Wednesday 6 May 2009

Retirement 4

My horizons are expanding. I have managed to get to the University of the Third Age, as represented locally. It really did take some getting to. Apart from the lethal steps up from the street, all the doors have to be opened via an access card, which I hadn't received because I missed the first week when they were given out. There was much red face and embarrassed "I wonder if you could help me....." before I was taken in hand and escorted back to the front door to start again. A very kind and co-operative operative gave up some of her lunch hour to furnish me with what I needed, photograph and the card which I swiped like a pro and found myself in such a maze of stairs, rooms and doors which would open only with my sesame that I was very little better off than I had been without the damned thing. However, kindness was the middle name of this organisation of which the first name was jobsworth and I was soon in the right place for my "German for Absolute Beginners." That's the good news. The bad news is that there was no one else there; no other student, no instructor, nicht. It turns out that the class had been cancelled, which I, having started late, didn't know. Over the telephone, The Office chided the instructor in no uncertain terms. She should have alerted them. Oh Dear: I can't see that as a good introduction for next week. Still, I've made a start. I have done the familiarisation bit. It won't all be frighteningly strange next week.

There you are. I bet you didnt realise, young as you are, that nerves and lack of confidence may accompany you right up to your dotage. In some ways, I am more confident, wiser and less concerned - not concerned? - with how others see me, but deep down Liz has, sometimes, still to give herself a good talking to before approaching a situation with which she is not familiar. I may have told you the coming anecdote before, forgive me if this is so. There is no way I can risk losing this blog while I trawl through the others to see if I have. ( The Guru has a way to keep work safe, but then he is on the right side of the Wizard of Cyberspace. I am not.) Anyway, the story is about the violinist Nathan Milstein who is reputed to have said "You think I am a great violinist. I am not. I just sound like one". That's me and, I suspect, many of you, too. You think I'm a courageous and confident woman. I'm not. I just behave like one. No, I don't play the violin. That's not the point. Maybe some people are born confident. A toddler I know, (and love) came in to the world looking and behaving as if he had got off the bus at the right stop. I hope he continues on the right route for ever.

I did attend an Advanced French class. Not as challenging as I was prepared for but good discipline and I must not get above myself. We studied an article from a French magazine that was so anti-British I found myself positively jingoistic. I learned a new word: 'bigoudis'. I understand it means 'ringlets'. I dont see the Queen's hair that way, but there you are. "If we were all the same everyone would want my squaw", as the American Indian said, or is reputed to have said. You may recall, in the last post I said that I had doubts about a one-age gathering: it would feel more natural if there were a mix. That did prove to be strange. There were people even less mobile than I, seriously, and I shall have to deal with a wish to avoid confronting hints of things to come by losing sight of the individuals. I am also wondering, since my memory is failing in my own language, what on earth I think I am doing learning a few more. But there you are:" twp", as we say in Wales. A bientot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Liz, on your courage and learning endeavours. As someone who is in the learning business herself from the other side, i.e. professionally I help other adults and young adults (students) to learn, I can only say it would be great fun to have you in class! So - look at it this way: you are learning and contributing at the same time. The great thing about adult learning is that everyone who is there wants to be there! Oh, and Alles Gute!