Monday, 26 February 2007

Introduction to me (Vietnam will come later)

OK so why would you want to read a blog about me?

What makes me different from all the other bloggers out there?

Well I am Englishman living and teaching English in Hanoi for one.

I am 46 years old (bye bye dear younger readers)

I was a gas engineer in the UK for 26 years before a mid-life crisis to end all mid-life crises. I got divorced after 10 years, quit my (fairly well-paid) job, sold my 3 bed, detached, comfortable house and went to university at the age of 40ish, after two years Access course at college in the evenings, to study English/TESOL. As a total novice at Higher Education (I left school with one 'O' Level, in physics) I did not know that English meant English Literature at uni and English Language would probably have made more sense to go alongside the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, but it turned out that I loved Eng Lit, especially the classics like Shakespeare, Dickens, and William Blake. I had to work extremely hard at TESOL as I had never been taught grammar at school, and was not a good public speaker, so had a lot of catching up to do, but really enjoyed (and still do) teaching.

I really enjoyed the first year at Wolverhampton uni. The work was fairly easy and I was living in Halls of Residence so had lots of people to socialise with and lots of time to do it.

The second year I had to leave Halls and move into a shared house, which was quite fun at times but there was a lot more work and less time to socialise and less people to do it with. Not all uni students want to be seen with an old fucker like me and maybe I am not the best of company sometimes either.

The third year was very difficult. I did a BA Hons so had to do a dissertation, for which I found it hard to get someone to supervise it and was passed around several lecturers before someone agreed to do it, but we didn't really see eye-to-eye so I ended up doing it with little help and getting a C grade for it (my worst mark of the whole three years, only equalled by my poor Japanese second semester). I did a year of Japanese in the second year, but struggled with speaking in class as I am rather self conscious when it comes to public speaking, especially in a second language. It was only three hours a week and nowhere near enough, so I learnt I am never going to be a language master! Anyway, the dissertation, on top of all the other assignments almost proved too much and I did get close to quitting or at least not doing the dissertation, but in the end I just handed it in, not caring what mark I got for it (although I did work hard at it and did over 20,000 words, when only 8000 were needed)

So I completed the degree with a 2:1 which as the first person from my family ever to have gone to university, I am very proud of.

Along the way I fell in love twice and was rejected twice, which I will always regret but still have fond memories of both women. The first was probably too young for me (I was 40 she was 27) and I pulled her away from a very damaging marriage, so maybe she just used me to get out of that relationship, who knows. She lived in Grimsby/Cleethorpes and her hubby was a 20 stone fish filleter with a penchant for waving a machete around, so who can blame her for getting out. But I went to uni, moving even further away from her. She had two adorable children who needed supporting and I was just not ready for that support role I suppose, although I did want her to move to Wolverhampton and I would support her, but she felt, probably rightly, that that wouldn't work, so left me for a younger man... I still care for her although the breakup did get a bit nasty.

After uni I fell for a gorgeous woman from the South West of England, and moved down there to be near her. She had recently ended her marriage too, had three daughters, and never felt the same for me as I felt for her. She is getting married soon to the next guy she dated as the first one also did. So it must be me, as they obviously can give themselves to someone else, I just wasn't the one for them...

So I moved to Hanoi.

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