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18. Siew’s Story: The Great Thing about Grandparents

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Episode 18: Siew's Story: The Great Thing about Grandparents

Nivel de inglés: Intermedio a intermedio alto
Acento: inglés malayo e australiano

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes escucharemos a Siew hablando de los recuerdos de su infancia. La protagonista, que ahora vive en Australia, creció en Malasia durante los años 60 y 70. En el episodio de hoy, aprenderás el significado de expresiones como ‘to muck around’ o ‘tomboy’.

Siew reflexiona sobre los sentimientos y valores que ha aprendido de vivir en una familia numerosa y nos cuenta muchos recuerdos, como la aventura de su abuelo y la serpiente que se encontraron en el jardín de la casa familiar. ¡Escuchemos su relato!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bec: Hi there. It’s Bec here from AC Ingles. Most of the time, I’m helping out behind the scenes of the podcast but I’m here to introduce a very special guest on today’s episode of Into the Story. Today you’ll hear a story from my mum, Siew.

In today’s story, my mum shares some curious memories from her childhood in the 1960s growing up in Malaysia as one of 60 grandchildren. Yes that’s right…60!

In today’s episode, my mum describes life as part of a big family including the excitement over dinner time at her grandparents’ house and the day she and her cousins discovered a giant python in the backyard eating their pet chickens. You’ll also hear my mum share her reflections on changing family values and her grandfather’s role as the husband of 2 wives and the father of 21 children. It’s amazing to think about how cultures, lifestyles and ideas evolve from one generation to the next and my mum’s story today is just one fascinating example of this. We’re calling today’s story, ‘The Great Thing about Grandparents’.

Before we begin listening, let’s talk about some of the vocabulary and expressions you’ll hear my mum Siew use:
Firstly, a brat. A brat is a name that we usually use in English to describe a child who is behaving badly. En español diríamos, un niño travieso o un niño consentido. You’ll hear my mum say that she was a brat when she was younger.
Next a tomboy. This is another description that my mum uses to talk about her character as a child. The word tomboy describes a girl who enjoys rough, physical or noisy activities that traditionally are associated with boys. My mum describes herself as a tomboy because she liked to climb trees and play outside in the dirt.
The next word is jewel. A jewel is a precious stone. For example diamonds are jewels. In her story however, mum uses the word jewel to refer to a traditional dish that her grandfather used to prepare at Chinese New Year called the 8 jewel duck. In this case the 8 jewels are the 8 ingredients that are used as the stuffing – el relleno – of the duck.
Squawk – The word squawk spelt S-Q-U-A-W-K can be used as both a verb and a noun. This word refers to the loud noise that bird makes – se diría un graznido en español. Listen out for my mum describing the chickens squawking loudly and reacting to the snake in their pen.
Finally muck around. To muck around is a phrasal verb that we use to describe when someone behaves or plays in a silly way with no real objective. For example your parents might say to you ‘stop mucking around and go and do your homework.’ En español se puede decir hacer el tonto. You’ll hear mum talk about mucking around with her cousins in the garden of her grandparents’ house.

As alway if you need more help with understanding the podcast, you’ll find a full transcript, vocabulary list, and listening comprehension activities on our website acingles.com/podcast. OK let’s get into the story…

Siew: My name is Siew Yeen Chai and I’m currently living in Melbourne Australia. But I was not born here. I was born in a small mining town called Ipoh in Malaysia. So Ipoh is a small little mining town that it has a large population of millionaires because these people made their wealth out of mining for tin and they are generally migrants that have moved from the south of China to Malaysia to seek their wealth.

I come from a very big family. My grandfather has 21 children and I have more than 60 cousins so we had a really good time. I had a fantastic childhood growing up in Ipoh. I was a brat. I was a tomboy who loved to climb trees and roll around in the dirt and go fishing and ride my bicycle everywhere. It is also important to note that my grandfather had 21 children because he has two wives. So my grandmother is the first wife and she had 14 children with him but then he thought he would bring in a second wife because it was fashionable in those days for young successful Chinese men to have more than one wife. So he went back to China and brought over another wife which is my second grandmother.

My grandfather migrated from China to Malaysia and as a cook and he worked as a cook in the tin mine before he made enough money to buy the tin mine and became the owner of the mine itself. So my grandfather is a man full of contradictions I feel because he is a traditional man in that he loved his children but more so favoring his sons rather than his daughter. Women take the secondary role of caring for the children and nurturing and are meant to be seen and not heard. He also has very modern views in that although he favors his son over his daughters he believed in educating all his children and my mother and all my aunties were lucky enough to have received a formal education all the way to college and university.

And another contradictory trait of my grandfather is that he loved to cook. So generally cooking is seen as the woman’s domain. His house had an open kitchen on the outside in the open air and it’s built on concrete and the concrete has got a place where you can place the wood and generate the fire and the pan is placed on top of that and of course to accommodate a wok that is more than one meter in diameter the stove has to be fairly large as well so it’s the size of a small room. I remember one year for Chinese New Year he cooked us this really famous dish called 8 jewel duck for the first time. He deep-fried the duck in oil and then he stuffed the duck with 8 different delicacies that included lotus seeds that included lotus root as well as longan which is a Chinese fruit that is really sweet and so he used to stuff this duck with the eight delicacies and that’s why they’re known as the eight jewel. He would have prepared about 6-7 ducks to feed the whole family and I remember it very vividly because it’s the best tasting dog I have ever tasted in my life. When my grandfather cooks, all the children hang around the kitchen waiting for little tidbits to fall off the stove so that we can pick it up and eat it.

My grandparents lived in a really big house that has about 10 bedrooms and it is a typical mansion in a tropical country where the house is surrounded by a verandah on the outside all around the house with an orchard at the side. One Saturday afternoon it was a really hot day and I was playing with a whole group of my cousins and we were just squirting each other with water running around the garden when we heard a loud commotion coming from the chicken pen inside the orchard. And we could hear chickens squawking and carrying on and we could see feathers flying out from the chicken pen. So my cousins and I, there were about 10 of us, ran into the orchard and peeped into the chicken pen. We could see this shadow of a long slim cylindrical shape moving very slowly and when we moved closer we could see the shape, the cylindrical shape, was actually that of a giant snake that’s almost three meters long and this giant snake was trying to swallow a live chicken. We were terrified so we ran screaming away from the chicken pen screaming for the gardener to come and kill the snake and so the gardener came with his torch and a giant stick. So he came and shone his torch into the chicken pen and we could see the snake swallowing up the whole chicken and I could, we could see this bulge around his top part of his body and it was still wriggling and writhing around inside his body. The gardener laughed and he said that this snake would be harmless for the next few days and true enough this snake lay dormant inside the chicken pen for the next two days trying to digest this chicken that he had just swallowed whole.

I had such a good time when I was a child. It was so carefree. We just played like children mucked around like children and spent a lot of quality time with my cousins. I left Malaysia when I was 18 years old. Half of my beliefs would probably be shaped by spending my formative years in Australia. I’m brought up in a different era. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I was in my grandmother’s shoes where my husband would have brought home another woman and expected me to live with this other woman. I don’t think I would have tolerated that but then I can’t really say if I was born in the era where my grandmother was born whether I would have done anything about it and whether I would have just quietly accepted my fate.

I believe in raising children who are able to think for themselves and who question values that they do not think is right. I believe in equality whether you’re born male or female. I realized the contradictory aspects of my grandfather’s upbringing. I believe that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge someone for the practices and their beliefs because their beliefs and their views are shaped by a lot of experiences and a lot of traditional upbringing so we have to appreciate and accept the differences in all our beliefs and not be too quick to judge.

