A pinch and a punch,
For the first of the month! (An old English saying for the first day of each month, usually accompanied by a real pinch and a real punch!)
Hi there Anastasia, a belated happy birthday to you,
Welcome and greetings to everyone else reading this blog, how are you all?
Let me start by saying that I have neither a globe nor an atlas handy so your coordinates baffled me to say the least! (I admit that I was tempted to google the answer but I resisted).Your question about my aptitude for geography caused me to think back to my school days and I attempted to remember geography classes. To my shame, I don’t even recollect one class which probably indicates too many years have passed between now and my school days!
Anastasia, let's talk names now as you mentioned that my double -barrel surname gives us something in common. While I’m not entirely sure what our common ground is (and I’m pretty excited to find out about it ), I’m going to take a shot in the dark……do you share the second half of my surname? I know it’s quite a common name in the country I think you are from (your first name gives clues to your nationality I think). I’ll put all my cards on the table here and say that you are from the caviar- eating, vodka -drinking, borscht and blini -making country of…. Russia. Regarding the exact whereabouts I can only make the feeble guess of Moscow due to the fact you mentioned feelings of claustrophobia and agoraphobia so I’m guessing you are from a big city. I’ll be waiting for news of your exact location with bated breath in your next posting.
I guess I should give you a brief introduction to my good self; I’m Trudi Faulkner-Petrova, British and married to Rossen who is half Bulgarian-half Russian thus the ‘Petrova’ bit in my name. My potted history is that I’m from Droitwich Spa which is just outside of Birmingham in the UK. In 1997, I came to China for a year’s work for a British university and guess what… I’m still here in Beijing. Doing a different job now though and many things have changed about me and Beijing itself since I first arrived but that’s another story! I live with my husband and 17 month old daughter, Teah, here in Beijing and the rest of my family (Mum, Dad, little brother, grandparents) all live back in my hometown in the UK.
What needs to be said now is that I was really impressed with your written English; you must have really put some hard work into learning the language. I loved some of your expressions and sentence structures, perhaps you will be the one teaching me a thing or two!!You must tell me and all the other people reading the blogs what your techniques and strategies for language learning are and share some methods that really worked for you. It will be interesting to hear about your English language learning experiences and what goals you have for improving your English. You said you wanted to sound more natural in your writing and speaking, so vocabulary choice and turn of phrase are the key points for you to achieve this. I often ask students if they really enjoy studying English or just do it because they have to and I get mixed responses, hand on your heart what are your feelings about language learning? Do you feel like a different person when you are using English compared with when you are speaking your native language?
On the topic of learning foreign languages, the language I have been trying to pick up for many years is Mandarin Chinese. I’ve got to admit that teachers are often the laziest students so it’s taken me quite a few years to become an average mandarin speaker. It took me two weeks just to remember the Chinese words for ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’, honestly, the language sounded so alien to me that I just couldn’t get the words to stick in my brain!
Well, I guess I’ll sign off now by saying that I’m very glad to have made your online acquaintance and I think it’s going to be a very interesting and fruitful February for us. By the way, Chinese New Year is approaching and the year of the golden pig will end. Do you know what the next Chinese New Year animal is? What animal are you according to the Chinese horoscope? More on this topic next posting...
Until then, have a great weekend
All the best
PS. I’ve eaten 2 chocolate bars and a packet of peanuts whilst writing this blog, if I continue like this February will be fat for me, not fruitful!!
baffled (v) puzzled
aptitude (n.) ability or skill
common ground similarities
to take a shot in the dark a complete guess
to put all one’s cards on the table be honest and open
feeble (adj) weak
claustrophobia (n.) fear of being in enclosed spaces
agoraphobia (n.) fear of being in open spaces
with bated breath waiting excitedly
potted history short simplified version
turn of phrase expressions
hand on your heart honestly
pick up learn
alien (adj) strange, unusual
fruitful (adj) productive, successful
horoscope (n.) astrology, zodiac
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