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April 2008

Friday, 04 April 2008

Change of bloggers

It's 4th of April already and, unfortunately, it looks like Xuan won't be able to blog after all.

We have now invited Cristina from Argentina to step into her shoes. A very warm welcome to you Cristina - we are all looking forward to your first blog!

BBC Learning English team

Saturday, 05 April 2008

ABOUT MYSELF...

Hi everyone,

First of all, I want to thank all the BBC Learning English Team for giving this opportunity to practise and improve my English. I’m very happy and excited to be able to share my daily life, experiences and my country culture with both Anne Bell and all the readers.

I’m very lucky to have you Anne as a teacher; from what I read in your blog you’re a high level one and I like your methods to correct the students’ mistakes. On the other hand, I’ll learn more about that exotic place of Thailand and you have my word that you’ll know more about Argentina through this blog.

I’m also happy to have all of you as readers. When I started to write my comments in the teacher blogger I couldn’t imagine that I’d become the student blogger.

Now……..a little introduction of myself.

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I’ve been living here all my life. I’ve got a sister (Graciela) who is older than me. She is a yoga teacher and specializes in children. Here are some pictures of her.
My sister whith 2 of her pupils
My sister with her pupils

My father was born in Aleppo, Syria so I feel attracted to the Orient Culture. Unluckily, my father died when I was 11 years old and my mother had to bring us up alone. However she could manage to run a little shop so we used to have all that we wanted.
When I graduated from High School I was a little confused about what profession I wanted to have so it was not until I started to work that I decided to be an accountant.
I entered the Buenos Aires University of Economic Science and finally got a degree.
During my university time I’ve met my husband (Oscar), started dating and then we got married. He is a very good person and I love him very much. He is an analyst systems and works from home.
I wanted to put some pictures and let you guess who my husband was but……..guess what?….I found that the only pictures of men I had were of my him, so….here is a picture of Oscar

Christina

Just in case someone hasn’t read my comments in the teacher blogger I’ll tell you that I studied English when I was a teenager but it was not until my husband and I started to travel and met people who spoke in English that I decided to take it up but seriously. I studied a lot and then had a private teacher who prepared me for the FCE. I passed the exam successfully and I can say now that it helped me a lot. Not only it opened my mind but also it helped me improve all my skills as well. It helped too in my previous job when I worked for a German Company and I had to prepare all the financial reports.
Now I work freelance with another two colleagues in a study (I promise you a picture of us all). The only moment when I practise this lovely language is when I e-mailed with a friend who lives in Ohio, USA (I've met her in one of our trips and her name is Mary Ellen) and through this blog. I also read books in English, especially novels and I enjoyed them very much. I’m always reading a book in my free time. Anne, what’s the difference between especially and specially?

Ernesto I’m happy too to have a neighbour and you make me chuckle when you mentioned that I live in the land of beef (we have very good quality) and “mate” (a special infusion). In addition to this we have the “Tango” too. But you’ll feel disappointed if I tell you that I don’t like the “mate” and I don’t know how to dance “Tango”. However I like eating well done beefs.
From my point of view Chilean wines are the best and you also have very good seafood (Oscar and I always choose wines and seafood from Chile when we shop at the supermarket).

M. Ellen, thank you for wishing me good luck.

Anne, I like to cook too so we can exchange some recipes...
I wanted to ask you how long have you been living in Thailand and if it was tough at first. Didn’t you feel homesick when you first went to live abroad? I sometimes fancy about what it would be like if I want to live in another country and then I imagine me missing extremely all my family, friends and the “sound” of my country. What about you readers?
Anne, I agree with you that the weekends are for relaxing and family but just because it’s my first entry and I wanted to make the most of it, I blogged today.

About my mistakes
I don’t feel bad if you Anne correct me, so go ahead.
The difference between “meet” and “know” when referring to people is that if you know somebody is because you first met her/him. I know M.Ellen because I first met her in one of my trips. I should have used the verb “meet” instead of “know”.

Hope all of you have a nice weekend.

Bye for now.
Till next blog,

Cris


Sunday, 06 April 2008

Beautiful and sunny Sunday

Hi Anne and readers,

Hope you have spent a wonderful weekend. I’m really moved by the warm welcome and comments from you readers and at the end of my log I’ll answer all your questions.

Today is a perfect autumn day with 30º C (in fact it seems as if we were in summer). Here in Argentina most of the days are sunny.
Oscar and I went to Madero Port and the Ecologist Reserve to walk, relax and take some pictures for all of you. Since I haven’t got a digital camera I’ll have to finish the film first and then bring it to a shop to make them. As soon as I get the photos I’ll attach them to the blog.
Madero Port is relatively new. All the old docks were used to build smart restaurants, cafeterias, offices and buildings. The view is terrific and you can see a lot of tourists there. This place is one of our favourite to go on Sunday mornings because is very peaceful. If you walk 4 blocks down you get to the South Costanera and the “Ecologist Reserve”. We are very keen on walking inside the latter. There are some circuits to walk, cycle or run. The longest has 6 km and we did it several times. It’s very unwinding to walk there surrounded by nature and you can get to the River Plate after walking 15 minutes in a speed of 6 km per hour. Unfortunately the waters are contaminated and it’s forbidden to enter into them but you can sunbathe next to it.

I love my country very much. It has alot of natural resources and people are very friendly. Buenos Aires, as all the big cities is hustle bustle and you have to watch your bag while walking.
Somebody said that Buenos Aires never sleeps and it’s true. Several shops are open ‘till late and on the weekends too. It’s very common to see people enter a restaurant to dinner at 11 pm. Not me of course, at that time I’m sleepy…
There are a lot of international restaurants. Japanese restaurants, actually “the sushi”, are in fashion now. I have to admit that I’ve never tried it yet.
We have a lot of parks and very modern shopping malls as well.

Argentina is very diverse. The north of Argentina is very hot; the south of Argentina (The Patagonia) is very cold. Some of the provinces, specially the north ones are very poor. Patagonia is outstanding! If you want to see snow you have to go to that region. Buenos Aires has the city of Buenos Aires (where I live) and the province of Buenos Aires. I’ve only been to some provinces of my country; Córdoba (located in the middle of Argentina and it’s really beautiful), Misiones (in fact I only went to the Iguazu Falls, located in the north-east), Río Negro and Neuquén (both of them located in the Patagonian region and the places I visited were Bariloche, San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura) I fell in love with these last places and if it weren’t so cold as they are I would go to live there.
I mentioned that if you want to see snow you have to head for the Patagonia but last winter it snowed in Buenos Aires and I could see it from my window!!!

Here are some pictures of that important event.
The first and the third one are of the Pink House (where the President works), the second one is of The obelisque (a monument that was built in honour of the foundation of Buenos Aires)


The obelisque

The Pink House where the President works


I’ll talk more about Argentina in my next blogs but feel free to ask me the questions you want.

Now the answers…

Rosalba, thank you for sharing your feelings of homesick and keep brave as you are. I do know that Argentina has a lot of emigrants from Italy. My husband’s grandparents were from Italy. Statistically Argentina is the second country chosen from the Italian (the first one is Germany. In fact a lot of our behaviour comes from Italians.

Suellen, I love Brazil. I visited Rio de Janeiro and Florianopolis. Your beaches are spectacular. Our beaches are too cold and windy.

