The bookmark

I was about 15 years old when I lived in Pretoria in South Africa with my siblings. I was still at school, and read Agatha Christy’s detective novels in the attempt to improve my English and went for gymnastics championships with the rest of the German School team.

We went for confirmation lessons at the local minister’s house. We were all given a booklet called ‘Lichtstrahlen’, a commentary on the bible for teenagers. We did things other than reading the bible though. We , a group of teenagers, would go for confirmation camps. One sought after camp was situated north of Durban at the coast. I recall nearly stepping onto a scorpion when I went to the loo. We all liked going swimming, and going to the sharks port for a guided tour. And yes, there were the first romantic encounters, log fires and baked salty dough around sticks. The fare-wells cut to the deep, when we left South Africa for Germany.

I was 26 when I listened to a local radio station in Palermo in Sicily. At seven o’ clock in the evening some nuns said the Holy Rosary. I quite liked this religious meditation. I had a rosary too, it was red with a scent, and was attached to a nail over my bed.

I had gone to Sicily for a holiday, so I therefore opted to doing a ‘corso singolo’, a year abroad in the South of Italy as part of my degree program in London. I had found a flat share with other female students, ate cookies and drank espresso the way the Italians do.

Nowadays I read Tora, and use the same bookmark as I did when I read the ‘Lichtstrahlen’ when I was a teenager. Living back in Germany seems strange, as I’ve lived abroad for such a long time. Sometimes I jokingly think I ought to go for a German course for foreigners at the local evening course provider.

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