Bec: Since moving to Australia at the age of 18 to study at University, my mum has achieved so much. She completed her PHD in Sweden, raised my sister and I, for the most part, as a single mum and built a successful professional life for herself as a scientist and lecturer. Nowadays, my mum is an associate professor at the same university she attended as a student over 30 years ago. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Masterchef and spending time in the kitchen preparing her traditional rendang beef curry – another delicious Malaysian specialty.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from my mum, Siew, as much as I enjoyed recording this episode with her. Y si te ha gustado este podcast y quieres apoyarnos, déjanos 5 estrellas y suscribete a Into the Story en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida para recibir todos los episodios nuevos. Thank you so much for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

‘I had a fantastic childhood growing up in Ipoh… I was a tomboy who loved to climb trees and roll around in the dirt and go fishing and ride my bicycle everywhere.’

Siew

To muck around

Y la expresión que hemos escogido esta semana es… ‘to muck around’!

Por una parte, si alguien te dice en inglés ‘Stop mucking around!’ esto significa que estas haciendo el tonto y que deberías estar haciendo algo más práctico y sensato. Este phrasal verb ‘to muck around’ se suele usar para describir el comportamiento de los niños, e implica además, que estar perdiendo el tiempo jugando o actuando incorrectamente.

Como por ejemplo, ‘a los padres no les gusta que los niños pierdan el tiempo cuando deberían estar estudiando’ se podría decir en inglés ‘parents don’t like the kids mucking around when they should be studying’. Otras expresiones con el mismo significado serían ‘to fool around’ o ‘to muck about with’.

Por otra parte, cuando no se trata de un phrasal verb, la palabra ‘muck’ (sustantivo) significa ‘tierra’ o ‘suciedad’. Como por ejemplo, ‘after the football game, there was so much muck on the children’s shoes’ que sería ‘después del partido de fútbol, había tanta tierra en los zapatos de los niños’.

Siew utiliza la expresión ‘muck around’ para describir su infancia y los días sin preocupaciones en Malasia, jugando con sus primos en el jardín de sus abuelos. Siew nos explica cómo le gustaba jugar con agua y escalar por los árboles en el huerto de su abuelo. Veamos cómo Siew utiliza ‘muck around’ para recordar estos momentos:

I had such a good time when I was a child. It was so carefree. We just played like children mucked around like children and spent a lot of quality time with my cousins.

Learning materials

¡Suscríbete a nuestro podcast Into the Story para que no te pierdas el próximo episodio!

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Marina, Raül y Eva y ¡nuestra storyteller Siew! 

Curso intensivo de inglés en AC inglés

Apúntate a nuestras clases de inglés GRATIS para conseguir un nivel upper-intermediate o aprobar el B2 First de Cambridge

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17. Christine’s Story: Stuck in the Station

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Episode 17: Christine's Story: Stuck in the Station

Nivel de inglés: Intermedio a intermedio alto
Acento: inglés canadiense

 

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes, Christine, una verdadera aventurera, nos relata su viaje por todo el mundo durante los años 80. En el episodio de hoy aprenderás el significado de expresiones como ‘to get into trouble‘. 

Nuestra protagonista empieza su historia en la frontera de la Unión Soviética y Polonia. Christine, junto al grupo de viajeros, se encontraba en el tren a punto de salir de la estación, cuando se acordó de algo que debía hacer antes de salir del país. ¡Escuchemos sus aventuras y cómo lo hizo para cruzar la frontera sin pasaporte!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: If you ask any traveller what would be their worst nightmare while traveling overseas, it’s likely that many will respond, ‘to be stuck in a country, far from home, with no passport’. In today’s episode, we hear Christine’s story of how she unexpectedly ended up in this exact situation: without her bags, without her passport and without a warm coat on the border between Poland and, what was at the time, the Soviet Union.

In today’s story, Christine talks about being a young adult, travelling around the world solo and what it was like to be a traveller passing through the Soviet Union in the 1980s. You’ll hear Christine talk about long train journeys, strict rules for currency exchange and train stations guarded by soldiers carrying big machine guns. We’re calling this episode: Stuck in the Station.

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

1. firstly a bunch of – bunch is a word that refers to a collection of particular things. For example, we can say a bunch of grapes – un racimo de uvas. But there is also a more informal use of the word bunch that means un monton de algo. Christine talks about saving a bunch of money in order to travel.
2. next ruble – spelt R-U-B-L-E is the name for Russian currency. At the time of Christine’s story, rubles were used as the main currency in the Soviet Union.
3. border – the border of something refers to the outer edge of an object or place. For example we could say that there was a border of flowers around the house. We can also talk about the border of a piece of land or the border of a country – la frontera. In fact Christine’s story took place at the border between Poland and the former Soviet Union.
4. corridor – a corridor refers to a narrow strip of land or a passageway. You’ll hear Christine talk about the corridor leading up to the immigration counter that she had to pass through to return to the train station.
5. and finally ‘to get into trouble’ – to get into trouble means to encounter a difficulty or a problem. This could be something wrong, illegal or forbidden. For example, you could say that the children got into trouble for eating all the cookies or the woman got into trouble with the police for not wearing her seatbelt. To get into trouble.

One last thing before we listen to Christine’s story. When we record the podcast, we ask storytellers to speak clearly, but also as naturally as possible. And sometimes this means that they speak a little bit quickly for our listeners. A really useful feature on Apple Spotify and Google Podcast is the option to slow down the speed of the audio. And as alway you have the transcript, vocabulary list, and listening comprehension activities on our website acingles.com/podcast. OK let’s get into the story…

Christine: My name is Christine. I had finished university and I had worked quite hard and saved up a bunch of money and I decided I wanted to travel and so I actually travelled right around the world on my own. I was pretty open to new adventures, new experiences. I felt like I had a reasonably good sense of when I was going into situations that were dangerous. I wasn’t a particularly fearful person. I left Toronto in September and I traveled through, I stopped in Vancouver and Hawaii and Fiji and New Zealand and Australia. I went to Bangkok and then flew to Hong Kong where I spent some time and then I got on a train in Hong Kong and took the train from Hong Kong to Beijing up through Mongolia and then up into Irkutsk where we stopped for several days.

And all of this at that time was in the Soviet Union and it was very controlled so the tickets were purchased through the Soviet government. The Soviet Union at that time was quiet, there was not any significant unrest so I didn’t feel unsafe at any time. There were other times on this trip I did feel unsafe but once I got into the Soviet block, no, because it’s so tightly controlled, you know, there were people watching me who were from the police. We were not allowed to get off the train in any place but where we had permission to.

At this stage we are on a train going from Moscow to Berlin and in the car with me there were two Australians and a Swiss guy. As we got to the Polish border, in… when you cross borders at that time, the immigration people come through the train and they take your passport and so you sit on the train and they get off the train with everybody’s passports and that was fine, except that we had rubles. We had Russian money and when we had changed… when we had bought the money, you’re obliged to buy cash as you go into the Soviet Union at that time and they tell you very very firmly and very strictly that you have to change it back. You’re not to take the rubles out of the country. The two Australians were like, ‘erghhh I’m not worried about it’. But the Swiss guy and I were like, ‘no no we have to change this money’! And so we went to get off the train and the lady in charge, she didn’t speak any English or any language that the Swiss guy spoke either. But she was like ahh go that way.

So we ended up, the two of us, running because we don’t know how long the train is going to stay there for. We don’t know when it’s leaving. We don’t know if we have 5 minutes or half an hour. So we’re running through the, through the train station sort of waving money at people going where do we change the money, change money and they say they head us down a certain point like this way and that way and this way and we get to the bank and we change the money successfully into American dollars and we go to go back to the train and we discover that we’ve crossed into Poland. We’re no longer in the Soviet Union.

