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 THE STEPHEN KEELER COLUMN

Wanderlust

Evidently, you can tell a lot about someone from what's in his fridge. In mine, right now, there's half a litre of organic skimmed milk, five litres of organic fruit juices, half a kilo of low-fat butter, three free-range organic eggs, two pots of live yoghurt, some tomatoes from a neighbour's garden (she gave them to me, I didn't steal them in the night!), about half a kilo of Jarslberg cheese, half a bottle of Norwegian akvavit, two bottles of champagne, some home-made mayonnaise, a sprig of dill and two rolls of 35mm film. What does that tell you? That I live on liquids? That I eat out more than at home? That I need a wife - or a nutritionist? That it's the end of the week and I really must do some shopping?


Travel books

A better guide to someone's character, I think, is what's on his bookshelves. OK, let's look: "Driving Through Cuba" by Carlo Gebler, "Chernobyl Strawberries" by Vesna Goldsworthy, "Red Dust" by Ma Jian, "When The Astors Owned New York" by Justin Kaplan, "One Foot in Laos" by Dervla Murphy, "To Travel Hopefully" by Christopher Rush, "Another Fool in the Balkans" by Tony White. Is there a pattern here? Among the fiction there's Graham Greene and Paul Theroux, and three whole shelves are filled with guidebooks, maps and travel diaries.


I've been home for four weeks. Yes, Anita (Slovakia), I sat in my cosy house with a proper cup of tea reading your comments, and it was lovely. But I already feel restless again. I haven't packed a suitcase for a whole month! I've got itchy feet; that old wanderlust. It's time to go somewhere - anywhere!


A Finnish psychologist (a former student of mine) once told me that the reason why I run for a couple of hours every day is to escape 'real life'. Yes. Obviously. And her point was what exactly? (How could you bear to live with a psychologist? Write and tell us, if you do.)


'Real life' means different things to different people. My girlfriend once told me that "champagne and flowers are not enough" (strange, it always worked in the past). No, we had to do 'real' things together. Things like (me) putting up shelves and wallpapering her bedroom, swapping office gossip, choosing new curtains, staying in more. Why? What's so good about that?


'Real' is when your rusty bus breaks down somewhere on the Tibetan plateau and you have to fix it quickly or die of hypothermia. 'Real' is learning to track a family of bears across magnificent landscapes in central Sweden. 'Real' is the exhilaration of teaching English in a Chinese university. Or climbing a beautiful (and not too dangerous!) mountain. Or just cycling down an English country lane in spring to meet your tennis partner.


Of course you have to have a job (unless you're very lucky), but you don't have to choose one you're going to hate forever, do you: one that stops you living a 'real' life?


I like my little house in west London. I've got most of the material possessions I've ever wanted (well, not the Aston Martin Vantage, obviously). I have some very good friends. I enjoy my work.


"So why are you so dissatisfied, Stephen?"


"I'm not!!!"


I may be a bit restless, but that's because I know there's so much wonderful stuff out there and I've only got a very limited time left to see it. When I was a boy I was fascinated by the sounds of certain place names: Gothenburg sounded magnificent, Ulan Bator sounded whacky, Samarkand sounded languorous, Prague sounded elegant, Tangier sounded dangerous, Shanghai sounded sophisticated, Havana sounded sexy. I must have decided, without realising it, to visit and see for myself. None of these places ever disappointed me.


Lucy with her trunk

And now my wanderlust is fed daily with messages from you: from places of great history - Yekaterinburg; from places of great beauty - Nepal; from places I will never see - Yangon; and from places I could practically walk to - the Netherlands. I even get declarations of 'love' from the obviously wonderful Lucy (is that your real name?), in a place I have always wanted to visit, Sakhalin Island, on the edge of the world. (Hmm, I've never had a Russian girlfriend even though I've travelled widely in Russia and have put my face into Lake Baikal and drunk the water direct from it - and survived!)


OK. We're packed. The car is loaded. It's ten o'clock. We're going to drive through the night so that we arrive in Edinburgh in time for breakfast. Then we'll continue north (follow our route on a roadmap) to St Andrew's where we'll unload Lucy's stuff, and her life as an undergraduate will begin. I've got a big box of Kleenex in the car!


I'll tell you about it the next time I write.


