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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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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: inglés 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.

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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12. The AC Story: How to get from A to C

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 12- the ac story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 12- the ac story

Episode 12: The AC Story: How to get from A to C

Nivel de inglés: intermedio a intermedio alto
Acento: inglés canadiense  y hispanohablante

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes Bree and Raül nos cuentan la historia del nacimiento de AC academia de inglés y cómo la idea de empezar este proyecto juntos, se convirtió en una realidad. Aprenderás expresiones interesantes como el significado de ‘go with your gut’ y la importancia de decir ‘gut’ y no ‘guts’!

Escuchemos a Raül y Bree contando sus experiencias – lo bueno y también lo duro – durante los primeros años de AC y todo lo que aprendieron hasta ahora ¡del proceso de tener su propio negocio!

Transcripción del Podcast

Bec: Hi there, it’s Bec here. I’m one of the teachers at AC Inglés and also a producer of the Into the Story podcast. Regular listeners will be used to hearing Bree’s voice at the beginning of each episode. But today I’m here to introduce our 2 very special storytellers, Raül and Bree herself. Without giving too much away, I hope you enjoy the show and let’s get into the AC story…

The year was 2010, Raül was on his way to Australia to pursue a dream of living in a surfer’s paradise and Bree had left Canada and moved to Spain to do a year abroad after University. In this episode, we’ll hear about the moment those plans changed and how their idea of building an English academy together became a reality.

In today’s episode, Raül shares the memory of his childhood friendship with Georgina that sparked a curiosity in different cultures, English language and Kitkat chocolate bars.  On the other hand, Bree tells us how she came to discover language teaching as an adult and how she dealt with criticism and feeling imposter’s syndrome as a young entrepreneur. This is not so much a story about AC the business. Instead it’s a story about the couple who built it. We’re calling this episode, ‘How to get from A to C’.

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

Firstly, a flat-share. A flat-share is an expression we use in English to describe an arrangement between 2 or more people living together in the same flat or apartment. You’ll hear Bree talk about living in a flat-share when she first arrived in Barcelona. 
Next, a locker room. Bree uses this expression, locker room, to describe the appearance of the first English academy that she and Raül opened. Lockers are those small secured cupboards – una taquilla – where students or people at gyms keep their bags safe. A locker room. 
Exhausted. Exhausted is an adjective that we use in English to mean 2 key things. It can mean very tired or it could mean that all your supply of something is used up – se dice agotado en español. 
Next, Imposter’s syndrome – This term describes a feeling of self-doubt or feeling like you are not intelligent or worthy enough to be doing something successfully. Many people often feel imposter’s syndrome when they first start at work. You’ll hear Bree describe feeling imposter’s syndrome in the early days of running AC.
And finally ‘go with your gut’. This expression means to trust or follow your intuition or instinct. For example, you could say that, when making difficult decisions, I often go with my gut instead of following the advice of others. 

And, as always, 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…

Raül: My story with English started when I was little. We had these neighbours who were an English family. They had this, this daughter, called Georgina, and we became really good friends. So I spent a lot of time in their house. For me, everything was different. They brought Kitkats. It was such an amazing taste and it was such a special thing that, you know, something that didn’t exist here and suddenly you try a Kitkat and then she gave me one, you know every one month or something like that. One bar of Kitkat, not the whole package right, and I was like, ‘oh my god this is the best thing I’ve ever tried in my life’. Everything was so interesting now so I became familiar with all these things. They were speaking English all the time between them. I like, I heard all the time, ‘Georgina, lunch is ready!’ and they were speaking to me in English. All this little, little contact with not only culture and… but also the language changed something inside of me. 

I have a background in engineering working in construction with retaining walls and bridges. But I was always thinking about businesses, sales, marketing. One day, while I was doing this complex deep foundation calculation, I overheard the sales guy speaking on the phone and I thought, I should be doing something like that. In 2009, during the crisis, I decided to take the opportunity to quit and I wanted to move to Australia. I thought it was a really cool country. So I go there for a few months, discover the country, it’s an amazing country, its amazing people and then I come back to get my papers together and I get invited to a dinner. I met, I met Bree there and everything changed.

Bree: I was living in a flat share and my roommate invited me to go to a dinner and I get there and there’s this guy there and he invites me to do a language exchange. So at this time I speak zero Spanish and he comes up to me and he asks me my name, where I’m from and if I would like to get together sometime to, to practice Spanish and he can practice his English. My original plan of staying in Barcelona for 1 year, umm, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be just one year and I was, in fact, going to stay. 

I was just a year out of University and I had studied psychology because I think I always wanted to connect to people in a meaningful way but for me there was just a certain heaviness to that job. I remember getting home at the end of the day and being exhausted so when I got a job teaching English, right away it felt like exactly what I was supposed to be doing. 