I don’t know how we did it. There was nothing that obviously said you’re leaving the Soviet Union or you’re entering Poland we just sort of went down hallways where we were pointed to. So this Swiss guy and I and I end up in this little narrow corridor and we don’t have a passport. We don’t have wallets. We don’t have any kind of ID. It’s February in the Polish-Russian border. We don’t have coats… and like I had a few American dollars, that’s it. And at that time as when you went to a border crossing in the Eastern Block, you, you would walk into a narrow corridor. The immigration official is behind their sort of a desk height shelf and then a glass pane and there’s no one behind the glass. And the doors are locked and like, once you are in you can’t get out again. Right, you are stuck in there and banging on the glass ‘hello hello’. And the train station it’s a typical big train station with a very high ceiling so this has a false roof… they are walls without a roof right? So you can hear, you can see the roof far above you. We bang on the glass for a while saying, ‘hello hello’ and nothing much happens. And we’re… we’re quite worried that the train is going to leave without us. We have no idea how long it’s going to wait and neither of us wanted to end up in this tiny little village on the border of Poland and Russia with nothing but the money in our hands. That would have been bad.

I decided that the best thing to do would be to climb up so I could look over the wall at the people on the other side and sort of say can someone come to the immigration we’re in here. And so I hopped up and put one foot on the doorknob and one foot on your desk and pulled myself up over the top of the wall. And the Swiss guy behind me was freaking out. He was like, ‘Christine no, no, no, no, no! Don’t do this!’ And as I peered up over the top of the wall, I heard all of the soldiers, on the other side, of course are carrying machine guns. You can hear the safety come click, click, click off all of the machine guns as they turn and aim them at you. And I’m like hi! We’re… pointing at the train because I can see it going. We’re off the train we need to get on the train. And they are all looking at me with their guns pointing at me. And there’s this Russian military woman who came up and pointed at me to get back down again which I did and the Swiss guy was like ‘thank God, Christine please no!’. After a while, I got back down. The Swiss guy wiped his brow in relief and the door opened behind the glass pane and this man came through. He had a big belly and his pants were tied below his belly and he’s wearing a white tank top and it’s dirty and there are food stains down the front of it. Like a total cliche and he’s scratching himself and he looks at us and we are looking at him going you are the one who is going to save us. And he goes, ‘passport’ and we say ‘on the train’ ‘they are on the train! We don’t have passports, they are on the train’. So he goes out again and we can hear rumbled conversation in the background and eventually comes back in and sort of waves us to go through and the door clicks open and we run out and all the soldiers are there and I’m like waving at them as I run by like ‘hey it’s me again’ and the lady who is in charge of us on the train. I don’t…. I suspect she would have gotten into trouble if she had lost us because she was really upset that we had not come back to the train much faster. So she basically grabbed us by our clothing and threw us onto the train.

And the Australians were like oh we were really worried about you and yeh we said, ‘yeh we were really worried about us too’. And they said to us, well we decided what we were going to do if you didn’t get back on the train. We were going to take all of your things and throw them out the window so you could get them. It would have been much better if you had… how would you have reported us as missing when you got to Berlin if you had thrown everything out of the train.

Right now, I’m sitting in my boat with my husband and my dog and we are in a little tiny town in Poincy on the river Maine outside of Paris. We’ve been living on our boat for two years. We hope to take the boat down the Danube all the way to the Black Sea and into the Mediterranean and then and it will be in the Mediterranean and we want to visit Turkey and Greece and Croatia and Italy and then I don’t know what we’ll do. Maybe we’ll go down to Tunisia and come back or go down to Morocco on the boat or go back up to France or, or or, I mean that’s, that’s that’s at least six years right there.

So I guess my moral of the story is that we look at the EU now is that this sort of thing… I mean yes there borders that you have to go through and we’ve all gone through borders as we fly. But with the European Union, we don’t have to do this anymore. You can just get in your car and drive and go from one town to the next. So yeh, the EU is a great thing. And if someone misses the train, keep their ID so you can report them. Don’t throw it out the window into the countryside!

Bree: As Christine mentioned, she does in fact live on a sailboat with her husband and their dog Stella who you may have heard playing in the background. At the time we recorded the story, she was in France hoping to come down to Catalunya for the winter to spend time on dry land with her kids, exploring the mountain areas and avoiding the colder months at sea. We wish Christine all the best on her future adventures!

Si aún no los has hecho suscribirte ahora a Into the Story en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida. And if you love this podcast, and we really hope you do, leave us a rating and review. Thank you for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

‘So we ended up, the two of us, running because we don't know how long the train is going to stay there for. We don't know when it's leaving. We don't know if we have 5 minutes or half an hour.’

Christine

To get into trouble

Y la expresión que hemos escogido esta semana es… ‘to get into trouble’!

‘To get into trouble’ es un modismo muy común en inglés que se puede utilizar de maneras distintas. ‘To get into trouble’ es sinónimo de ‘meterse en líos’ y se refiere a encontrarse en situaciones complicadas o problemáticas. Como por ejemplo, podríamos decir: ‘she could get into trouble with his friends if she doesn’t apologise’, ‘ella podría meterse en un lío si no se disculpa’.

Además, ‘to get into trouble’ se utiliza para hablar de situaciones ilegales o prohibidas en las que alguien puede ser sancionado por su acciones. For example, ‘I don’t want to get into trouble with the police for not wearing my seatbelt’ ‘no quiero ser sancionado por la policía por no llevar puesto el cinturón de seguridad’. O si quiero decir en inglés ‘solía meterme en problemas con mis maestras por no haber hecho mis deberes’, podría decir, ‘I used to get into trouble with my teachers for not having done my homework’.

Hemos escuchado a Christine describiendo a la supervisora del vagón que se encargaba de los turistas en el tren. Nos cuenta cómo la señora se puso nerviosa cuando ella y su compañero no regresaron al tren a la hora prevista. Veamos cómo Christine utiliza ‘to get into trouble’ aquí:

‘I suspect she would have gotten into trouble if she had lost us because she was really upset that we had not come back to the train much faster. She basically grabbed us by our clothing and threw us onto the train.’

Learning materials

¡Suscríbete a nuestro podcast Into the Story para que no te pierdas el próximo episodio!

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Marina, Raul y Eva y ¡nuestro storyteller Christine! 

Curso intensivo de inglés en AC inglés

Apúntate a nuestras clases de inglés GRATIS para conseguir un nivel upper-intermediate o aprobar el B2 First de Cambridge

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16. Andrew’s Story: Feeling fine

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 16- andrew's story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 16- andrew's story

Episode 16: Andrew's Story: Feeling fine

Nivel de inglés: avanzado
Acento: inglés australiano

 

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes, Andrew nos cuenta todo lo que ha aprendido viviendo en el campo en Australia. Aprenderemos palabras típicas relacionadas con este entorno como ‘bonfire’, ‘dodgy’ o ‘footy’.

Después de haber pasado casi toda su vida en la ciudad, Andrew se fue a vivir a la campiña australiana. El protagonista nos relata momentos únicos: cómo se sorprendió con la cantidad de vacas que encontró y con la oscuridad del cielo de la noche en los llanos ¡Escuchemos sus primeras impresiones y cómo aprendió a vivir en este nuevo entorno!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: Backyard bonfires, dark star-filled skies and lots of cows. These are some of the lovely memories that our storyteller, Andrew, shares with us in today’s episode about his time living and working in the Australian countryside.