Meanwhile, write and tell us what's in your fridge!


Bye for now.












SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS

wanderlust
the instinct or need to travel

tell (a lot) about someone
know or assume (a lot) about someone

skimmed milk
milk from which the cream has been removed

free-range ... eggs
eggs from hens which are allowed to move and feed freely (the opposite of free-range hens is 'battery hens')

akvavit
a strong alcoholic drink (spirit) from Scandinavia

sprig
A sprig of a plant is a small piece of stem with leaves on it.

dill
a herb with yellow flowers and a strong sweet smell

live on ...
If you 'live on' something it is the main thing you eat or drink.

nutritionist
a specialist who gives advice on what to eat to remain healthy

(to have) itchy feet
an idiomatic expression which means you are restless to travel

putting up
erecting; fixing (shelves) to a wall

swapping
exchanging

staying in
staying at home; the opposite of 'going out'

hypothermia
extreme cold (a medical condition)

track
follow

exhilaration
thrill

whacky
crazy

languorous
lazy, relaxed, sleepy, in an extremely pleasant way

undergraduate
student studying for a first degree

 





WRITE TO STEPHEN

Thank you for sending your comments, this topic is now closed.

Ahmed, Qatar
Hi Stephen, you have a great blog here! I like it. Since you like to travel, what is the most fascinating place you have ever went too? see you

Evelina, Sofia, Bulgaria
Dear Stephen,I always need to travel when I find myself lost. When something or somebody close has disappointed me. When I need to keep my believe in people and human values. For sorry, I rarely have any chance to travel because don' t have money enough, but then books come to help me and your column. It' s sad to feel lonely between all these people you have to live with in a society, and especially when you realize you are not more than a foreigner for them. Stranger. Somebody, who has come from anywhere. And I really cannot understand those who like travelling only in good weather and to common holiday places. I like being in historic towns to know about the past, or going to dangerous places to thrill, or just being alone in the wildest places could find on the map. Thanks for having you and have a nice journey!

Ana, Poland
Hi Stephen, Lucy is leaving for St Andrew’s so autumn melancholy sneaked into your last post quite easily. It’s going to be a hard time but you seem to be a strong man – I’m sure you’ll survive! It’s kind of fun to bring together some of you reflections seemingly not interrelated. You start with the down-to-earth fridge varieties (some of them are very healthy, some rather addictive but you seem not to show any enthusiasm), stop for a while at the bookshelves (yes, there is a pattern, in a way, but you have to be cautious if you want to use it as a guide to someone’s character), share with us your fascination of sounds of certain destination names (it’s amazing that some words have magical potential to stir up our imagination while others don’t), and finally pose a big question: what is real life? what is below (or beyond) the surface of the ordinary life. I agree with you that it means different things for different people, and we know well how fluid our perception of what is real can be. Life continues to teach us what really matters almost every day but you seem to know it quite well. So what’s the problem? Itchy feet? Yes, for dearest ones this is really a problem but I wouldn’t say that is an escape from ordinary life. It’s much more a desire to pursue what is unknown, inspiring, what can take your breath away and make you feel that something has changed in your life once again, something even more than your dreams. So good luck for a new journey!

Majid
Be sure, you can always find some spoiled fruit and semi_finished food that I place them there as an excuse for not doing the dishes. Great idea? Don't worry it was free of charge.

Wilai,Thailand
Hello, Stephen!! your story sound great. I quite agree with you that the fridge might show someone character. you know!! I have to see in past, what's my character. I don't like to keep a lot of food, maybe, I work as a nurse so I know the fact that is 'you are what you eat'. I eat carefully but not seriously. For my character I quite well plan for everything in my life, concern in detail for myself. Anyway, when I meet people I've concerned them. The last, I'm jeleous of you because you travel a lot but I'm not. You know!!I dream to travel another country and futher study in abroad so that the reason why I have to learn English. I hope to see you later...Bye...PS.I think you're enthusiatic.

Murat Erdis
Hi Stephen, I wonder what the right using of verb "work". Sometimes I read some sentences like "I work for a bank

Tra My, vietnam
Thanks for helping me study some new words and expressions by your post. It is very useful. I am a Vietnamese student.If you visit Vietnam, I can become your free tour guide:D. I am sure that you will be attracted by Vietnamese food and beautiful sights. Unfortunately, you can not bring the food back to England to fill your fridge. So I will give you a Vietnamese cook book. You can put it on your bookshelf and try it when you are at rest. I am looking forward to your next posts.

