I was brought up in a small village in Ulster, the second of three daughters. I think my parents were ‘humanists’ although they would not have used a label. In Northern Ireland, Ulster, we were a family of outsiders who did not go to any church, but also in the village were a family well-known, well-regarded and accepted. When I left home for university (at Queens, Belfast) the ‘troubles’ had not yet begun. When they did, my then husband and I were living and working in London, and had small children.
London is where I began my work-life and met the psychoanalytic people, friends, therapists, colleagues, who have influenced me most, though I have never become a qualified therapist. I moved into work as a psychodynamic practitioner, interested in change: people, communities, groups, organizations. But, I began as a teacher, five years in ‘nursery schools’, thanks to the then Inner London Education Authority, a return to my love of maths/science via a PhD in history of science with Heinz Post at what was then Chelsea College, University of London, then physics teaching, then to Edinburgh to become a teacher trainer. I thought I would be teaching ‘ways to teach science’ but it was then 1990, so I became a trainer of anyone, and any profession who came by. Hence, practice as a ‘psychodynamic practitioner’. I found myself teaching ’emotional education’ and ‘social justice’ by which I mean fair practice, anti-discrimination, celebration of difference, etc. and this is still my greatest interest though I think the way there has yet to be found, and that a variety of different processes, at every level from individual to community to government, will need to develop. I believe this includes understanding and using our feelings well.
I have never returned to live in Ireland, I feel I am from the one world, and do not feel ‘Irish’. My work, my family and my friends are my chief interests/occupations. Since retirement, my work is my passion for a fairer world. I feel like a scientist, and love its search for understanding where we live. I have three much loved sons and two very wonderful daughters-in-law, who come from opposite sides of the world, USA and China. I have three very beautiful grand-daughters, the USA family, and two grandsons, twins, born in China, and in a short life so far have moved several times between New Zealand (Palmerston North) and China (Guangzhou, Huaxi, Shanghai, Guangzhou again). I have been in all these places with them. I have two sisters, a niece and a nephew, and my niece has twice made me a grand-aunt. I spend much time with books, art or films, now with my laptop also, but enjoy most the variety of things that involve walking, cycling and outdoors. I am trying to learn Chinese, since 2004 have often visited my in-laws in China, have been to chinese schools in Beijing and Guangzhou and lived with chinese families.
I have one home in Edinburgh, and one in USA near where my grand-daughters live. Both are small apartments, get rented, or are shared between me and the lodger, as there is no way I can manage two homes otherwise. I might be visiting, China or New Zealand or Ireland are the most likely, but there are other places where extended family and friends live. And, a lot of other places I might like to see!
The blog tells you where I am at any one time.
3 thoughts on “My background”
You certainly have an interesting life! I envy your ability to travel as much as you do!
If I had asked twenty years ago what I would be doing in 2012, I could not have imagined how it would be… I do think when I see the reasons for not doing something, I look for ways to make it happen anyway. Isn’t that what you are doing in your family too, making things possible? Good luck with it, enjoy the present!