Adriana, thank you and hello to your family too.

James, thank you for your compliments to my sister and my husband. And yes, it was tough to grow up in a single-parent family. But my father was and is in my mind always.
Not only I have the same name of our president but we are from the same zodiac sign (acquarius). But we don’t have anything else in common.

Vlad, yes there are a lot of foreigners living here and on the other hand, due to the difficult situation we went through, many people went to live abroad (but I know that most of them have come back too)

Chalida, what a coincidence! And welcome to Argentina

Jahanbakhsh Dehghani, hope you can profit a lot from all the blogs

Miao, congratulations on your degree and enjoy your carer. I’ll put some pictures of Argentina in my next blogs.

Pary, thank you for your warm welcome. I wonder how it Is living in Iran.

Anwar, yes it’s true. It’s better to know a country from a person who is living there but of course you get a subjective point of view. I fell in love with your country after seeing the soup opera (the clon). After then I took 2 years of Arabian Dancing. Perhaps I get the plunge and insert a picture of me dancing.

Habooba, thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the blog

Naheed, I’m pleased you like the blog and I’d like to know how is living in Pakistan


That’s all for today. I can’t promise to answer all the questions during the week because I don’t have much time but I’ll try to write every day or at least each two days.

Bye for now,

Cristina

Tuesday, 08 April 2008

DANCING... AND SPORTS

Hello Anne and Readers!

I’m glad you all liked my first two blogs. I was looking forward to Anne’s blog and I’ve just finished reading it and all the comments to my blog.

Due to the different zone time maybe you all will see my blog tomorrow.

When I was 12 years old my mother made me take Ballet Dancing. I really didn’t enjoy it much but I liked to do some gym. Since I was very lazy to move my body I eventually realized that I had more fun dancing with music rather than going to a regular gym class.
I danced at the Theatre three times and went on practising as a hobby until I was 40 years old.
Afterwards I started yoga with my sister and it helped me a lot. I could control my mind and my body at the same time.
Then one day watching the Brazilian soap opera “The Clon”, I saw people dancing Arabian and something caught my heart and my body and decided to start taking classes. But I didn’t give up yoga.
I really enjoyed It very much and did it some years. Why I gave it up? Well, the teacher began to be more demanding and I only wanted to do it as a hobby. Another reason was that I tried to look for teacher near my house but I couldn’t find anyone suitable.
Anyway, now I go to a Sports Centre and I’m really very happy not only because I feel healthier but I feel freer to go at any time as well. I actually go twice a week and now I don’t feel tired if I walk a lot. The aerobics do me well.
In Argentina the women starve and practise gym every day to be thinner but I don’t need to do that. I’m a foody person and luckily I can eat a lot and never put on more weight than I have.
Argentina women are kind of obsessive about their figure. This is a fact.

Well, I can’t wait and want to show you a picture of me in Arabian dancing suit. Guess what??????? I sewed it all by myself.


Anne, when I talked about our beaches I wanted to say that the sea water was too cold, not the beaches. I prefer Brazilian or Caribbean beaches instead. Once I got to know them I didn’t go to our beaches anymore.

Anne, you confused Chile with Argentina. Chile has good wines and seafood. Argentina has good beef, “mate” and Tango. But since I don’t know Chile perhaps they have good beef too 

I’m very keen on travelling (in other blogs I’ll tell the places I’ve been to), but I don’t know if I want to live abroad.

Anne, about my mistakes, thank you for remarking them.

If 1) the change should be made because I’m telling a piece of advice so I have to use should go instead of have to.
2) “as they are” . Maybe it is unnecessary?

1) I’ve lived here all my life
2) I met my husband
3) I put “have spent” because for me the weekend hadn’t finished yet. Is it incorrect?
4) At a speed
5) To have dinner or to dine
6) Here I have a doubt. I put Japanese restaurants; especially “the sushi” are in fashion. I put are because restaurants are plural.
7) Not only did it open my mind. It sounds better.


I understood the explanation between specially and especially. But I don’t know if I’ll put them correctly in the future.

Here are some answers for the readers

Ana Paula, I didn’t hear about Tony.
Hi Yanko, I’m glad you’ve come back. I’ll tell you more about Patagonia (at least the places I visited)
Chalida, you asked me about Iguazu Falls. Try to go in spring (October or November) or in autumn (April or may). I don’t remember if there are some facilities for people in wheelchairs but you can check that information on this link www.iguazu.com.ar/en/
Kirsty, I downloaded them from a local newspaper last year. And I forgot to tell you that the last time that snowed in Buenos Aires was 80 years ago.
Vladimir, in the South you can either ski or ice-skate.
Mercè, it is said that Catalonia is lovely. Argentina is very cheap for the tourists but not for us due to the rate exchange 1 U$S= 3.18 $. That’s the reason why there are so many tourists buying everything and having dinner for only U$S 32 per couple.
Deepu, thank you for being a supporter of our team!
Pary, I didn’t know Halab is the name for Aleppo. Thank you for that important piece of information.My father came to Argentina (with all his big family) when he was 12 but he never spoke about his country to me. However I’m curious about his background. In Argentina we had some electricity shortages too and if this winter is very cold perhaps we’ll have some gas shortage too. We are going through a big problem of energy right now.
Habooba, the rate inflation is about 25% per year.
Ajaz, Saudi Arabia sounds very exotic and mysterious to me. How is to live there?
Adek, Jion Lee and Mahjabeen, thank you for your comments.

Well I’ll close for now.

Bye Anne and Readers. Tomorrow I won’t be able to blog but see you on Wednesday.

Much love,

Xxxooo

Cris

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

MY GODSON.....AND TWO MORE SISTERS

Hi Anne and Readers,

Thanks for marking my mistakes in an unusual way, Anne. It makes me think more and find my own errors.

In a previous blog, when I spoke about my family, I forgot to mention that I’ve got a godson. He is like a son to me because his mother died when he was 2 years old and I was with him most of the time. I love him very much.
He is 22 years old now and we see each other from time to time but we’re always in touch. I met him last Easter since it’s a tradition to spend that day together along with my family.
Here is a picture taken on that day.




I also want to tell you that I’ve got a lot of cousins but my two favourites are Claudia and Celia (they are from my father’s side). We are almost the same age and we used to play together when we were children. Now we’re very close and I can say that we are like sisters. What a coincidence! Our names start with “C”.

I don’t want to deceive you but I’m a disaster as a seamstress. You hit the head of the nail! I only sewed my Arabian Dancing dress as a one-off and luckily you can’t see it very closely, otherwise you’ll find a lot of imperfections.

Anne, you can’t believe that I have a weak knee too (the left one). I used to attend Ballet classes with a kneepad but little by little I started to be better. Actually, I have one leg shorter (just a bit :- )than the other. The exercises were very well for me.
I was told not to practise high-impact training (such as running) but I love doing cross-trainer. In fact that’s my favourite. But I had to train my legs before doing that because of my knee problem. And which was the most important; I had to buy a pair of good training shoes!

Changing the subject, someone mentioned the word “porteño”. All the people who was born in the city of Buenos Aires are called “porteño” so I’m a “porteña” (I put an “a” because it’s female).


Now, the expressions you have corrected me (I only found 4 out of 5)

1) My mother wanted me to take classes.
2) Why did I give it up?
3) I did it for some years.
4) The aerobics are well for me.


