Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying. It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though! But after a couple of months of being back in England […]
“Dave, you’re my life role model and I want to be just like you!” I hear you all cry. Well, maybe your not expressing your feelings for me in those particular tones, but if you’re clicking on this link then you might be interested to know about me and how I got from a small village in God’s county of Yorkshire to the southern tip of Okinawa, Japan.
[thumb:504:r] Well it all started on a cold morning on February 3rd 1981. A child was born that morning, and the child’s name was David. With a head of golden hair and an intoxicating smile (see right), it was no wonder this child brought happiness wherever he went. With a loving family he experienced rapid growth, and 18 years later he had grown into a marginally respectable and reasonably smart young adult. Still wet behind the ears he went to Grey College at the University of Durham, making the mistake of choosing to do a degree in Economics.
The degree taught him much, the main thing being that he didn’t want anything to do with economics after he left university! So unemployment and working out what to do in his life beckoned in mid-2002. But then he got a letter sent out from the university asking for candidates to go to a distant island in the Maldives called Malhos to teach English. He thought it would be good interview experience and so pencilled in an application and rushed to the post office. Little did he know that 6 months later he would be sat on a runway at Heathrow airport waiting to fly to Male, the capital of Maldives. It should be noted that he wasn’t actually sitting on the runway and hoping he could sprout a set of wings like some modern-day Icarus, but rather sat in a seat in battery farm class on a Qatar Airlines plane. As the plane gathered speed and height and the ground got smaller out of the window, a couple of thoughts crossed David’s mind: “What am I doing? I don’t want to be a teacher, I don’t really like kids, and I’m not one for living in tropical countries.”
[thumb:88:l]A few days later and David was on a small boat being transferred from a resort (to which he had travelled by seaplane) to his island of Malhos. Upon setting foot on the island, he was subject to a number of small confessions. “Your part of the house you are staying in isn’t actually finished yet so you will have to stay in the island office. School will start in 3 days providing the school is finished. We think your first class will be teaching primary school English. This is the start of the academic year so these kids have never heard a word of English before, and you will probably be the first white person they have ever seen.” Piece of cake…
[thumb:56:l]2003 passed in a blur of teaching, snorkelling in gin-clear waters, making an armoury of weapons to kill rats that would invade my house (see left), and enjoying the varied diet of curry at breakfast, curry at lunch and curry at dinner every day. Contrary to his initial thoughts while sat on that metal bird all those months ago, he enjoyed his year teaching and wanted to continue. But where to go next? The world is a big place and David wanted his experience of the world to be a little different. So foregoing an IT support job in England flew in 2004 to the Land of the Rising Sun, landing in summer in the finding himself walking the neon-clad streets of Tokyo. Not being a big city guy though, David found his home to be in Okinawa, an island some 300 miles south of mainland Japan. There he was lucky enough to be employed at one of the top 3 high schools in the prefecture; a far sight from the tiny school in Maldives where he would get things thrown at him in class, students walking out of classes, getting spat on on one occasion etc.
[thumb:413:r]Time passed and David found enjoyment in his work, alongside traveling (preferably to countries a little off the beaten track… North Korea, or DPRK if you’re wanting to give them the full name, for example) and diving the waters around Okinawa. I 2006 he decided to add another string to the proverbial bow and spent a summer in Koh Samui, Thailand, where he became certified as a PADI dive instructor and first aid instructor. Each trip he made and experience he… well, experienced, broadened his horizons and made him a more worldy person and into the slightly-more-respectable-than-before man.
Alongside his love of diving and traveling is his long-time love of the game of rugby league. Following the same team as his father, the Wigan Warriors, he became an ardent supported who followed them home and away. Even here in Japan, weekends in Spring to Autumn will start on Saturday mornings at about 4am when, bleary eyed and quietly cursing at his alarm clock for waking him up, he will tune into BBC Radio Manchester online to listen into games. Jack Deardon and Phil Kinsella providing the soundtrack to his weekends and giving him memories of standing in the terraces, cheering his team on and inevitably argusing with his father over the performance and worth of various players.
And that is David’s life in a nutshell. Cars have recently become a fun part of his life, but more can be said of that in the “About my car” section. Thanks for taking the time to read this little profile of him.