Replies to readers
Hello Xuan and everyone,
How are you all doing this evening? I see that lots of comments have suddenly appeared on the blog. I think its because there has been a bank holiday in the UK and the BBC office was closed yesterday, so there was no-one to moderate the comments. So thank you to everyone who has posted a comment. Here are my replies to the posts from Sunday.
Hello Guzin! We are very happy to have you blogging with us and thank you for your long post. I hope that when I get to be 50, I am like you. I think it is great, the way you are using your retirement to learn new skills, like English, to travel, and to discover new things. You prove to us all that age is not a barrier to doing anything you want. Do you know the expression, ‘you’re only as old as you feel’. This means that if you think you are old, then you will probably feel old. If you think you are young, you will feel young and have lots of energy. I hope you don’t get discouraged too often. By the way, Steve (my husband) has visited Izmir and said he had a lovely time. He had a long trip to Turkey a few years ago. And we have a soft spot in our hearts for Turkey, as we got engaged in Istanbul at the top of Galata Tower (Steve proposed to me there at sunset in September 1999…) which you can see in the next shot.
(image from bp1.blogger.com/.../s400/galatatower.jpg)
Hello Concetta – I don’t think that we have ever blogged before, so hello and nice to meet you! You got the vocabulary definitions correct. Where in Italy do you live? Tell us a little bit more about yourself, when you have the time.
Hello Felicitas. Thank you so much for your long post. You would get on very well with my mum. She is also a believer in letter writing and she works very hard to keep this method of communication alive. Some people call letters ‘snail mail’, because nowadays it is a very slow method of communication. But, there is something really nice about receiving a letter. You can take it with you, you can read it again and again, it’s a tactile as well as a mental experience. It’s exciting to find a letter in your letterbox, don’t you think? Despite all this, I still find it difficult to find the time to actually sit down and write a letter. I like to send my family photos of the kids and try to buy nice picture greeting cards to send to them. Do you write your letters on paper, or on cards? Good luck with your conversation classes. It’s a good idea for your teacher to tell you the subject in advance – I think I might try this with one of my classes this week.
(image from i146.photobucket.com/.../snailmail.jpg)
Now, here is a question for everyone. It is true that the art of writing a letter is dying, as people use email more and more, and people don’t want to carry paper things around with them. What about books – do you think that paper books will ever be totally replaced by electronic books? How would you feel about this? I’ll tell you what I think tomorrow.
Hello Merce. You ask me an interesting question about the price of flats in Bangkok. Do you know the expression, ‘how long is a piece of string’? This means that there are many, many possible answers to your question. You could pay $100 per month or $10,000. And it’s hard to give you an average price, as it depends on a lot of factors: area of the town, type of accommodation, which floor you live on, if you live in a tall apartment block (higher floors are more expensive). What Steve and I feel, is that London is around 4 times more expensive that Bangkok. For example, we currently live right in the centre of town – for us to afford a similar flat in London, in an equivalent location, would cost us 4 times as much as it does here. This is a generalisation and only our opinion – others might disagree. For food, again you could pay less than $1 to eat noodles in a street-side food bar, or over $300 to eat a 3-course meal, with wine, in a top hotel. But this is one of the things I like about Bangkok – whatever your income, or lifestyle, there is a place for you. You can find your niche. Thai salaries are very low by western standards, but people have a much larger support network, as they live in extended families so all resources are shared. Here is something you might find interesting, and more accurate than my waffle! Mercer (this is a Human Resource Consulting group) have just produced an updated survey on the cost of living in different countries. I have attached a link here. http://www.mercer.com/costofliving If you read it, let me know what you think.
Hello Mahjabeen. You asked me about Thai food, which is one of my favourite topics. Tom Yum is not exactly like Chinese chicken corn soup. Tom Yum is a clear soup, made with stock, lemongrass, onions, galangal (ginger) and either vegetables, chicken or prawns. It is extremely tasty. If you add coconut milk to the soup, it becomes Tom Kha, which means soup with coconut. My favourite Thai food is chicken green curry, which is like a thick Tom Kha and is quite spicy. I could eat it until it comes out of my ears (do you know this expression – it means I could eat a lot of it). What foods do you like?
