About Me

by | Sep 24, 2021

Reading books, translating, and teaching



Believe it or not, I was only five when I started translating. My father hoisted me up on the desk of the government office of the moment, and I started translating. Those who immigrated to England at the end of the 1950s, like my family, frequently checked into many offices. Sometimes, I did not like what I heard. But I hid my tears and fears because I was so proud of being able to help my Dad.  After only two months, my mother told me, I spoke English for all the family.

the magic of reading

One life has never been enough for me. I think I was seven years old when I discovered the magic of reading. To borrow books from the public library, you had to have a clearance from your schoolteacher, a signed slip of paper. With that piece of paper waving in my hand, I danced along the road to the Wilmslow Public Library in Didsbury, Manchester. That first time, I borrowed two books that I will never forget, Robin Hood and His Merry Men and The Life of Florence Nightingale. Two books for two weeks, and with them, I stepped into my most exciting lifelong adventure. 

First in my family to have access to education, books gave me all the answers my parents could not give me. Books opened my mind to further questions and opened my life to thousands of experiences beyond my imagination!

Reading books, I have made friends with people I would have longed to meet. In real life. I have fallen in love with men living in a book and my wild imagination. Sometimes, I have had lovers; I am genetically faithful but have enjoyed being in other shoes. I have even found enemies. Isn’t it fun to have someone to hate now and then? I have travelled in space and time, I love History and Sci-fi, and I have travelled around the world when I couldn’t leave my home. With books, I have lived and still live the other lives I cannot have.

no degree

I tried hard and put all my ambition and energy into getting the university degree my whole family had worked and sacrificed for. The first time, I was 19 years old, and I enrolled at the Faculty of Mathematics. My dream was to be part of the new digital age. Two years later, I was the mother of two children and switched my major to Psychology, a more natural choice for my life change. Again, after a couple of years, I decided to concentrate on building a career. Many years later, in 2001, at the age of 48, when my kids left home, I decided to try university life again. Looking back to my life, I saw that what I loved most was teaching and translating, so I chose the Faculty of Foreign Languages. In 2005 going back home after taking a brilliant exam, I had an extremely quiet, not movie-like, heart failure. 

I finally learned the lesson and had to accept it. I was never going to have a university degree.

a life change, but not so much

There my life changed entirely, but there was something I did not want to give up. I got my Cambridge Celta Certification to become a certified English teacher, and I bet everything on teaching. And it was a good wager because it is what I still do today. As I say, even too often, to my students when I try to explain what it means to do a job you love, “… don’t tell anybody… but I would also do it for free.”

Today, there is this other life I have had the luck to experience: I love the slow, soft life as a granny, not only for the love of my family but because grannies tell stories. I love chatting about my life, this life full of books, lived in two languages that have entitled me to two souls. I must admit I secretly hope that one day my life experience will inspire a young woman or a young man and help them find their very own track, along with the courage to follow it, for as long as it takes.

© Photo copyright Patrizia Verrecchia. All rights reserved.