“Boys and Girls, I have to go out for a while. There is an interview I need be to attend for an opportunity. Go on with the fun, I’ll be back as soon as I could to join you all.”
After informing the group, I leave with a friend, Mae, to the interview. We arrive at a beach nearby for this interview for further studies sponsorship in Taiwan. According to Mae, there is no age limit in the requirement, so I can give it a try. All contestants are then divided into group, led by 3 interviewers. My group interviewers are 3 ladies, one of them assembled my nasty aunt, from my mother side. I keep quiet, following the group. We found a round wooden table nearby and settle down to start the interview session.
After brief introduction by one of the interviewers, she requests us to start by self-introduction. Since I was sit to her nearest left, so I will be the first to start.
“Hello all, my name is Rei. I attend this interview because there is no age limit for the contestant…” (Laughter from the group)
“..and I enjoy learning. I am a teacher now, I teach secondary school students. Before that, I have completed my four-years engineering degree. I like to deliver knowledge in the simplest, most comprehensive and effective methods. So far, my students love my method. I believe in simplicity and efficiency. If I were granted this chance to further studies in Taiwan, I would like to go for Child Development and Learning course to help students in even better learning. “
After my introduction, questions ask by the interviewers, I answer them without any doubts and rather confident. Suddenly, “what do you think you are doing here after your four-years engineering degree?!” Since my introduction, the most senior interviewer has never raise a question until now. Everything is silent; I can hear sound of waves hitting the beach and seagulls squawking for distant family. The other interviewers are pretending to look at documents as if the question is not part of the interview.
“I did go into engineering field after graduation. After 2-years, I found that job satisfaction in engineering line is very low. I didn’t like it. I mean, I still like the knowledge and learning in university, it’s just the working environment doesn’t suit me. So, I make changes. I am very contented and satisfied with my career now. Not only I teach the young ones new knowledge as a teacher, I also get to inspire them about learning and life. I want them to live their life, contribute to society and be happy in living.”
No word comes from the interviewers and other contestant, except for “HELP! HELP!” a man from the seashore waving to us and ask for help. I look back at the group, “Is there any more questions for my part? If not, I would like to excuse myself to help that man there.” Everyone looked at the senior interviewer, she nodded in agreement. After bidding thank you, I hurry to the man. We did a few checking together, apparently his boat stuck by some rocks in the water. I reverse the boat and give it some power by pressing onto the pedal; he pushes the boat away from the rocks with his bare hand. After several hard attempts, finally the boat is free to move. By the time I help him to load his items back to the ship; all of the contestants are gone and left the interviewers.
“Ahh, all of them is not what we are looking for. I will select a few names from the list and bring back to discuss with others.”
“What do you two think of her?” I can feel their eyes staring at my direction but I pretend I am too busy for eavesdropping.
“Umm… she is too… too old for her age,” mumbled one of them.
“.. she answer confidently but rather arrogant. She must be quite bossy and hard to work with,” followed by the other interviewer.
“Mm.. arrogant. Yes, she doesn’t even know what she is doing, given her qualifications. Silly girl!”
“I had crossed her name out in the list. She is not good choice indeed,” agreed by the others.
Once the man and I are done, we shake hands and separated. I head back to the round table, with a smile on my face. “Thank you for all your time for today’s interview,” I said, still the best smile on my face, and I shake all of their hands. There is a surprise look from all three of them. Before they could even start saying anything, I continued. “I came across many people that like to discuss the choices I made in my career. Many even questioned me but I’m very clear of what I am doing,” and that I don’t need to explain to anyone, I speak silently in my heart.
Out of agitation, tears are rolling at the back of my eyes. I’m not crying in front of these folks. I need to speak out! “Instead of searching for a happy life, parent instills ideas of money-making and professional career to their children. We only live this ONE life. We need to start living a life we truly love and stop chasing the money in career. When you love what you do, money will come; but time, time will slip away from you forever. I always asked my students, money versus time, which one is limited? Money is abundance on the world, it is human creation. On the other hand, time is scarcity, that’s if one is smart enough to figure that out. Again, thank you again for the wonderful reminder of how I need to live my life. All the best to you and your project.”
Just like that, I walk away from them. There are no more tears in my eyes, courage bursting on my chest. Adrenaline rushing to my brain makes my mind clearer than usual. I am wiser and smarter at this point of my life. I fought my own inner-battle (the lifestyle I chose) and express myself gracefully. Something I never did when I was younger. I am surprised that I could even talk back to them in a manners way WITH smile on my face.
On my way out, I found Mae. We talked about our interviews, I told her I’m not likely to get it but I’m feeling good!