(image from www.orchid-catering.co.uk/.../prawn_soup.gif)
Hello Cris. Great to hear from you again. To be honest, I know lots of Thai people at work, but it is difficult to make really close Thai friends because I don’t speak the language. However, I am having lessons and will get there with time. Most friends we have here are either through work or parents of kids who go to Josh's school. From our travels, we have various friends dotted around the globe but our best friends, really, are those we have left behind in the UK. I have just joined a new mother and baby group, so I am hoping I can meet some more people through that. You are right about pouring a drink in the UK. When you start to pour someone a drink, you tell them to ‘say when’ which means ‘tell me when I have given you enough to drink’. When you have been given all that you want, you say ‘when’ to make the other person stop pouring. Why do we do this? That’s a good question – I don’t know.
Hello Manu. Thank you for finally plucking up the courage to write a post. Your course in translation and interpreting sounds really interesting. Why did you choose this line of study – do you plan to work as an interpreter? This makes me think of the film with Nicole Kidman, The Interpreter. Have you seen it? In the film, Nicole works at the UN headquarters in New York, and she unearths (this means discovers) a plot to assassinate a foreign head of state (I can’t remember who, exactly…). Please do keep blogging and tell us more about yourself.
Hello Habooba and good to hear from you again. How are you doing? You are right – where has Pary gone? We haven’t got the place by the lake yet, but we are working on it. Steve went to see another place today and I am looking at one tomorrow. Best Wishes to you.
Hello Maryam – your post made me smile, because my post on the day after you wrote your comment was all about me getting angry. So, to answer your question, I don’t often get angry but occasionally I do. What about you? Do you ever lose your cool (another way of saying ‘do you get angry’)?
Hello Maione. Well done for doing the vocabulary questions, which you guessed correctly. Thank you also for your good wishes for our house hunting.
Hello Filippo – did seeing Steve bring back memories of you playing with your dad? My dad was not good at cooking either. He could just about cook by following a recipe ‘to the letter’ (this means ‘exactly’, ‘without deviation’) but I think that the sign of a good cook is that you can take a recipe and adapt it. It might say ‘add 2 large onions’ but you might think that it is better to add ‘1 small onion and some garlic’ instead. A good cook is flexible, adaptable and creative, in my opinion. Generally, my dad was none of these things when it came to cooking (he would admit this – I am not being disloyal to my dad), but he did have some signature dishes that he made very, very well. Later in life he became a big fan of Indian cooking, and he could make a mean (i.e. a good) lamb curry. Now that I will never forget! Anyway, Fili, what do you think makes a good cook?
Talking of food, Maryam and Habooba, can you tell us about any typical food dishes from Iran? I am asking because I know nothing about Iranian food. And for everyone, can you tell us about any dishes / meals that you will never forget?
Hello Jeronimo14. I have to ask you, is this your real name? Is this what your friends call you? Ho ho, just teasing you. If it is a secret, then you don’t have to tell us. You asked me about apartment sizes. The apartment we currently live in is around 140m2. This includes all the balcony space. The apartment by the lake is 142m2, but the flat Steve saw today is 260m2!!!!! This is way too big for us. The average 2-bedroom flat here ranges in size from 75m2 to 150m2.
Hello Belgian Antonio in Romania. How is your trip going? When is the wedding? How come your friend is getting married in Romania? I feel that there is a story here that you need to tell us… Thank you for doing the vocabulary definitions and you got them right.
Hello Lalit – from where in India are you writing? Please keep reading the site and posting blogs. Tell us, what do you do for a living? Best wishes to you too.
Hello Vladimir – so, you reckon all is not lost with Rachel and Andrei. Your counsel (i.e. your advice) is, as always, very wise. My sisters and I used to fight like cat and dog when we were younger, but now we are all very close and great friends. I have 2 sisters, Louise and Alison. There are a lot of green spots in Bangkok. In fact, from where we live now we have access to 2 parks; Queen Sirikit park , which is another huge park like Lumpini Park with a large boating lake though not as nice, in my view) and a small enclosed garden called Chuvit Gardens. I love this place! It is a little oasis right in the middle of the city. It has a small jogging track round the outside, fountains in the middle, beautiful plants and is well-maintained by an army of gardeners. I often take the kids there at weekends, so they can meet up with their friends. The next picture shows the back of the park.
(Image from www.flickr.com)
Hello Muugii. Welcome to the blog and I hope to hear more from you. I am sorry that you broke up with your boyfriend but glad that you clearly have some happy memories from your trip. Please tell us more about life in Mongolia.
OK folks, that’s all for tonight. I have deliberately not given you any vocabulary definitions tonight, and I know that I have included some tricky words at times. If you would like to check the meaning / usage of any words with me, then you know where to find me….
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.