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one girl, two countries
Interests: one crazy Australian on her adventures around the world... behaving badly wherever she goes.
Recent Activity
Dear friends, If you're living away from home, as I am, and you happen to travel back to your home country you'll find something happens... If you're lucky, as I was, to have a wonderful time with friends and family at "home" but also have friends and family waiting for you in your new "home" you may find that you're never really too sad about coming or going. But if you've missed your old friends and family very much, seeing them can be bittersweet. Here, in a nutshell, are the things I realised. 1. Its impossible to feel like any visit to your home country is long enough. 2. You may be very anxious about how you spend your time and with whom. 3. You will probably be kept very busy! 4. Being a tourist in your own country is blissful! 5. Hiring your own car, if you can, may just keep you sane. 6. Saying goodbye to people you love never gets easier. One of the most interesting things I realised when I was back in Australia was that you're never truly free from the Long Distance Relationship or #ldr. I really thought once I moved here and got married and life sort of hit a rhythm, that we'd get to a point where I'd feel "free". The thing is, when you move away to be with your long distance significant other, you may stop being in an LDR with them. But the truth is you're not free. You're... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Sandcastle in the Snow
There are a few people who might have known me for long enough to remember my on-agan-off-again struggles with pain. Mostly in my back. And I'm also a giant pain wienie. I'm highly sensitive to pain, and really irritated by the inconvenience of it. Scoliosis can be sexy! Hold yourself back people Well, I've finally got some answers to some really old questions about my pain. One hip is higher than the other. That simple. Ok, not that simple. One hip is higher than the other because of the scoliosis twists in my back which have lifted one side up, but hey that's ok, we can work with that. Wow, points for Germany. But how did I find out? Well I went to my GP, or Allegemein Medizine, and they referred me to and booked me into an Ortopaede (orthopedic specialist). This is the thing with doctors, you need to ask them to book for you if you can. Wait times for specialists are long, and booking with them is tricky. This is a huge improvement on my first nightmarish doctor experience. (Bullshit "fat away" injection posters made with word art around the walls, poking in my then very sore back making it worse, asking me if I wanted "holistic" medicine and acupuncture instead of an actual treatment, praxis staff asking me for my personal details over the counter instead of giving me the far more discrete clip board... nightmare). Overall, my opinion of German medicine is improving. But it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2015 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Hey blog readers! I've got so much to say to you guys, lots of little cogs whirring in my brain, and plenty of posts half made. Important things to share right now: 1. January 18 was my 1 year anniversary in Germany 2. Married life is the same, and also super different! 3. Freelancing is going well 4. New projects this year are kind of exciting 5. I'm becoming more into my vegetarian lifestyle and vegan cosmetics! (don't worry no plans to preach here yet!) 6. I want a dog. Like, bad. But I love my cat, so she comes first. 7. I'm blonde again, red wasn't me. That's all :D Getting back into the blog, so stay posted. Mr German and I all pimped out 60's style for a recent work party! Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Sandcastle in the Snow
I think a baby has to try a food something like 7 times (could be more... or less?) according to my amazing mum of 3 and university qualified (but still often overwhelmed because kids are hard) "niece factory" ie younger sister :D So don't be put off if he doesn't go for it straight away. Thanks for being (still) one of the very few cool Mum blogs!
