The Art of Learning

Posted on January 23, 2011


All day yesterday I felt a niggle in my knee so my run with Briony last night was replaced with coffee at Paul followed by a long browse in Boutique 1 … just in case we saw anything we ‘needed’. Briony did go for a plod afterwards whilst I stayed firmly in my ballet pumps and gave training a miss.

And again this morning, the niggle was there, which didn’t even subside after my codeine-sprinkled porridge (a novel Recipe for Pain). I attempted a short run with Fiona but short it was and really more an opportunity to de-brief following the weekend. By the time we parted, at the Lakes Club, the it had turned into outright pain so I resorted to hitching a ride home.

Clearly the Prado-driving, Prada-wearing Yummy Mummy’s in the Lakes aren’t used to seeing people hitch a lift, never mind, fathom actually picking someone up.

Standing there did bring back a host of wonderful memories of my teen years though … and in particular one ‘coming of age’ summer when my dear friend Charlie and I spent ‘les grandes vacances’ in France … apparently learning French at some top-notch language school. I remember nothing of the school but I do remember leaving no page unturned when it came to studying French boys and French wine. Happy days indeed.

Eventually a lovely man from Pakistan picked me up in his knackered white van. With his smattering of English, a bit of sign-language and the universal speak of smiling, we managed to have a nice little conversation. He had the most piercing blue eyes, despite his darker than dark skin. I told him they were beautiful and asked him how they were blue … he said his mother was a Pushtun.

Half an hour later and a bit of research on the net and I have learnt that Pushtun is the predominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. They have a high incidence of blue or green eyes and a host of other interesting characteristics to boot.

Who knew?

Learning new facts about people, their histories, lives and cultures is so much more interesting when you learn by experience, via real life people in real life settings, with our very own eyes.

This is no secret now that we’re adults … just a pity that once upon a time, our schools and teachers often forgot this. Had this been the case with Charlie and I, we may have spent more time studying our gender rules instead of taking the concept too literally and just chasing the opposite gender!

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