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****A House Somewhere

Tales of Life Abroad

edited by Don George and Anthony Sattin

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Lonely Planet Publications, Melbourne, 2002.  310 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (910.4 HOU).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #4, Cross-Cultural Nonfiction

I love stories about people living in a cross-cultural situation.  They remind me how lucky I am to get to live in Germany.  Jan Morris puts it well in the opening essay, “Home Thoughts from Abroad:”

“And I know well, too, the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else’s country, where the climate is different, the food is different, the light is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home don’t seem to apply and it is even fun to go shopping.”

This book has selections from twenty-six different authors on this theme.  There’s a delightful variation, with stories from all over the world, even America.  (None from Germany, though.)  Indeed, the stories from the Middle East and the Far East made me feel lucky that I live in a culture that is at least similar to my own.

What is so special about making a home somewhere far from the land of your birth?  Perhaps it adds a touch of wonder, making you notice and appreciate everyday details that seemed inconsequential before.  Perhaps it’s the sense that every day is a vacation.

Ever since my six-week summer mission to Austria when I was in college, I’ve felt that the nicest way to get to know a place is to live there for awhile.  I like having enough time to catch the rhythm of the place, to prepare some meals and do some laundry, to get to know a place with your heart, not just from facts spouted by a tour guide.

This book shows many people going through that process in places all over the world.  I’m happy I’m not the only one who enjoys the delights of a house somewhere.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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