Parallel to that, languages have made the most difference in my life. Not only three mother tongues - fluent in all by learning before age six - but also three more from high school. And Latin helped usher my second career from geology I graduated in, to computers I have no formal training in. It's that constant change that fostered my perennial curiosity and made me a good listener, which in turn helped me care for clients. And last but not least, I was more adept at dealing with the multicultural long before globalisation was a fact.
“Andrew has a secret life on the Internet after hours.” That is because real-life people occupy my waking hours (family, community and work). So the virtual world that extends it will occupy my time before breakfast when I'm at home (I'm an early riser), or after dinner when I travel or live abroad (in my hotel room or rental flat). It is important for me to keep that sequence straight: meet the people first, then extend the relationship on-line. While that fosters virtual communities worldwide, relationships will never develop as fully when we only met on-line. It helps to remember that.
Yet a dear friend once said “nous sommes tous des atomes crochus”: we are all hooked atoms. We all affect each other. We interact day to day. “Across the street or across the world” as a mover's packing boxes once said. It is education - in-school (geology) and after-school (GIS) coupled with languages - that helped me navigate among rich and poor nations, or well educated and less educated folk. Is it not the constant and enthusiastic questioning - at the podium in a seminar or in the corridor outside a classroom - that keeps us alert and interested? “Learn something new every day” my grandma said, “and you shall stay young”. That is how education has helped me, and in turn, helped me help others.
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