In today’s episode, Andrew talks about the wonders and challenges of moving out of home for the first time and starting a job at a country hospital in the small town of Colac. After spending his whole life growing up in the big city, Andrew tells us about learning to spend time on his own and how he realised that family, friends and fun come in all shapes and sizes. We’re calling this episode: ‘Feeling fine’.

Before we begin listening, let’s talk about some of the vocabulary and expressions you’ll hear Andrew say:
Firstly, to look out for – Andrew’s story is full of phrasal verbs and this one of them. To look out for means to take notice or watch over someone usually with a level of care. Another common expression with a similar meaning is ‘to keep an eye on someone’ – estar pendiente de alguien. Andrew talks about moving out of home and realizing that he needed to start looking out for himself.
Next, Dodgy – Dodgy is an informal adjective we use to describe something or someone that is suspicious, dishonest or of bad quality. For example, you could talk about a dodgy internet connection or a dodgy car salesman. Dodgy.

Bonfire – A bonfire is a big fire lit outdoors usually as part of a celebration or to burn rubbish. Una hoguera en español. Typically in many English books or movies they talk about children toasting marshmallows and telling scary stories around a bonfire.
Footy – F-O-O-T-Y Footy is a nickname that Australians use to refer to Australian football. This is a sport that looks a little bit like rugby but involves bouncing the ball in addition to throwing and kicking it around a big grass oval. Andrew mentions watching and playing footy as a typical weekend hobby of many Australians.

And finally to come to a head – To come to a head usually refers to a problem or difficult situation reaching some sort of critical moment or stage that some action needs to be taken to change what’s happening. Llegar a un punto crítico en español. In his story, Andrew talks about his feeling of loneliness coming to a head when he broke up with his girlfriend. To come to a head.

As always you have a downloadable transcript, vocabulary list, and listening comprehension activities on our website acingles.com/podcast. OK let’s get into the story…

Andrew: G’day I’m Andrew…I just started working at the hospital in Colac and I and it was my first time living out of home and I was just sitting at the table having breakfast with one of the dieticians who worked there and before we’re heading into work she looked across at me and said, ‘before we go in you should probably iron your shirt’! And that was kind of the first time I kind of realised that, I don’t know, I was out of home and I needed to sort of start looking out for myself.

Colac is a very classic Australian country town. One main street, a couple of pubs, one supermarket and then around it, lots of farms. Big dairy industry, cows, cows for milk and lots of sheep as well. And I’d always, always lived in Melbourne and I was looking, looking for work around Melbourne but there wasn’t really anything available.

My, my girlfriend at the time had moved out towards the west of Victoria, the state that I lived in, so it kind of made sense to be out that way. I stayed in the accommodation that the hospital had put me up in for a couple of weeks and then eventually a really nice lady that I worked with, one of the physio assistants, said that she had a spare room at her place.

So I rolled up to this, to their property and they had this big beautiful kind of homestead kind of big house at the front. Really beautiful brick house, really big chimney. So I was actually really, I was really excited. Then I drove past that, down the really long driveway they were on quite a big block to what turned out to be my flat which is essentially probably the size of my bedroom now so.

But the whole place! So one one small bedroom single bed and then a really really tiny bathroom and toilet and then a really small kitchen and living area. No internet. Pretty dodgy mobile phone signal. No heating for a lot of the time and then a couple of months after I moved in the oven broke as well. So that was my home for the 14 months.

It took a little bit of adjusting. Melbourne’s a really big vibrant city. Really cosmopolitan. Like I lived at home with my family and I had a really big network of friends that I saw really really often. A standard weekend in Melbourne would be maybe going out for dinner or meeting friends for brunch or coffee or going out at night time to a few different bars. There’s lots of really good nightlife in Melbourne. So it was definitely different leaving that and going to a really small place like Colac.

One of those things that they like to do out there was bonfires. So what they’d do during the couple of weeks is they’d gather everything up either that was kind of like old rubbish they didn’t need or scrap bits of timber or old furniture things like that and then in the back half of Trevor and Di’s property, they basically had what was a big empty field. So everything would just get piled up into the middle of the field during the week and then every, every fortnight normally on a Friday night they’d have a group of family and friends around and we light up the bonfire and everyone would just stand around and have a couple of drinks and chat next to the bonfire all night. I don’t think it was my first experience but I think one of my first regular experiences of when the sun goes down it’s actually dark.

This always seemed really strange to me as something to do when I saw in movies and stuff when people would go out and just lie on their back on the grass and just look up at the sky like at the stars. But that was something I started to do. Really beautiful starry sky, massive fire in the background, lots of really beautiful warm people around.

Trevor and Di, the people that took me in, were just the most beautiful incredible people. So I I would describe Trevor and Di as classically Australian so they’re in the mid-50s, adult kids, Di had shoulder-length dyed blonde hair and then Trevor pretty much always in the same outfit of flannel shirt, khaki work shorts, work boots and just just really into classic Australian male hobbies so the footy, fishing. We would spend every weekend going into the forest to cut firewood – just really friendly.

Something I found, just the effects of being away from everything that was familiar, was really challenging. That was definitely something that I found, I found quite difficult was I think spending lots of time alone and that being quite new whereas normally I’d be really social, seeing people all the time and I think that kind of really came to a head as well when about halfway through the year my girlfriend and I broke up and that exacerbated that, that kind of feeling of being alone. Initially I’d get home from work at 5:30 and I might go for a walk or something then have dinner and then and then go to bed basically when it got dark.

So I think there were times that it was really challenging and I was feeling really lonely and it wasn’t that great. So after we’d, Just after we’d broken up, and I can remember just being inside cooking dinner one night and there was a knock at the the sliding glass door behind me and it was Trevor standing there with a couple of beers and he handed me a beer, came in and sat down with me and chatted for 30 or 40 minutes. I think that brought it home as well even though I was away from who I would normally think of as familiar as friends and family is that I’ve found kind of another really good for another group of really important people as well.

So I found, I found lots of things to get involved with. I actually started coaching a kid’s basketball team. In my, in my actual alone time, I think I just got a lot better at trying to find things that were meaningful and and just being comfortable with that so I taught myself the guitar, spent time playing basketball by myself but just just just being comfortable that I didn’t have to be around people all the time to kind of be happy. 

I left Colac for the last time and then drove away knowing that it had been a really really positive experience and taking with me lots of friends that I’ll, I’ll have forever and I think a lot of confidence in skills I got in terms of just being independent were helpful when I when I did eventually move home from Colac and move overseas. I was able to take a little of those things with me as well.I think there’s, there’s very little, to be honest, that people from the city could teach people from the country. I think they’ve definitely got all the knowledge and wisdom. So I think a couple of things that I, I definitely learned were that strawberries and other fruits grow from flowers and that there are many more than one type of cow.

Bree: After moving away from Colac, Andrew has since explored South East Asia, worked in London and backpacked across Europe, not on his own but with his new girlfriend, Amanda. The couple now live their version of the Australian dream in the suburbs of Melbourne, where they live together with their newly bought home, a vegetable patch, worm farm and their lovable adopted greyhound named Granny.

Gracias por haber escuchado la historia de Andrew. Si aún no lo has hecho suscribirte a Into the Story en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida. And if you have a story to tell we’d love to hear it. Send an email hello@acingles.com. Thank you for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

‘This always seemed really strange to me as something to do when I saw in movies and stuff. When people would go out and just lie on their back on the grass and just look up at the sky like at the stars. But that was something I started to do.’

Andrew

Bonfire

Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana es la palabra… ‘bonfire’!

Cuando hablamos de ‘bonfire’ o ‘campfire’ en inglés hacemos referencia a las fogatas o las hogueras. ¿Alguna vez has visto en las películas a los niños asando unas nubes de golosina en la fogata? ¿O quizás has escuchado a alguien contando historias de terror al lado de la fogata en la noche?

