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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

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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.’

Learning materials

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11. Sunil’s Story: Grow with the Flow

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 11 - Sunil's story

Into the Story

EL PODCAST PARA APRENDER INGLÉS CON HISTORIAS REALES

Podcast para aprender inglés - Episode 11 - Sunil's story

Episode 11: Sunil's story: Grow with the flow

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

Esta semana en nuestro podcast para aprender inglés con historias reales y emocionantes, aprenderás expresiones interesantes como el significado de ‘in the middle of nowhere’ en español. 

En el episodio de hoy, Sunil nos cuenta su viaje a las Islas de Escocia, y cómo acabó siendo su lugar de residencia durante 5 años. Escucharemos sus aventuras en la isla y todas las cosas que aprendió que jamás hubiera imaginado. En este viaje, Sunil logró conectar consigo mismo y finalmente se olvidó de sus ideales y empezó a apreciar los momentos inesperados en la vida.

Actualmente, Sunil trabaja como ‘transformational coach’, enseñando a personas a crear la vida que desean y a conectar con su intuición. Su misión es ayudarles a conseguir un trabajo apasionante y construir un futuro brillante.

Transcripción del Podcast

Bree: What’s it like to leave on a one-week holiday and then return five years later? In today’s episode, our storyteller Sunil explains how he ended up in this exact situation!

In today’s story, Sunil describes his dream of wanting to build a meditation retreat centre and how an opportunity to do exactly that arose in the most unexpected place… on a Scottish isle!  You’ll hear how Sunil learnt to snorkel and bake bread at the same time and how living on an island smaller than his London suburb taught him to embrace life’s unpredictable moments.  We’re calling this episode, ‘Grow with the Flow’. 

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

The first expression for today is ‘in the middle of nowhere’ – en el medio de la nada. We use this expression in English as we do in Spanish to mean a very isolated or far away place. You’ll hear Sunil talk about building a retreat centre in the middle of nowhere. 
Secondly, Isle. Spelt I-S-L-E. The word isle usually refers to a very small island – una isleta. Be careful with the pronunciation of this word. Like the word island, which students often pronounce mistakenly as ‘is-land’,  the letter s in the word isle is silent. 
to chop – the verb to chop means to cut something into small pieces with a knife or an axe – una hacha. We usually use this word when we refer to chopping wood or chopping vegetables.
Next: to go like that. If someone says to you ‘the day went like that’, they mean that the day passed very quickly because they were either distracted, busy or having fun. People might even say the phrase in the blink of an eye – en un abrir y cerrar de ojos – to emphasise their point. It’s a slang expression that we use more in conversation than writing. 
Finally, to tune into – this phrasal verb has 2 key meanings. It can mean to become sensitive to something. For example we can ‘tune into someone’s emotions’. Tune into can also mean to start listening to a radio program. For example ‘we tuned into the live broadcast of the football match’. Tune into. 

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 con. OK let’s get into the story…

Sunil: It was a time when like, I was in London I was doing a job in I.T. just to kinda live, really. I knew from the very beginning that I was not into it but I had to pay the bills. After a number of years I was really getting the feeling that I really needed to get out of London. So I had this idea that I could go and live in Spain in the middle of nowhere and create some sort of retreat centre. I imagined creating a quiet space surrounded by nature and I imagined like lots of different people coming there from different backgrounds, spending a little bit of time just connecting with themselves and coming away feeling more clarity and peace with themselves. 

I had this idea in my head but the reality was kind of different and there were a lot of different steps to take and a lot of things to do and learn. I wasn’t really prepared for it because I had no experience of living in the countryside and I didn’t have a lot of skills. I felt like what I wanted to create was so far away and a kind of a big mountain to climb. 

A friend of mine invited me to, to go visit her in Scotland. So she lived on this island called the Isle of Arran and she invited me to go there for a week. She just suggested to me well you know maybe you just need some space and maybe you’ll get some inspiration as to what to do next. I had been to the Isle of Arran previously. It’s like a 2km island and I had said, ‘you’d never catch me living on an island like this!’

I remember that I arrived on the Friday. I arrived on the ferry from the mainland and it seemed like another world. It is quite a, it’s quite an ancient-looking Island. They call it like Scotland in miniature and it’s got like these mountains on the north end, you kind of even get that… they are quite ‘jaggy’ and you kinda get a sense that maybe a pterodactyl will come flying over the mountain because they look quite old. Yeh I remember the water was like maybe… it seemed like it could be in the Mediterranean you know it was like turquoise. 

