Excerpt Prologue

Defying Friday the 13th

On Friday 13, a cold midwinter’s day in January 1995, I defiantly tempted fate and came to live in Germany. In so doing, I challenged any triskaidekaphobia—fear of the number thirteen—I may have had. Thirteen years later, Germany is my home. This book tells the story of my journey from South Africa to Germany; from one continent and vibrant young multi-culture to an old continent with a culture dripping with traditions spanning thousands of years; from a megalopolis in Africa to a small town in Europe.

    It is the story of adapting and adopting, without forgetting where I came from and who I am. It is the story of two traditions merging in one family, who are walking a tightrope between not forgetting one culture and not letting the other culture dominate. Like anyone who has ever lived in another country, I have had to wrestle with the question of where and what home is. Home and at home have taken on a new meaning.

    Although my roots will always be in Africa, I am a cosmopolitan now. I’ll never stop missing Mrs Balls’ chutney or peppermint crisp chocolates, but I can get just as excited about Italian cuisine or films, or French joie de vivre or the thought of my mother-in-law’s home-made pretzels and Oabaza waiting for me when we travel to Bavaria. More than in Africa I live the seasons: sitting with friends in a city square in summer sipping a Sekt, then meeting up at the Christmas market, dressed warmly against the cold, to drink a quick Glühwein, before we go to a warm restaurant for dinner.

    Home is a difficult concept to pin down, but one thing is for sure, it should be the place where one feels the warmth of others. I am lucky that there are many places in Europe where I feel at home. But these days, Trier, and especially the wine suburb of Olewig, where we live, is where I call home.

    Like my ancestors before me who left Europe to go to Africa on a journey into the unknown, I, too, came on a journey that held so many more surprises than I could have ever bargained for.

Trier, Friday, July 13, 2007

(c) Anli Serfontein, From Rock to Kraut, 2008