Raül: Bree and I, started… started talking about opening a business together really early in our relationship. 

Bree: Yeh I think that we are one of those couples who are just super different from one another.

Raül: Oh yeah.

Bree: Coming from two different cultures but I think it’s also the fact that we approach problems from literally opposite angles…

Raül: That’s true.

Bree: …which turned out to be very complementary to running a business together. I remember we were sitting down one day and we were making a list of what we’re good at doing but also what we use like doing and we decided to open an English school. And I think really the decision was made from one day to the next and we found ourselves looking for a little ‘locale’, a little commercial space.

Raül: I don’t know how to describe it.

Bree: It was like a locker room, basically.

Raül: Or like a shower.

Bree: Like a big shower because it was all tile. But we thought it was perfect because it had a little reception and it had a classroom. We get to space and we’re really excited. We hang posters everywhere. The whole town was covered in posters. The first day comes and we have a lineup of students out the door. 

Raül: Bree was there teaching and I was in charge of… of the rest. At the beginning, I still had a full-time job during the day and then I was at the school in the evenings. I remember, one day, getting out, getting out of work. It was like 11:30 or almost 12. I remember, walking back home and cry because I couldn’t, I couldn’t handle it anymore. My body was exhausted. I decided to quit my job and start fully into AC. 

Bree: I remember, one day I was teaching in the classroom and I heard somebody come in the door and start speaking louder and then louder and louder until I decided to come out of the classroom and and see what was happening and I saw the mother of two boys who had come and we’re trying to get English classes but in the end we couldn’t find a place for them in our schedule. And this mother was very angry. She said that we had basically left her without classes. And at this time starting a new business I think it’s really normal to have this feeling that, that you don’t belong, that you’re not qualified and that it’s not going to work out because you’re not smart enough or talented enough. And she yelled at me. Basically saying all of the things that my imposter syndrome was saying. And I took away from, from that early lesson that building a business, building anything, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position. But you have to, you have to have a thick skin and you have to believe in your project and do the best you can and move forward. 

Raül: We, we start having more and more students so we see that… that little space that we had divided into two. We had to remove the reception basically. Then there was no reception. We had a problem. But there was another door in that little, little space that had a little hole. We said let’s make this hole the reception desk. The only problem was that the bathroom was behind. So students went to the bathroom and I was just there. So it was real embarrassing for me and for the students and even more when new clients came to ask and then they saw somebody coming out of the bathroom.

Bree: Eventually we moved into a bigger school where we did a renovation and this gave us a chance to create a school exactly how we wanted it. So all of the classrooms that were along.. that were exterior, they would be all glass and the interior ones but also have glass so you could see you from one room to another. And Raül also had clear that he wanted a space where students could come in and they could drink tea or a coffee.

Raül: Really I thought about tea time at Georgina’s house when I was little. That time of the day to slow down and connect. In a way I wanted to engineer a space to give students a chance to live in English. Our philosophy from the beginning was to, to learn English through, yes through classes, but also through living in English.

Bree: We started creating video classes that were directed at Spanish speakers. We started building an online course.

Raül: In this new phase, 2020. We are now 100% online. I feel the same ‘ilusión’ I had living next door to Georgina when I was little. That feeling of amazement at being able to connect with a different culture and a different language. You just have to feel your guts and and…

Bree: Wait!

Raül: Ah no feel your guts no follow your gut.

Bree: Go with your gut

Raül: You just have to go with your gut..s. Gut or guts?

Bree: Guts is for gory whereas gut is more ‘tu intuición’.

Raül: So you just have to go with your gut.

Bec: That’s all for today! We hope you enjoyed Bree & Raül’s story of AC. Si te ha gustado este podcast y quieres apoyarnos, déjanos 5 estrellas en itunes. Para conseguir la transcripción, vocabulario clave, y ejercicios del episodio visita 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

‘When building a business, building anything, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position. But you have to have a thick skin and you have to believe in your project and do the best you can and move forward.’

Bree

Go with your gut en español

Y la expresión que hemos escogido para esta semana… ‘go with your gut’. Utilizamos esta frase para referirnos que uno sigue su intuición o sus instintos. También podríamos decir ‘go with your gut feeling’. Generalmente, se usa el térmito ‘gut’ para referirse a la panza o la barriga en español.

Raül utiliza la expresión ‘go with your gut’ para describir la sensación que tiene ahora como emprendedor, trabajando para crear la nueva academia virtual de AC. Veamos cómo la usa: 

‘…this new phase, 2020. We are now 100% online. I feel the same ‘ilusión’ I had living next door to Georgina when I was little. That feeling of amazement at being able to connect with a different culture and a different language. You just have to… go with your gut.’

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