Carola Pfau (1958 – 2020)

On June 3rd 2020 my sister died. It was the end of a wandering life which had her make and lose many friends and acquaintances across the globe. Instead of a funeral service which would serve no purpose in Covid times, I created this page for her friends to provide you a simple, very incomplete view of her life’s significant stations.

Of course it all began at birth in post war Germany. Life was stable, you could say too stable for Carola. But I can speak for all three of us, who left the country to live abroad, this stability gave us the roots and strength to be ourselves no matter where we are. The love of food was one of Carola’s first passions and she stayed true to it to the end. Equally clear from the very beginnings was that she was a daddy’s girl. The two shared more than just looks, a lust for life, a strong will, and a lot of chutzpah. Not the easiest companions but never dull.

Travels with family and friends to many European destinations, Prague, France, Greece and many other places are probably one of the reasons why Germany was not enough. When I leafed through her album of student days in Bonn it became apparent that studying life was far more important than lecture halls. All photos were of friends, flea markets, demonstrations but none related to her field. It was clear, her priority was life itself. Bonn was followed by seven years in Japan and the abundance of photos suggests it was love at first sight and the beginning of many love affairs. She fell in love with the culture, the food, the folk art, the flea markets, discovered her love for cats and found her late husband Makoto. There is no doubt she fell in love with Japan, but did Japan fall in love with her? I can see the Japanese business men squirm when confronted with Carol’s in your face and to the point attitude, add to that some feminist arguments, a subject always close to her heart, and I am sure they fell quiet really fast. But one wonderful man, Makoto, did fall in love with her. Together they explored the islands, Hong Kong, and a year back in Germany.

But the wanderlust was not satisfied and she moved on to the US, once again, leaving behind many friends. It was a high price to pay I am sure but she did it anyways. Along the way she picked up a Masters Degree in International Business in Phoenix and a Law degree in Austin Texas. The idea of Carola working in a law firm is utterly amusing to anyone who knows her. Certainly she could have put her quick wit to good use in any courtroom but her short temper would have sent her clients crying and everyone else running for cover. So it is no surprise that her degree led to exactly one interview and then it was time to return to her true passion, folk art, textiles, jewelry, and flea markets. It was than that her gipsy heart discovered van life. From Austin she toured the markets set up her stalls and lived life on her terms only. The last images are from her van days with cats.

Last Christmas and pre Covid family had a last chance to come together,

Soon afterwards it become clear medicine was at its wits end. But her fight against cancer, and against an utterly disorganized, often incompetent, and unscrupulous medical and insurance system bought her four good years more than doctors initially projected.

RIP Carola

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