Truc Ly, Vietnam
Hi Stephen, Long time I just write for you again. I missed some your colunm. I'm feel sad and miss when have no time to write and also emprove my English due to for my working at present. You know, Previous, I lived with my aunties and did not care about how fridge was. Now I'm living private house. I must look after one young sister and one young brother. On sunday, I must get up early to buy a lot of food for during a week. My fridge usually have half a kilo of pork, half a kilo of beef, half a kilo of shirmp to cook for soup, some of type different fish and a lot of cabbage/herb/tomato/pototo....special without alcohol as was like you hahaha...You know, I bought too much somethings to cook but I never cook for meal. I usually go business trip and rarely stay at home. Hoping that will have more time to cook and more time write for you. I love that so much. See you on next colunm. Best wishes!

Naheed, Pakistan
Hello Sir, It's always great to read your column. Every fortnight there's a column from you, and we have some exciting ideas to write you a comment. Here, I agree with Anita from Salovakia that along with what's in someone's fridge, it also tells a lot about from how the goods are arranged in fridge. Since my mother keeps an eye on what she has to put in fridge, so I'm writing this comment on her behalf. She likes to keep the homemade pickles and jams. There is also a big bottle of tamarind chutney, some yogurt, fruits and a can of milk. She doesn't keep vegetables for more than a day or two. And yes, sometimes there's some left over food, too. I will be looking forward to reading about how was the journey and how did you feel when you returned home. Naheed

RAJIKA, SRI LANKA
Hi ,this is the first time I am writing to you. I havev been reading this site in order to improve my English for one year. Of course Stephen, I want to improve it because it is a must for me to go ahead in my career. My situation is very pathetic. For most of high paid jobs available in Sri lanka I have all the qulifications that they want.. but not the English. I have done all my exams (even uk ones) in english but my pronounciation is poor, also I cant speak like native speakers whereas most of the professionals here can. Any way...sorry for troubling you telling my problems in this first writing. If am to tell you about my fridge we store lots of choclates since my husbond is a chocolate lover. I keep buscuits since i am a person who wants to eat someting always. Other than that we keep a jug of fruit juice. Oh...I keep fruits as well, since I believe that fruits will briten my skin complextion. You may wonder why only few.. because we are not cooking these days..oh.. I love to read about you daughter..I like the way you take care of her as well as the way you think of her. I think you are a real father. But I thought in western countries parents are not so much attached to childeren which you proved wrong. Also shall I tell about a real thing in my life....in office around 9.0 clock I have a big mug of tea. Everybody laughs at this. But this is a stress releaser for me.. since my job is very stressful I take lot of interest by having this tea..so bye for now......enjoy your journey..regards to lucy...

Farrukh, Pakistan
Salam Stephen!! You have posted very inspired material. However, Im the newcommer here on BBC English Learning, but its quite evident by the posts given earlier to you!! Good Work!!

Thuy, Viet nam
Hi, I'm Thuy. I'm writing to tell you how much I like and am always expecting for your post. What an exciting experience you've had !.

Ragini, India
I think that not only things in the fridge but everything that person posses or belong reflects upon his or her character. For example if one can say about his/her friends, we could tell something about his or her character. One of my friends keeps medicines and slants of culture ( Isolated microorganisms) in her fridge. Other one keeps coffee in his fridge. One of my cousine friend keeps lots of leftover in her fridge. Her friend is always overburdened with pots and vessels.

Silwal Kishor, Nepal
Hi Stephen,Your argument about telling a lot about someone what’s in his fridge and bookshelves can’t fit most of the people living in poor countries. People who live in always scarcity can not even think to buy purchase and books of their interest. Your argument may apply to people who are living in rich country and urban area. In the context of Nepal even in metropolitan city we are suffering load shading, fuel crisis and many more. Though we have beautiful scene and scenery to watch we are lack of basic daily needs. It is not necessary to mention you all these things but to write something against your logic to tell a lot about someone by looking their fridge and bookshelves.