By the way, could you enclose the recipe of pork steaks in blue cheese sauce. It sounds delicious :-;

Anne, I’d like to be a bookworm but I don’t have much time. However I try to read at least 3 books (specially in English) per year. So far, I read a lot of books, most of them were from American writers. In another blog I’ll share with all of you the titles because now I don’t remember all of them.

For those who can’t wait for the pictures of some places of Argentina, here is a link that shows a very brief video of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires video

Now I’ll try to answer to you readers
I think that somebody asked me about Argentinean writers. I only know Sabato, Borges and Cortázar (I haven’t read Rayuela yet) from my teenage time when I was in high school and we had to read them compulsory.
But I prefer Isabel Allende (from Chile) or Gabriel García Marquez (from Colombia) when I’m reading books in Spanish.

Yanko- Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of me practising yoga.

Habooba- Yes, it’s really a shame. You should start belly dance at once :- )

Irina- I’m glad you know Natalia Oreiro. She works in Argentina but did you know she was born in Uruguay? I hate watching TV. The only moment that Oscar and I put it on is when we want to see a good movie.

Mercè – Your comments made me want to be in a peaceful beach. How fantastic might be living near the Mediterranean. I envy you (in a positive way of course)

Pary- Arabian dancing is not difficult at all. For me it was easier than Ballet dancing.
Sorry you don’t understand what I said about working in a study. I think that I’ve made that word up. I work in a studio (an accountants’ office). I’ll show all of you a picture next time.

Vladimir- I agree with you about sports and dancing

Hyoshil- First of all I want to know where is LINCOLN. Thank you for your comments but I’m absolutely sure I’m over forty.

Jammu- Thank you for your comments about my mother. So you could see the emblem (OM) on my sister’s T-shirt. Yes we always start a class with the legs crossed and saying OM….
But in Argentina yoga is practised without relating it to a religion. It’s a way of life and each person adapts it to his/her own religion.
Thank you for the info about the Swami. I’ll write it down for my sister to browse in the internet.

Ajaz- Thanks for your compliments. I was moved when I read that you were from Saudi Arabia. How is to live there?

Masood and Michelle - I promise to attach some pictures about Argentina and to tell more about it. Hope you come to my country some day.

Takehito- Sushi is very expensive here in Argentina too, and it’s so tiny…. You should try to practise yoga. It’s very useful for concentration and a lot of things too.

Ernesto- I don’t have a favourite food. I like everything except rare meat and “mondongo” (a typical Argentinean food)

Antonio- My father’s name was Antonio too.
I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Argentinean beef!

Ana Paula- Thanks for the information about the music of “El Clon”. I didn’t know the singer’s name. Now I remember him :- )

Thursday, 10 April 2008

MY DAILY LIFE

Hi everyone,

How are you Anne and readers? I love the pictures of Joshua and Raquel. They look so nice and full of life. Are they very naughty? I admire you Anne for being able to do a lot of things and manage to take care of them.
I’m also having problems with internet access. I’m going to change my Internet Server Provider.
So I hit the nail on the head :- ) too when I mentioned about buying a new pair of training shoes (is it the same to say “trainers” or “runners”?).

I have to apologise to my godson because I forgot to tell his name. Juan Pablo (my godson) is a very kind person. He is very responsible and he has always been very mature.
He is working at an important Laboratory and at the same time manages to study Chemistry at the University. He is great!

Claudia is the same age as me. In fact our mothers were pregnant at the same time. I was born in February (but my mother gave birth on the 8º month of pregnancy) and Claudia in March.
When we were children we liked to put on the same items of clothing and pretend that we were twins. We had a lot of fun and now we always remember that epoch with a smile. We are really very close and share our experiences. She’s got a nine year old son named Nahuel and she works in an important office.

Celia is 3 years younger than us. She used to live round the corner of my house so we went to school together (in different grades). We would walk 4 blocks and chat a lot. We had a lot of fun and she always remember the fact that she never got bored when we played because I was always making up games. She has a seventeen year old son named Pablo and he is my second godson. Now we are very close and see each other regularly or talk by phone. She is an accountant and is working in a Television Studio office.

Some families don’t like to have a large one because of the arranged gatherings but we only gather when we want and really enjoy it very much.

Now I want to share my DAILY LIFE with all of you.

I get up at 7:30 am, have breakfast and leave at 8:40 am.
This is the view I have from my kitchen and breakfast room. They look to the South




This is the view I have from my living room and our bedroom. In fact I’m in the balcony taking this picture. It looks to the North.


This is the Avenue on where I live


I take the bus at the corner of my house.


You’ll laugh at me because actually I work 10 blocks from my house but in the morning I’m too lazy to walk. So I travel by bus 7 blocks and then walk 3 blocks.

This is a picture of my colleagues. From left to right, Mabel, Lidia and Esteban (he is studying Economics at the University). He took this picture with his digital camera. He is very anxious because this time tomorrow he’ll be in Rod Steward Concert. He’s been looking forward to this event since December and I hope it won’t rain tomorrow. I want to mention that he helped me very much with the attachment of these pictures. He reduced the size in order to be able to upload them. Thank you Esteban! Luckily we work in a friendly and informal atmosphere as you can see.



Then, at 1 pm I leave to have lunch. Here are two pictures of the place where I have lunch everyday. It’s a little shopping mall.



At 1:30 pm I come back to the office and work until 4 pm. On Tuesday and Fridays I go to the gym. Twice a month I try to have a yoga class. The other days I do all of the house tasks.

Anne, really I don’t know why the word “porteño/a” is used to name the people who live in Buenos Aires city but I promise to find out its origin.

By the way, could you all of you watch the video of Buenos Aires I attached in the previous blog?

Anne, I’m also interested in pictures of Thailand.

About the 5 mistakes on spelling that you wrote, here they are

1) pork steaks
2) plain boiled rice
3) garlic bread
4) mushrooms to the sauce
5) This sauce also works

Thanks to Ana Paula, Kuldeep, Mercè, Nahhed, Erika, Masood, Vladimir, Tanya and Ernesto for all of your comments. Keep writing, I love reading them and they encourage me to write.

I promise Anne and Readers to give you a list of most of the books I’ve read and the ones I liked more. I don’t want to make this blog longer.

Bye for now,

Cris

Saturday, 12 April 2008

THE WEEKEND IS COMING...

Hello Anne and readers!

It’s 11:30 pm and we’ve just come back from my mother’s in law. We always go there to have dinner on Friday so I’m free and I don’t have to cook!

First of all I want to explain the meaning of “porteño”. It was a shame to me not to know it; I really felt very bad yesterday. While I was cooking, it suddenly came to my mind and realized what it did mean. Then I checked the information with my husband.
There is a story behind it but to sum up I can tell you the following:
The people who are born in Buenos Aires City (I mean the federal district) are called “porteños”. “Bonaerenses” is quite different and identifies the people born in the province of Buenos Aires. Some dictionaries make a big mistake telling that “porteño” and “bonaerense” are the same. The origin of “porteño” started in the 19th century and was used to name people who were living in the city where the main port was located.
The word “porteño” is spelled with the letter “ñ” and you pronounce it like “portenio”.

By the way, Steve looked very happy sitting at the table. Was he having breakfast or dinner?
You must be a very good cook!

