As you might have guessed by now, my favourite colour is GREEN. And when I say "favourite" I mean it, I'm really passionate about green. I'm not such a fan of non-greenish blues anymore, which used to be my favourite colour when I grew up. Now I like red better than blue. And grey is pretty cool too even though it's technically not a colour. Well, and at a pinch I might even prefer teal to real grass green.

If you want to look at pictures, go to my (grey not green) personal website It basically exists just so I have somewhere to put my pictures and for my family and friends back home to be able to look at them. I started it when the last hotmail users among them were complaining that their inboxes got clogged up with my Australia pictures. It's not very up-to-date at all at the moment.

making stuff

Thanks to my practically minded boyfriend I have started to do a bit of woodwork. Well, all I've done so far are a few picture frames a little mini-shelf and a box, but it's lots of fun and I want to do more. It's a bit hard in Sydney with all the other stuff I've got to do here (e.g. my PhD ;) and without my boyfriend's dad's massive shed with every tool and material I'd ever need. He also showed me how to weld, but that's even harder to practise when I'm in Sydney and have no time to join random pieces of scrap metal. But it's fun and maybe I'll get around to it again sometime soon.
Other than that I like growing stuff — veggies and herbs in the garden and succulents and Australian natives in pots so that I can take them with me next time we get booted out of our house — and I spend a lot of time sewing on my boyfriend's sewing machine and knitting and sometimes crocheting. I have no idea why but in the last two years or so, I've become all crafty.

sports and outdoor stuff

I am generally pretty lazy when it comes to sports. The only sports I really really like are rock climbing and snow skiing.
Rock climbing maybe because half of the time you get to belay or just sit around the base of a crag and simply enjoy being outdoors. I like camping too, but I don't like walking very much, so it's mainly car camping. I'm trying to go walking more though to have another reason to go outdoors and to get some aerobic exercise once in a while. Canyoning is a pretty exciting way of walking (and sliding and abseiling and jumping...), but I tend to get cold really easily and then there still are these horribly exhausting walk-ins and walk-outs. Since I've been in Sydney, I've been a member (and at some point the president) of the UNSW Outdoor Club.
I started snow skiing when I was three and my family goes on skiing holidays every winter, so I had a long time to learn it. I got the hang of it when I was about 16 and have loved it since then. I even worked as a skiing instructor in the Alps for a little bit before I moved to Sydney, where snow sports are for some strange reason less popular. I have discovered that water skiing is a lot of fun too though and luckily my boyfriend's dad has a skiing boat.
I'd also like to do more SCUBA diving. I did a diving course in Cairns, in North Queensland when I came to Australia in 2003, and it was great. The first commandment of SCUBA diving: don't exert yourself! Now that's a good sport for a lazy person! Since then I've only dived once again in Sydney and it was a mixed experience with bad visibility and ill-fitting gear.
As a kid I used to play (European) handball but I find it hard to get motivated for a running sport without already being part of a team of friends. Also, handball is not very popular in Australia and there are hardly any women teams. I trained with the Sydney University Handball Club for a little while, but half of the team were Olympians, so practice didn't have the easy-going fun atmosphere I was looking for.
At the beginning of 2011, just before leaving Sydney for the Netherlands, I was dragged along by a friend to first play 6-a-side soccer and then to join the Maroubra United Football Club. Finally, I was part of a fun team again and had a good reason to run around a bit.

