How moving halfway across the world turned me into a novelist
Updated: Sep 23
Some of you may know by now that I used to live in South Africa before moving back to Germany, the country of my birth, a few years ago. I've had many people ask me about the how and why of this move, so I thought I'd write a blog post about it.
My parents, my sister and I moved from Germany to South Africa when I was four years old. Instead of staying for only a few years, as initially planned, my parents decided that we would settle there, and so sunny South Africa became my home - I went to school and university there, I got married and had my children, my immediate family lived there (including my brother, who was born there), as did many of my friends.
Why would I ever want to leave?
Unfortunately, even though South Africa is a beautiful country, with incredible scenery and wildlife, fantastic weather and food, and friendly people, it's not without its problems. And so, for various reasons, my husband and I made the choice to emigrate. We had contemplated many options but eventually decided on settling in Germany, where all my extended family still lives.
But if you're thinking that it must have been an easy move for me, a native German, you'd be wrong!
First of all, I didn't necessarily want to move but felt that I had to. And although I spoke the local language and had family there to help (especially my sister and brother-in-law, who had moved back the year before and had already been through the initial madness themselves), everything was nevertheless different. I had no idea how most things even worked, which paperwork to fill out for what, where to go to get which things done, not to mention the countless small things that are part and parcel of German life and culture that one is just expected to know. Even things like hobbies are run differently in Germany than we were used to.
Finding myself living in the country of my birth - with two young children and a husband who had to spend most of his time away from home for work - was a shock!
The good thing about this shock was that I suddenly became quite obsessed with writing my first book, something which I had been contemplating for several years (to read more about how my debut novel came about click here). Writing became an excellent distraction for me and I threw myself into my work each day, while trying to make a home for myself and my family in this "foreign" land. With a good bit of time and a great deal of effort, we've managed to achieve just that - we life in a beautiful house in a great neighbourhood, the boys are thriving, and we've found wonderful new friends. Plus, I've published my first novel and am busy writing the second one.
Things could be worse!
by Juliane Weber (@Writer_JW) 12 May 2021 [subscribe on the main blog page]
About Juliane Weber
Juliane is a scientist, turned medical writer, turned novelist. Her debut historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky, is the first book in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.
He's come to Ireland to escape his past. She's trying to run from her future.