La tradición de ‘bonfire’ puede tener un significado diferente para cada cultura o región. Por ejemplo, en España se celebra el festival de San Juan y la llegada del verano con hogueras nocturnas. En otras culturas, las fogatas forman parte de una tradición de Navidad o son típicas en las acampadas en el bosque.

En el podcast de hoy, hemos eschuchado a  Andrew hablando del ritual de hacer ‘bonfires’ los viernes por la noche con Trevor, Di y su familia en el campo australiano. Nos cuenta cómo solían recoger leña, sofás abandonados y cualquier tipo de restos para alimentar el fuego y cómo pasaron la noche charlando y tomando unas cervezas alrededor de la hoguera. Veamos cómo se utiliza la palabra, ‘bonfire’ aquí:

‘So everything would just get piled up into the middle of the field during the week and then every, every fortnight normally on a Friday night they’d have a group of family and friends around and we light up the bonfire and everyone would just stand around and have a couple of drinks and chat next to the bonfire all night.’

Learning materials

¡Suscríbete a nuestro podcast Into the Story para que no te pierdas el próximo episodio!

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Marina, Raul y Eva y ¡nuestro storyteller Andrew! 

Curso intensivo de inglés en AC inglés

Apúntate a nuestras clases de inglés GRATIS para conseguir un nivel upper-intermediate o aprobar el B2 First de Cambridge

Publicado el Deja un comentario

15. Harry’s Story: Biking and Brioche

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 15- harry's story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 15- harry's story

Episode 15: Harry's Story: Biking and Brioche

Nivel de inglés: intermedio alto a avanzado
Acento: inglés británico 

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes, Harry nos relata su aventura en bicicleta por Francia y cómo hizo frente a los imprevistos con los que se encontró. En el episodio de hoy, aprenderás expresiones interesantes en inglés como el significado de ‘creature comforts’ y ‘throw a spanner in the works’.

El protagonista nos cuenta una serie de acontecimientos curiosos y a veces, incómodos, durante un día en particular de su viaje. Según Harry, estas adversidades son las que hacen una aventura emocionante a recordar y gracias a los momentos difíciles, uno aprende a apreciar la seguridad y el confort su vida diaria. ¡Escuchemos sus aventuras por Le France!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: Today’s story begins at a train station in Toulouse, France. It’s 6am in the morning and our storyteller Harry is arguing with the train station conductors, asking them, begging them, to let him and his bike onto the train.

In today’s episode, we hear about a day from Harry’s adventure cycling through the French countryside and the unexpected obstacles and people he meets along the way. In this story, you’ll hear Harry talk about the difficulty of eating croissants while cycling and how he narrowly escaped a night sleeping outside in the forest. We’re calling this episode ‘Biking and Brioche’.

Before we begin listening, let’s talk about some of the vocabulary and expressions you’ll hear Harry say:
Firstly ‘off the top of your head’. Off the top of your head is a colloquial expression used to describe when someone does or says something, without thinking about it carefully. You’ll hear Harry talk about the train conductor asking him off the top of his head to pay a fee to get on the train with his bike. 

Next, ‘quid’. The word “quid” Q-U-I-D is an informal British word used to refer to the British pound. You’ll hear Harry being asked to pay 30 quid. You’ll hear how Harry uses the work quid to refer to money in general.
Saddle. Saddle is a noun used commonly to refer to the seat of a bicycle or a motorcycle. A saddle is also the structure used to ride a horse. A saddle.

To ‘throw a spanner in the works’. To throw or put a spanner in the works is a great informal expression in English that we use to refer to something that causes a plan to go wrong. A spanner, or wrench in North America, literally refers to the tool that we use to help us grip or release a screw – una llave inglesa. Harry talks about the heavy rain that throws a spanner in the works of his plan to sleep outside. A similar expression in Spanish would be ‘poner palos en la rueda’. Throw a spanner in the works
And finally ‘soggy’. Soggy S-O-G-G-Y is an adjective to mean wet and soft. For example, after the rain, the ground is usually soggy to walk on. In Harry’s case, the sandwich he had in his pocket was soggy after he rode to town in the rain. Soggy.

As always you have a downloadable transcript, vocabulary list, and listening comprehension activities on our website acingles.com/podcast. OK let’s get into the story…

Harry: So the plan was to take a train from Toulouse to Bordeaux and then cycle about 200km to Niort. The day starts at my friend’s house where I’m staying and I’ve got to get to the station for 6 a.m. to get this train but what I don’t know is that taking a bike on the train in France is an absolute minefield. This is a big train with 20 carriages and only two bikes, and at 6 a.m. at 5 p.m. to get there and the train guy is saying sorry there is no space on the train. And I’m almost on the verge of tears, I’m so tired. This is a disaster. 

I’ve got everything planned later. If I don’t get to this place Niort, this town in the middle of France, everything is going to be very hard for the following days and so I’m just begging him and begging him and he says alright go talk to the boss man over there. I’m saying I want to put this bike on the train, it must be possible, I’ll do whatever it takes, I’ll take it apart. I’ll stand up and the bike can have the seat whatever and they say hmmm… well… have a look at the train. Alright then alright then, we’ll let you on. But you gotta pay 30 quid and he looks like he’s just made up that number off the top of his head and he’s like well it would be 10 in the ticket office but you are late so 30 quid to put the bike on. So I get the bike on!

The bike, the great thing about the bike is that you don’t have to plan months in advance. You know, you can, you can be a little freer. Especially after those long months of quarantine, I was, I was pretty keen to get a sense of freedom. It changes your routine completely. It gets you into a different rhythm. In the morning it’s lovely on the bike because you are full of energy and you feel very peaceful. The light is very, very nice in the morning. It’s a good temperature for cycling and you can go quite fast and you… if you like, you are in one of those idyllic adverts or something for sportsgear, cycling along and you think, ‘oh when am I going to do that!’ and there you are.

I packed really light because I knew I was staying in either a friend’s place or in these little hostels on the way. So no tent or anything like that. Just got a 10 litre bag on the saddle, a couple of small bags on the frame which is stuffed with leftover croissants and brioche and things. I did try a few times thinking, I could save time if I eat whilst I’m still going. I don’t know how they do it on the tour de France. It’s actually quite difficult. You have to keep a hand on the wheel, you’ve gotta eat the thing, your mouth is incredibly dry and gurgh, gurgh, gurgh, practically choking to death and you think, ‘fine then, I’m going to stop’.

I got to this restaurant in the middle of this nowhere. It’s a small village, somewhere between Bordeaux and Cognac and there’s a lady there and she’s looking… Everything is looking very nice. I feel oh maybe I’ll have lunch here. I’m actually early! You have to be very careful about what time you eat your food as it’s very precise. Everybody tends to eat between midday and 1:30 and in Spain I’ve been used to the 3pm lunches and stuff and 9 or 10 p.m. dinners and in France it is very specific hours. It’s 11:45 and I think surely at midday because I’ve already had this experience of being turned away. Midday they’re going to be saying it’s a good time to eat. I think, Harry, you’ve done well here. You’ve actually understood the French hours for eating. 

This is going to be a great success. But she says to me that the restaurant is fully booked and I couldn’t believe it because the restaurant is empty at this point and surely I can just go in before anybody comes. She says you don’t have a reservation then it’s not possible, sorry. I sit on the side, sit on the side of the road and have a sandwich from the, from the little corner shop. There is hardly anybody in this that I’ve seen for all morning. It’s really in the countryside. Then amazingly at 12, the restaurant is full and all the room people have arrived within 10 minutes. Apparently the whole town and the surrounding towns dine there everyday. It must be a good place.

