Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West memoir with excerpt

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – I started the revision of the Greenwich Meridian memoir this morning after wrapping up the content including translations of my mom’s memories on NaNoWriMo Day 25.

The memoir will be available for pre-order in January. To stay in the loop sign up for my EW Emma’s Writings newsletter here. Ask questions about what was it like living in socialist Czechoslovakia.

Excerpt: The Tale of Immigration Unfolds, first years in Africa

In Africa I found out that Santa Claus does not exist. 

“But the letter from the window always disappears,” I argued with my friends.” 

“Sure, your parents are taking it,” said friend Edita. 

I stopped writing letters to Santa Claus and focused more on Robin and Otto. Otto had thick black eyebrows, and a nice smile, but he was short and chunky. In spite of Facebook, I have not seen or heard from any of my friends since. Most, families dispersed around the world like the neighboring Slovak family that ended up somewhere in Australia. 

 Africa was as hot as a pancake. The temperature hovered around 110 degrees, with an occasional sand storm known as harmattan that would dig little trenches in the sand dunes.  I don’t remember if it ever rained. Years in Africa were filled with constantly exploring new things, like a child who was learning to walk. My mother Ella home schooled me and my brother.  We started going to Arab English schools, but we were constantly sick, so mom took us out of school and taught us at home. 

I remember the Czech textbooks depicting the life of people carrying umbrellas to work, or kids playing in the snow.  I looked out the window, and there were tall palm trees with dates, figs, and bananas on the backdrop of the scorching sun that never seemed to sink below the horizon. The contrast between the misty life shown in picture textbooks and what we were living was truly amazing. This must have inspired me forever. I attribute the origins of my writings to the sharp contrasts of Africa that I captured in grammar exercise notebooks in Czech. I was a good student, and finished with A’s at the end of the school year recognized by the Czechoslovak educational system. 

Days and nights were equally long with daylight from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. since Khartoum lies near the equator.

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