Greetings from Europe

Guess where I am? Good old rainy Germany! We’re here for a few weeks holiday as not only have we been working hard and needed a break but I also hadn’t seen my family for a couple of years and there were lots of big family milestones coming up (weddings, babies, birthdays, graduations). I’m currently sitting on the couch, it’s the height of summer here in northern Europe and I’m in jeans, woolen socks, jumper and a woolen blanket. Outside it’s grey and overcast and further south it’s raining so heavily some rivers have broken their banks and people experience floods.

Just yesterday, as we were driving from sunny Sweden (oh what a country) back to Germany I was commenting on just how rich these European countries are – not in money or fancy cars, but in the amount of available fresh water and fertile soil they have here. (But judging by the floods you can have too much of a good thing). It is no wonder that humans have made this continent their home around about 40,000 years ago and have been able to develop a huge population, plenty of big cities, fantastic infrastructure and good living standards. Everything just grows so easily here. As I’m looking out the window right now I can see green algae growing on the wooden lattice screen in the garden – that would never happen in dry, hot Meekatharra!

Seeing the difference in the climate between Europe and the Australian Outback makes me even more in awe of the life that has survived and developed in Australia… I take my hat off to the Aboriginal people who have managed to live with and thrive in a climate that hot and dry and yet so freezing cold in winter with the winds blowing in off the desert. With plants having developed spikes and bitter taste to defend themselves and animals that thought it was great to become the most venomous of their kind. Cute, fluffy kangaroos that can kickbox and sleepy looking dropbears that attack you jumping out of trees (I’ve got a fair dinkum Dropbear Stick at home so they must be real). 🙂 Jokes aside, I personally would not have lasted a month in a country like Australia back in the days without airconditioning or water coming out of a tap, let alone build a widespread and well adapted culture that managed to make just about every niche of Australia their home. Respect.

Having grown up in Germany and now having lived in Australia for several years I’m going through an interesting journey of discovering the similarities and differences. In some respects I think Germany is just awesome (recycling, renewable energy, easy to grow gardens 🙂 , fresh water and lush landscapes) and in other regards Australia is hard to beat (sunshine, postcard paradise, luxury houses, fantastic lifestyle, nice easy attitude). Of course Australia is so varied and has so many different climate zones that some Aussies might say “Hey where we live we have lush forests! And lots of rainfall! And algae growing on our lattice screen!” – but not in Meeka where I am lucky enough to live 🙂

Once we’re back home in Meeka I will be able to upload some photos, so keep an eye out for my next post with some stories and lots of photos of our trip through Germany and especially Sweden (where I had never been before because it is – oh – so far away: 4.5 hours drive from my home city Kiel! :D). Just a hint: Sweden is beautiful. Pete and I drove through the countryside and had anyone bugged our car with a microphone they would have wondered if there was some kind of soft porn going on – we were “oohing” and “aahing” everytime we drove around a bend on the perfect, smooth roads, looking at yet another picturesque, gorgeous Swedish country house with dark red or light yellow or baby blue wooden slatted walls and white window frames, pretty flower pots, a neatly mowed lawn and their own woodland out the back, next to their probably organic grain field or lush meadows where the cows happily frolick next to the elks and deer. Okay my fantasy went a bit overboard there because, despite all the “watch out for elks for the next 4km” road signs, we did not spot a single one of them. But the rest is true.

UPDATE: Photos are here – Impressions from Sweden & Germany

Enjoy 🙂

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