Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cultures mix in 'the Classies'

In the dead of winter on beautiful Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia, I can sit in shorts and shirt as I write about the recent European summer heatwave. Today’s column appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, which serves the bay community. More than anything else it shows how classified advertising creates a marvellous community of people from many cultures and origins (picture from

THE four daughters of Sheldon couple Elsbeth and Daniel Bakker should develop mobile minds.
Authorities on learning have touted learning languages as a good way to get the brain working.
If this is the case, Abigail, Naomi, Joanna and Sarina can look forward to a bright future.
Abigail and Naomi were both born in a village near Lucerne, Switzerland, where the family lived for five years in the early 1990s.
The two elder girls – Abigail is about to turn 14 and Naomi is "almost 12" – delight in practising their Swiss-German language skills on their grandparents.
Elsbeth’s parents, Verena and Friedrich Streiff, have made regular visits "down under" over the past decade.
They enjoyed their most recent Aussie holiday this year, returning in April to their home near Zurich.
While the girls learn Swiss-German from Nan and Pop, the two seniors admit to learning from their grandchildren, Elsbeth says.
Verena takes regular English lessons in Switzerland , perhaps to improve her conversations with Joanna, 10, and Sarina, 8, who both were born in Australia and speak little Swiss-German.
Elsbeth, meanwhile, has launched through our "Tuition" column a home-based business teaching German.
A qualified primary school teacher, Elsbeth hopes the advertising will tap a perceived need for German tuition in the Redlands.
"Basically, it all started because school kids asked for tuition, so I thought, ‘Let’s see if there’s a demand’," she said.
"My girls attend Redlands College, which teaches German. I think it has been difficult for some students to find tutors close to home."
In the mid-80s, Swiss-born Elsbeth was travelling in Greece, when she met Tasmanian-born Daniel.
The couple married in Brisbane in 1986 and later settled in Switzerland.
Elsbeth can smile over recent reports of Europeans sweating through several weeks of temperatures in the mid 30s.
"That’s very hot for them and two to three weeks of it, that’s unusual," Elsbeth says.
"I would have liked to be there; I am fine with it (hot weather)."
Nevertheless, she can sympathise with her former village neighbours, who at the other extreme must suffer winter temperatures as low as minus eight.
But back to the issue of getting the brain working: Daniel works for an IT (information technology) company so computing languages may also be on the agenda in the Bakker household.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

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