RaPAL

Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Rita Lin

Rita Lin, Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Story of Resilience

My name is Rita. My story began a long time ago back in Taiwan. I was married and had two little children. My husband was a mechanic and owned a garage. With the business and the family, it kept us very busy.

One day, strangely, a primary school friend who I had lost contact with for many years somehow found me. Living in America, she encouraged us to move overseas because mechanics are a very special skill. She suggested New Zealand, which coincidently was open for immigration at that time. Once we got accepted, we lost contact with her again. It seemed she just appeared to make us move, which we had never thought of.

We started a very new and totally different life in New Zealand. It was very hard, scary and difficult at the beginning. My children were small, so they didn’t have problems with English soon after attending school, but my husband and I really struggled.

Every day, I would learn English with my children when they were doing their homework. I also forced myself to listen to the language by watching TV. I tried to talk to people if I had the chance. Some time later, I found a part-time job during school hours that enabled me to practice my English. I was a bookkeeper in Taiwan, but here I worked as a kitchen hand, a packer, a jewellery waxer and a dispatch person due to my poor English. While I was at work, I could see my English was improving day by day. I could understand what people said and I could talk more.

For twenty years we lived in New Zealand: my children grew up and graduated there. My husband did open a garage. Sadly, it didn’t last long. We loved New Zealand and thought it would be our second home country, until something strange happened again. My husband bought an old Austin Healey car. Because he felt there was no company that specialises in restoring these, he sent the car to The Healey Factory in Melbourne. We followed the car and moved again to Melbourne.

Soon after we moved, my children and husband fortunately all found jobs. I tried to find a part-time job as well but was not successful. I even attended a training school to get a Certificate III in Financial Services to help, but there was still no luck for me. I thought maybe it was because of my English, so now I am studying English here at Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre. Because of my age, I am no longer looking for a job any more. I’m happy learning English here and enjoy it very much. Life to me now is much easier and less stressful.

I am proud of what I have done in my life so far. I can now read and communicate in spoken and written English with people. I think it is never too late to learn English. Resilience has made me stronger and tougher.

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