What is Your Passion?

There are so many books which discuss the importance of being motivated and how loving what you do in life means that you are not truly working for a living - Your are loving your living.Where does this "passion" and zest for a particular job or career come from? Is in built? Is it the influence of a teacher, coach, mentor or idol? Or is it innate? You either love what you do or you don't! My passions began very early on and I suppose it was the influcnce of my surroundings which lead me to fall in love with 2 of the 3 things I am totally and utterly absorbed with. The first one is my love for language and languages. My first language - the language I learnt to speak first is Italian. I lived in a household where Italian was spoken because my grandmother who lived with us, spoke no English. She would wave her British passport at anyone who visited us, yet could not string a sentence together. As my siblings and I got older, we made friends and started school which meant that Italian was being overtaken by English. Our family became bi-lingual with a very bizzarre combination of Roman dialect and Essex English being spoken by all of us. As I progressed through school, I found that learning languages was something that was very easy for me and so I went on to learn French at the age of 11. I was fortunate enough to have an aunt who lived in Paris and so from the age of 14 I was lucky enough to spend every opportunity I could being immersed in Parisian culture. My cousins would never allow me to utter a word of English or Italian which meant by the time I was 18 I was fluent. However, whilst my head told me I should be studying languages at University, my heart was cheating on that subject and was telling me that my future lay in food. From a very young age I alays found myself in the kitchen. My grandmother and mother cooked together exposing me to the delights of Italian cusiine. Perhaps cuisine is the wrong word. Italian cooking tends to be quite rustic. There were no measuring scales - everything was done through feeling, tasting and looking - it was very much an activity for the senses. And I loved it. being allowed to turn the handle of the pasta machine was a joy - my feet would be covered in a dusting of flour but it didn't matter because the result was magic - row upon row of golden fresh spaghetti. And so when my Mum was working, I wcould cook. I opted for Home Economics as one of my options and then studied A level Domestic Science which was a wonderful combination of science, environmental health and one and a half days of practical - sheer heavan. I had a teacher who inspired me and gave me a skill set that would lead me to become an expert cook. I combined my love of cooking with my love for the culture of the languages I spoke. Aged 18 I needed to pick a side and languages won over cookery. And so I embarked on my 4 year degree spending as much time as I could ensuring that I became as fluent as I could be in French and Italian, whilst immersing myself in everything from those countries that was food related. I was fortunate to spend time in France and experience the beauty that French wine and cuisine has to offer - from Reims to Bordeaux to Burgundy - my French Education was truly an education. Italy was my home from home - even the worst possible meal in Italy would always be delicious. The Italians have a much more relaxed approach to food and lunches would last for hours, especially during the hot summers. The ingredients that were used were always locally produced and fresh - the Italians were way ahead of their time with a resistance to pre-packed and processed food. Agri-turisimo was all the rage. I have been asked so many times whether I prefer France or Italy? French or Italian? And I am never quite able to pick because I am equally passionate about both. My third passion took my by complete surprise. I graduated in a year when there was arecession so I found it very difficult to find a job. My brother was already a qualfied teacher and I thought there could be no harm in following in his footsteps. I applied to study for PGCE and low and behold became a teacher. I taught 11 to 18 year olds - initially French and then Italian. My love for what I did was apparent - I taught in a very excentric way ensuring that the children I was teaching were exposed to culture - food - activites that bought the language alive. I was given the responsbility for cultural exchanges to France and Italy which is when I let my love for the languages I so adored run wild. The children did not just go on a French exchange they experienced vineyards, wine-making, mustard manufacturing, bread making, the Opera, football matches and so much more. It was an exquisite and most wonderful experience - to be able to show just how alive language can be. So many of my students went on to study languages at university such was their passion. Teaching and training is not something that was easy, yet when you are passionate about the subjects you teach, it makes it easier. Planning lessons so that they become unforgettable is a challenge - there is always room for improvement - it is a work in prgress. Training compliance, landlord and tenant law is very diffierent to teaching a forgeign language or perhaps it isn't because to some it does appear that the Law is from a forgein land. And whilst is is such a dry subject, it need not be boring and that's the art I truly enjoy - watching a group of adults get competitive over a pop-quiz about tenancy deposit protection. Some people are lucky to have one passion, I am truly grateful to have three and one of them just happens to be my job. Susie Crolla