If you are very lucky in life, you get to combine two things that you are passionate about into a long term career that you can do anywhere in the world and can easily fit into an already busy family schedule. This is my dream. This is my friend Sam’s reality.
And the kicker is that it is such a beautiful thing that she does. Sam is a dancer who took her love of dance and married it with a strong desire to teach and voila, she became a dance teacher. Yup I’m going to admit this up front. I am incredibly jealous. If she wasn’t such a lovely person I could maybe hate her for having not one, but two, clear passions in her life. And a supportive husband and three great kids. Wow, maybe I should hate her.
Sam started dancing at a very young age in Scotland. She started with ballet then highland dancing then added tap and eventually jazz. She danced right through until she was 17 competing in highland dance and completing her RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) exams in ballet. When she finished school she was thinking about becoming a teacher but she still found it hard to move away from dance and ended up doing a three year dance program in her home town of Edinburgh.
As we walked in the beautiful fall sunshine, with her sweet little dog Dougal, she told me how she trained in Edinburgh and eventually auditioned in London for a job dancing with the Princess Cruise Lines. Although she still wanted to become a teacher, this opportunity was not one to turn down. Being paid for doing what she loved and seeing the world at the same time. Who wouldn’t?
FYI-none of these pictures are actually of Sam
So this shy girl from Edinburg took a plane from London to LA and started training for work on the cruise ship line. She worked for them for a number of years, eventually meeting her husband and making life long friends along the way. Although she loved the work, when an opportunity came up back in Edinburgh for her to get her teaching degree she took it. She was able to go to school during the winter and continue working on the ship in the summer.
I’m starting to think that this women may have a fairy godmother in her back pocket. And yes I’m still jealous.
For the next ten years she taught primary school, ran her own dance school and had three kids. That would have continued had her husband’s job not brought her and her family here to Vancouver. And that’s where we met.
Sam, or Miss Sam as the girls call her, is teaching my daughter ballet this year and I couldn’t be happier. When I asked my daughter how her first class with her was she said “Great, but Miss Sam is pretty strict”. Yes, I thought, that’s perfect. I know that being a good dancer does not guarantee that you will be a good dance teacher but I sense that her approach will work well with my girl.
“Everybody, every child, learns differently and so the way you teach them needs to be different too”.
I came away thinking how incredibly lucky she was to have been able to take her loves and this great approach to teaching and have something she will be able to do for years. But then, as it usually does, it came to me. Wow, she is a good teacher,because I just learnt something. The Best Thing in Life is not to be jealous of somebody else’s life but to learn from them and admire their passion.