My grandfather was an officer in the White Russian army and fled Moscow after the Revolution. He settled in China, where my mother was born. His family in Russia met tragic fates, including being sent to gulags or to the firing squad. I was the first member of my family to travel back there in 2001. Although I never got to meet my grandfather, I felt his presence all around me in that city. It was as if genetically I’d carried him back to his beloved homeland. NEW ORLEANS
On my research trip to New Orleans for Southern Ruby I was struck by how the inhabitants valued friendship, good music, history and a party or parade much more than they valued ambition and material gain. I’m a planner and a goal-setter, and the relaxed sense of joie de vivre rubbed off on me and taught me to live more for today. LAGO DI GARDA, ITALY
When visiting an Italian university friend in her home in Northern Italy, I witnessed a beautiful wedding taking place in a forest. It was so utterly fairytale-like that I told myself that if I ever got married, it would be in Italy. I did end up marrying my Italian husband, Mauro, in the quaint town of the Malcesine on Lago di Garda in 2005. When we came out of the castle where the ceremony was held, the townspeople cheered: ‘Viva gli sposi!’ for us. A fairytale indeed! ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
From the time I was a child, I knew my destiny was to be a writer. But I grew up in Australia where there was always the pressure to have a “real job”. Attending the University of California changed my life. If there is one thing Americans do magnificently, it’s to dream big! Being around people with that sort of attitude made me determined to go for my dreams too. TURRAMURRA, SYDNEY
With all the places I’ve travelled and lived, I always thought of myself as a city girl. Yet I have this incredible attraction to trees and a fascination for all the creatures that visit my garden in Sydney – native birds, possums, butterflies, dragonflies and blue-tongue lizards. I attribute this to having grown up in the leafy suburb of Turramurra and climbing trees with my brothers and sitting under them to read and dream. I believe very child needs trees, living creatures and somewhere natural to let the imagination run free.
Belinda Alexandra is the author of seven novels set in exotic locations around the globe. Her latest story, Southern Ruby, centres on New Orleans. See belinda-alexandra南京夜网
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.