Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Karin Krein, October 5, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction, growing up, family, and schooling

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Partial Transcript: Okay, uh, it is October the fifth and I am Angene Wilson interviewing Karin Krein who was born in the nation of South Africa...

Segment Synopsis: Karin Krein talks about her parents both working in a bank and moving around the country in Transvaal and Cape provinces, and being the only child with many cousins. At 13 she boarded for secondary school and stayed in the Cape Town area. She describes respect for elders in Afrikaans culture, structure in boarding school, and family vacations all over South Africa. Her father always said "You will never depend on a man, you will go to college." She describes her first experience speaking as opposed to reading and writing in English when she visited a college boyfriend whose parents spoke only English.

Keywords: Afrikaans; Afrikaans culture; Bloemfontein; Cape Town, South Africa; English; Family; Paul Gymnasium; Schooling; Transvaal; University of Stellenbosch; Zulu

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Families.

GPS: Cape Town, South Africa
Map Coordinates: -33.925278, 18.423889
00:12:42 - Marriage, children, and language

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Partial Transcript: And then, in the end, I met my husband-- also English and--

Segment Synopsis: Krein describes her marriage and her husband's family, including her his grandfather coming from Lithuania and grandmother coming from England. She describes her decision to speak in English with he children. She talks about differences in Kentucky, where it is rude to talk in a language other than English when in a group, whereas in South Africa one expects many different languages to be spoken (11 are official and English is a common language).

Keywords: Afrikaans; Children; English; Language; Lithuania

Subjects: Families.; Marriage

GPS: Lithuania
Map Coordinates: 55, 24
GPS: England
Map Coordinates: 51.5, -0.116667
GPS: Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.5, -85
00:16:50 - College, pharmacy school, and pharmacy business

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Partial Transcript: So what else do you want to talk about in terms of your life in South Africa?

Segment Synopsis: Krein got her bachelor's in biology and biochemistry because she wanted to work in cosmetics. She began her master's in physiology and switched to pharmacy, and then she and her husband had their own pharmacy for nine years. In 2003 the law changed and because of dispensing fees, no profit margin, and chain pharmacies coming in, it became difficult to own an independent pharmacy. Rite Aid recruited in South Africa and the choice was clear.

Keywords: Biochemistry; Biology; Cape Town, South Africa; Elizabeth Arden; Independent pharmacy; Pharmacy; Professional woman; Recruitment from U.S.; Rite Aid recruitment; University education; University of Stellenbosch

Subjects: Higher education; Pharmacists.; Pharmacy.; Women in pharmacy.; Women pharmacists

GPS: Cape Town, South Africa
Map Coordinates: -33.925278, 18.423889
00:29:23 - Coming to America / Choosing Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: So had, had it ever occurred to you that--before that, that you might leave South Africa?

Segment Synopsis: Krein says that they did consider moving to New Zealand at this time when many white South Africans were leaving. Rite Aid sponsored them for work visas and green cards and they gave them a choice of Napa in northern California. Rite Aid flew her to San Francisco to take an exam and then they discovered how expensive houses were in Napa. Then Rite Aid offered Kentucky; they knew horses and Kentucky Fried Chicken and it would take only 18 months to obtain a green card. She talks about advantages of Kentucky: beautiful, the University of Kentucky, and the cost of living. Everything depends on education for her children.

Keywords: California; Choices; Choosing Kentucky; Green card; Kentucky; New Zealand; Rite Aid

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Immigrants--Kentucky

GPS: Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.5, -85
00:35:40 - Arriving in Kentucky, difficulties, appreciation

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So now you were going to tell part of a story that--something else.

Segment Synopsis: Krein talks about difference between her and her husband's qualifications in pharmacy -- the reason he is working in IT at University of Kentucky. She describes coming in 2005 with three children (12, 10, 8),18 pieces of luggage, and no one at the airport to meet them. The next day the children started at Model Lab School. The children couldn't understand the dialect. There were so many choices in the grocery store. Sometimes they drove on the wrong side of the road. So many words were different. "It was very difficult." They were the only South Africans in Richmond, Kentucky. In hindsight she understands the need for a support structure of others from South Africa but also they made American friends. Their impression of the U.S. was from the movies. She appreciates how Americans extend help to others. She talks about a tornado destroying a pharmacy in West Liberty and her involvement in helping.

Keywords: Americans helping; First days in Kentucky; Model Lab School; Richmond (Ky.); Schooling for children; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Education; Emigration and immigration.; Families.; Immigrants--Kentucky

GPS: Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.5, -85
GPS: Richmond (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.724167, -84.292778
00:49:21 - More experiences, good and bad

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Partial Transcript: But now as I recall, when you first came, you did find it really hard to get used to the fact that here you were from beautiful, huge Cape Town...

Segment Synopsis: The intent was to be in Kentucky for 18 months, so when Krein got a promotion in Baltimore she moved there. Then a Rite Aid position opened up in eastern Kentucky and she returned. In fall 2015 she took a position at University of Kentucky. Her oldest child graduated in communications at UK and works for Lexmark. Her middle child is in finance at UK and youngest just started at UK. Bad experiences: a neighbor sued them about their dog, and told them to "crawl back in the black hole of Africa where we came from." A patient and another neighbor insulted her in Lexington. They will become citizens in 2018.

Keywords: Bad experiences; Baltimore (Md.); Children; Citizenship; Dogs; Lexington (Ky.); Moving; Rite Aid; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Emigration and immigration.; Immigrants--Kentucky

GPS: Baltimore (Md.)
Map Coordinates: 39.283333, -76.616667
GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:58:16 - Values and family / Communication with South Africa

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Partial Transcript: I think the experience like with us, now, relocating, coming here, um, it changes your outlook on life so much.

Segment Synopsis: Krein says that what is important is family, and good relationships. She Skypes or phones with her mother on Sunday mornings. They could travel on their green cards after 2012. If she had gone home within two or three years she would not have come back, but now Kentucky is home. She talks about South Africa's economy now.

Keywords: Communication with South Africa; Family; Green cards; Life outlook; Skype; South Africa news; Visas

Subjects: Communication.; Families.; Immigrants; South Africa

GPS: South Africa
Map Coordinates: -30, 25
01:04:02 - Educating Kentuckians / Contributing to Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Do you find that people ask you questions about South Africa and you have done some educating of people...

Segment Synopsis: Krein says a neighbor asked, "Do you have furniture like us?" She encourages people to go to Cape Town. They miss the beaches, but go to the Gulf beaches every year. She still says she is from South Africa but her husband says he is from Kentucky. She talks about insiders and outsiders in the U.S. and becoming part of the outsider community. She feels she contributes to the diversity of Kentucky. She is not sure Americans appreciate their own country, maybe foreigners appreciate the U.S. more in comparison.

Keywords: Appreciation of U.S.; Beaches; Cape Town, South Africa; Contributions; Diversity; Insiders; Outsiders; Patriotism

Subjects: Identity (Psychology); Immigrants--Kentucky

GPS: Cape Town, South Africa
Map Coordinates: -33.925278, 18.423889
GPS: Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 37.5, -85