Just over eight months ago, right at the beginning of th ecalendar year, I was called in to the university during the break between semesters to teach a postgraduate / staff development session. It was the first week of January. Out of that session came a very inspired lady and I gave her a violin. (you can read that story here)
Some time later a friend of mine said – what happened to her? Did that story continue? – to which I honestly said, I don’t know, but maybe I’ll ask her one day.
One day came –
in the form of an unexpected email. I found the email a little surprising, definitely genuine, and also not unlike the experience of many people and definitely many students. Here’s part of our conversation and I’ll let you watch it unfold…
That lovely lady said:
I took a couple of lessons with a teacher and then I decided to continue going on my own at home but big surprise, I unfortunately have not done as much as I had intended! Am I OK to keep the violin for the time being, or do you want it back for the new academic year? If you’d like it back, I can bring it in on Tuesday, if that is convenient?
I replied with:
You are certainly welcome to keep it- that is for you!!!
…and I went on to tell her that I run a teaching module this semester so if she wanted to work with a student, there was a possibility of connecting her that way or with the people in my community orchestra… and I wished her well.
She wrote back immediately, and here’s where the uncertainty (and the bit that really surprised me) came in:
That is so very kind of you! I am not certain what you mean, about it being for me – I am still assuming it to be a loan for the time being?
At this point I reminded her why I gave her the violin. I said to her-
It is a present.You were extraordinary and I had an instrument and was very happy to give it to you- forever. Happy unbirthday! 😉
You can have it to learn on, to make noise on, to remember that feeling that you said – fuck it, I can do it too.
…You inspired me, the least I could do was inspire you back with a violin – and it doesn’t really matter if you use it as a long term instrument or as a symbol to keep hold of remembering that breath of fresh air moment.
It made me think of learning – that’s a gift you don’t see. There are so many gifts we don’t see, but seldom does someoone write back to tell you about it, so you never really know how or if it’s received. -and there are the gifts people don’t know they give. -I think that’s where it made me think of learning.