I had done three years of university -- one semester of Engineering, two semesters of Latin and Greek, and four semesters of modern languages -- English (major), French and Italian (minors). I wanted to do and to become so many things I did not know what to tackle first.
After running away from home a second time, I bummed around Europe for 3 years working at odd jobs as I went along -- on farms in England... in vineyards in France... in Spain it was private lessons in English and German.
Immigrated to Canada, hoping to work my way along as I had done in Europe, but Canada had little work to offer then. Eventually I hired on as a carpenter though I could do little more than swing a hammer and saw a board. Learned the finer skills in a hurry.
Drifted into teaching. Had got to know an Inspector of Schools, who begged me to pinch-hit for a high-school teacher that had been fired. The setting -- a small country high school, where three teachers handled all subjects. Without teacher training or experience, I taught 12 subjects a day, all in double-programmed classes. One of them was History and Geography of Canada. Still feel weak in the knees when I think of it.
After two years of it, I went back to university to finish a B.Ed. Taught for a few more years, mainly languages -- German, English, French, Latin and Spanish. Drifted out of teaching and went into flying. Became a flying instructor and bush pilot. Tried lumberjacking and rock-mining for about a year each...
Back to Germany to teach at a Canadian Air Force Base for a few years. The following link -- don't know how well up to date it is is -- should connect with some of the Air Force Brats I taught there.
After the Air Force Base, I went back to university to do a Magister [MA], with English as my major, Latin and Italian as my minors. Canada again for a few more years of teaching and then a four-year course in Naturopathic Medicine at Montreal. Thesis: THE FOUR ADDICTIONS OF OUR TIME -- ALCOHOL, NICOTINE, CAFFEINE, SUGAR -- AND THE NATUROPATHIC WAY OF CURING THEM.
West Africa next, where I spent seven years teaching teachers how to teach English. These three links -- Africa1 / Africa2 / Africa3 -- show me amid groups of my African students. I used vacations to travel extensively. Got as far as Timbuktu, perhaps the most exciting of all my journeys.
Yes, Timbuktu -- or Tombouctou,
as the local people call it -- really exists; it is not just a metaphor for
a place in never-never land. The Police Station
guards the entrance to the city. I am on my way there to pick up my permit
to spend a few days in the neighborhood. Click here for a few scenes en route
to and entering Timbuktu at last. The
guy in the black, native sleevless suit is me again. Here we are getting
ready for a camel ride to a Tuareg settlement in the desert. You'll see two
of us on one camel. I had contracted and paid for TWO camels the night before.
In the morning, the proud owner of the camels came with only ONE camel and
a sheepish look on his face. The other camel, we learned. was sick. So we
had to double up. No refund either. The man probably owned only one camel.
Had I contracted and paid for three camels the night before, the sad news
would have been that TWO camels were sick the morning after. Click here for
a few more Timbuktu
Scenes. Clicking Timbuktu once
more will get you to a verbal picture of my trip to the place. Let me warn
you, though -- it is a fairly long story. If you don't dig long stories,
don't click here now; but would not regret reading it, taking a vicarious
trip to Timbuktu as it were..
While I was asking myself what I wanted to be in my next incarnation, the winds of my fortune whisked me to Saudi Arabia, where I taught English and German in the Department of European Languages of King Abdul Aziz University, one of the country's best-known universities, till just a few years ago. The following link opens a picture of the staff of European Languages, me in the front row, squatting..
Have had to leave many things unsaid so as not to get side-tracked irretrievably. I hinted above that, before I ran away from home a second time, I had done seven semesters of university -- one of Engineering, three of Classical Languages and three of Modern Languages. Did not get to tell you that I have an ex-wife and a son in Germany. My son has completed an MSc in Physics and hopes to go on to a PhD. Did not get to tell you that I am married again... have been these 17 years. [Update: Have been separated for several years now but ex-wife and I are still best friends.] Did not get to tell you that I have worked on a fishing fleet, have driven trucks and done many more things. Did not get to tell you that I have been freelance health counsellor, have done public lectures on health in general and on such specific topics as the giving up of smoking and drug addiction. Did not get to tell you that I have written two health-related books -- PORTRAIT OF AN EX-SMOKER: YOU and GOOD HEALTH WITHOUT DRUGS OR DOCTORS, or that more writing is in the works.
Much of the two books is about me. The first half of the PORTRAIT is a primer of wholesome living, and all of the second book is about living so that one does not get sick. For I believe that there would be very little illness in the. world if people lived right. More about that later. I myself mean to prove it -- live to a 104 and stay healthy and active all the way. I am crowding 70 and haven't been sick a day in three decades.
There. If there is a postscript, it is that, though I have
tried my hand at many things, I still don't know what I really want to be
when/if I finally grow up. Only one thing I am pretty sure of -- that life
is too varied and interesting um es ganz an einen Nagel zu haengen
-- to hang it all on one nail.
[Update... this is April 2008 and I am only a few days shy of being 75 now. Still superbly healthy though... still jog +/- 5 km a day almost every day.]