About the Author
Nothing can separate a parent and child,
or a person from the country and people she loves
Marianne Campagna has lived a multi-ethnic life like few have. Half-Chinese and half-German, born in China, with a childhood in Brazil, an adult life in the United States, and extensive trips to Germany, Brazil, and China, she has spent her life trying to find where home lies.
A place, more than any other entity or belief, has defined me, and captured my soul. Even after decades of absence and longing, nothing has replaced it or come closer to “home” than Gavea, Sao Conrado (St. Conrad) in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It lies in a narrow valley on the outskirts of Rio, where the granite mountains of the “Serra do Mar” meet the sea, or more specifically, the Atlantic Ocean.
I came here in 1950, at the age of five, from Shanghai, China with my German mother and Russian stepfather. We sailed across oceans to Brazil, as refugees, fleeing the Communist takeover of China in 1949. My stepfather and mother established an Escola de Equitacao (riding school) not far from the beach, adjacent to the Gavea Golf Course at the foot of Pedra da Gavea (Gavea Mountain) as it is known by the locals. My father and brother stayed behind in China, an event that marked my life and gave me much pain, and no doubt, prompted this book.
Because of its proximity during my childhood, the sea has always held a special attraction for me. In the neighborhood where I grew up, they called me the “Princess of the Sea.” The locals had seen me dive without hesitation into the curl of the bottle-green wave and emerge unscathed from the waters of this place I called home—Gavea, Sao Conrado.
Join Marianne on her incredible journey around the world and back again. While a young girl in China, Marianne’s parents divorced and divided the family. Marianne went to live with her German mother while her brother lived with her Chinese father. And when her mother remarried and decided to immigrate to Brazil with her, Marianne experienced a thirty-two year separation from her father, brother, and extended Chinese family.
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