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2014 on CC vs. Solid Food - Round One at Mary Makes Babies
Yesterday overcome by a desire to make someone’s day special in any way I could I gave 50 euro each to two homeless men. Some people might say that by donating to them I’m doing something wrong and would say that maybe I should have broken the money into smaller portions and spread the cheer. But here’s how I felt about the exchange, and my thoughts about giving in Germany. You might be surprised by the way that I reacted. After giving each man a single 50euro note I was overwhelmed with emotion. Welling up with tears. Instantly grateful for my life. I was overcome by the act of giving. Why? Well that’s something for a lot of therapy or to just forget until the next experience. But what was going through my head? Well I wondered how what was either a week of groceries for me, or a new pair of shoes could evoke so much gratitude in a stranger. I wondered about homelessness and how people become homeless. I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I didn't want their gratitude, just to make someone else happy. Before giving, I had my doubts. I remembered that many Germans had told me urban myths about the homeless people being owned by the mafia, about disabled people and poor grandmothers being bussed in from Romania. I wondered also if I were doing the right thing, would it help someone? Would it make someone’s life even a little bit better.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Take a walk through my town, Mannheim, with me today and see what I saw... through my eyes. Stollen, free bibles in time for Christmas and fresh fruits and vegetables. Pay special attention to the people's faces. Each picture tells a story. You can click each picture to go to the full size image. All credit and permissions belong to Lisa Guilpain. You may reuse these where credit is given. Stollen and bibles, typical German Christmas fare... This lady's smile. These three greeted each other like old friends. This man, above, stopped me to tell me that my picture of his wares was missing the most important subject: him! And while business boomed for some, others were not so lucky... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Should you get on the plane? Or book a ticket at all? (Credit:L.Guilpain) Long distance relationships have a romantic history. Letters on ships, telegrams, long waited for mail. Separation has been glorified in popular culture and historical fiction, and coming together after a separation is portrayed as both the proof of greater moral character and the reward for thinly veiled messages of abstinence, monogamy and marriage. But where does that leave the skypers and globetrotters now? The most common thing that people spoke to me about personally or asked me about online was a kind of assurance. People want to know if long distance relationships (LDR) as a ‘thing’ will work. Having lived on a different continent to my husband (before he was my husband) for nearly four years, I can say that for some people it seems that there is a happy ending. But for most people, or at least anyone who mentioned long distance relationships to me, the story seems to have a sad and often bitter ending involving loss of trust and damage that doesn’t quickly heal. Tales of woe Being in a long distance relationship seems to invite people to share their LDR failures. It’s hard to get excited about a relationship if everyone around you tells you horror stories about heartbreak. I’d like to believe that the times that people have shared their failed love stories they were trying to warn me. They were tying to save me, or maybe their own past selves, from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
If you've got freelancer status in Germany, no mean feat, you might wonder 'what next?'. Recently a professional curiosity (read: opportunism) lead me to embrace ‘freelancer’ status in Germany and try to find some extra work. After a lazy web search, there they were: dozens of freelancer websites right at my fingertips. With a cautious feeling in my stomach, and a professional fortitude in my fingertips, I dove into the world of freelancing online. What did I find? I found the worst possible things. Do bots even exist? Do you keep a blog? Do you visit blogs? Of course you do. You’re here. Have you noticed those ridiculous viral comments that look like bots? But now I know where they come from. They are real and they are disappointing. I joined looking for native English speaking editorial jobs. After a few weeks of daily emails matching me to my “skills” and inviting me to bid on potential jobs, I had to ask them to destroy my account with fire. Riddled among the academic fraud jobs (which these websites are profiting from), are invitations to code personal information stealing viruses -- the very viruses you have to be careful of on social media sites. Bots aren't clever computer programs, they're underpaid freelancers. Academic fraud is a hot business Sometimes I miss university. I do. And then I think: would I like to write other people’s assignments for them? The answer is a resounding no. I remember eating gummy bears by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Photo evening in the Waldpark Mannheim. Celebration of new wheels. Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Mr German and I got married last weekend. And it was lovely. Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