Evelin, Estonia
Hello Stephen ! :) Nice to read news about you! Unfortunately my previous comment (like Kirsti´s comment) didn´t appear last time. I wanted so much to tell you – although there are sad or hard days or events sometimes, it´s important to think about good and beautiful moments in your life; it makes your life easier again and you feel better the taste of life. All your life, all your activities are real. But different people appreciate different things differently. It seems to me that you haven´t travelled together with your exgirl much enough ( I hope that I´m wrong). Maybe your exgirl being alone at home is tired of your wanderlust. Maybe it´s not yet late to go to travel together? I like itchy feet - how many impressions, colours, stories, new peoples you can see! And to share all these things with your friends! I´m looking forward to see your photos about your trip to Scotland and Lucy´s student life. Congratulations to Lucy – she is great!Best wishes!

Anita, Slovakia
Dear Stephen! Have you used up the entire box of Kleenex then? My children do not like it when I say: “I told you so!” but I am afraid I have to say the same to you. Please, have a look at my comment on your column from 8th May and you will understand everything. Hmm…Yes, that is ´real life´- we, parents must let go our children to live their ´real lives´. I will be able to answer your question concerning living together with a psychologist in a year when my daughter will have finished her studies and will work as a psychologist. What about my fridge? So, here is what is in my fridge. It is full as I do lot of cooking and baking. There are goods from several types of cheese, homemade jams and pickles to a bottle of Czech beer too. There aren't any fruit and vegetables because I can just pick those up from my own garden. They are all organic. It might be possible that the contents of the fridge can reveal a lot about someone’s personality. Maybe, how the goods are arranged in the fridge says a lot about someone, too. I am looking forward to reading your news. Good luck to Lucy! Until next time, Anita

Manjusha, India
Dear Mr. StephanI like your column very much. I keep green vegetables,fresh fruits and mixed fruit jam and sorbot in my fridge.We could get easily vegetables and fresh fruits because vegetable market is not far away from our house. We prefer fresh food to preserved food. Therefore we have refrigerator just as a trend. However working women required to keep lot of spices, grated vegetables and raw or half processed cooked material for next day cooking.If I have a daughter she must be 18 years. I love having daughters. I like your affection toward Lucy. Please give my regards and best wishes to her.

Zaya, Mongolia/Canada
Ok, I will try to evaluate you even I am not a psychologist. Because you have many ORGANIC products in your fridge - you do care about your health. You might not need a nutritionist. Hey, stop! How about those tomatoes from your neighbour's garden. Are they organic enough for you? By the way, I love organic lettuce, they are more tasty than regular ones. You do not have a small kid, because there is almost no food for a single child in yur fridge. You probably are single, and you do not often cook at home or you make simple sandwiches or scrambled eggs. Anyway, whatever you do (eat out or cook at home) I think you eat well - I wonder if I was a good guesser. I also guess that you have already been in Ulanbator. Finally, I would agree with a statement that you can tell a lot about someone by what and how she/he eats. In woman case, you can tell even more (about them) what they carry in their bags.

Princeeagle, Ivory coast, Abidjan
nice to know someone like you Stephen. do you what? i like your saying so much and i would like to correspond with you.

Peter from Hong Kong
I heard the expression "bunkers right" used in BBC's Biz Daily (11 Sept 07 broadcast) in a segment about "self-appraisal".What does that mean?

Sara, Saudi Arabia
Hi Stephen , so that is what in your fridge!! I advice you to buy a cow to get all it's benefits! in my fridge there is milk, eggs,chicken,grapes, banans,ketchup. What can this tell you?

Farrukh, Pakistan, Asia
Dear sir, first let me call you. I'm lover of english language. Since my childhood or schooling I was very active in english class. Now I'm teacher of my own school. I want to get information how can I improve my english ability and capability in writing and listenning amd speaking as well. Please guide me like your good student. I have taste for grammer linguistic, ponetic and morophology. If i entertain myself with online english couses, it will much better for mr. I will wait for your effective reply. Thanks.

Ivan Lopez from Mexico
Hello Stephen;Let me tell you I had to love your write up! I'm so much into meaty, yet understandable readings and I found yours quite valuable. I'm pretty sure my students are going to love your column when I let them know about it today.The only gripe to you would be... Why don't you give us some audio? I guess it isn't asking too much, is it?Again, a pleasure.

