<Her Passion to Go to University>
The heroine whom I interviewed is my mother's sister. A few days ago, I found out an older woman who took college examination this year from internet articles. The older woman is seventy seven-year-old. She tried to realize her dream that she becomes a student of a college. As soon as I saw the article, the aunt came across my mind as she also had determined to enter into college in her much later years. Five years ago when her age was 60, she entered into a university. So I decided to interview my aunt to hear the full detail story.
She is the oldest out of twelve brothers. Since she has been living in America, I have had rare chance to meet her directly. But she often gives us phone call to say hello to relatives who live in Korea. Whenever I contacted her on the phone, she always said to me, "Do your best in school! The chance to study is the most precious thing in your life! So cherish every moment during school life."
I was fed up with her nag so I avoided talking with her. So I hesitated whether I should interview her or not. I thought that there might be an awkward silence between us because I have not had much contact with my aunt for four years. But I really wanted to know her history so I punched out her telephone number. As I started conducting the interview, I did not expect that I would be grateful for the opportunity to do studying which I took for granted after the interview.
I rang her at about three in the afternoon of local time. She answered the phone with strained voice because my mother had already told her that I was going to interview her. As I also was very nervous because of awkwardness, an air of silence filled between us for a while. To put her at ease, I told some funny jokes. Fortunately, My efforts made comfortable atmosphere for her. Then I began telephone interview with notebook. As first question, I asked her the reason why she gave up the idea of going on the college.
She said that she did well in high school since she had a strong desire to learn. But she had to give up studying when she was in third grade of high school because of historical discrimination to women. In 1940's when she was high school student, there were scanty opportunities for women to go university in Korea. Especially, as my grandparents belonged by origin to the gentry, they considered her dream as family dishonor. At that time, Korean people thought that all women should devote themselves to taking care of her family at home. The women who attended university were considered as people of low birth.
"In the day when I pestered my father for going university, he scolded sternly and said to me that 'you are the family dishonor!'. I tenaciously ask for going school, finally he cut my hair and kept me in my room. Even though I had no hope to see my dream come true, I could not give up on my dream."
No matter how hard she tried to remain calm, she could not keep her voice from trembling. After a quiet stillness prevailed for a while, I asked next question about what she did after she failed to achieve her goal. At the moment, she broke into tears and her voice broke with emotion. Even though I could not see her face, I could feel how she felt pain when she looked back upon the harsh past.
As soon as she graduated high school, she went to Seoul to be out of her parents' control. In Seoul, she worked at a factory during the day and she worked as a roasted sweet potato seller during the night. Moreover, she did any part time job that she could find to earn money for her university tuitionin her spare time.
"I tried everything that I could do such as a shoeblack, a street sweeper, and a person who clean apartments… I have done anything to earn money to go university. At that time I was amazed by my desire toward my unachieved dream. The all heavy tasksdid not matter to me. There was nothing to compete with my dream.
Since early years, she has grown up like a princess. Because of noble birth, her nanny did everything for her. So it was really hard for her to earn money in Seoul without any help. But she said that she had never given up on her dream. To her, Giving up on her dream meant the same thing as dying..
She made the best effort to get money for university. However, it was impossible so she got married with one man and she immigrated to America.
"As I was raising my two children with my kind husband in America, I still was that little girl who had been eager to study in university. The dream has never faded away."
Eventually, She enrolled at a college in order to achieve her academic goal in her later years. She said that she is as happy as she can be now. Despite of her age-related memory loss, she gets scholarships for outstanding students. I think that her passion for studying overcomes her old age.
After I interviewed her, I realized the reason why she always told me "Do your best in school! The chance to study is the most precious thing in your life! So cherish every moment during school life.". Going school and studying that I took for granted is everything to my aunt. I realized how precious the chance to become a student at a university is.