Free childcare? Yes please! When it takes a global pandemic and an economic meltdown for what is already free in many countries

We are in the middle of a global pandemic and an economic meltdown. The only thing that needs to happen next is for an asteroid to come thudding to earth. No: it is not a nuclear crisis between The US and Iran. SARS was so 2003 and Ebola so 2014. We are in the age…


My summer podcast recording in Goethe’s hometown. And oh, a heatwave.

Grey clouds, never – ending airplane noise and Plattenbau* . These were my common associations with Frankfurt am Main. Like most intrepid travellers, I had only ever been to Frankfurt for its airport. After all these years in Germany, I’d not had occasion to actually exit the Terminal and visit the city which turned out to be…


A few days in Melbourne beyond laneways, coffee + AFL: as MC for a block…chain party at the German Biz Summit

I have always had a secret crush on Melbourne. As a student I would relish the chance to head down for a uni conference, catch a few games at the Australian Open or to visit my family and friends scattered around the bay. Then after almost a decade in Berlin, going back there a few…


Post-maternity leave in Germany (the second time round): The New Normal

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” sang Frank Sinatra about New York. So far, no musician has produced a similar song about those who cut their teeth in Berlin post-1989 (Winds of Change by the Scorpions in english perhaps comes close). But there is only one German song about Berlin, from rapper Peter Fox who sings…


The first 180 days as a foursome: A new parenting manual

My little baby turned 6 months old today. I’m sitting here watching the sun-set over the Mediterranean Sea at Fréjus in France,furiously punching out prose on my iphone,emboldened by a few glasses of rosé,heeding his cries and my elder son’s demands for a bed-time read. Here’s 24 things (1 for each week of his existence) I’ve learned about…


Confessions from the gyno’s chair: What it’s really like to start maternity leave in Germany…2 weeks before Christmas

Whoever said maternity leave was easy obviously did not start their 36th week of pregnancy in soupy 5° C, surrounded by Stollen, ‘evenings’ that commence at 3:45pm, the heady scent of Bratwurst and Gebrannte Mandel wafting through the air at the Christmas markets and itchy wool stockings. And so it begins. Mutterschutz. This is the official period 6…


Darkness and Light. Time and Place in the life of a refugee

His body, lying flat. His arms and limbs, lifeless. This was the picture of that little boy whose life was taken by the sea, a little boy who compelled the world to sit up and take not just notice. But action. He was not just a photo. He was and always will be, a boy. His name was Aylan. His older brother Galip and his mama, they too were taken by the sea, for all the world to see.  I was wondering how to approach this blog post, as I had started it a few days before the little boy’s death when news emerged of the plight of the Syrian refugees who perished in a truck at the hands of human traffickers .And now I have added in some other parts to reflect my anger, hope and pride not just as a writer, but also as a mama, at what is happening in Berlin and Germany with the tide of new refugee arrivals.


After 6 years of living in Berlin, these are the 31 things I’ve learned so far

“What are you going to do about a job”, she asked “You can’t even speak German”.

This was the repetitive, daily conversation I had with my mum about six years ago once we had arrived  in Berlin. You see the thing is, we never really planned to stay. And I mean really. We had a round the world ticket that was supposed to bring us back to Sydney in January of 2011.

It is now mid-August 2016.

A post sharing a non-exhaustive, randomised list featuring what I have learned about life in Berlin and Germany as well as the deutsch along the way.


On Tito, Real Love and Andre Rieu: Why our parents are the best reminders about our past and present selves

My parents just visited my husband,my son and me in Berlin for three weeks. It wasn’t really a ‘holiday’ for me in the literal sense of the word. It was more of a 21st century obscure job description soon to exist on Linkedin but one that people probably are already posting on craigslist. A job wavering at the fault…