bah hahaha Sorry, I'm laughing at your astute and wonderful comments, not at the suffering caused by the intruder. I personally despise being asked for money at any time. Knocking on the door is an inconvenience beyond what I would have tolerated. Good on you! Defend the home front! ;)
Everybody is blogging about summer ending right now. Its the in thing. Now this is generally the kind of thing that is a big deal in Australia, but the changing seasons are a HUGE deal in the northern hemisphere. Here is a picture of me and my new favourite scarf to prove it. (Got the scarf and jumper (sweater?) both from H&M, the jumper was earlier this year) Its pretty late tonight as I write this. I've tried to pack my day full of activities and chores. I did not give in to the nap urge! Although I did spend a good few hours on the couch today playing Knack on the PS4. The last game I finished before that was Child of Light. You can find my review here. On the topic, while my review was negative for Child of Light I feel like responsible gamers should continue to pay for such artistically driven games... but give constructive feedback where possible. Lately the German has been napping every day. I just can't understand that. I feel like sleep is almost a waste of time! There's so much to be done. So last week was my 30th birthday. I have very mixed feelings about getting older. I honestly don't know how to be "age appropriate" now. Sure, I don't mind forking out 30 bucks for a lipstick these days, but I'd still spend more than that on a decent videogame. True, to the cliches, I have a better sense of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Oh hi! I seem to have started a thing while I've got the flu of blogging past midnight. Now, its a dead certain fact that if I'm blogging this late, what you're going to get is some cough-medicine fuelled gold. So grab a hold of your valuables and hang in for the ride. I finally downloaded a whole bunch of pics from my iphone. We got this awesome charger device a while ago, so when I plug my phone in it doesn't automatically back up. I am electing to tell today's story in pictures. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, if you look to your right, you will see a drunk girl with a helium balloon in the shape of a dinosaur. Stadtfest Stadfest involves drinking, music and local foods. The "Show"back home involves some weird stuff, like the "Show-girl". For my non-Australian friends, this is basically like the prom queen of an entire small town. It also involves elements of rodeo, including camp drafting (chasing cows of varying sizes on horseback), arts and crafts fair-- with prizes, bake off, and of course what all the kids hang out for sideshows. So I guess you could say its like a cowboy crochet circus. This pretty much sums it up. Stadfest was great, and yes, I did open that dinosaur balloon up and sing "Oh Danny Boy" after eating Helium... which for my good friends will indicate my level of intoxication. World cup So the world cup happened. I'm not... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Dear Chau Lih, I hired a translator for my official documents. The translator has to be certified by the state. To do that, I asked my consulate for a referral of appropriate translators. The word you want is uebersetzer. I went with a woman in Heidelberg, Bettina Winterfeld, and she was very good. My birth certificate was translated for 32euro including VAT. I found her on this website *You can add in your native language and your translation language What it sounds like you need is a Dolmetscher. This is an interpreter. On the day of the wedding, the Dolmetscher stands next to you and interprets the ceremony. A typical Stadesamt ceremony should not be longer than 30 minutes, or 40 with translation so you're not likely to pay for more than an hour. Our stadesamt would have had to appoint someone who is legally qualified to carry out this work. I personally won't need this. I can speak fluent German, and my German fiancé is fluent in English. At no point has the Stadesamt recommended a Dolmetscher. If you can speak German you might not need this either. Good Luck!
