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Nancy Hanson, Office staffer. Member since 2009
I migrated to Australia in 1965, with my doctor husband and three small daughters, to Omeo in the Alps, a very friendly welcoming place to start a new life. We later settled in Bairnsdale and our children have pleasant memories of the freedom of their country childhood. I returned to teaching at Bairnsdale High and spent many happy hours directing the annual school musical as well as teaching German, English and Drama.
Once the last child had finished uni, David and I moved to Canberra, to allow him a more relaxed life after the demands of being a country GP. He joined the Commonwealth Medical Service but soon left there to take up opportunities for travel with the Foreign Affairs Medical Service.
The last eight years of our working lives proved to be the most exciting and rewarding of our careers, with three years spent in Beijing, three in Jakarta and two in Laos, where David ran the Australian Embassy Medical Clinics. I was very fortunate to be able to work all the time, first in Immigration in Beijing, then teaching at the Beijing International School.
The photo shows me with a 90-year-old Chinese lady whom I met in a park in Shanghai in 1992. Seventy years before, she had been Nanny to an English family and she spoke perfect, idiomatic English with a very posh accent! Everywhere I went in Shanghai I met old people like her, eager to speak English with me.
In Indonesia I taught at the Jakarta International School; and finally the best job of my life, in Laos, where I taught French to littlies in Grade One right up to sophisticated Grade Tens – small classes, beautiful children, small school, bliss!
We retired in 1998 and returned to Canberra, spending winters away touring Australia in our caravan every year, and involving ourselves more and more in the opportunities on offer locally for our demographic. I was an office volunteer in Canberra U3A, attended many classes and ran units in Indonesian and Poetry, and saw the huge benefits for lonely older people in U3A, with friends, social life and new experiences in learning. So U3A was my first port of call when we moved to Melbourne in 2009 to be nearer our family, and I‘m very happy to be part of the Ross House mob enjoying working in the City. Besides being able to get to know our grandchildren better, Melbourne also offers great opportunities for our other passions of opera, baroque music, and bushwalking.
Nancy Hanson, November 2011