why i like australia

There are a lot of Germans in Australia, so maybe I'm just one of many and shouldn't make a big deal of it. But Germans don't usually emigrate in whole families these days and we mostly follow the urinal rule (always keep as much distance between each other as possible) instead of congregating when we meet overseas. I have only a few "accidental" German friends in Sydney and certainly didn't try to meet them, although that's not to say that I mind having German friends (and getting to practise my decaying German).
The first Australians I met were the staff at the Australian Restaurant at the 1998 World Expo, where I spent many party nights while I was learning Portuguese in Lisbon after finishing high school. They seemed like a fun bunch and I thought I should try and get to Australia to study at some point. I'm not a huge fan of travelling, I much prefer either going to live somewhere (for a while) or just going on holiday without trying to see everything. So after spending a few months in London as an au-pair (and meeting more Aussies and Kiwis) and 3 years at uni in Hamburg, I packed up and moved to Sydney for a one-year Masters program.
Towards the end of the year, I started looking for reasons to move back to somewhere in Germany. I couldn't really find any. My boyfriend in Hamburg had dumped me months ago, I now had a boyfriend in Sydney, and a nice flat and friends and the Outdoors Club, was living near the beach, it was sunny, I didn't know where in Germany I should go - and most importantly I was happy (which I hadn't been for most of my time in Hamburg). I realised that the whole time since finishing high school until I moved to Sydney I had been carrying this big lump of fear and pressure around in my stomach, and it was gone. Germany is so serious, you need to have a career and love it and live for it and do lots of cool internships and then you still won't find a job. At least that's the impression I got growing up there. Things in Australia seem so much more relaxed, it seems ok to say, "I work in a clothing shop or a cafe/bar/office... doing something nondescript, but I love going outdoors/surfing/reading crazy history books, and I actually have time for it." I have the impression that people get judged less on what they work and more on what they do for fun. I applied for permanent residence and got a job at an IT helpdesk fixing computer and network problems. I now have permanent residence.
After 4 years in Australia it had come to the point where I would have had to justify moving back more than staying. When people at home said "But it's on the other side of the world!" I'd say "Exactly!" Who'd want to move to the other side of the world and deal with all the hassle: convince my boyfriend to leave Australia, get rid of all my stuff here or ship it, find a new city and a house in Germany (and where exactly there?), new friends, new things to do... sounds like a lot of pain when I'm perfectly happy where I am.
Being the German that I am, I still ended up in a PhD degree in search of the perfect profession. Being an IT serf or an office chick wasn't going to work for me. Well, and the PhD lead to a job in the Netherlands, which is almost like going back home. But in the long term it will most likely be Australia, because my boyfriend is so at home there. And the longer I'm in the Netherlands the more I feel at home in Australia too ;)

stuff that I missed in Australia: my family, the seasons, dense bread (although you can get German bread in Sydney now, at horrendous prices), a bit of culture, (cold) Christmas (the way it is at home), bird song and church bells, snow and skiing, central heating and insulation, urban public transport and fast trains, Brausebrocken...

stuff that's a bit weird in the Netherlands: no real nature, no space, people announce new babies and their names in their windows, inventive bread spreads (hagelslag is only the start... try coconut bread - yes, ON the normal bread - mini-cookie bits), everyone drinks milk(y drinks) all the time but they think putting milk in tea is for children, coffe cream, everyone has the right to a back access to their garden, bread is just as bad as in Australia, huge front windows with open curtains, congratulating people on their relative's birthdays, no helmets on scooters and mopeds (let alone bicycles), separate traffic lights for bikes, shop signs and interiors that make you feel like you're in 80s Poland, bouwvac (all builders go on holiday for the same 6 weeks in summer), super steep stairs, a seemingly lacking concern for safety in building codes in general, closed shops on Sunday and on Monday morning, early shop closing hours, self-scanners and free coffee in the supermarket, sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, deep-fried almost everything, mandatory pre-registration with a personal doctor, dentist and a pharmacy, credit cards not very welcome, lots and lots of plastic packaging, but no plastic recycling bins at home, parallel parking by overshooting onto the sidewalk as to not hold up the (bike) traffic, bad coffee and tea, postcodes that pinpoint you down to the block, no bank codes, only account numbers, presents on Sinterclaas instead of Christmas, more holidays than I can poke a stick at, more taxes than I can poke a stick at, more allowances than I can poke a stick at, PhD theses come in nicely bound convenient little paperbacks, tiny fridges, a "cafe" is a bar or a pub and a "bar" is a club, when finishing high school kids hang their school bags and a Dutch flag out the window along with a sign that says the same word as the EFTPOS machine after it's charged your card (Geslaagd!), strangers will go out of their way to help you in the street, if you ask people how they're going you might just hear about a recent catastrophe in their privte life...

politics and the environment

I don't think of myself as overly political, but it appears that most people around me do. I have a feeling that's mainly because Australians are overly unpolitical and the Dutchies I've met so far seem to be too embarrassed to talk about their politicians. But I guess the fact that I think it's important to care a bit about who governs the country I live in probably means that I am political.
I definitely care about the environment and think everyone should do their best to help preserve it, both governments and other big organisations that can have a big impact and everybody in their own little ways. But again I'm not militant about it and still drive my car because anything else would take twice as long or be suicidal or both in this country and I still eat meat although the cows are farting CO2 etc. etc.