Here is a recipe for you (this is very easy)

SPAGHETTI WITH PESTO AND ZUCCHINI

Dice the zucchini, sprinkle with salt. Then fry them for 3 minutes in olive oil and with a whole clove of garlic.
Remove the garlic and add the pesto. In the meantime cook the spaghetti in plenty of salty water, drain when “al dente”, then mix with the sauce, the diced mozzarella and the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Hope you like the pasta. Oscar loves it.

At what time do you Anne and readers usually have dinner? Here it’s very common to have dinner at 9 pm or 10 pm during the week. At the weekend people usually have dinner later.

Anne, it’s great to have some days off. Try to make the most of it, unwind and share your spare time with your kids and husband (he is like another kid, isn’t he?) :- )

I like your kids’ picture; especially the mat you put on the floor so that Joshua could sit down comfortably and without getting dirty. Both of them look very quiet. I guess they behave very well.

Anne, I feel a tad upset with me. Most of the mistakes you remark are silly and I shouldn’t have made them. I didn’t use to have so many mistakes. However your corrections make me consider that I need to revise and practise more. Thank you for being so strict.

About the prepositions, I filled in the blanks.
1) Round the corner of my house (I cannot find any other suitable preposition)
2) Talk trough the phone (is it wrong to say “talk by phone”?)
3) I’m on the balcony
4) I take the bus at/on the corner of my house
5) He helped me to attach these pictures


Now, the readers answers

Ana Paula, I’m glad you liked B.A.

Vlad, here in B.A. is very common to have a 1 hour journey to get to the office too. There’s a lot of traffic jam due to the high increase in the number of cars. I reckon I’m lucky to work near my house and I value it a lot.

Leila, thank you for your comment. You are always welcomed.

Mercè, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I’m an accountant. I think that the equivalent in Spain is “Administration graduate”. I prepare our clients taxes, salaries, social charges and other legal requirements.

Hyoshil, thank you for telling me where Lincoln is. However I didn’t hear anything about the earthquake.

Tanya, I’m pleased to read that you liked B.A. It’s a modern city and we have an important theatre (“The Colon Theatre”). Many important dancers come to dance there.

Anwar, If I were you I would come to B.A. in Spring. November is the best month because it’s neither too hot nor windy.

Erika, actually we have plenty of parks, but the air is polluted as any other city air is. However we are lucky because at night the wind from the west sweeps the dirty air off.

Ernesto, unlike you, I never wanted to grow up.


Well, I’ll close for now.

Annie, hope your dish will be a success.

Have all of you a nice and relaxing weekend.

Bye…….

Cristina

Monday, 14 April 2008

BOOKS ...AND MORE PICTURES

Hi Anne and readers,

The weekend flied and we started the week with very low temperature (3º C). It’s amazing that just last week we turned on the air conditioner and today we had to turn on the heating system!!!

Hope you Anne are enjoying your New Year festival and I’m pleased to read that your pasta dish was a success. By the way, I read the story about the Union Jack and found it very interesting. I loved the pictures you attached of your kids and Steve. You know, I think that Joshua takes after Steve and Raquel takes after you, don’t they?

I want to tell you that you brightened my day on Saturday. I was really worried and after reading your blog I felt very relieved. Thank you for the explanation of the prepositions, now I see it more clearly.


By the way, Esteban enjoyed Rod Stewart Concert very much and luckily it only rained before the Concert began. He asked me to send you these links so that you can watch it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OApuE8YwkTI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_NPW6Q7J9g

Anne, about “dinner time”, I think that you do the correct thing. Here in Argentina parents and kids tend to have dinner at the same time (around 9-10) and they all go to sleep around 11. There is not Mummy and Daddy time. I consider that this moment is very important for the couple, don’t you agree? Sometimes I want to sleep at 11 pm but I can’t because I hear the shouting of the kids who live below my flat. Can’t you believe that the children are playing at that time?

Changing the subject, I’ll talk about books. Most of you asked me about the ones I had read.
My favourite writers are John Irving (he is on the top), John Grisham, Elizabeth Adler, Nicholas Evans and David Baldacci.
Well, I’ve read a lot of books in English throughout my life but the ones I most remember are the following:

-Animal Farm by George Orwell (it’s the only book I’ve read by him, I want to buy 1984 following Trudi’s recommendation)

-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I liked it but found it a bit rare)

-The property of a Lady by Elizabeth Adler (summary: …she escaped the horrors of war with a priceless gem…and a secret that could change the world). I read it several times because I loved it.

-The testament by John Grisham (I deeply enjoyed it)

-The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (I liked this book very much)

-City of glass by Paul Auster (I reckon he is a very good writer but I didn’t enjoy much this book)

-The Divide by Nicholas Evans (summary: on a Montana morning, two skiers find the body of a young woman embedded in the ice of a remote mountain creek. She’s Abbie Cooper, a brilliant college student on the run from the FBI and charges of murder. But what was the chain of events that led this golden child so tragically astray?). It’s a very interesting story and keeps you immersed.

-A prayer for Owen by John Irving (I highly recommend this book)

-The eight by Katherine Neville (for all whom like chess and intrigue books)

-A widow for one year by John Irving (this is a gem)

-Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (I had seen the movie and liked this book very much)

-The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans (I read the book and then went to see the movie starring Robert Redford, but I found that the book was richer). Summary: a child wounded in body and spirit…a horse driven mad by pain…a woman fighting to save them both …and the man who is their only hope….)This is a splendid novel.

-Absolute Power by David Baldacci. It’s really sizzling. It happened to me the same as with the Horse Whisperer. The movie hadn’t the same power as the book.

If you Anne and readers have some books to recommend me go ahead.

Finally, I want to share with all of you the pictures I took the other weekend from Madero Port and the Ecologist Reserve. I can’t believe it was 30º C by then.


This is a picture of me at Madero Port Park



…. At the Ecology Reserve


This is Oscar walking along the drive of the Ecology Reserve


“The bridge of the Women”. The reason of its name is because all the streets at Madero Port have names of women.



Some more pictures of Madero Port






It’s time to prepare the dinner so I’ll say good-bye to all of you.

Until tomorrow……..


Xxxooo

Cris




Thursday, 17 April 2008

DELICIOUS PORK STEAKS


Hello Anne and everyone,

How are you doing? It’s Wednesday evening right now and we’ve just finished our dinner.
I cooked some delicious pork steaks with an English sauce (in Argentina we buy it by this name; it’s a mixture of wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, mango, black sugar, dried mushrooms, ginger and caramel), accompanied with carrots in caramel (you dice the carrots and fry them in a pan with butter or olive oil and sugar). I add more sugar to the English sauce but it depends on your taste.
Anne and readers this dish is not only delicious, but very easy, quick and economical as well.

I can’t believe it but I’m writing this blog without being sleepy. You’ll guess that I’m an early worm person. Can you believe that we have something in common Anne? My husband is a night owl person too.

How is Josh? I think that watching disturbing cartoons may affect him, especially if he watches TV at night because it’s the last thing he does. I personally can’t watch impressionable movies at night but Oscar loves them. Then I have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night shouting. Poor Oscar, thanks God he has a strong heart.

I liked all of your photos. Your sister does look like a Princess in her red dress. At first I thought it was you. She looks like you, doesn’t she? But where were you Anne? Are you the one who is clapping the hands, on the right of the 5th picture? You look as if you were having a lot of fun.

