Tag Archives: emigration

Famine, War and Love: a Novel

famine, war and love

Image: amazon.com

A reader of my blog recently published a novel and he has been kind enough to send me a signed copy!

The story makes the connection between the famines of Ireland in the nineteenth century, the Netherlands during the Hunger Winter of 1944-1945 under German occupation, and Ethiopia in the early 1980s,  thus bringing into view the universality of the effects of hunger, war and displacement.

The book is available in various forms on Amazon, and their summary is pretty extensive, so I’ll just copy it here in its entirety:

Christina Vermeer is a child of the Occupation of the Netherlands by the Nazis. When all food supplies are deliberately cut off to Northern Holland, in the Hunger Winter of 1944-5, and her father disappears, fleeing for his life, Christina and her mother are forced to survive on their own. Christina, 12 years old, becomes one of the courageous women ‘Going to the Farms’ to scavenge and steal food.

Jacob Riley, son of a penniless foundling Irish immigrant to America, becomes an American Army Air Force B-17 bomber pilot over Europe during WW2. He takes part in the food airlift of April/May, 1945, that saves the Dutch from further starvation. Jacob’s plane crashes; badly injured, and the sole survivor of his crew, he is rescued, and survives to return to Kansas and his parents.

Christina and her mother immigrate to Canada in 1950. Christina becomes an “All-Canadian girl”, marries, and has a daughter, Elsa, who grows up to be a pediatrician. Seeking adventure and fulfillment, she volunteers for a year’s service at a rural hospital in Ethiopia, during the peak of the famines.

Jacob Riley’s son, Jake (‘never call me Jacob’) Riley, born in Topeka, Kansas, is a foot-loose and fancy-free spirit who becomes a long-distance truck driver, always seeking ‘what is over the next hill.’ Deciding to work his way around the world, he finds himself, in 1982, as a long-distance driver hauling relief and medical supplies for Canada Child Survival, in northern Ethiopia.

And thereby hangs the tale…

A Visit to the Gandhi Bazar

janakisToday I rediscovered the Gandhi Bazar, an Indian grocery store I frequented ten years ago, when we lived in an appartment nearby. (For Austinites, it’s on the corner of Brodie and William Cannon, catty-corner to HEB.) I love going to Asian grocery stores–they smell wonderful and everything is strange, except for the occasional item we used to have in Australia, like the proper Ovaltine or rusk. Such is the Commonwealth. Continue reading

Dinner and books in an Austin Strip Mall

pamuk-xlarge

Image: telegraph.co.uk

R and I looked on Yelp for a place to eat in north Austin this evening, and we ended up in Troy, a Turkish/Mediterranean place in a little strip mall where we had been once before, a couple of years ago. Continue reading

Working on Wellness: Habitica

Image: habitica.com

Image: habitica.com

Twenty-three years ago this month, I emigrated to the United Stated. Or so I thought at the time. I now know that emigration is a process that lasts the rest of one’s life. Maybe it’s easier for someone who emigrates from a developing country, for someone who always wanted to come to America. I never did. And when I came, I thought it was temporary. I now know it’s not. Continue reading

Graceful I Am Not!

crocsToday’s writing prompt is Graceful.

Ha-ha-ha!

If there’s ever a word that describes what I am not most completely, it’s graceful. I’m the epitome of the proverbial bull in a china shop. More like a stumbling drunk bull in the British Museum’s Asia section. Watch out folks, here she comes. Hide your valuables! Continue reading

From Gaming Faux Pas to Immigration Insights

Image: innogames.com

Image: innogames.com

Sometimes I go over my blog, to see if there is at least some semblance of balance between positive and negative posts. I don’t want to always sound angry and whiny, especially in my posts that are more directly related to being an immigrant in this crazy country. That wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of my state of mind outside of this blog. Nevertheless, anger and resentment do seem to crop up on a regular basis. How is it that I am still able to keep that up after twenty-three years? Continue reading

Refueling: Filling my Tank With Drukwerk and Stroops

image: dutchcommunity.com

image: dutchcommunity.com

Well, waddaya know? The daily writing prompt is “Recharge“, just as I was getting ready to write about refueling as an immigrant. Another term I learned recently, from Akhtar’s book Immigration and Identity.

What do you do to refuel (or recharge) as an immigrant–to get your home fix, as it were? Continue reading