<Her Passion to Go to University>
The person whom I interviewed was my mother's sister. A few days ago, I read an internet article about an old woman who took college examination this year. The older woman is seventy seven-year-old now. She tried to realize her dream that she becomes a student of a college. As soon as I saw the article, an aunt came across my mind as she also had determined to enter into college in her much later years. When her age was 60, she entered into a university. So I decided to interview my aunt to hear full detail story.
She is the oldest out of twelve brothers and sisters. Since she has been living in America, I have had rare chance to meet her directly. I have seen her three times until now. At the last time when I met her, she looked so happy. So I asked her why she looks so joyful. She said like this at that time.
" I really, really want to be a college student for whole my life. And now, I finally success in realize my desperate dream. So I would not have any regrets if I died right now!."
At that time, she was 62-year old so she has got wrinkles round her face. But her passion for learning made her look so beautiful. I was impressed by her desire to learn. But I did not know detail history of her at the moment.
From that moment, four year has passed, I tried to be aware of her story.
Although she has lived far away from Korea, she has often given phone call to relatives who live in Korea to say hello. 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."
So I was fed up with that nag so I avoided talking with her.
I hesitated whether I should interview her or not. I thought that there might be an awkward silence between us because I have never contacted 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 study without any limitation which I took for granted before that 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. I was also very nervous because of awkwardness, so 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 interview. 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 in her high school days.
She said that she did well in high school as 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 Korea. 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 am tenaciously asking for going school, then, 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, that question wrenched a sob from her and her voice broke with emotion. Even though I could not see her face directly, 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 at streets during the night. Moreover, she did any part time job that she could find to earn money in 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 tasks did not matter to me. Nothing was more important than my dream.
Since early years, she had grown up like a princess until she ran away from her. Because of noble birth, her nanny did everything for her. So I assumed that it had been 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 to earn enough money to go university. 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 country college in order to achieve her academic goal in her later years. She said that she is the happiest person on earth now. Despite of her age-related memory loss, she got scholarships for outstanding students. I believe 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.
She is the most shining person of anyone I know because she got the dream and realized the dream. But the best reason why I respect her is that she has never give up on her dream despite of lots of difficult situation.