2015: That’s a Wrap!

We arrived back in Hong Kong last night after a lovely, if somewhat too short, trip to Berlin for Christmas. It was so nice seeing family and celebrating Christmas German style although I have to say I am suffering extreme homesickness for Australia. The sun is shining and my brother has been sick, and I’d love to be there. There really is no place like home.

Meanwhile it is 5pm in Hong Kong on New Year’s Eve, 2015. I can’t believe this year is over already. But then, we have kept it jam packed.

This year our little boy turned one, our girl turned four. We went to Canada, to Hawaii, to Berlin. We moved to Hong Kong, and I’ve already been back to Australia twice to visit. We clocked up nearly 100 hours flying time as a family this year alone! One thing I can say about that is I will NOT be crossing huge time zones in 2016. We are staying put in the South East corner of the world.

Last year we celebrated New Year by the beach with some really great friends, best friends, and on New Year’s Day Walter woke up at 5am, as he will probably do tomorrow. So I took him for a walk to the beach and we watched the sun rise together. And I wondered aloud to him what kind of year we would have, letting him know it would all be good no matter what. At that time I had no idea, not even an inkling or a hint, where I would be 12 months later. A new home, a new continent, a new life.

And so I say goodbye to 2015, a year that will always stand out, a huge wave in the sea of a life’s memories, and welcome 2016 with the knowledge that I have no CLUE where I will be this time next year. And that’s okay.

Happy New Year to all of you – as always I have the best intentions to go bigger and better with my blog next year, but I hope you will keep reading either way! I hope 2016 brings you not too many of life’s little challenges and a big dose of its wonderful surprises.

Z x

Auf Widersehen!

After booking what might be the cheapest flights to Europe EVER many months ago, when Christmas seemed like a world (or at least half a year) away, we are leaving for Germany TOMORROW!! I can’t actually believe it. Mostly because I am so completely disorganised, I don’t really even have the time to be sitting here writing this, but I wanted to post an update before we left.

J has packed NOTHING. I have packed barely anything. The kids bags are looking pretty good, but I haven’t even thought about the carry on we will need for the 17 hour total journey. We had so many good ideas and intentions for Christmas presents, and have also honestly bought nothing! But we will be there and together and happy and healthy and that’s all that really matters…right?!

This afternoon we are both working and tonight is J’s Christmas party. Partners aren’t invited so I’ll be at home baking muffins for Walter’s playgroup Christmas party tomorrow, which is followed by Heike’s school Christmas ‘do. Then we will head home for a quick dinner and bath before heading to the airport. We really did think an 11pm flight was a good idea at the time of booking…

My head is spinning. My Mum and her friend only left us two days ago after a week long stay and worked has ramped up right at the wrong time and I really, really need to work on using the word “no”. I read a great post about that recently here on Fat Mum Slim for anyone else who struggles to be assertive.

Today J decided it was important for us to meet on the South Side and look at apartments, because now is the right time to do that, because we really need to move?! Some things are changing for the both of us at work so we have been thinking about moving but I’m not sure the day before leaving was the right time! The kids came and maybe picked up on my energy and were honestly FERAL like they have not been in months, Heike had a huge tantrum that was just beyond what a normal four year old should be doing and Walter kept hiding in wardrobes and we couldn’t find him…fun! I feel like I need to lie in a dark room with a cold cloth on my forehead but it’s go, go, go.

Next year promises to be big. There are SO many little changes on the horizon for us. It will be interesting and there will be a lot to share. But in the meantime I need to switch my brain off for a couple of weeks! Escape from Hong Kong! I can’t wait.

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Walter on his last trip to Germany…he’s grown a little!

This has been a very haphazard post, but it reflects my haphazard brain (and life!) right now.

Frohe Weihnachten and a Happy New Year to all xxxx

Christmas Traditions

And so we find ourselves here again – it’s December, and we have no idea how we got here. Admittedly a lot has happened in a year – if you had told me last December I would be living in Hong Kong in six months, I would not have believed you. Yet here we are. Walter turned one and is now nearly two. Heike turned four and grew up into a little girl. I spent a lot of money on eye creams. Yet time has whizzed right past.

Obviously at this time of year the focus is on CHRISTMAS! I am a massive Christmas nerd/big child so I get really excited at this time of year. This year we are leaving for Germany on December 16 (two weeks!) so we aren’t investing in a tree, but I am still trying to make the house Christmas-y for the kids.

It’s a funny thing, being somewhere away from home at Christmas time. J has always talked about Australian Christmas never feeling like “real Christmas”, and I think Germans quite pride themselves on their festive traditions. But of course it’s real to us Aussies, and we do have traditions even though it might not feel like it to them.

To me Christmas starts on December 1st when the plastic tree gets dragged out of the attic and the Christmas lights get detangled ready to go up around the house. The chocolate advent calendar gets broken into of course. The hotter the weather, the better. Yesterday photos were popping up on my Facebook of people putting up their trees in shorts and singlets and I felt SO homesick.

Then the festivities continue throughout the month – loads of barbecues with a cold Sav Blanc and Christmas Crackers, way too much ham and trifles and pav’s galore. LOTS of laughter. A feeling of goodwill and a carefree buzz in the air.

Christmas Eve is all about more drinks with friends and close family and nine times out of ten you’re stuck in the Coles or Woolies car park at some point in the day. As it gets dark you get ready for Santa to come and turn on the Carols by Candlelight. You kiss your loved ones to bed with excitement in the pit of your tummy.

Christmas morning – Santa has been of course. Everyone sits down with a cuppa and the absolute best part of the day is watching the kids open their presents. It’s obligatory that this is done in pyjamas. You exchange gifts with the rest of the family and when the living room is covered in discarded wrapping paper and enough ham and egg rolls have been eaten you realise that, shit, it’s 10.30, you’re still in your PJs and everyone is arriving in an hour and a half for Christmas lunch. Luckily we are usually at my parents for Christmas and they are highly organised. I’m only ever trusted to make salads and desserts and that’s fine with me!

Christmas lunch – way too much food, way too much wine. There’s a slight disappointment that it’s over mixed with relief and contentment. And you still have boxing day, which is like Christmas day’s fun, uncomplicated younger sister.

Now we are a half German, had Australian family living in Hong Kong, so we have to make our own traditions. While we like to have a nice dinner on the 24th and exchange some gifts, we will always open presents from Santa in our jarmies on the 25th. And wherever we are there will always be a lot of love to go around!

Yesterday the kids and I had fun decorating our little apartment. Hong Kong is beautiful right now, Christmas flowers and lights everywhere. I will try to share some pictures with you as we explore!

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Christmas Cookies from Phoodie

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Our little advent calendar

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Bits and bobs for the “calendar”

How do you celebrate Christmas?