The rat answers the pig....
The noise of firecrackers sporadically reverberates around Beijing city; this is just a taster of things to come on February 6th, Chinese New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year’s Day, February 7th. On those days, the firecrackers will be constant and deafening! The whole country is preparing for the biggest holiday of the year, people finishing work, travelling to their hometowns and buying all sorts of foods and gifts for the holiday period. This is a family festival for Chinese people and being at home with their nearest and dearest is the most important aspect of the lunar New Year.
Many foreigners who live here tend to leave the city at this time (to get away from the barrage of firecracker noise!!) and take advantage of the time off work to take a vacation somewhere in south East Asia, in warmer climes. As much as I’d love to jet off to Thailand this holiday, I’m going to be home with my family, spending time catching up with some friends, doing bits and pieces of work, some study and generally chilling out. No fixed plans, just going with the flow.
How was your weekend? What did you do? How do most young people in your town spend their evening and weekends? For me, as I’m home most of the week and weekends, the days seem to blur into each other. This week, I worked on Saturday morning, I'm an English tutor and my student's classes are after school and weekends. The kids I teach are great; they all attend international schools and have good English. They are very hard working, dedicated and well-behaved and crack me up with their comments and stories. They are different nationalities including Korean, Japanese, Hong Kongese and Chinese so the multi-cultured teaching is really interesting for me. I’m lucky to be able to work for home too as that means I get lots of time during the day to spend running around after my baby girl, Teah, and then I’m able to have a break for a couple of hours by doing tutoring.
One good thing about the weekend was that my husband returned home after a two week business trip in the provinces of China. It’s not so much his return that I was happy about(!), just the presents he bought home for Teah and I !! It was just like Christmas when he opened his suitcase and pulled out toys and clothes for Teah and jewellery for me. It’s become somewhat of a family tradition that when he goes away on business travel, he comes home bearing gifts (and a great habit that is too!)Then in the evening we ordered one of my favourite take out foods, Indian. Yes, I’m a typical Brit with my passion for Indian curries especially ones eaten late on Saturday nights with a beer or two. Fortunately for me, being the foodie that I am, Beijing has a plethora of restaurants covering every nation’s food that you can think of. Most restaurants not only have great food but very reasonable prices compared to those in Europe.
Anyway Anastasia, with reference to your last blog, although you gave great information about the length and breadth of Russia and mentioned the size of your hometown, you never explained where exactly the town is located apart from saying Central Russia. How could the readers and I better get a sense of your location when most of us (sorry to those who know more than I!) only know where Moscow and St.Petersburg are situated. You also mentioned that you had been to the UK and that is where you saw those beautiful pigs (I adore piglets!)Additionally I noticed in the comments that Elena from Moscow asked about your UK experience. Next blog , please share details of your travel to the UK, your impressions and what you learned culturally and/or linguistically because I think we’d all be interested in that.
I was amazed to read that you had started your reading in English with Thomas Hardy-what an ambitious and extremely difficult start. Talking about ‘Wuthering Heights’, I can understand where you are coming from when you say that it’s too difficult to read due to the archaic language and expression and there is nothing more tedious than spending more time looking words up in the dictionary than reading and enjoying the book. Did you ever get around to reading it in Russian? I only ask because I know many students of English who, daunted by reading the English version, read the translation and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a particular favourite amongst Chinese students. Now that you are reading modern writers, what are you currently reading? I’m usually reading two or three books at the same time and have just finished a Ray Bradbury novel called ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Have you ever heard of it or read it? I read it many years ago and enjoyed it much more on this re-read. Do you ever read books for a second time or even third time? I think, for students studying English, it’s profitable to read English novels a few times as you absorb more and more language and meaning on every read.
I’m supposed to comment on your language use and writing so that’s what I am going to end with. In general, I want to say that I think your writing style and accuracy are extremely impressive (look at all the positive comments you got from our audience!)There are some small errors but if I were to mention them it would be very nit-picky of me (and even native speakers don’t speak or write perfectly). However, I am going to quote a few things from your blog and I’d like you to tell me why I have brought them to your attention:
‘a rime of frost’
‘that makes me feel shut up in from time to time’
‘There I, an eighteen years old girl, get impressed by my second cousin…’
I’d also like to ask you what exactly you meant when you said that ‘I write it out and use’ when referring to reading modern novels. Do you mean that you write out different parts of the book and use them in your own speaking and writing? Thanks for clarifying!
I must sign off by saying it’s lovely that you are a pig and your year is about to end, it’s fabulous for me that I am a rat and my year is just about to begin…
With very best wishes to you and everyone reading
sporadically (adv) occasionally
taster (n) idea/ sample
nearest and dearest close family
lunar (adj) connected with the moon
barrage(n.) large number of something that is delivered quickly
climes (n) country/climates
going with the flow acting freely and following what happens
crack me up make me laugh a lot
province (n) parts of a country outside the capital
bearing gifts having presents to give somebody
foodie(n) a person very interested in food and eating
plethora (n) quantity greater than what is needed
linguistically (adj) lconcerning language
tedious (adj) very boring
get around to finally do something
daunted (adj) discouraged
nit-picky (adj) focusing on small, unimportant detail
clarify (v) make something clear and easier to understand
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