(above: the view from a window, Berlin-Neukölln)
The second in our series of short interviews with the people working on Elsewhere, from the editors and designers to the writers and photographers, is with Creative Director Julia Stone…
What does “home” mean to you?
Home to me is a place I feel connected to and belong, in some parts because of having spent longer periods of time there and in some cases by having belongings there. But mainly it is because of specific people that make me feel that way. My homes are in Bangkok, where I spent my childhood, and more specifically Pakkret, just north of the city, where my father lives - but although I love spending time there I still always feel foreign because I don't speak Thai well and language is such an important factor in fitting in. Then there is Hamburg, where my mom and grandma live and I also have many high school memories. And of course, for eight years now, there is Berlin.
Although I am not very sentimental about any of these places, the most important of the three is my grandma's house in Hamburg. I think this is because because my grandparents built it when they were young and my mom and uncles grew up there, so there are so many family stories connected to the place, not just mine. I can see myself finding new homes in new places in the future, as long as the people stay constant.
Where is your favourite place?
Same as above, and shared with my favorite people, but I don't think I have a specific favorite place. Narrowing it down to Berlin, I really love Tempelhofer Feld, the former airfield that is now a park where I like to rollerblade or just wander around and watch the sky over Berlin and the other people rolling around with every imaginable contraption/kite/sail, catch a few tunes from the bagpipers that practice there in summer, look at the community gardening projects, and if it is sunny and warm maybe flop down next to the areas with the tall grass that are nature conservation areas and listen to the sound of the birds.
What is beyond your front door?
A rather quiet cobblestone residential street in an otherwise very busy Neukölln neighborhood. Thirty steps to the left there is some sort of construction going on; it looks like a giant basement is being built behind the former Kindl Brewery. On the opposite side of the street a hip bar that is always packed and I can see the DJ from my living room window. Past the bar and 500 meters further you're on Tempelhofer Feld. Down the street right from my front door you're on Karl-Marx-Straße, Neukölln's main commercial street.
What place would you most like to visit?
There are so many, but I have this list at the back of my diary where I jot down some of the more spontaneously doable places I'd like to visit on short notice. So far the list for this year includes: Vogelsang Kaserne; paddle to the boat wreck in the Spree near Badeschiff; Szczecin by train; Oberaach to Bern seeing Swiss friends and what lies in between; Toulouse visiting some fantastic couchsurfers I hosted a while ago. And when I'm in Thailand next time I'd like to join my father's housekeeper visiting her hometown near Hpa-an in Myanmar.
What are you reading/watching/looking at right now?
Last weekend we binge-watched all episodes of the series Fargo. It is set in wintery Bemidji, Minnesota, where the average temperature is below 0°C five months of the year, and in the series people are "disappeared" in holes cut in one of the hundreds of ice covered lakes in the area. Bloody trails in the snow are followed through forests to cabins hidden away along deserted country roads. And of course in a small town like Bemidji, with only 13,000 inhabitants, the suspects, victims and police officers have known each other since childhood and have their personal histories with each other, further complicating the solving of the crimes...