By the way, Anne, I wanted to ask you how you call a shop that sells needles, threats, buttons, zippers, ribbons, etc. My mother used to run this type of shop.

Thank you for your advice on books. I’ll buy them at the end of the month.
I have to confess you something. When I read a book I’m so immerse in it that I’m very lazy to loop up in the dictionary for the words I come across for the first time. However, I can make out the meaning but then, if they don’t appear again and again I forget them. This is very bad in the process of learning more vocabulary, isn’t it? What do you recommend me to do?

ANSWERS TO THE PREVIOUS TWO BLOGS (they didn’t appear in time)
I’m glad all of you liked the pictures I attached.

Antonio, it’s a healthy custom to have dinner early as you have. About the shops, in Argentina is quite different because they close at 8:30 pm from Monday to Saturday. Supermarkets open every day from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm (on Sundays they close at midday).

Erika, we are not used to watching TV while eating otherwise we couldn’t chat. Thank you for your wishing me to take care of the cold weather.

Tanya, pesto is an Italian sauce and I thought the name was international. Sorry. Pesto is made by basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, grated cheese and nuts. You can buy it or you can make it at home. I’d rather prepare it than buy it.
I also like Ballet books, they are great. I heard neither of Haruki Murakami nor Stephen King.
Do you know why the “Women Bridge” is called like this?
It has to do with the names of all the streets of Madero Port (women names). Alberto González (president of East Madero Holding and ex Hilton Buenos Aires investor) wanted to pay tribute to the women labour in society.
The bridge was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who was specialist in this type of construction. Then Alberto González donated this bridge to Madero Port.

Ana Paula, tell me if you try the pasta recipe. Good luck!

Anwar, Lucky you! You visited a lot of countries. Come to Argentina, you are welcomed. I’ll attach more pictures on my next blogs. You translated the word accountant into Spanish but it’s not correct, sorry. “Contable” (as you said) is a person who works in an account department but hasn’t gone to the University so he/she doesn’t have any degree. “Contadora” is the Spanish translation of Accountant.

Irina, I’m explaining the “pesto sauce” in the answer given to Tanya. I’m sorry to hear that you have to travel 2 hours to get to the University. Do you travel by bus? Do you take only one means of transport?

Naheed, the very early dinner sounds strange to me. Sometimes I have tea at that time. However I find it very healthy. Do you go to sleep very early too?

Anna, in fact the pasta recipe is from Italy. We are very fond of Italian cuisine.

Silwal Kishor, welcome to the blog! I think that you have to reread what I wrote because you misunderstood a bit. I’m sure you’ll understand who I was addressing. Keep blogging!

Mercè, luckily I enjoy my work but sometimes I feel fed up with the constant changes of regulations that force us to read and keep updated everyday.

Hyoshil, thanks for asking about my family. They are OK. I totally agree with you when you say that we learn from our mistakes.

Michelle, I’m glad you liked my city. Port Madero is very clean. However, not all the places in Buenos Aires are so clean. People have to learn not to throw litter in the streets and, which is worst, to clean their dog mess.

I like my country but there are some things that I cannot stand. First of all, there are some dirty streets that force you to look down when walking in order not to put your foot on dog mess. Secondly, the public transport. It takes a long time to get to any place, buses and subways (the latter is quicker) are overcrowded. If you drive a car, then you are lucky if you find a place to park, if not, you have to pay a parking lot (which is very expensive). I’m very lucky to work 10 blocks from my house. However there is a plan to create more subways.

Pary, I also read the rainmaker. However I didn’t read Chamber. About the 7th picture, it’s the “Libertador Building” and it’s where the Army headquarters are.

Mahjabeen, your comment made me chuckle. Thank you for your compliments.

Well, I must close for now. As I’m not a “night owl” I’m going to sleep. It’s 11 pm and I’m really torn out.

Have a good day all of you :- )

Fondly,

Cristina

Friday, 18 April 2008

MEMORIES OF THE ISLAND

Hi Anne and readers!

Today I wanted to tell you something about my childhood. My grandparents (from my mum’s side) owned a house in “the island”…..
Let me explain it. There is a place, not very far from the city called “The Parana River Delta” (delta is an area of low land where a river spreads into many smaller rivers near the sea). When I was a kid we (my parents, my sister, Claudia and me) used to take the ferry at the pier to go to my grandparents’ house. It took us around 2 hours to get there. It was all an adventure and we had really a lot of fun. In fact, my grandfather had built the house by himself, can you believe this? We always used to say “let’s go to the island” meaning that we wanted to go to my grandparents’ house. The land that surrounded the house was very large. There were a lot of fruits trees, lettuce and tomatoes plantation. There was also a hammock that of course my grandfather made.
Unfortunately we had to sell it when my grandparent’s died but we all remember now with nostalgia those days. Though pictures of “the island” are in my mum’s house I want to share with you shots of The Parana River Delta. The other day Esteban (who has a digital camera) gave me a surprise and sent me them by e-mail.




So Anne, I had to scan most of the pictures I posted. But some of them were taken by Esteban with his digital camera.
About the word “haberdashery”, I looked it up in the dictionary many years ago but thought that perhaps there was another word for it too. Paco, of course I knew the word “mercería”, here in Argentina we use that word too.

Anne I used the word “impressionable” referring to the movies with much blood and shot guns in it. I think that the words scary or frightening don’t fit. What should I have said instead?
Lucky you Anne! Travelling by taxi is very expensive in Argentina. Thanks God I have a car and we don’t have to pay for the garage which is in the building where we live. However if I have to go to the town centre I’d rather take a bus. However, now I’m getting used to travelling by subway, you know I’m a bit claustrophobic and sometimes I feel sick in indoor places.

Anne…………sorry, I wanted to say “worn out” really. Promise to do the exercise with the phrasal verb “to tear” later.

About the 5 expressions you reworded, please tell me if I could find them.

1)Intrigue. In my blog about books I should have used intriguing book.
2)Your sister looks like you. It’s better to say your sister and you are very alike. Or your sister and you look like each other. Or (with another meaning) your sister looks like a princess.
3)Are you the one clapping the hands on the right? (I didn’t put your hands because I didn’t know surely that it was you)
4)If you drive a car. I should have said “if you have a car”.
5)It takes a long time to get….. I should have used “it takes you a long time to get…..”


I have a doubt. I used the phrasal verb “make out”. I can make out the meaning of the word from the context. You used “work out” instead. Is it the same?

Thank you for all of your help and please tell me if I found the 5 expressions. I still don’t know how you can juggle between your job, your house, your kids & husband, the blogs, the MA (by the way what is a MA?)

Thank you readers for all of your comments (Paco, Camilla, Naheed, Modjtaba Emadi, Vladimir). Welcome Modjtaba Emadi, I promise to talk about food in another blog.

Hope Anne and readers have a nice Friday.

Bye for now,

Cris

Sunday, 20 April 2008

GOOD AIRS?????

