Knowledge conquers the world
As a result of migration, some crafts and art forms have reached every corner of the planet. Even today, voyagers and emigrants are packing their bags and sharing their expert skills in climes far from their homelands.
aged 40 from Israel,
a Krav Maga instructor and director of an Impact Group in Germany
When I was twelve years old, I actually wanted to start learning judo. But courses weren’t available in my hometown in Israel. So I chose Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art. People of all statures – large, small, muscular or slight – can learn its techniques because it is based on natural, instinctive body movements and responses. Essentially, it only uses five or six different movements. Anyone can master them, which is what makes this sport so unique. And that’s what I like about it.
As a child, I originally wanted to become a surgeon, then a vet, an actor, a screenwriter – I was never short of ideas. I did various jobs while in college, but Krav Maga was always my real passion. And I never imagined I could make a living from it.
In 2010, I finally opened my own school in Haifa and then moved to Germany with my wife in 2014. We wanted to experience other countries, because life in Israel is very singular. My wife got a job in Mannheim so we moved there. I set up the Impact Group, and double as its manager and Head Instructor. My students are aged between 5 and 57. I also train other instructors, mainly in techniques for teaching children. Typically, I spend a lot of my time on the road. I’ve been to the Czech Republic, England, Trinidad and Tobago and Australia, and I’ve met wonderful people wherever I go. I learn a lot myself when I’m training up-andcoming coaches. I want to keep improving as an instructor, and working with them broadens my horizons. I would like to expand my school too, so that I can train even more people – and help them become more confident and embrace healthier lifestyles.
Text: Imke Borchers
Dr. med. Maya May Sian Oei
age 42, from Germany,
specialist in dermatology, venereology and traditional Chinese medicine
I grew up in Germany, in a family of doctors with Indonesian and Chinese roots. My parents are both traditional Western physicians – so I was predestined to go into medicine as well. I work as a dermatologist and also practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) using acupuncture and herbs. Both as a doctor and a human being, I believe in meaningful connections between different worlds – worlds which at first glance might not seem to belong together. Syntheses of apparent opposites can be very powerful. Conventional medicine and holistic views of human health are frequently viewed as incompatible. Patients typically go to either a regular doctor’s office or an alternative practitioner. But I’ve been trained in both areas and tap both approaches, depending on the symptoms. Even while I was still a student in Germany, I was already undergoing training in Traditional Chinese Medicine. And this training is continuing – thanks to teachers from all over the world, including China. Everything I experience in that sphere enriches and enhances my work as a dermatologist, and vice versa. For example, I specialized in anti-aging acupuncture.
The combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine and dermatology is still quite rare, and for me it represents a dream come true. In my view, it’s really important to keep thinking outside the box and trying to discern underlying connections and relationships, rather than focusing on a single symptom or medical discipline. That’s why I share my knowledge first and foremost with my patients – who allow me into their lives and see themselves from a new angle as a result – but also with my team at the office and other physicians. A diet of the type recommended in TCM, physical exercise, and a respectful attitude toward yourself and others – these all serve to make us happier overall. And, as a result, healthier too.
Text: Miriam Holzapfel
age 40, from Iceland,
founder and owner of the Artic Bakehouse in Czech Republic
At first it was like discovering a whole new world. The incredible flour you can get here in the Czech Republic! Straight from the stone mill, and made with a quality of grain that simply won’t grow in the Icelandic climate. I learned the craft of baking in Reykjavik decades ago, and for me this Bohemian flour is like a dream come true. When I paid my first visit to Prague, I really took a shine to the city. And I realized: Hey, this would be the perfect place for good bread! Back then I used to buy supermarket bread, for just under a euro a loaf, but that stuff is barely edible. It tastes like cardboard. There were hardly any real bakeries at the time. Three years ago, I opened the Artic Bakehouse here with an Icelandic friend.
Our shop in Prague’s storied Malá Strana district used to sell pet food. I saw the building, just a few steps from the Vltava River, and was instantly enamored. For a year, the two of us worked towards the opening. We had a tight budget, so we had to roll up our sleeves and dig in. When the big day arrived, I baked a few traditional Icelandic pastries alongside the bread: cinnamon buns with vanilla icing, kleina, deep-fried donut with cardamom. And of course, starpungar – donut balls with raisins, which we sell here as “Love Balls” because nobody can pronounce the real name. Originally, my plan was to hand out free samples at the opening. But the recipes proved such a hit that I have been making copious quantities of these sweet treats ever since. For all the joys of Bohemian flour, I really miss one thing from Iceland: butter. The butter in our home country is simply unbeatable.