So the thing that was really, throwing a spanner in the works, later in the day, was that I realized that my accommodation for that evening in the, lovely, Niort, had been cancelled and I’m thinking bullocks I have nowhere to sleep tonight. But it’s a nice sunny day, I’ll just sleep in the forest. I thought I’d just go into the forest, make a little lean tool, maybe put some sticks, leaves and sticks against the thing and pop the bike there. I didn’t have anything to sleep in so I thought I would just rough it for one night, it would be alright. But it really started raining really really heavily and it was really really cold ‘cos something that happens as you move up France is that you cross a certain river and the weather changes quite significantly from the north and between the north and the south and it was just bucketing down.

I had to get, I had to do this last 20 km on the main road and I’m really cold and really wet and I’m thinking, crap, that forest plan is not going to work. The forest, the forest plan… I am looking at the forest, the forest looks thoroughly uninviting! So I’m thinking, I thought, the best plan now is to just go in and maybe I can chat to some people and befriend them or something and see if someone’s got a sofa that I can crash. I’m pretty tired and I’m going from bar to bar trying to find one that has got a bit of life in it. I find a bar and I get talking to a group of youngish looking people and I’m thinking these guys are really nice, really interested in bikes as well. I made the mistake of choosing the bar near the station and about quarter past eight oh they also I better be going, I’m going back to Paris tonight and ah good luck with finding a room. 

So off they go and… off they go and I’m left there with the barman who is quite keen to close and sort of just edging, they’re doing that thing you know when they close one table at a time, making you feel thoroughly unwelcome all of a sudden and so I’m desperately looking on like airbnb or something for a place and luckily right at the last second, somebody responds saying borgh, go on then, are you already in Niort? Alright, go on then. And it’s not too expensive or anything. And so I go there and it’s much better than the forest. The guy is really nice. Bless him, he gave me some dinner as well when he saw a soggy sandwich that I pulled out for dinner.

I think those unexpected adventures are kinda what makes the trip a little bit exciting when you look back on it. Yeh relish those things that go wrong because ultimately it’s those moments of discomfort that make us appreciate the security and.. and ah creature comforts that we have. That’s why I try not to plan too much in advance or just get a skeleton idea of what I’m going to do and then hopefully, all those little improvisations that you do along the way, bring a little bit of magic.

Bree: Gracias por haber escuchado la historia de Harry. ¡Nos encantaría saber qué te ha parecido este episodio! Puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a hello@acingles.com. Si aún no lo has hecho suscribete a Into the Story en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida. Thank you for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

‘...the great thing about the bike is that you don't have to plan months in advance... I was pretty keen to get a sense of freedom. It changes your routine completely. It gets you into a different rhythm.’

Harry

Creature comforts

Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana es ‘creature comforts’.

Cuando usamos la expresión ‘creature comforts’ hacemos referencia a las cosas del día a día que pueden hacernos sentir cómodos y felices. Por ejemplo: un entorno familiar, nuestra manta favorita o los osos de peluche.

Si alguien dice ‘I don’t like camping. I don’t want to give up my creature comforts’, esto significa que ‘creature comforts’ son las cosas de su vida cotidiana que no dispone durante un viaje de estas características, desde su comida favorita hasta el baño particular. 

En este caso, Harry usa la expresión ‘creature comforts’ para hablar de los elementos diarios que hacen su vida diaria más fácil y cómoda. Después de un día largo y complicado en bicicleta, lo único que buscaba era la oferta de una cena caliente y una cama donde pasar la noche. Son estas adversidades que hacen le apreciar la comodidad. Veamos cómo usa la expresión:

‘I think those unexpected adventures are kinda what makes the trip a little bit exciting when you look back on it… ultimately it’s those moments of discomfort that make us appreciate the security and.. and creature comforts that we have.’

Learning materials

¡Suscríbete a nuestro podcast Into the Story para que no te pierdas el próximo episodio!

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Marina, Raul y Eva y ¡nuestro storyteller Harry!

Curso intensivo de inglés en AC inglés

Apúntate a nuestras clases de inglés GRATIS para conseguir un nivel upper-intermediate o aprobar el B2 First de Cambridge

Publicado el Deja un comentario

14. Andrea’s Story: Underwater, Under Pressure

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 14-Andrea's story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 14-Andrea's story

Episode 14: Andrea's Story: Underwater, Under Pressure

Nivel de inglés: intermedio a intermedio alto
Acento: canadiense

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes, Andrea nos relata una gran aventura bajo las profundidades del océano en Playa del Carmen, México. En el episodio de hoy, aprenderás expresiones como el significado del phrasal verb ‘gasp for air’.

La protagonista nos cuenta cómo se quedó sin aire, y sin bragas, bajo el mar durante una inmersión de buceo. ¡Escuchemos su historia en un entorno mágico a 60 metros de profundidad bajo del mar!

Andrea ha viajado por todo el mundo con la serie de televisión Sobrevivientes como instructora de buceo. Hoy en día, vive en St. Louis en los EE.UU con su marido y sus dos hijos.

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: Thanks to its vibrant sea life and stunning coral, the notorious Playa del Carmen, Mexico attracts scuba divers from all around the world. At 18 years old, our storyteller, Andrea, set off on her own adventure in the Gulf of Mexico to explore its oceans and become a professional diver.

In today’s episode, we hear about how an innocent day of sunshine and suntanning on the beach resulted in Andrea deep underwater with her daredevil friend Marco, both of them running out of air and wondering why she didn’t have a bathing suit on! You’ll hear Andrea describe the magic of being so deep in the ocean and the importance of putting safety first as a scuba diver. We’re calling this episode, ‘ Underwater, Under pressure”

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

Buoyant – Buoyant, spelt b-u-o-y-a-n-t, is an adjective we use most commonly to describe something that is able to float in a liquid or stay at the surface of water. In Andrea’s story, you’ll hear her talk about using weights in her pockets to stop herself from becoming buoyant in her wetsuit. Buoyant
Sheer – Sheer has a few meanings in English. It can be used to describe something light or delicate as in ‘a sheer fabric’ or it can be used as a synonym to pure as in ‘sheer happiness’. In today’s episode, Andrea describes a sheer drop-off underwater – una caída alta de golpe o un acantilado escarpado. Here she’s talking about an underwater cliff that goes straight down. With words like sheer, it’s important to listen to the word in context to determine its meaning.
Stunning – Stunning is an adjective that we use as a synonym to words like ‘impressive’ or ‘amazing’. For example, you could say that from the top of the mountain, we had a stunning view of the landscape.
To gasp for air – This phrasal verb refers to the action of trying to catch your breath, usually with your mouth open. Runners often gasp for air after a race or if you have been underwater for a long time, you will probably gasp for air when you come to the surface again.
And finally, to sink – To sink refers to the action of falling to the bottom of the sea or some form of water. You’ll hear Andrea describe the moment of watching her weights sink into the ocean.

As always, if you want to get the most out of, si quieres sacar el máximo partido de, Andrea’s story you have a full transcript, 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…

Andrea: I was 19 years old living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and I was in the middle of taking my divemaster course. This is a course that allows you to take scuba divers on an excursion, a dive. I had a friend who was an instructor at the school that I was taking the course at and his name is Marco and he was very adventurous, fun, exciting, Italian that lived, that came from Rome and he was doing a season at this school. 

