Somewhere in Essex

Or: Leaving Germany – again? For good? Whatever

Yes, I’ve gone and done it again – moved my family to a different country. Or should I say back to an old country? I’ve moved from Germany to the UK again, a country which I left in 2002, almost exactly ten years ago, to move to the US. I arrived as an undergraduate student then and ended up doing my PhD here. In some ways, during this period before I have my family here (we are still in the process of moving), I’ve almost been feeling thrown back to those days: shared accommodation, a desk in an office that was built as a lab, the new-ness and uncertainty and excitement that comes with such a big move and a new job.. and I feel that I am back in a more academic environment again, here at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton (near Cambridge).

Plus I have only public transportation and my feet to get me around. Take that, my determination to explore my new surroundings, and consider how much I miss my family, and it might explain (somewhat) why I went on a twenty mile hike through the Essex countryside last weekend. It was excellent, and I’m glad I did, because this was just one of the things I saw:


So it’s England – again for me, the first time for my family. We’ll have it good here. And no, I’m not planning on repeating the sequence again.. (Germany -> UK -> US -> Germany -> UK…).

However… even though I should be used to it, this still somehow makes me nervous:

Kein Wohnsitz in Deutschland

About steffi suhr

Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic and hopeful biological oceanographer who did a bunch of work in the Antarctic. I was alternately wearing labcoats or extreme weather clothing and hard hats, but have long since swapped survival suits for dress suits and do science management, currently as the BioMedBridges project manager at the European Bioinformatics Institute. I still like to use my brain. I'm a German serial expat, currently - again - living in the UK.
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19 Responses to Somewhere in Essex

  1. Welcome back! I love it here too, having trialed and tested other countries. I hope you’ll enjoy the EBI – but it’s quite a long way from the train station (that small one whose name starts with W). I guess you’re cycling?

  2. steffi suhr says:

    Thank you! There are actually shuttle buses in the morning and afternoon, between Cambridge, the EBI, and the villages to the South of it. I don’t have my bicycle here yet so I’m mostly taking the shuttle, but have also walked and run. The shuttle is paid for by the Wellcome Trust and the EBI – I call it the school bus, it’s actually great fun 🙂

    One thing about all this moving though: it gets more and more difficult to find people who can even remotely relate any more to what we’re doing. (I mean, I can barely keep up myself..!)

  3. chall says:

    Happy times! That first photo makes it look wonderful, sunny skies and countryside nature! awesome! Good to move to a place where you repeat the language since a thrid might make it a little harder on the non-adults with schools etc? As for “For good?”, it really is hard to answer those things, and why really? For the time being? (I end up saying something like that when I get the question if I’ve moved to the US for good…. I was only supposed to be here for 3 yrs 😉 )

    Is that last photo saying “not living in Germany anymore”? In the passport? That made me nervous when I saw it in my Swedish ‘register’ …. although, it’s not on an official paper like that, still….

    • steffi suhr says:

      That last photo is from my ID card – it means “no place of residence in Germany”. In German, it sounds a bit like “homeless”…

  4. Willkommen in England, sehr geehrte Frau Doktor.

    And you’re even in one of the drier bits..!

  5. steffi suhr says:

    Thanks Austin! Yes, I keep hearing that it is supposed to be “dry” in this area…

    Seriously though: yes, I could see that it was dry when I first came here for my job interview in February, and then during he week we spent here before my first day at work. Since then it seems as if there hasn’t been a day without rain though.

    Ah, see – here we go. Just a few weeks back in England and I start going on about the weather!

  6. cromercrox says:

    Hey Steffi – we’re neighbours! I live in Norfolk as you know, and venture forth increasingly rarely. I am applying for Norfolk citizenship, and will require a visa to visit Suffolk.

  7. Stephen says:

    Welcome to UKland Steffi! Hope you’ll make it to London from time to time…

  8. steffi suhr says:

    Thanks Stephen – I most certainly will! Just not on Sundays, as there are no trains between small town Essex and the big city then……

  9. steve caplan says:

    Beautiful photo! Good luck back in England. It sounds that you (like me) collect passports rather than stamps or coins…

    • steffi suhr says:

      Thanks Steve! I still only have one passport though.

      • Germany is not keen on it’s citizens having passports other than/ additional to German, something we have struggled with vis-a-vis the kids.

        • steffi suhr says:

          I’m puzzled Austin: my son was born in the US (-> US citizenship), but when I applied for his German citizenship it was so easy I was baffled. I just had to show my birth certificate. He now has dual citizenship. Maybe it had something to do with just having moved to Germany at the time?

  10. Official public congratulations on your latest move, Steffi! I hope England is good to you. If not, I’ll have to come back and Have Words.

  11. I completely missed this wonderful post when it happened, for which I apologize. That really is a lovely photo of the UK countryside. Fun fact – some of my ancestors came from Saffron Walden, which is nearby, and I have a cousin living in Coton, which is even more nearby.

    Is it Whittlesford Parkway Jenny’s thinking of? Great Chesterford looks a bit closer. But you probably know that by now. 🙂

    • steffi suhr says:

      No worries Richard, I am in the run for the world’s biggest post-misser! That’s Chrishall Holy Trinity in the distance. Saffron Walden is nice 🙂

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