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SHIRLEY

DE KOCK GUELLER
I got it when I was 12, the bug that is, and from that birthday I put every spare cent, penny or Krugerrand (well, not really) into an account to SAVE so I could travel. My first yearís salary was divided thus: 11 per cent tax (yes, I earned meagerly); 20 per cent board and lodging; nine per cent for me, which meant maps and books, and 60 per cent into the account. And so I managed a year in Europe, begging baths from understanding friends, hitching, sleeping in police cells and on building sites, living on rolls and mustard because I couldnít afford the German sausage, sanding stairwells for champagne and simply indulging my first love.

The passing years have strengthened my passion. As an editor with Readerís Digest I got to places like New York, Hawaii, Niagara Falls and Montreal for the first time; as public relations consultant to the Cape Town Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras I got to Taiwan again, and to the Canary Islands on tour.

Now, married to a conductor, Bernhard Gueller, and hard as it was to put my public relations business into second place, I discovered there are distinct advantages - he played in Manaus, I played in the Amazon; he sweated in Shanghai and I shopped for silk, for him, too; I checked out the Oval in Adelaide while he studied scores and the best creperies in Rennes in France were a result of my research. I didnít make him go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, though.

We divide our time between his engagements and my clients in South Africa (always in winter) and his contracts in Halifax in Canada, and for the last four years in Nuremberg in between, also always in winter. I tell myself I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder but in fact I love having three homes, three internet connections and three of a hang of a lot else. I have even got to look forward to having my luggage delayed because this means the airline has to deliver it and we donít have to carry it!

The result of many notebooks and overworked laptops over many years has been dozens of articles in newspapers and magazines as disparate as Good Taste, the Cape Times, Cape Argus, Citizen, Femina and the Halifax Chronicle Herald and of course the Readerís Digest, online in Canada, and in print in South Africa.


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*The contributors' countries listed above, refer to each individual contributor's current country of residence, whereas the flag next to their name denotes their nationality, the country where they were born and raised!