So it was one of my days-off and I was at a beach. So I was suntanning and I wasn’t around anybody. It was just a very remote beach. Anyway a beautiful day and I was wearing ah, very very small bottoms… almost non-existent bottoms string-like I would say. Anyways I was suntanning on my sarong. That’s all I had and from a far distance I heard Marco yelling my name, ‘Andrea!’, he was so excited, ‘Andrea, Andrea’ and like, ‘come on let’s go’ so I put my sarong back on, wrapped up, stood up. He said, ‘come with me we’re going diving’. He said, ‘we’re doing a really deep dive on the wall’. 

So the wall is just a sheer drop off. Probably about 200 feet from the shore. He had hired a 14 year old boy, with his ‘penga’, which is a small boat, to take us on the dive and I just quickly said well I don’t have any of my gear. I don’t have my wetsuit and he’s like I have everything ready at the dive shop. He said you can use my wetsuit. So his wetsuit is a 5mm meaning that it’s just the thicker and a thicker wetsuit makes you more buoyant. In any case, I put his wetsuit on and I put extra weights in my pockets. He had his dive watch, the dive watch just controls your time, your depth. 

We jump in the water. Unfortunately my weight belt fell off okay that’s fine we can deal with this cuz I had a couple of weights in my pocket. This dive is absolutely phenomenal that water is so clear. I want to say that visibility is well past a hundred feet. It was absolutely beautiful, stunning.

So we’re just going further down further down kicking, kicking I’m following Marco and I just now, I start hearing his dive watch beeping beep beep beep because we are way too deep 120 ft., 140 ft., 180 ft. It’s just becoming phenomenal I mean the corals are just different than they are closer to the surface. It was so clear and it started getting really dark. Beautiful deep, deep blue and you cannot… it was just thousands of feet to the bottom. 

I started getting Narcosis. It’s something that happens when you dive when you go to those death. A lot of people explain it as being kind of drunk and quite happy and that’s also a reason why going as deep is so dangerous and it made me feel like I was kind of like in Alice in Wonderland like just entering this place that was so magical. 

At this point I remember Marco told me to stop and he was, believe it or not, going to go deeper so I just sat there and I looked up at the water above me and look down. I was just watching Marco and listening to his beeping getting quieter and quieter. I was just there by myself and I remember looking up and I could just almost see the surface of the water was so clear.

 I just remember just seeing the sky almost and you couldn’t even besides the bubbles that you were exhaling, it was crystal clear you couldn’t even see it… didn’t even feel like you were in water. When I heard Marcos watch the beeping get louder and louder and he was, he was coming closer and closer to me and honestly he just grabbed the back of my tank and we just started ascending. We started going up quite fast. 

Normally the process would be a slow kicking. You basically want to slowly come to the surface and you always have to do a safety stop and because of the depth we went to we had to do 4 safety stops. At about the third safety stuff, I started to become incredibly buoyant. This is what I really started noticing that my lack of weights was a huge problem. I was really running out of air. I was struggling. I was breathing way too much just to stay down. 

I was swimming upside down trying so hard to stay down we were holding each other’s vests. The currents were getting a little stronger. While I was upside down, the two weights that were in my pockets fell out. Now, we’re, we’re watching these weights just sink into the abyss and we just look at each other in the face and we knew this was a huge problem. 

So now I cannot stay down. I am completely buoyant because I’m just swimming so hard and we’re literally looking at my air. It’s just dropping. I’m a minutes away from running out of there I was quite scared and Marc was holding on to me and I run out of air. I take my regulator out and I grabbed his alternate and now we’re both breathing on his tank. We  somehow communicate at this depth that I need to get rid of this wetsuit. This wetsuit is just like holding up a ball under the water at this is what it’s feeling like but it’s wrapped around my entire body. 

So I turn around so he can unzip it I peel, I’m peeling it off and I completely even forgot I was naked. I turned, once I flip upside down to peel it off my ankles, I was just looking at his eyes. His eyes were so wide because they had no idea that I didn’t have a bathing suit on underneath. But I just remembered laughing it was quite funny and basically now we’re looking at Marco’s air supply and it is going so fast because now there’s both of us breathing off of his tank and I, I had to go, I had to go up 44 ft all I had in my mind was getting to the surface and getting that second breath of air. 

I’ve never felt more like Little Mermaid my entire life when I burst out to the water, I just remembered gasping for air and all I could see was this big boat. There’s seven young American guys on a fishing charter and they were all standing there, just staring at me with their mouth open. Like where the heck did this girl come from! And I just pulled myself up and fell in, like, like a like a fish and I just laid on my back and I was just breathing and I was exhausted and then I looked up again and these guys their jaws were still open. They had no idea where I came from; they were probably very confused about why I was naked. 

Now we’re looking for Marco’s levels. Before we could even put too much thought into it he came up we were helping him onto the boat. Now we’re both sitting and hugging each other and we’re like touching each other’s faces saying, ‘Are you okay? We just started laughing. We cannot believe what has happened. I wish there was more of a lesson in this story but it’s probably just kind of stupidity… and don’t do it, don’t go to 290 ft on one tank.

Bree: Gracias por haber escuchado la historia de Andrea. ¡Nos encantaría saber qué te ha parecido este episodio! Puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a hello@acingles.com. Si aún no lo has hecho suscribete a Into the Story en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida. Thank you for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

‘I've never felt more like Little Mermaid my entire life when I burst out of the water. I just remembered gasping for air and all I could see was this big boat.’

Andrea

To gasp for air

Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana es el phrasal verb ‘to gasp for air’.

Repasemos rápidamente ¿qué son los phrasal verbs? Son verbos compuestos. Esto quiere decir un verbo (como por ejemplo: go, come or take) que va seguido de una preposición (at, on, in) o un adverbio (away, back). Estos verbos suelen tener un significado distinto del verbo original.

En este caso, ‘gasp’ tiene diferentes en inglés. Por un lado, en el contexto de un evento sorprendente o inesperado, ‘gasp’ puede significar ‘un soplido’. Por ejemplo, Raül gasped when he saw a shark in the water! Por otro lado, el verbo ‘to gasp something’ significa susurrar o decir algo en voz entrecortada.

A la vez, ‘gasp’ se utiliza también para describir ‘una bocanada de aire’, ‘a gasp of air’. En esta aventura, Andrea usa el la expresión ‘to gasp for air’ para referirse a la dificultad de respirar. Veamos cómo usa esta palabra para describir su respiración después de llegar a la superficie del mar:

‘…when I burst out to the water, I just remembered gasping for air and all I could see was this big boat. There’s seven young American guys on a fishing charter and they were all standing there, just staring at me with their mouth open. Like where the heck did this girl come from!’

Learning materials

¡Suscríbete a nuestro podcast Into the Story para que no te pierdas el próximo episodio!

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Marina, Raul, Eva y nuestro storyteller, Andrea.

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13. Charlotte’s Story: Pack Up, Push Forward

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 13-charlotte's story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 13-charlotte's story

Episode 13: Charlotte's Story: Pack Up, Push Forward

Nivel de inglés: intermedio bajo a intermedio  
Acento: italiano-francés hablante

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes aprenderás expresiones como el significado de ‘to embrace’ en español ¡y otras palabras muy útiles para introducir en tu vocabulario!

En este episodio, Charlotte comparte con nosotros su historia y cómo se vio obligada a escoger entre dos caminos muy distintos. La protagonista nos cuenta porqué rechazó una oportunidad única de ir a trabajar en Nueva York y eligió una aventura en la otra punta del mundo, en Australia.  ¡Escuchemos su relato!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: For many young graphic designers, including today’s guest, Charlotte, working and living in New York City is a dream come true! When a 2 month internship came along, Charlotte jumped at the opportunity to move to Brooklyn to try to make her American dream a reality.

