Annik Grob

Annik Grob, 12, lives happily with her family in Therwil in the canton of Basel-Landschaft. She isn’t thinking of emigrating any time soon. For a competition organised by the German Emigration Center museum in Bremerhaven, Annik imagined, however, that she was a young girl leaving her home country. “What ten things would you pack if you emigrated?” was the question that the museum asked children and teenagers to answer, inviting them to choose the contents of their own personal “emigration suitcase”. The eleven most creative entries –Annik’s included – featured in a special exhibition.

The schoolgirl impressed the jury with her idea of packing a lengthy book in addition to nine other things. “Any book about horses that has 20,000 pages so I can read it for a very, very long time,” she wrote. “Which is about as long as I’ll need to learn the local language and buy books in my new home country.” And if she failed to learn the lingo in that time, she could start the book again, “because I would have definitely forgotten the beginning 20,000 pages later”.

Annik’s items also included a radio, a CD of rap artist Namika, a camera, clothes, money, a case holding 40 colouring pencils, her identity card, some jewellery, and her riding-school horse Resuelto. Her suitcase has at least got as far as Bremerhaven. Seven million people embarked on the long journey to the New World from the North Sea port in the 19th century. Annik can certainly envisage moving to a different country one day. “Staying put in the same place is boring.”

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