Having grown up in regional WA, I married young, as much because it was the norm as it was to escape the farm! Not the best basis for a marriage…
After divorce I discovered study and got myself into University as a forty something mature age student. It was one of the best times of my life. I found out how much I didn’t know. My BA focussed on Asian Studies (with the language component learning Chinese Mandarin). For one of my first year essays on Chinese Politics, the tutor, a young PhD candidate, was very critical and barely passed my effort. Fortunately we had a chance to talk about that at the Uni coffee shop.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: I feel you marked me quite harshly.
Tamara: Well, you left out the ruling class and Marxism and…
Me: Yes, I am finding out there are huge gaps in my education.
Tamara: Why? What did you study before this?
Me: I haven’t studied anything since I left high school. And I didn’t finish high school by the way.
Tamara: Well, when did you leave high school?
Me doing a quick calculation: Oh, about 1966. (The look on her face was priceless!)
Tamara: I wasn’t even born then!
Fortunately we both found that very funny and she became one of my biggest allies as I continued my adventure in education.
My original plan of a three year degree became a four year plan as I found I could spend a year in China, learning Chinese at the Hangzhou University. What a life changing experience. Long story short, I became a teacher, eventually specialising in teaching English as another language. A few years ago I tried retirement but it didn’t suit me, so I still teach part time.
The other day in a class my China adventure came up as a discussion topic. I told my students that I had made a good friend in Hangzhou and he taught me Ballroom dancing. Dance, especially Ballroom, was something I had longed to learn as I hadn’t had the opportunity to learn dance in regional WA.
I explained that our friendship had started as a pure exchange. He would teach me to dance as stylishly as he did from his childhood study of ballet, and I would help him to improve his English. They asked for photographic proof!
I thought you might also enjoy seeing how much, serious, fun we had.