I arrived on Friday and then on the Monday, we went to volunteer with this business organisation that my friend was involved with and they were building, in fact, a retreat centre on the Isle of Arran. We went back on the Tuesday and on the Tuesday somebody there suggested to us, ‘oh do you fancy staying here and helping us build this retreat centre?’ 

I think there was a struggle, there was a little bit of a battle going on between this part of me that was saying yes to what was being offered and the part of me that wanted to sort of, keep control and wanted to kind of, like fulfill my, my dream in my way. I would try to work out like rationally what the best thing to do was. 

So my way of doing that was, to kind of create these endless lists of pros and cons and I would go around thinking about it over and over and over again until like I was in more of a mess than when I started. And at one point maybe I just had to kind of let go of that and so well you know, I’m not doing anything else and I always wanted to build a retreat center so I thought, ‘yeh why not?’. 

I started off just chopping vegetables in the kitchen and so we catered for retreats up to 60 people. It was, it was really cool actually because it wasn’t like working in a normal restaurant, you know. It was relaxed and  it was quite, it was quite a lot of fun. There was quite a few characters, there was a Jordi. He was also a shiatsu practitioner so I remember sometimes, I would be cooking, chopping vegetables and he’d be giving me a kind of shiatsu massage while I was chopping and… or we would often break out into spontaneous pot and pan playing in the kitchen.

Yeah living on this island was a little bit like kind of being back at University with a close group of friends. You are kind of living, living and working 24/7 with them and it was quite a lot of fun. I mean, yeah you got to know people really well and I remember at breakfast with the… there were jokes coming out and we were already laughing and the day generally went like that.

I would make lunch and then there was generally a little bit of a gap between like dinner time and in between, in that gap we would often make bread. So I learnt how to make bread. I was making like 12 loaves at a time, putting them in the oven and then I would nip off around the corner and go snorkelling in this beautiful like, red rock and there were like seals there and amazing fish. The water was like freezing cold but I just would like run back to the kitchen and warm myself up standing by the oven, which was like baking the loaves of bread. I think it combined quite well – baking and snorkelling.

I ended up staying, in fact, for like five seasons so like 5 years. I ended up doing things that I never imagined in a million years. I learnt to cook, I, I did some building, I learnt carpentry, I ran workshops to do with like, creativity and meditation. I used to also lead like dance workshops and I never imagined this like when I was like an IT geek living in London.

Being on the island was great for me. You know, I ended up doing things that were a little bit more physical and creative which is what I always wanted. I spent a lot of time practicing meditation. Really that helped me really to kind of heal a lot of things. I felt kind of more connected to myself. 

I’d come to the point where I felt like I had done all I could do . I left after 5 years. So now I’m actually coaching people in creating what they love. I’m really exploring this idea of how one can tune into this instinct and inner knowing to kind of navigate in life because I think that that experience taught me that. To let go of fixed ideas and all I had to do was kind of like jump in the river. Things don’t necessarily have to be the way that you imagined them and actually sometimes when you let go of that, they work out even more amazingly than you had originally planned.

Bree: That’s all for today! We hope you enjoyed Sunil’s story. 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

‘Things don’t necessarily have to be the way that you imagined them and actually sometimes when you let go of that, they work out even more amazingly than you had originally planned.’

Sunil

In the middle of nowhere en español

Y  la expresión de esta semana es… In the middle of nowhere. Utilizamos esta frase para describir un lugar solitario o aislado. Podríamos decir que uno se encuentra ‘in the middle of nowhere’ si está solo en medio del desierto del Sahara o ‘you live in the middle of nowhere’ si uno vive en una pequeña localidad lejos de la ciudad. En español diríamos ‘en el medio de la nada’.

Sunil hace referencia ‘in the middle of nowhere’ para describir el lugar perfecto para construir su centro de retiros. Veamos cómo lo describe: 

‘I had this idea that I could go and live in Spain in the middle of nowhere and create some sort of retreat centre. I imagined creating a quiet space surrounded by nature and I imagined like lots of different people coming there from different backgrounds, spending a little bit of time just connecting with themselves and coming away feeling more clarity and peace with themselves.’ 

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