This month the spotlight falls on former lawyer, European literature teacher, translator and multi-lingual Italian grandmother, Tiziana Krause-Jackson, who has lived and relished the Arts in Madrid and bicycling at her summer house in Denia for the past 20 years.
- You married your British husband, a retired Diplomat after having only spent 23 days with him over 3 years, what’s your secret?
Having met at a Spanish language course in Santander we quickly found out that in addition to sharing similar political convictions, religion and views on child-rearing, our books and record collection were virtually identical. We were both keen to live abroad and we agreed that I would have a lot of freedom and could travel on my own whenever I wanted. So it seemed like a great deal!
House in Denia
- What was Saudi Arabia like for an expat in the mid 1970’s?
It was tough being considered inferior as a woman. I wanted to study Arabic but there wasn’t enough demand so I used to go back to Bologna from May to October, not because of the heat it was more that I could never get used to the endemic enormous cockroaches flying around my feet.
- As an expat, where was your happiest posting and why?
In Brazil where we enjoyed a wonderful outdoor lifestyle with our two daughters. We made life-long friends and Portuguese is still my favourite language. It was a country of deep contrasts, both in terms of landscapes and people.
Tiziana with husband and daughter
- How did you find living in South Korea in the mid 1980’s where you worked at the
national radio station?
South Korea was a developing country at this time and women’s status was similar to that in Arab countries. However, people were extremely patriotic, hardworking, generous, dutiful and particularly keen to show off the uniqueness of their Korean cultural identity. Rules had to be obeyed, discipline reigned, in other words, it was the perfect place for me! The stress in maintaining this façade, however, was clear and the huge animosity towards Japan was also very much in evidence. Hierarchy was paramount. On one occasion a string of plumbers came out to fix our boiler in the middle of winter to no avail and we later discovered that the youngest plumber knew precisely what was required but he was unwilling to show up his elder colleagues.
- You work as a voluntary translator of books for the Italian National Autistic Society and your second daughter is profoundly autistic, what has that been like?
I translate articles for the Italian Autistic Society on behavioural management to help autistic children lead the most fulfilling life as is possible. Having a profoundly autistic child has shaped our lives in terms of where we could live and has forced my husband to change his career path. Furthermore, as Alexia is unable to speak or recognise us it has felt like a loss comparable to death. I am able to talk openly about it, yet my husband still cannot.
- What is your secret Madrid?
In Madrid I lead the life of a typical retired lady of the Salamanca district and can often be seen enjoying tea and cakes at places like Cristina Oria, ‘El Perro y la Galleta’, Mama Framboise, or La Mimé. In addition I am a huge fan of all the free, high quality concerts, exhibitions and talks at the Fundación Juan March and Mapfre.
- Is it really true that you like to go to the cinema 3 or 4 times a week?
Yes! I plan my week around screenings of good films in VO, the theatre and the wide variety of Arts on offer in this wonderful city.