Today we are beginning a new topic on Picture Postcards, “Skies Around the World”. To start us off, here is a photo of the sun setting in Cologne, Germany as seen by our contributor there, Simona.
During May we tried something new, with a theme of books, reading and writing throughout the site. In case you missed anything, here’s a roundup of PocketCultures book month. Thanks to Celia, PocketCultures contributor in Kazakhstan, for suggesting the topic.
On Picture Postcards we peeked at a free library housed in a container from New Zealand, the oldest public library in Paris, a chalkboard in Kazakhstan and a children’s culture section in a public library, again in New Zealand.
For a special collaborative post on books from around the world our contributors recommended books which represent each of their countries in some way.
On People of the World we interviewed a couple of people who are writing books: Alexey from Russia, who wrote his novella on his frequent train trips between Moscow and St Petersburg whilst working for a telecoms company, and Marcel, who is writing a book about the extraordinary life of his grandmother.
On Topics of the World, our Italian contributors Simona and Caterina both had something to say. In Italy is younger than you think, Simona explains a bit of Italy’s recent history, including origin of the Italian language as we know it, while Caterina shares her love of books, in particular one well known book about Italy, Forster’s A Room with a View.
And finally, some good news for book lovers: Ana wrote about the stunning Libreria El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is housed in an old theatre, and full of people buying books.
Today we’re talking to an author among our own contributors, and following last week’s interview with Alexey, today we also have a Russian connection. Marcel (PocketCultures contributor in Berlin, Germany) is currently writing a book about his grandmother, who spent five years in a Soviet labour camp before settling in West Germany.
To research the book Marcel traced his grandmother’s journey from Poland to Russia by train. Although his first language is German, Marcel writes in English, blaming his proficiency on several years of small talk with the Irish whilst living in Dublin.
Why did you decide to write a book about your grandmother? Can you tell us a bit about her?
I’m carrying the idea of writing about my grandmother Cäcilie, short ‘Cilly’, with me for quite a while now. Mostly because her story is an extraordinary one: in 1945, when she was 23, she was taken by the Red Army from her parents’ farm in East Prussia (a former part of Germany that is now Polish) and spent five years in a Soviet labour camp in the Urals before she returned to West Germany where she met my grandfather, and never returned to her home country. She died in 2009 at the age of 86. But I also wanted to learn more about her native country as part of my own heritage – when I was a child, she always kept telling stories about East Prussia, of wolves in the woods and sleigh rides in the snow and deep cold lakes, so I traveled there myself last year.
In a recent online chat between PocketCultures contributors from around the world, we talked about books which reflect our countries and cultures. Here are our recommendations.
Today we welcome a new contributor to People of the World. Simona Morachioli is from Italy but currently lives in Germany, and she put her cross cultural experience to work in this interview with a fellow Italian living abroad, Cecilia.
Cecilia, tell us a bit about you. How would your friends describe you?
I am Cecilia, I am 28 years old and I come from a small & beautiful town in Italy. Since 2009, due to my studies or to business reasons, I have been living in 5 different Countries: Holland (Amsterdam), Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Frankfurt), England (London) and Spain (Barcelona- where I currently live, pursuing my second Master degree).
My friends would describe me as an outgoing person, who loves travelling and experiencing new things all the time. In my free time, I enjoy attending fitness classes, hanging out with my friends in front of a glass of Bailey’s and Skyping with my family.
What is the pitch and the peak of being always on the move ?
The pitch of being always on the move is that after a while it gets difficult to understand where you belong to. But that is a peak as well.
On one hand, I am exposed to a lot of different inputs that continuously enrich me. On the other hand, I became a sort of cultural hybrid who does not have defined boundaries.
Julie is from the USA and Martin is from Germany. They met when Julie was on exchange student in Germany back in 1999 – as their blog says: “It all started when an American girl met a German boy”. I really like how they answered the interview questions from each of their perspectives. So read on to know more about their family’s multicultural life in the USA.