Sunday, November 10, 2013


<Her Passion to Go University>

The heroine whom I interviewed is my mother's sister. A few days ago, I found out an older woman to have college examination this year from internet articles. The older woman is seventy seven-year-old. She tries to throw down a gage to realize her dream that she become a student of a college. As soon as I saw the article, the aunt came across my mind as she also determined entrance into college in her much later years. Five years ago when her age was 60, she entered a university. So I decided to interview my aunt to hear the full detail story. 


 She is firstborn of my mother's 12 brothers and sisters. As she has lived in the America, I have rare chance to meet her directly. But she usually phone call to say hello to Korean family. Whenever I contacted her with phone, she always said to me, "Do your best in school! The chance to study is the most precious thing in human life! So cherish every moment during school life." I fed up with her nag so I avoided the time to dialogize with her. So I hesitated whether I interview her or not as I thought that there might be an awkward silence between us as I contacted her after three years' absence. But I really wanted to know her history so I punched out her telephone number. As I started conducting the interview I did not realize that I would be grateful to gain the chance to study thought interview.      


I rang her about three in the afternoon of local time. She answered the phone with strained voice as my mother had already told her my interview plan. As I also very was nervous because of awkwardness, we lapsed into deep silence for a while. For making comfortable atmosphere for interview, I referred other relative members' word. Also, I try to put her at ease. Then those efforts make her relax. So I began telephone interview with notebook. For the first, I asked her the reason why she gave up the idea of going on the college.


She hesitated in speaking for a moment and she gave the answer. She said she did well at school as she had a strong desire to learn. But she might 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 woman might devote herself to taking care of her family in home. The women who attended university considered as a 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. However, even though I have no hope to see my dream realized, I could not give up 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 questions about what she did after you were foiled in your dream to become a university student. At the moment, she broke into tears and lost her tongue. 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 up to Seoul to be out of her parents' control. In the Seoul, she worked at a factory in day and was a roast sweet potato seller in night. Moreover, in her spare time, she did every part time job to earn money for her university tuition.


"There are not many jobs that I have not tried as a shoeblack, a street sweeper, and a person who clean apartments… I have done anything to earn money. At that time I was surprised by the desire to my dream.  The all heavy tasks did not matter to me. There was nothing equal to my dream.


  Since early years, she grew up like a princess. Because of noble birth, her nanny did everything for her. So it was really hard to earn money in Seoul without any help. But she said that she had never thought that she wanted to return to home as not holding onto her dream had the same meaning like dying.


She made the best effort to get money for university. However, it was impossible. So she got married with one senior of high school and went on emigration to the America.


"As I was raising my two children with my lovely husband in the America, I still was that little girl who had been eager for studying in university. The dream always 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 can be now. Despite of her failure of her memory, she gets scholarships for outstanding students. I think that her passion of study win easily age-related memory loss.


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 human life! So cherish every moment during school life.". Going school and studying that I take for granted is all world to my aunt. I see how precious the chance to become a student of university is.

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