Hi Anne and everyone there,

Do you know the translation of the word “Buenos Aires”? It’s “Good Airs” (literally). But since Thursday we’ve been breathing smoke as a consequence of the fires on the grassland outside the city. Most of the fires come from that lovely place I told you in my last blog “Parana River Delta”.
Nobody knows why the authorities didn’t act immediately. Apparently, the fires on the grassland are very common in order to allow the farmers to clear the grass to feed the cattle. But something went wrong and now it’s difficult to put out the fire (68.000 hectares). We have to wait until Wednesday because it is expected to rain and change the wind direction.
The smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide which causes sore throat and eyes. It’s very unpleasant to breathe it. We have to close all the windows and doors and stay indoors. However we still breathe smoke inside the house because it’s difficult to prevent it from filtering. For a claustrophobic and allergic person as I am, this situation is terrible.



To change the subject, Anne I liked all the pictures you attached on your last blog. We have the same saying here relating to breakfast, having lunch and dinner. But your daily life sometimes rules you, so it’s difficult to put it in practice.
I always have a grapefruit, a cup of tea and a slice of black bread with cheese and marmalade for breakfast. Then, when I arrive at the office I have a cup of coffee with one croissant (in Argentina our croissants are sweet). At lunch time I only eat a sandwich. At around 3 pm I drink another cup of coffee or tea and sometimes eat some biscuits. Later, at 5 pm I have a cup of tea or cappuccino with a slice of black bread with marmalade. Then I eat a large dinner. I reckon that it’s not very healthy to eat so much at night but the only important meal we have is in the evening. I can’t eat very much at midday, otherwise I get sleepy and then I can’t go on working. I also find it stodgy to have a “fry up” for breakfast.
In my opinion, the Brazilian has the best breakfast. But Ana Paula can tell us about it better than me.

Anne, you have a very comfortable desk and you like younger than the picture on the banner.
I can’t resist buying one croissant on my short way to the office too.

You used an expression “you can buy it to go then eat it later. Another way to say it is “you can take away it” or “you can carry away it” Am I right?

It’s a tad difficult to guess what you eat at home for breakfast but I’ll have a go. I think that you eat a slice of pudding with, of course, a cup of tea. By the way, I prepare a delicious banana and nuts pudding :- ;

You asked me about my favourite holiday spot. Oscar and I love travelling and we go to different places every year or almost every year. In another blog I’ll tell you about our trips.

Speaking about language, I typed loop instead of look, sorry. Here are the other sentences:

-We really had a lot of fun (word order)
-My grandfather built the house by himself. (Simple past should be used)
-There were a lot of fruit trees, lettuce and tomato plantation (fruit and tomato should be in singular because of the plural “trees” and the word plantation) (I sometimes confuse this because in Spanish is quite different)
-when my grandparents died (it really was a typing mistake)
-Thanks God we have a car (because then I followed with the pronoun we)


And now, before closing this blog I want to thank you readers for your comments. I love them!

Mahmoudreza, I don’t want to deceive you but I don’t know anything about football. But all of what you said it’s true. Maradona was a heroe here (but not for anyone because of the drug problems he had). Now Messi is the star. I hate when people, especially men, spend the weekend watching football matches. Thanks God that Oscar is not a fan, but he likes River Plate (one of the most important teams).
Do you know that football was introduced in Argentina by the English?

Tanya, thank you for your recommendation about Ballet Books and other writers.

Thanks Naheed and Erika for your comments. Keep writing.

Anna, here in Argentina there are a lot of Italian people. If you visit my country you won’t feel as a foreigner.

I have to quit now.

Hope all of you have had a nice weekend.

Until tomorrow.

Fondly,

Cris

PS: you can call me Cris.


Monday, 21 April 2008

FOOD

Hello Anne and Readers!

Today I’ll talk about what we eat in Argentina.
Actually there are few dishes that we can consider as typical Argentinean food. The fact is that lots of immigrants came from different European and Asian countries, especially from Italy and Spain, and they brought their culture along with their dishes.
As a consequence, we have a large number of international restaurants (here I’m answering your question, Anne). Oscar and I are keen on French and Italian ones.

The typical Argentinean dishes are “empanadas” (there isn’t any translation to this word but I can say that it’s a kind of pie with a half moon shape and you can fill it with whatever),
EMPANADAS



“locro” (it’s a stew containing meat, beans and vegetables and it’s a typical dish for people who live in the north provinces), “asado” (a special barbecue), and “choripan” (highly-seasoned pork sausage sandwich; it is cooked along with the asado). We eat milanesas (breaded meat) but I think that it was the Italian who first introduced it here.
I also have to mention “DULCE DE LECHE”; it’s a caramel spread made by boiling down milk and sugar. Do you know that it was discovered by accident? Apparently, a maid was boiling milk with sugar to an important national hero and forgot to turn off the cooker. Then, the final result was a brown cream. Dulce de leche is one of my addictions; the other is eating dark chocolates, Anne. Thank God I don’t put on weight.



Changing the subject I want to tell you that luckily there isn’t any smoke in Buenos Aires now. It is a miracle because it didn’t rain but fortunately the wind direction changed a bit.

Anne, thank you for all the support you are giving me. Do you know that you read my mind?
I was about to ask you to change the type of correction because it took me a long time to find my own mistakes. I see that this new method is better for me. Thank you!

Here is the exercise

We have to wait until Wednesday because the wind direction will change and it is expected to rain. The smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide which causes sore eyes and a sore throat. It’s very unpleasant to breathe. We have to close all the windows and doors and stay inside. However, smoke can be smelled inside the house because it’s difficult to prevent it from filtering in. For a claustrophobic and allergic person as me, this situation is terrible.

I like this version better :- )

What a lovely job you have Anne. The preparation of the movie material sounds interesting. Watching videos and movies are a fantastic way to learn. Every time I watch one in English I try not to read the subtitles. By the way, the other day Oscar and I went to see “Death in a funeral”. It’s an English comedy. We enjoyed it very much. Oscar loves English sense of humour. I highly recommend it to all of you.

Bernadete, Brazilian coffee is delicious. I went to Brazil many times and love your country immensely.
Thank Merè for thinking of me. Thank God I’m fine now.
Jasmine, hope your dream becomes true soon.

Well my dear ones I’ll quit for now.

Till Wednesday,

Xxxo
Cris

PS: For all of you that don’t know what xxx means, x is one kiss, xx are 2 kisses, xxx are 3 kisses. “o” means a hug.


Wednesday, 23 April 2008

TOUR AROUND BUENOS AIRES

Hi Anne and readers,

How are you?
Today you’ll have a tour around Buenos Aires. I’ll show you the places that tourists and “porteños” like most.
But first of all, Anne, I was quite interested in your Tuesday blog. I love statistics and especially if they are related to human beings.
Our empanadas are small. Though the pastry is not sweet, you can fill it with something sweet if you like.

And now, take a seat because this blog will be long. Hope you’ll like it.

TOUR AROUND BUENOS AIRES


Corrientes Avenue: it’s where most of the book shops, cafeterias, theatres and “pizzerías”(restaurants that serve pizza) are located. The avenue starts at Madero Port and goes through the porteño town centre and other neighbourhoods. This avenue is related with the Tango.


Palermo Woods: It has 80 hectares and it’s one of the biggest green spaces in Buenos Aires. The porteños go there on picnics or to practice some sports.


Tortoni cafeteria: It’s the oldest cafe of the city that is still open.


Caminito street: There are full of paintings and sculptures on this street. It’s one of the tourist’s and porteño’s favourite places to go for a walk.


River Plate Stadium: it’s one of the most popular football clubs of Argentina along with Boca Juniors his rival.


