Into the Story


El podcast para aprender inglés Into-the-Story-Episode-2-Bree's-story

Episode 2: Labels, Layers and Late-night Loots

En este episodio, Bree, nos cuenta una historia sobre dejar ir los prejuicios y etiquetas, aprender a vivir en el extranjero y descubrir que tus vecinos no son necesariamente quienes crees que son.

 Study & work in Canada

Bree y Raül te ayudan gratis a venirte a Canadá a estudiar y trabajar y así cubrir tus gastos. Let’s go!

Bec: It’s Bec here from AC Ingles. I’m a teacher and also one of the producers behind the Into the Story podcast! Normally, Bree will be here giving you the introduction, but today it’s my turn to host. You’ll see why in a minute.

When I imagine life along the Spanish coast, the first images that come to mind are of long walks on the beach, neighbours drinking coffee on the terrace and children riding bicycles in the streets. However, this beachtown story contains none of those things! 

In Bree’s case, what happened was closer to a scene from an action movie – helicopters, police and suspicious black vans. Today, we are going to hear Bree telling her story of how living in Spain allowed her to reflect on expectations of being labeled ‘the friendly Canadian’ and how one action-packed night changed her impression of her neighbours. We are calling this story ‘labels, layers and late-night loots’.

Before we begin listening, let’s talk about some of the vocabulary and expressions you’ll hear Bree say:

  1. pop up – this phrasal verb means ‘to appear suddenly’ – E.g. Annoying advertisements pop up from time to time on my internet screen.
  2. to come across – another phrasal verb meaning ‘to meet by chance’ – E.g. I came across an old school friend at the cafe yesterday that I hadn’t seen in ages.
  3. toss and turn – refers to ‘moving around a lot in bed as you try to fall asleep’ – When it’s hot at night, I toss and turn a lot before I can fall asleep.
  4. to hang out the window – an expression meaning to ‘lean out of the window’ – we usually use hang out to talk about meeting with friends but this is a different context and meaning you’ll hear Bree refer to.
  5. to catch someone’s eye  – an expression we use to mean ‘getting someone’s attention by looking at them’ – E.g. I caught the eye of the handsome man at the bar.

For each episode, you can get a full vocabulary list and listening comprehension activities on our website acingles.com, that’s la letra a, letra c, ingles punto com. OK let’s get into the story…

Bree: My name is Bree and I’m from western Canada from Calgary, Alberta. It’s right near Banff. Banff is a really beautiful place right in the Rocky Mountain that a lot of people. If you search Canada that’s one of the images that will pop up. So I’m from a very picturesque beautiful place. 

When I moved to Barcelona, one of the first things I noticed was that I went from being in a place where people understood my culture and where they were able to see more depth to me and not just my culture or my language, to a place where the first thing people would say to me would be, ‘Oh you’re from Canada. It’s always so cold in Canada! Oh you’re so friendly!’ because Canadians are very well-known for being friendly and kinda being reduced in a certain way to just where I’m from and that to be honest with you it really bothered me. Whenever I meet people I’m always trying to get to the layers. 

One day these English speakers show up. The house across the street from us has been for rent so I imagine that these guys are going to rent this house and when I approach them I say, ‘Hey, how are you are you? Are you new to the area?’. But they’re really cold and it’s really strange and I leave the conversation feeling just odd. 

It’s 4:45 in the morning, and we’re in fiesta season so there are sometimes kids who throw firecrackers on the streets at all hours of the night and it’s summer all the windows in the house are open. The baby has been tossing and turning all night so I was kind of a bit awake anyway. And it’s 4:45 and my eyes pop open to the sound of firecrackers, fireworks, pop pop pop – extremely loud.

My first thought is, ‘those teenagers down the street throwing fireworks… I am so mad… that the babies just gone to sleep and they’re going to wake him up’. I noticed that the tree outside the house is almost like in a tornado of sound and wind and there are leaves flying everywhere and then I notice that there’s an extremely intense light shining into my bedroom window. I jump out of my bed and I run to the window. I’m hanging out the window and my husband is also right next to me. So both of us are hanging out the window looking up at a helicopter hovering above our house. The propellers are making this crazy wind storm the light, the spotlight, is shining right into our eyes the helicopter moves the spotlight off of us but it continues to search. I can see it’s searching the neighbor’s house. Then I see it shining up and I imagine that it’s illuminating the forest just behind our house. Then I see another helicopter. So there’s two helicopters. While all this is happening I hear pop pop pop and I realize something’s wrong and these aren’t fireworks these are something much more sinister. These are gunshots or something else. 

I crawl army-style to the front room in our house that faces the street to try to get some sort of perspective on what’s happening and I peer out the window and I see right in front of my house. So between my house and the neighbor’s house, I see an unmarked black SUV parked diagonally between our house and theirs and I see that their garage is open fully and the lights are on and I continue hearing the pop pop pop and I can see that there’s a helicopter over top of their house. 

I feel my heart pounding against my rib cage like it’s going to pop out and all that I think is get back to the room. My husband is… runs upstairs to try to see what’s going on when he comes back downstairs he is frantic, he’s terrified. He sees that there are basically an army of Special Operations officers. So these are big 2 meter tall guys with full gear marching into our neighbor’s house. This moment the thought that’s going through my mind as I’m sitting there sitting on the floor against the door with my heart pounding out of my chest is, ‘I live in a world where I don’t have to worry about…’. Sorry, I don’t know why I got emotional there. All of this craziness go enemy is just a tiny little taster of what perhaps people have to feel. 

At this point with the adrenaline and the craziness going on and feeling unsafe I felt very very profound sadness. We spend about what feels like an eternity in this panic mode where you know at this point we don’t have the facts although we know is that there are helicopters there’s something going on at our neighbour’s house. I’m thinking are there is there going to be an explosion? Is there going to be shots that fly into a the window? What do we do? We go upstairs after the gunshots have stopped and from our living room we have a vantage point where we can see that the Special Operations officers are in the house. So the house always the shutters, the persianas, they’re closed but the persians are open and we can see them marching through the house very very clearly. We don’t see any of the guys but we still see the helicopter shining a spotlight and illuminating all of the mountain behind our house. So we imagine that they’re looking for someone. 

Eventually the sun starts to come out and the neighbors all start coming out of their houses and we’re looking at each other trying to catch each other’s eye to say, ‘What’s going on?’. Later that morning I’m sitting having my morning coffee in the living room and everything is still open because it’s so hot and as I’m having my coffee and listening to the investigators talk about what’s going on. Basically, I look out. I see a bunch of officers pull out massive bags of drugs and they’re photographing them. I I think, What was going on this whole time?’. These people, these people that were my neighbours that I didn’t know had so many layers! Beyond… have so many layers beyond what I will probably ever understand! Not only were they obviously involved in some crazy illegal activity but also what are their circumstances? What are the stories that they have? 

In our everyday life we we look at people and we label people and something about the way they look or the way they speak you kind of create an idea in your mind of who they are what they are. But people are so layered and people are so complex and they have so much more going on than we can ever possibly imagine. 

Bec: That’s all for today! Si te ha gustado este podcast y quieres seguir escuchando, puedes visitar nuestra pagina web, acingles.com donde tendrás todos los episodios de Into the Story. También encontrarás algunas actividades y materiales de cada episodio para ayudarte mejorar tu inglés. Thank you for listening, we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of this episode

‘People are so layered and people are so complex and they have so much more going on than we could possibly ever imagine.’

Learning materials

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