Text: Kilian Kirchgeßner
age 33, from Germany,
chef and restaurant owner in South Korea
Eighteen months ago, my wife Mina and I opened our restaurant Baden.Baden here in Gwangju – in the south of the Korean peninsula. We both have years of experience from working in restaurants around the world, but it was the first time either of us had run an establishment of our own. We came to Korea because my wife grew up here. We met in Australia. After that, we spent some time in Germany – in Baden-Baden, my hometown, where I originally started training as a chef. What makes our restaurant special, in my eyes, is the combination of our culinary heritages, the fusion of Asian and Franco-German influences. Moreover, my wife and I still do almost everything ourselves – from cutting the meat and cleaning the fish to making our own sauces and noodles. This is becoming increasingly rare, especially in Korea, but for me it’s an important part of our ethos. Because it isn’t just the preparation of the meals that counts, but also the way we view food generally. When we aren’t cooking, we’re often out at local markets – scouring the stalls for special ingredients and inspiration for new dishes.
Our first child is due in a few months and we may have to take a break from work then. After that I could imagine operating a smaller restaurant – that would be a better fit for a family – and we could also host cooking workshops for interested Koreans. Let’s see what the future holds.
Text: Anton Scholz
Tranh Thanh Tung
age 31, from Vietnam,
restaurant owner in Czech Republic
My grandmother is an ambassador for the past. For as long as I can remember, passing down traditions has been important to her. I grew up with her in Vietnam; at the time my father had already moved to the Czech Republic to set up a home for us. When I was 13 years old, my mother and I joined him in Europe. We brought the recipe for Vietnam’s traditional pho soup with us – along with all the tricks my grandma had taught us about its preparation.
My family comes from Nam Dinh. That’s the city where pho soup was invented long ago. When I arrived here in the Czech Republic 18 years back, hardly anyone had heard of it. My family helped change that. We opened the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Family in Prague and became pioneers of the new cuisine. We taught the Czechs to love its fantastic flavors. Many acquired a taste for it and today there are Vietnamese bistros and restaurants everywhere, above all in Prague, opened by people who wanted to climb on the bandwagon.
The secret to making a good pho soup is to devote a lot of time to its preparation. We boil the broth for at least 24 hours in a huge, special pot. We add savories such as chopped leek, coriander, mint and chili, and above all beef and pork bones. If left to cook for a long time, they release some of their sweetness into the soup. That’s what gives pho its distinctive taste. And then we serve it with rice noodles. In our restaurant we always vary our weekly menu so that guests can try the entire universe of Vietnamese specialties. Although customers appreciate this, pho still remains by far our most popular dish – even today.
Text: Kilian Kirchgeßner
age 40, from Switzerland,
small equipment and motor mechanic in Australia
As a child, I used to rave about Africa – actually about almost every country that was far away. I was 14 when my uncle moved to Guatemala, and I wanted to join him there immediately. “Mechanics for agricultural machines are needed the world over, “he told me, and that’s why I started an apprenticeship in that area. But after I broke three vertebrae snowboarding, I had to switch to repairing engines and small equipment instead. Once I had finished my apprenticeship, I moved to New Zealand to learn English, and then on to Guatemala, California, Japan, Australia and Brazil. Finding work has never been a problem. The field is highly specialized, but my training in Switzerland covered lots of different areas: in addition to the fundamentals of mechanics, we also learned hydraulics, electronics and welding. The Australians teach this differently than the Swiss. I first worked in my profession for a while in Australia during 2004, but back then my mind was set on traveling. I’ve been to Brazil alone four or five times. My partner comes from the country, although I met her in New Zealand. In 2010, a lawnmower company in Sydney sponsored me, giving me the chance to become an Australian citizen four years later. So I ended up staying here and setting up home near Port Macquarie, between the kangaroos and the coast. I really like it here, with the sea and the countryside both on your doorstep. My current boss spent over a year looking for suitable employees. The same was true when I was traveling as well: wherever I went, my skills helped me find a job in no time.
Text: Julica Jungehülsing