Bolor, Mongolia
right now in my fridge... There are beef, lamb meat, vegetables including cabbage, potato, onion, carrots, one bottle of martini, home made berry jam (about 2 kg), some dried curds (which is mongolian traditional milk product), and butter and some kind of breads. I think it is typical mongolian fridge. Actually, my parents do shopping, so I never decide to what have in fridge, so it's difficult to know about me from fridge. ^o^Why did Ulaanbaatar sound you crazy?

Lucy, Sakhalin
Excuse me, but I want to disagree.Not only a fridge, or a bookshelf, or a handbag can't tell about the person's character.But even a piece of art or music or even a diary fail to reveal a man's inner world to the full. People have been trying to express themselves since ancient cavemen.And only world known writers,artists or musicians are equal to the job.Though people never cease trying to make themselves understood and appreciated.In our everyday life we try to display our best sides to our friends,spouses and colleagues because of the hidden wish to be attractive, charming,worth admiration and love.But strange enough,if anybody admits he loves us we are instantly ready to make him the object of mockery.Is Russia the only country from the UN organisation that you haven't had a girl-friend from? If so,you're really a marvelous man,very juicy,though rather skimmed (according to the content of your fridge;-) ).Thanks to Alexandra from Ekaterinburg for the description of Russian women.I couldn't have said better.

Mary Schmidt Colmar, France
Why don't you come to colmar in Alsace (France)and taste the new wine while visiting some of the lovely pictureque villages where some excellent Alsace wine is produced; autumn is a beautiful season here and the weather can be quite sunny if you're lucky

Natasha, Russia
Hi, Stephen! Glad to hear from you again! Your blog is great and I think you are a very interesting person. When I was younger I was fond of Gerald Durrell's books. And his book "My family and other animals" is still my favourite one! :) As for food, I like natural one. I prefer homemade food and don't like to eat at cafes. And I also don't like food which is prepared at microwave ovens :)

Milanda, China
Hey Stephen, a newcomer to your column, in fact to BBC language site as well. I have to say it really facinates me,your column,i mean.

Patricia, Brazil
Hey guy! I've been reading this column and I'd like to say that I've been enjoying a lot! the way you express your thoughts is very interesting and I love it! I've been studying English since last year and I'm falling in love with this language! It's great when we start to learn about other languages! I'm exciting to get fluency because one of my dreams is to live abroad...someday, someday...lots of thanks for your help...regards,Patricia

Ahmed, UK
Hi Stephen, I'm from the comprehensive school you recently visited in Durham to give a lesson. I just want to say thanks, it was quite useful and very interesting, even if we were all to shy to speak. And I also know that several of my classmates actually enjoy reading this blog. I just decided to come and look at it for the first time, and its really interesting.thanks

Grand, Indonesia
What are in my fridge??Yoghurt,tomato,cheese,chocolate,yoghurt and yoghurt. Yes, I love yoghurt so much. Wishing you always be well, stephen

Yohannes Gebresillasie, Markos, Ethiopia
Hi Stephen how are you?I am fine.It is the first time for me to see your column. I think i will be fluent in english in the near future. Thank you for your effort

Marina, Ukraine
Dear Stephen, I've recently joined the list of Englishlearners and can't stop enjoying! First of all I'd like to thank you for your work. I admire your "modus vivendi" and dream to travell somewhere with my husband to discover new experience. But I heartly welcome you to visit my Motherland - I'd call it a lone wide island in the centre of Europe. Do visit Ukraine in any time of the year and make your day! ;))Heartly welcome to Ukraine!