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2014 on wedding? what wedding? at Sandcastle in the Snow
Evening all, I've been caught up in life the last couple of weeks, but it seems that a chest flu will give me just the right amount of time to consider my dear old blog for a little while. So in the middle of my 1am coughing fit, I'll pause and say hello -- if only to let Mr German have a better night sleep tonight and to spare my abs! Ahh, scenic Germany... actually this is scenic Weinheim. Recently I've been thinking about freelancing in Germany, and what kind of things Australians need to think about at Tax time, and getting married in Germany- some of the pitfalls of moving your ceremony interstate, and last but not least, fitness in Germany (getting on and falling off the horse). I'm a member of a website called "expat blog". I'll admit, it didn't take much effort to find it. I'm pretty sure when you type "expat" its one of the top search results. There's some good info on there for the absolute beginner, but the intermediate and somewhat better googled expat is better off searching specifically for their own stuff elsewhere. I know this because I get a lot of questions directed to me as if I'm an expert, on topics I've never preteneded to be an expert about. The latest two are about finding apartments in Munich (I've never been to Munich, and I had zero to do with finding the apartment we're in now), and studying in germany. I've... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
msbeesy is now following Daryl Lorette
Jun 12, 2014
Ok so its hot as hell at the moment. I think we need some ice ice baby! Between that and the theme of todays post, I'm sharing this GEM with you. I remember dancing around my living room to this in Australia in the early 90's and thinking that I was pulling off the moves, and then being horrified as I got over. But the real point of today's post is to ask a question. I'm feeling pretty settled in Germany, anyone got any questions about moving here, or being an expat, or organising getting married? Anyone have questions about Australia? Anyone have questions about me? If you do, leave them in the comments below :D I'll answer them. if you want you can leave your handle for expat blog, tumblr, or twitter and I'll follow you :) Lets start the conversation :) Oh, and Ice Ice baby! Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
That's the reason, back there, behind the camera. So newcommers to the blog may not know the backstory this is the reason I started the blog. Almost four years ago, I met this guy. And he happened to be from somewhere else, Germany actually, and I was from Australia. We travelled back and forth until this year. This year I moved to Germany. There were a number of reasons for that. I'll dedicate a post to that too this week (I hope). The result, that is important for this post, is that I've generally missed every Australian summer for the last 4 years. I end up in Germany during this time and its the depths of winter. I love winter. I love cold. So being hit with a couple of 35 degree days in a row is really calling on my Aussie DNA to backtrack to the days when we did this every year-- in fact in my childhood we did it without air conditioning. Today I think I'll find a See. If you're new to Germany, you won't be familiar with the idea of the See unless you're fluent in German. In German the Sea (the ocean) is Meer, and a lake is See. Germans don't build outside swimming pools much (owing to that cold cold winter I was telling you about) and they aren't blessed with the sea. Lets compare: Australian beach: I borrowed this image from here, no disrespect intended and I don't own it. Australian idea... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
I've been coming to and from some blogging ideas for a while now, but life has honestly been far too hectic to sit down and write about it. I've been busy on the front lines, and to be honest writing has felt like the sidelines. I'm also in the connundrum now where I can say that I do this (part-time) professionally and its a bit like a chef who doesn't cook at home. Still, in my usual spirit-- because this blog and these readers (whoever you are) are important to me-- I'm back. The most interesting bits first, in dot points because there are many! enjoyed Mannheim Stadfest -- Now pics of this aren't forthcoming at this time, but we had an amazing time cruising the streets eating EVERYTHING! (and of course drinking all the beer) Spent Mothers day and Fathers day with the German in-laws-to-be Passed the German-father-in-law's birthday with an awesome greek dinner-- LAMB engaged in a new fitness regime check this site out it will change your life. This is to counteract the high calorie lifestyle of Germany and the German. Got rocking on with my new job. I think its well overdue to announce that I work for these guys. I'm in the process of learning more about being a freelancer and living in Germany and I feel comfortable here. Ich fühle mich wohl. For all my other expat readers and LDR's out there who are having a tough time of it, stick. it. out! It... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Updates, updates, updates!! Some important things you'll find out in this post are that I've now got a job, you may not have known that we have official permission to marry and that on top of that (you couldn't possibly know this) I've started a new fitness regime. And lastly, and sadly, I've withdrawn from study. Since I've been away for a while, I'll be concentrating on these three things hopefully not to bore you to death. I plan to post a little here, and then get back to longer, hopefully more helpful for expat, entries in the coming days. Stay tuned. I found my new job almost by accident. All I can say is apply for ANYTHING remotely related to your field. I did. I applied for a job which was related to editing text as an english native speaker. Sadly, although many people in Germany learn English there is a stark gap between those who are extrememly proficient and those who are unwilling to try for fear of embarassment. As a native speaker, without a journalistic background, and with some knowledge of web 2.0 that was enough to put the foot in the door. And now I'm dividing my part time work between writing about IT and satellite missions for the European Space Agency-- only internally mind. There are ups and downs to working where I do. Firstly its an English language environment. The positive is that I feel really competent with what I do. The pitfall is... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
Hi Audra, Thanks for the message! You're welcome to ask questions, and you can do that a number of ways. You can contact me directly on expat blog, or you can post questions/comments here. I'm always happy to share anything I've learned in the last 4 years, as long as people understand that its what I've learned from my life and I could be totally wrong. Surviving an LDR is tough, so I recommend expanding your support network as wide as you can, and I read a lot of blogs and online info during the "apart" side of the relationship.