Boca Juniors Stadium.


The Culture House: it’s one of the XIX century most luxurious buildings of the city.


Recoleta Cemetery: It was the first public cemetery of Buenos Aires. Today it’s the most elegant and aristocratic one. Many national heroes, presidents, politicians, militaries, scientific, artists and celebrities are buried there.


Dorrego square market: it’s the heart of the old San Telmo neighbourhood. It’s one of the fewest squares that are totally asphalting.


Pacific Galleries: Oscar and I love this shopping mall. It’s located on Florida Street (this is a pedestrian street). We frequently go there. There are always a lot of tourists walking along this street.


Malba Museum: it’s one of the most modern museums of Buenos Aires.


Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National museum of Beautiful Arts): it’s the most important Art museum of the country and it’s among the best of the world.


Obelisco: built as a reminder of Buenos Aires foundation and the creation of this city as the capital of Argentina in 1880.


Plaza de Mayo (May Square) : this is the oldest square of Buenos Aires. It is surrounded by governmental buildings (the town hall, the cathedral, the pink house- National government headquarters, and ministries)


The Botanic Gardens: It has 7 hectares and more than 6.000 vegetable species.


Colon Theatre: it’s one of the main theatres of the world. During the XX century the most important directors, singers and dancers performed there. The main hall is considered to have one of the best acoustics in the world. Its dome was decorated by the painter Soldi.



Did you like the tour?

Now the answers to the readers
Ana Paula, every time we went to Brazil (Río de Janeiro, Bahía, Florianopolis, Buzios) we had a delicious and complete breakfast with coffee, milk, tea, chocolate, cereal, a good variety of fruits, juices, cheese, jam, cakes, sweet puddings and croissants. I thought that this breakfast was what the Brazilian ate. Perhaps it is only served at the hotels. By the way, I want to ask you a favour. Could you give me the recipe of the delicious “bolinhos de bacalao” (codfish rolls)? I tried them while in Brazil and liked it very much. Thank you!

Erika, I hope you pass all your exams.

Torbjorn, what does a lunch packet contain?

Ernesto, it seems that our empanadas travelled to Chile :- ). Ours are very similar to yours but I’d like to try your seafood ones.

Jasmine, welcome to the blog. I’m glad you tried “dulce de leche”.

Vladimir, thank you for your compliments. You made me chuckle about x through men. In Argentina sounds odd too. It’s not very common kisses between men. But there are always exceptions.

Yanko, I was missing you. I thought you might be very busy with your job. I visited Buzios and found a lot of Argentineans too. Hope you can try “dulce de leche”. Keep posting.

Longlong, tell me more about the dumpling in China. Is it like the empanadas?

Well, I’ll close for now Anne and readers.
Have a nice day and don’t work so much.

Fondly,
Cris

Saturday, 26 April 2008

BEACHES FOR ANNE (BUT WITH COLD WATER)

Hi Anne and readers,

I’m having problems with the internet connection. I hope I can post this blog today.

I was very delighted for your responses. However, I felt that I was missing something. Buenos Aires is not only the capital. There are many places in the province that are very nice. In addition to this I can say that Argentina is not only Buenos Aires. In my next blog I’ll talk about our travels both to some places of Argentina and other countries (not so many).
In this one I’ll show you some of our beaches. Anne, you can bring your bikini with you.
In spite of the fact that I don’t enjoy them very much there are many people who like them. What I really can’t bear is the extremely cold waters, the sand and the wind.

Our beaches are situated around 400 km down Buenos Aires City.
We (my parents and my sister) used to go to Mar del Plata every year when I was a kid. Poor my father, he didn’t want to close the haberdashery so our vacations lasted only 4 days. However we used to have much fun. Don’t forget that we went to the island every weekend.

Here are some pictures of Mar del Plata

The beach




The Casino


The centre town


Nechochea is another beach very near Mar del Plata. It’s windier than the latter.


Carilo beach is in fashion now. However not everyone can afford to go there because it’s very expensive. I’ve never been there.



The last time I’ve been to Mar del Plata was in 1980. Uuuuhhhhh, time flies. I’m very old now.

Silwal Kishor, I visited the link you gave us. Your botanical gardens are very pretty too. Your country must be very nice. I know nothing about Nepal.

Vladimir, I hope you spend wonderful days discovering wild nature with your son. It sounds very interesting and you are lucky for getting on well with him.

Masood, as you said Buenos Aires is a cultural city.

Kallen, welcome to the blog and keep posting.

Beatriz, I’ve been to Montevideo, Colonia and Punta del Este and was very fascinating. Uruguay and Argentina are very similar.

Ana Paula, thank you very much for the recipe! I understood everything, you explained it very clearly. Now you can try to prepare it too :- )

Monika, hope your dream become true some day and you could visit Argentina. Travelling abroad is also too expensive to me nowadays.

Mirjana, I love travelling and hope one day I could go to Croatia. From what you said, it would be very interesting.

Bernadete, Naheed, Mercè, Erika, Ernesto, Tiasha, Tanya and Thiyagu thank you very much for your comments. Keep posting.

Anne, I hope you have success in your new teaching process with movies. I know you are very busy. Have a nice and relaxing weekend.

Readers, enjoy this weekend.

I’ll keep in contact.

XXXO

Cris

Monday, 28 April 2008

OUR TRAVELS

Hi Anne and readers,

Did you have a nice weekend?

Anne, I’m glad you liked the tour around Buenos Aires.
You attached lovely pictures of the stalls that sell fruits at the end of your street and I really felt as if you were walking beside me explaining everything. The colours of the fruits speak for themselves. I love mango. The first time I’ve tried it was in Brazil. We can buy it in Argentina but it’s very expensive. Exotic fruits are my passion. By the way, what is a dragon fruit? And what’s the difference between sweet mango and sour mango?

I tried to reword the following sentences:

1) This avenue is related to the Tango.
2) Palermo Woods: They have 80 hectares
3) This street is full of paintings and sculptures
4) It’s one of the fewest squares that are totally asphalted
5) It’s among the best in the world

I could work out some of the words in the quiz you gave us.
FABOULUS, OUTSTANDING, FANTASTIC, SPLENDID.

By the way, I’ve just bought “1984” by George Orwell. At the bookshop there was a notice that read “books brought at your door” and I wondered if there was a mistake. Anne, is it right? As you say that “delivered to the door” is correct I want to know if the preposition “to” is used with the verb “to bring” too. I also wanted to know the phrasal verb that means “to decline an offer”, it’s on the tip of my tongue but I only remember the preposition down.

Talking about travelling, our first vacation together was in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) and San Andrés (Colombia). We visited the old city with the colonial houses in Cartagena. We went to the best restaurants and enjoyed ourselves immensely. In San Andres we sunbathed in the Caribbean Sea.

Cartagena (I was very young by then)


San Andrés


The following year Oscar invited me to the Bahamas and Miami. It was one of our best holidays. We visited 3 islands (Nassau, Freeport and Harbour Islands). Needless to say, the beaches were outstanding especially the pink sand in Harbour Island (it was really pink) and the waters were turquoise.

This is the best photo I took in my life




In 1995 we headed for the Patagonian region (the south of Argentina). We stayed in Villa La Angostura, San Martín de los Andes and Bariloche. It was the first time I’d seen snowing. Though I’m a bit agoraphobic I took the plunge and travelled by air-chair. We had a faboulus vacation.




