DiversifYA: Elodie Nowodazkij

ElodieToday on the blog, let’s welcome Elodie! Otherwise known as CommutingGirl, Elodie is a YA writer, photographer, and globetrotter, who is here to talk about different cultures. Or even, whole different continents, and what it’s like to grow up French and be European. (And yeah, all the countries within driving distance? Definitely a perk!)

1. How do you identify yourself?

As Elodie…With my background, my experience, my mistakes, my successes, my accent, my insecurities and my strengths.

When living in the US, my French-ness/European-ness was definitely very pronounced. Even though I was integrated and loved living there, I felt French. I missed my family, my friends, little things, the bread, the bakery, the way of life. As I now live in Germany, I also have the French-ness – identifier coming back to me and I took a bit of America with me too. So I miss stuff from there too.

However, I also feel very European. The European project is close to my heart.

So. Yep. Clear answer, no?

2. What did it feel like growing up in Europe/France?

I grew up in a little tiny village, lived there until I was 18. I had croissants sometimes on Sunday. The food culture is definitely big. Yes, we do spend hours at the table, eating and laughing and talking and drinking. School is different in France, we stay at school until much later during the day.

I also traveled to Germany very often since I was learning the language.

I loved seeing other countries, learning about other cultures, experiencing the way of life of other countries.

3. What are the biggest challenges? Conversely, what are the quirks/perks?

Honestly, I´m not sure what the biggest challenges are. Living in Europe is pretty great. The only thing is the different languages. But there are so many countries at driving distance 🙂

4. What do you wish people knew about Europeans?

That we don´t all speak the same language. That even in one country, there are different regions with different traditions. Did you know that in France, we have different accents?

Our history.

How the European Union came about.

5. What are the biggest cliches/stereotypes you’ve seen?

As a French person? That I didn´t take any showers or baths, that no-one speaks English in my country, that we didn´t have electricity, that we are snobby and lazy.

BONUS: What is your advice for writers writing diverse characters?

Research. Don´t forget everyone will have their own experience with a certain culture. So you need to really get into your head of your character. My experience as a French person is different, yet somewhat similar to others. Writing diversity is actually making sure that your character has flaws and that his/her past and his/her environment is part of who she/he is.

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3 Responses to DiversifYA: Elodie Nowodazkij

  1. Love this interview!
    I’ve been lucky enough to travel in Europe and not a single negative stereotype I’ve heard have I actually seen.
    Including all the ridiculous ones about France.

  2. […] a business trip until tomorrow… I was interviewed by the lovely ladies over at DiversifYA…I’m talking about being European and I do mention food somewhere in there. Otherwise, I […]

  3. I totally agree that people should understand that Europe, just like Asia, Africa, or the Americas, is a big continent with many different types of people. Europeans aren’t monolithic.

    Re: your comment about the stereotype of not bathing, I’ve actually gotten a few hits to my blog from searches like “why do European women not bathe/shave.” I know some of those are from my piece “HIstorical fiction and body hair,” but I have no idea where the European women not bathing hits come from!