Michael Robb

I was born (as you know) in Chengdu on Dec. 2, 1948. My memory of the place is understandably hazy, as I left with Joan and my mother at the age of 8 months. We lived in Nova Scotia until 1958 when we moved to Seoul. After finishing high school at Seoul Foreign School in 1967, I attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, graduating with a B.A. in 1971. I was married to Alana Milne, (whom I had met at Mt. A.) in 1972. After she completed a Dietetic Internship at the Halifax Infirmary, and I did a B.Ed. at St. Mary’s, we took a CUSO posting in Mwinilunga, Zambia from 1973-1975, where I taught history and English, and Alana taught home economics. Our first son, Jesse, was born in Ndola, Zambia on Christmas day, 1974. Son number 2, Chris, was born in Halifax, October 5, 1976.

After returning to Halifax, I began a teaching job with the Canadian Armed Forces in 1976, teaching ESL and in later years, basic writing skills. I completed a Master’s in Adult Education at Dalhousie in 1984. In 1985, I took a year’s leave of absence and the family went to Beijing where I taught English for a Saint Mary’s University/CIDA project which brought Chinese professionals to Canada for further training. (The urge to re-visit China had always been strong, so I was very happy to have the opportunity). On our holidays, we traveled as much as possible in China, and in May 1986 we visited Chengdu. We were fortunate to be able to tour the university campus, see the hospital, and look through the building which, many years ago, housed the Canadian school. We walked up the creaky, wooden stairs to the second floor and peered into various rooms including one on the corner in which, I am informed, the Robb family resided. We returned to Halifax in 1986; I resumed my teaching job, and Alana eventually became the Manager of International Student Services at SMU as we watched our 2 sons leave the nest. I retired from my teaching position in August, 2007. Alana continues for the time being at SMU. I will accompany her on a recruiting trip to China in mid-October. We expect to see huge changes since we were there 22 years ago; unfortunately, we will not make it to Chengdu this time.


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