Good morning Beloved Blog (Imagine me shining at you from here), Why the shine? Well spring snuch around the corner and recharged the old batteries. Although, truth be told, I'm sitting here in a pink dressing gown with my almost empty cup of coffee, bleary morning face and-- given the state of things, I'm probably covered in cat hair. Hey, its washing day. So what has been happening lately, as I have been away from here for a little while now? In short, many things. The thing is, each fantastic thing going on around here deserves its' own blog post. So today I want to talk about what is particularly bothering me/interesting me. That is the idea of name change after marriage. As you might have guessed, and if you're a regular reader you will know, I am getting married. It seemed like a romantic notion at the time, and has basically been the yardstick by which I measure commitment (again another blog post topic) for a while. So when Mr German popped the question, there was no doubt I'd answer in the affirmative. Yesterday on the road to getting married, at one of our Stadesamt appointments (backstory: we are getting married in Germany, he is German I'm Australian), that marked number 3, I was asked what I want to do about my name. This unleashed instant discomfort for me. I didn't expect to be asked so abruptly, but I should have seen that coming. I knew that Germans were... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
So I'm going to share my apple pie recipe with you, because its easy and its delicious. Apple pies are so Australian for me, anything in a pie is. At the moment I'm having a bit of a struggle with my weight (Gained 5kg since landing, sheeeesh) and I've also had a bit of a struggle with exercise motivation. But I'm finding a way to get through that. Sadly, I made this last night and forgot to take pictures because I was eating it. When I get organised today I'll try and post. My recipe for Apple pie is easy as hell because I don't have ANY awesome kitchen gadgets. No food processor, no blender or anything. I splashed out on a spatula and a flour sifter recently. The Crust: 2.5 Cups of Plain (all purpose) flour, haven't tried with wholemeal or qinoia, maybe you want to? 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder 2 teaspoons of brown sugar 8 teaspoons of chilled water 225g (8ounce) butter, unsalted. and I stole that recipe here. <--- seriously check this for ingredients. Without a food processor, you have to do the following... 1. sift the flour and baking powder together INTO A LARGE bowl, 2. add the sugar and salt (I doubled the sugar for sweet pie crust). You can leave this out. 3. Chop your butter up into little cubes. It doesn't matter about the size. Add these to the dry ingredients in the huge bowl. 4. With really clean hands, pinch the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at Sandcastle in the Snow
If crying about that stuff wasn't allowed, that stuff wouldn't exist. Today I'm into lists too, so here's a list for you :) 1. Not being able to eat yummy strawberries sucks. Strawberries are Nature's crack for sugar addicts... and I should know. 2. How you didn't punch Scott about the Hershy bar incident will forever be a mystery to me. 3. Don't blame yourself for being upset about the Nachos. I hate when your cheer up food doesn't really meet the requirements for being called food. That's just not fair. Still scrolling through your website pics (yeah I'm going a bit trolly, its a weird internet compliment I guess) you don't look fat to me. You look healthy and you sound smart, interesting and totally the kind of person who should be making babies, so the world sucks a little less. In case, however, cheer and positive thoughts from random internet stranger wasn't what you ordered from the world, I leave you with the words of Allie Brosh, I am sorry about your dead goldfish. xLisa