to health through prevention. This is the philosophy of Mettnau team. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town they advise that you should have your windows open for a certain period of time every day.  They even recommend how many minutes per day per month you should have them open.  Yet this is a country where they think that sitting in a draft is seriously dangerous to your health.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town you can buy a kilogram of perfectly lovely bananas for €1.15 (about $AUD1.55).  Are bananas in Australia still up around $AUD10.00 a kilo?

Monday, October 24, 2011

In My Old Town ...

In my old town, fabulous Bangkok, they're experiencing fairly major flooding.  One third (yes, one third) of Thailand is currently under water.  300 people have died.  Hundreds of thousands are homeless.  And, just in case that's not enough, that's NOT a puppy being hauled around on those guys shoulders above.  The crocodile farms have been flooded and now there are crocs wandering about.

In My Town ...

In my town there are a minimum of 8 required types of recycling:-

  • Clear glass
  • Green glass
  • Brown glass
  • Compost and scraps (no meat)
  • Paper
  • All recyclable plastics and tins (no paper)
  • Any drink containers have a cash deposit that is redeemed at place of purchase
  • Normal rubbish (anything not above, which really isn't much)

In my town they LOVE recycling.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town there are about 30,000 people.  Before this we lived in Rochester Hills (about 70,000 people), Bangkok (about 9,100,000 people) and Adelaide (about 1,200,000 people).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town you can take dogs pretty much everywhere.  Even into Michelin starred restaurants!

Friday, October 21, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town everything is closed on Sunday.  Everything.  Except petrol stations and some restaurants.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town all the banks, post office and goverment offices close for lunch breaks for up to 90 minutes.  And the government offices close from noon on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town you're breaking the law if you hang your clothes on the line on a Sunday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

In My Town ...

In my town children aren't allowed to play in playgrounds between 12.00 and 2.00pm.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chantarelles or Louis Vuitton?

When I was back in Adelaide, on one of my many trips to the fantastic Central Market to have lunch at the scrumptious Ricky's Chicken Rice (sorry, no website, but it's soooooo yummy), I walked past the Mushroom Shop and they had 1 kilo of Chantarelles (or giroles) for $AUD500.   Yes, $500.00 Australian.  For 1kg of mushrooms.  Granted, I guess they don't grow in Australia, so they've probably been imported by air before they perish.

Now, there's not much fab stuff I can get in Rado, but I can get 1kg of Chantarelles for €5 at the supermarket (in a cute wooden crate) when they're in season.  So, my thinking is, if you want your Chantarelles, come to Rado, buy a few kilos of them, and you can buy a Louis Vuitton handbag with what you've saved!

And that's a lesson in female financial logic folks, you can thank me later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Expat Challenge

I'm safe and sound, back in Rado with my lovely hubby and stinky dog, and the weather has certainly changed to Autumn (Herbst in Deutsch) since I've been gone.  I managed to pick up a flu bug on the way home and am feeling fairly average, but am hoping I can get back into a normal routine next week (horse riding here I come!).

Anyway, I know there are a few expat wives (and hubbies!) who read my blog and I thought I'd touch on one of the first problems that us expats have when we move to a new country to live.

If you're anything like me, you've just managed to assemble your "expat team" of a good doctor, dentist, (ahem) lady doctor and hairdresser by the time you start packing your boxes and moving again.  I find that it takes about 12-18 months of living in a new place to get that stuff sorted out again.  It's not so difficult if you're in an English speaking country, but in many countries it's hard to find people that speak enough English to make you feel comfortable - and, trust me, you want to feel comfortable!

Here in Rado I've been lucky enough to have good recommendations from friends and colleagues of my hubby and I've got a decent doctor (a Tibetan who lives in Germany and speaks English!), a great dentist (my lovely dog walking friend Petra who understands my fear of dentists and always has one of her nurses hold my hand) and a lovely lady doctor as well.

Us girls know that a bad hair-do can make you feel very low, and it's easy enough to feel low when you've just moved to a new place anyway, so a hairdresser is a crucial member of any new "expat team".  My gorgeous friend Elke1 recommended Haar Moden in Singen to me, as they speak English and are quite lovely.

The Haar Moden posse - Dominic & Julia to the right

I loved Haar Moden from the first time I went.  Dominic, the son of the owners, speaks good English and did great cuts and colours (he's since moved into management).  He was the one that was so excited when I said I wanted to cut my shoulder length hair into a boyish crop (which I loved for a few months, but then wanted to grow it back again - I know, never happy!).  Now I see his utterly stunning girlfriend Julia (again, speaks great English), who does exceptional work.

Haar Moden have been awarded Germany's Top Salon of the Year for 2011 - an incredible achievement for a salon in a small town.  They certainly deserve it, they do great hair, and they don't charge a bomb.  So, if you're a new expat (male or female, my hubby goes there too) in the Baden Wurtemberg area, and you're looking for a hairdresser to make you feel great, check them out.

Haar Moden - German Salon of the Year 2011

(Whilst I love this salon, they don't know I'm writing this and it's not an advertisement for them - they're not paying me, neither am I getting free treatments - I just think they're great.  Though, if they read this and want to pony up a discount, they're more than welcome to!).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Movie Review : Oranges & Sunshine

I safely arrived back in Rado on Tuesday morning, after spending about 30 hours flying from Adelaide via Sydney, Singapore and then Zurich.  Lots of time for watching movies on planes, quite a luxury for me as there is no movie theatre in our town, and the closest theatre that plays movies in English (once a month only) is an hours drive away - hence we don't go to the movies anymore.

I flicked through Singapore Airlines entertainment guide and saw "Oranges & Sunshine", a movie I'd seen very well reviewed in the UK earlier this year.

Here's the synopsis:-

Oranges and Sunshine tells the story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham, who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals in recent times: the forced migration of children from the United Kingdom. Almost singlehandedly, against overwhelming odds and with little regard for her own well-being, Margaret reunited thousands of families, brought authorities to account and worldwide attention to an extraordinary miscarriage of justice. She discovered a secret that the British government had kept hidden for years: one hundred and thirty thousand children in care had been sent abroad to commonwealth countries, mainly Australia. Children as young as four had been told that their parents were dead, and been sent to children's homes on the other side of the world. Many were subjected to appalling abuse. They were promised oranges and sunshine, they got hard labour and life in institutions.

This is a factual and heart breaking movie.  Over 130,000 children, ranging from just 4 years old, were shipped to Australia (and other countries within the Commonwealth) where many of them were then subject to institutionalized slavery, terror and torture by the people who were meant to be caring for them, most notably at the well known Bindoon home.

It is a seriously good movie, sensitively told.  If you get the opportunity, take the time to learn more about this sad time.  This forced migration only ceased in the 1970's - yes, the 1970's.  That means that people my age, people your age, are still finding their way out of this nightmare.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homegrown & Delicious!

About 4 years ago my parents moved from their 25 acre farm out of Wistow to a lovely home on a big block in Hahndorf.  It's big enough for my Dad to have a large shed to work on his old wooden boats, and for Mum to have a dedicated craft room - along with lots of garden for fruit trees and veggie patches, and a chook house for a regular supply of perfect eggs.

At the moment they have so many different veggies growing in their garden (a bit of sun and lots of rain will do that!) and last Wednesday Mum went out and cut me a handful of fresh asparagus, grabbed a huge egg from the chook house and produced the following lunch for me - garden to plate in under 20 minutes - sublime.

Tender baby asparagus and a double yolker egg, fried lightly in butter, then served on a slice of thick white bread with proper butter and topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsely from the herb garden.  I'm so lucky!