In 1996 we got married and went to Punta del Este and Colonia (Uruguay) for our honeymoon. It was November (tourists usually go from December to March) so we could relax and walk. We had a good time but I would have liked to see more people. Next time we’ll go in summer.

The following year we went to Anguilla (a British virgin island in the Caribbean) and Saint Barths (French virgin island). In Anguilla I met my dear friend Mary Ellen from Ohio-USA but we didn’t know that we would become close friends. Since then we’ve been writing to each other every week. In fact she is in Anguilla right now because she always comes back on her holidays. I can’t describe these 2 islands. They were amazing. In Anguilla we were surrounded by nature, with white thin sand and turquoise waters. In Saint Barths we sensed the charming of the French.

Anguilla

Saint Barths



To sum up, the following years we went to New York


And Buzios (Brazil),


Then to Cuba,


Saint Martin (in the Caribbean),


Río de Janeiro (Brazil)


Florianopolis (Brazil) This is Oscar running along the beach.


San Salvador de Bahía (Brazil),


Morro de Sao Pablo (Brazil), Camino de los 7 lagos (The 7 lakes path) (Patagonia Region).
Camino de los 7 lagos


Iguazú Falls (Province of Misiones-Argentina) and in 2006 Villa General Belgrano (Province of Córdoba-Argentina)


We are very keen on travelling and discover different cultures. Fortunately we could make it and enjoyed our vacations very much.

Unfortunately we can’t afford a trip abroad now due to our exchange rate $ 3.20 (argentinean) = U$S 1, however it would be a good opportunity to travel around Argentina.
But I can’t give up my dream, which is to visit Paris and London one day.

Anna, here we have the same proverb and I’d love to go to the Mediterranean Beach.
Thank you Silwal Kishor, Naheed, Jom, Junus and Tanya for your comments.

Anne I wish you GOOD LUCK on your first lesson on Tuesday. Surely you’ll impress all the learners.

The end of the month is coming and I only have 2 days more to blog. I’ll miss it very much but I’ll try to follow the blogs and post a comment.

Anne and readers, have a nice week and take care.

Fondly,
XX
Cris


Tuesday, 29 April 2008

IMPROVING WRITING

Hello Anne and readers,

I’m sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well but happy for having cheered you up. Perhaps you’re a tad nervous and excited about your first movie lesson. Hope you and Raquel feel better soon. Thank you very much for answering all my questions.

About the best way to travel to the beaches, you can go by plane (it only takes 20 minutes), by train, by bus or by car. I can drive but I don’t feel at ease on motorways.
I love castles though I only see them on TV so I’ll take into account what you recommended me.
Your memories about your childhood not only touched me but they reminded me of a movie I watched some years ago as well. It was about a little girl who used to live near a lighthouse and when she grew up she came back and met all her childhood friends.

Tell Steve that there are more beautiful places in the Patagonia where we have’nt been to so far. Here is a link for him www.interpatagonia.com/index_i.html

I tried to reword the following sentences:
-This is the best photo I’ve taken in my life
-It was the first time I’d seen snow
-In Saint Barths we sensed the charm of the French

On one ocassion some of you (readers) asked me about some tips connected with the FCE.
So I want to share something that helped me improve my writing and it’s called LINKING EXPRESSIONS.
TO GIVE INFORMATION you can use other alternatives than “and”
As well as this….
In adition to + verb (ing)
Furthermore,
Not only, but……..also/as well
Moreover
As well as + verb (ing)
Besides

TO INTRODUCE A CONTRASTING IDEA you can use other alternatives than “but”
On the other hand,
However,
Although
Though
Despite
In spite of

TO EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCE OF SOMETHING you can use other alternatives than “so”
Therefore,
As a result of this

Maybe Anne can add more alternatives or correct them.

Naheed, thank you for teaching me a new expression “itchy feet”. I didn’t know the meaning and looked it up in the dictionary.

James, well done with your adjectives. I couldn’t find all of them.

Mercè, hope your dream becomes true too. You know, we are only separated by that big ocean called Atlantic.

Kuldeep, I congratulate you on your inhouse training programme in English. By the way, what’s an “ITES-BPO”? Thank you very much for explaining the different types of mango. I have no doubt that India is a big mango producing country. I was astonished to learn the different varieties of that lovely and exotic fruit.

Silwal Kishor, I’m sure your country Is very fascinating to travel around it too.

Well my dear Anne and readers, I’ll close for now.

Until tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Cris

PS: How was your BIG DAY Anne?

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Goodbye Cris and hello to.....

It's hard to believe how quickly April has gone by! First of all a huge thank you to Cris for stepping in as this month's blogger and doing such a fantastic job. You've kept us enthralled with your story about the fires, taken us on your travels, given us a guided tour of Buenos Aires and taken time to reply to everyone: thank you.

From the 1st May, our new blogger will be Xuan from Vietnam - welcome Xuan!

And finally....if you haven't already spotted it, we now have a staff blog too. The link is on the right, just above the calendar. Different members of the team are posting blogs, so you'll be able to find out a bit more about who we are and what we get up to in BBC Learning English.

BBC Learning English team

MY LAST BLOG

Hi Anne and everyone there,

Anne, I’m really happy to hear that the movie lesson went well after all and hope you and Raquel feel better.
I had a spelling mistake with “addition” and you were right (as usual) about the other alternative. In addition to this….. In addition to these……In addition to + verb(ing).

I’m a bit sad today because this will be my last blog. Needless to say I’ll miss it but you won’t get rid of me so easily :- ), I’ll keep in touch by reading the blogs and writing my comments. I wish the new student blogger good luck and hope he/she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed it.

I want to thank you Anne for having been so kind and patient with me. You really taught me a lot and at the same time encouraged me to practice more. Your blogs also made me learn about some features of Thailandia that I totally ignored and I enjoyed blogging with you too.
In addition to these I can say that I’m happy to having known you (here I can’t say having met you, can I?), Steve, Josh, Raquel, your colleagues and all the people you mentioned.

I also want to thank you readers not only for reading my blogs but for posting nice and unforgetable comments to me as well.
Finally I want to thank you too to the BBC learning English team for giving me this unique opportunity.

Both of you (BBC team, Anne, and readers) have brightened my routine life this month so I’ll keep you in my heart forever.

Bernadete, Fabio, Naheed, Kuldeep, Erika, Tanya, Adriana, Ana Paula, Michelle and Kuldeep thank you for your last comments.

In Argentina May 1st is a holiday (the Labour Day) and since I don’t have to go to the office I’ll start reading “1984”.

Before closing this blog, my family wanted to say good-bye to all of you.



From left to right (my sister, my mother, Oscar, I and Oscar’s mother). This photo was taken on Oscar’s birthday last year.


OK, Evelyn (my mother’s pet) wanted to say good-bye too.


She is a good company for my mum.

You have realized that I love pictures. One of the reasons is that my father was a photographer and he was always with his camera taking us photos at any time. As a result of that I’ve got lots of pictures of my childhood. He used to run the haberdashery along with my mother during the week and work as a photographer at the weekends in order to save money.

Anne, I wish you success on your new teaching project.

Readers, keep practicing and enjoy life.

Well, that’s all.

Will keep in touch.

Thank you again!

XXXO
Cris

April 2008

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