In this episode, we’ll hear about Charlotte’s sudden change of plans and how she ended up rejecting a glamorous job offer in New York for a year of adventure and self-realization in Australia, a country on the other side of the world that she knew very little about. Today, Charlotte tells us what she learnt from her fork in the road experience and how far she’s come. We’re calling this episode, ‘Pack up, Push forward’.

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

Firstly, handle. In English the verb handle is used as a synonym for manage. We often talk about handling a problem or handling a situation. Handle can also be used as a noun to mean a tool to grip something with, like a bike handle or a door handle.
Next, sponsorship. Charlotte talks about receiving sponsorship from her employer in New York to go and work there. In this situation, sponsorship is used as a noun to refer to the support that the company offered Charlotte to allow her to stay and work in the United States.
Working-holiday visa. A working-holiday visa is a type of permission that allows someone to visit a country and stay longer than the average tourist. It is a common visa for travellers going to Australia. People with a working-holiday visa have the opportunity to work short-term jobs to save some money, hopefully allowing them to travel around the country. Working holiday visa.
Loan – The word loan can be used as both a verb and a noun in English. As a verb, loan means to give money or an object to someone with an expectation of it being returned in the future. A library loans books. A loan is also what we call the money or thing that is borrowed. You’ll hear Charlotte talk about taking out a loan to fund her trip to Australia.
Finally, embrace – the word embrace has 2 key meanings in English. It can mean a hug, un abrazo o abrazar or it can mean to accept willingly. For example, Charlotte talks about embracing new opportunities and unexpected moments in life. Embrace.
Just a quick note about today’s audio. On Into the Story we aim to showcase the stories of English speakers from all language backgrounds, from all around the world. In Charlotte’s case, she is currently in Melbourne, Australia, far away from her home countries France and Italy. We spoke to Charlotte online so you may notice that the sound quality isn’t the best. In any case, we are sure that you’ll enjoy listening to Charlotte’s lovely accent and her equally lovely story.

As always, if you want to get the most out of, si quieres sacar el máximo partido de, Charlotte’s story you have a full transcript, 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…

Charlotte: My name is Charlotte. I’m an Italian and French graphic designer. In 2017, I had an opportunity to go work for a designer in New York City. New York City for me was a little bit like the dream city for every designer and even just like walking through the streets of Brooklyn and seeing like all the… the creative studios, the galleries and all the opportunity that the city can bring to a designer. New York City can be a huge step for my career.

My job was quite complete but it wasn’t exactly what I loved to do in my field. While I was in New York I had a lot of spare time with this work. It wasn’t really a full-time job so I decided to apply for a lot of work there and at the end of my journey there, at the end of my 2 months, a company called me and offered me the sponsorship.

I remember I was in this small little bedroom in Brooklyn and I was just super excited, of course. I arrived, you know, to do my goal. So this company was a communications company in New York. A basic graphic design and communications company. But the position was interesting, I speak with the founder. We have even a really good feeling. We were quite connected. He’s French so I speak a little bit in French with him, everything was very well.

I received the contract and the contract is not what we spoke about. The conditions are not great, the salary is very low and so I get stressed and I was quite anxious because I didn’t know a lot how to to handle the situation so I called some of my American friends that were living in New York and I asked them, ‘do you, do you know if it’s something usual or not?’ and they all told me that no this wasn’t at all usual and even more with a salary as low, like, in New York it’s impossible to live in. I felt very bad. I felt like, very disappointed.

I decided to decline the offer with no plan B like I really didn’t know what to do. So I decided to check online and I saw that there is a visa the Working Holiday Visa with Australia. It is quite easy to have it. I think I never thought about Australia in my life, really. I know it was there. I knew there were some kangaroos there and the beautiful landscape. That’s it. For me it was way too far from my home country. I didn’t want to go as far as that. But maybe it can be a good challenge. I saw that Melbourne is a really creative city. I had no plan b so why not, let’s try it.

So I organise everything. I even like leave my apartment, sell all my furniture, everything. I buy the tickets, the flights and I receive a phone call from a company with whom I was in contact with in New York and they called me and offered me the sponsorship. I… I was a little bit blocked, I didn’t know a lot… at that moment I was very honoured to have this second sponsorship but in the same time I was feeling like I wanted to go to Australia.

I wanted to live this challenge. I wanted to put myself in risk, you know, in danger and so they explained to me the contract. The contract is even more very interesting because it’s a really good salary with great conditions. It was a contract for 4 years. So it was a big changing… was life-changing, you know. Or I got to Australia, I have a loan, I don’t have a job. Really no security. Or I go to New York with a 4 year contract so the opposite, a lot of security and I… I choose Australia!

I arrived in Melbourne. It’s beautiful weather, we start to meet some people so it was nice. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, like I start to live in a home with six or seven other people and just one bathroom. So quite… quite funny in a sense and I start to sell Christmas and New Year’s Eve hats on the street and it really put me inside the Australian vibe because I met a lot of people. I had to stand there with 2000 hats so 100 in each arm. One hat, of course, I was wearing to sell it, a little cup to receive the money in one hand and that was it!

It was very far from what I was looking for in Melbourne but it was fun. It was a fun first job but thank God I didn’t have to do that for one whole year. Life wasn’t as easy as I thought but it also was what I was looking for. I was feeling good. I was out of my comfort zone. I was fighting for what I wanted really deeply inside of me and I also realized that when you are alone when you’re really far from your home you really discover what you want. I understood what I wanted and I just started to fight for it.

Right now I’m in Melbourne, I met my boyfriend after a few weeks that I arrive in Melbourne, I’m working in the field that I love so graphic design and web design and I’m just feeling very grateful for all this experience. I think I really learned about the experience of coming to Melbourne by seeing that yeh maybe sometimes life is not what you planned but you just have to embrace it.

Bree: Gracias por haber escuchado la historia de Charlotte. Nos encantaría saber qué te ha parecido este episodio. Puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a hello@acingles.com. Puedes suscribirte en Spotify, iTunes o tu plataforma preferida. Thank you for listening, until next time we hope you have a good time, or at least, a good story to tell.

Quote of the episode

“I was out of my comfort zone... I also realized that when you are alone when you're really far from your home you really discover what you want.”

Charlotte

To embrace en español

Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana… ‘to embrace‘.

Esta palabra en inglés hace referencia a dos significados. Por un lado, ‘to embrace someone’ significa abrazar a alguien. Lo podríamos utilizar como sinónimo del verbo ‘to hug’. Por otro lado, ‘to embrace something’. Esta última se usa para describir la actitud de aceptar algo voluntariamente o de mostrarse conforme con una propuesta o una situación. 

Charlotte utiliza la expresión ‘to embrace’ para hablar de sus experiencias en Australia y cómo aprendió a dejar que la vida siga su curso. Veamos cómo la usa: 

‘Right now I’m in Melbourne, I met my boyfriend after a few weeks that I arrived in Melbourne, I’m working in the field that I love, so graphic design and web design and I’m just feeling very grateful for all this experience. I think I really learned about the experience of coming to Melbourne by seeing that yeh maybe sometimes life is not what you planned but you just have to embrace it.’ 

Learning materials

More about our guest

Si quieres saber más sobre Charlotte clica aquí.

Este episodio fue producido por el equipo de podcast de AC Ingles: Bree, Bec, Raül y Eva ¡y nuestra storyteller Charlotte!  Si te ha gustado este episodio de nuestro podcast para aprender inglés, clica el botón para escuchar más historias y aprender nuevas expresiones y vocabulario en inglés.

Curso intensivo de inglés en AC inglés

Apúntate a nuestras clases de inglés GRATIS para conseguir un nivel upper-intermediate o aprobar el B2 First de Cambridge