Csilla, Hungary
Hello Stephen,My fridge: a litre of milk, a bottle of water, orange juice, butter, tomatoes (I love them), salami, a can of sweetcorn, a loaf of brown-bread, two bars of dark chocolate, some bananas, grapes and potatoes. I had cereals for breakfast, in the weekends I usually eat toast, butter and strawberry jam and I love it. As for lunch: I cook if and when I have time and I don't like ready-made food at all.I know what you mean by wanderlust: I have lived in the UK for two years (and I worked there as an au-pair, despite being a teacher), now I live in a small town in Hungary and I teach English in a private school- and I spend nearly all my weekends visiting different places. I could also mention that I am from Romania... so... I'm not so sure that the contents of our fridge tells who we are, as for our bookshelves: well, there's Harry Potter but also Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Ian McEwan, Shakespeare and dictionaries, English, Hungarian and Romanian literature books... maps, travel guides, postcards, flags... And I read books in 3 languages so far: Hungarian, Romanian and English... Now I am also learning Spanish...I quite agree with your girlfriend... as for 'real life'- well... it does mean different things for different people, not to mention different countries (and Hungary is already the second country for me) and cultures.By the way: what was so difficult/ bad when you put up those shelves? I mean I agree that it's not a very exciting activity but it couldn't have been so bad either... I liked your blog. Have a great weekend, Csilla :)

Dora, Hong Kong
Can you tell me a bit about your romance with your wife? I am interested!

Jijiaka
Hi Stephen I have a question, is there any site or help that i get to correct essay that i use to write. regards jijiaka

Maria, Spain
your fridge confirms that in England you went mad for "organic things" but you are still known as the "worst-place-to-eat" in the world...it would be better to spend less in organic stuff and have a much better diet...(everything in london supermarkets is just "ready-to-eat", but of course...very organic...)

Abm,Dhaka,Bangladesh
Hello Stephen, Your writing is both educational and informative.I see you like booz from various places/region.Does it help you forget your loneliness? I am curious.Why do you prefer organic food, free range eggs? Would you have still preferred these more costly substitutes if you were not from a well to do economy?yours

Sara , Bahrain
Dear Stephan, I agree that the type of books or food choosed by any person sometime could provide a tip of its personality. However we can't always rely on them. Regarding my book shelf, it is mostly filled by romantic stories such as little woman, Jane Eyre, Roots, Anna Karenina, Doctor Zhivago, while my fridge contains Baskin-Robbins ice cream, orange juice, watermealon, white onion, Low fat turkey, strawberry jam, creamy cheese, sausage and nodules. Finally I hope all the best for lucy in her acadmic life.

Addeax, Germany
Stephen, I can promise you, I've heard here the word wanderlust for the first time of my life. And I live for a veeery long time in Germany - my whole life. That combined noun is possible. You can say it if you want. But the word lust is never used in any combined form, as much as I can think at the moment. And also the word zeitgeist, readable at any BBC page, is very seldom used here. It sounds old fashioned in our ears. But if the Brits like it, then they can have it for their vocabulary.

Otgoo, Mongolia
Hi Stephen
How are you? I am interested in subject. That is why decided to write my comment about what is in fridge. In my opinion it can tell all about you what you eat mostly .. even though you can see culture. I mean nationalaties culture. For example you will never find so many kind of salads in mongolian people's fridge. We dont eat greens, our main food is meat, flour few kind of vegetables. Now I live in turkey. I tested here so many different food. Mostly they use every kind of vegetables. That is the culture difference, every country has especial food type. If i wrote my comment with so many mistakes sorry about that. I am trying to improve my english. thanks byetake care.

Silvio, Brazil
Dear Stephen
Although this is the first time I write a comment, I’m a regular reader of your column. I don’t have any goals in my scenty-time English studies unless keep my brain working – scientists use to say learning languages is good for it – and prepare myself for the the day when I’ll have the oportunity to travel abroad (I´ve got two kids and no one to leave them with, so I think this isn’t yet the best time to know romantic or cultural places, or to face the activities that I, like you, see as the ‘real life’). But the main reason I write is to tell you that, besides improve my still poor English skills, I love to read your column because of the pleasant changings of experiences and life view-points you provide us every fortnight. It’s surprising how similar things are, and how alike people think and act, in all occidental-world countries. Thanks for that, and I promisse next time I will try, in my rudimentary English, to share some thoughts or informations with you. Silvio

Tiasha,srilanka
Dear Stephan,It is a pleasure to read your blog every two weeks.I am new to this blog but I read all your blogs.Now I have determined to write comments to your future blogs. It will be fun eventhough I am not good at writing in english. In our country we eat almost every thing organic food and most of them are very fresh. we don't keep things in the fridge because most of them don't have fridge but it is good for healthwise.( I don't know this word is right for this sentense)As you I have a daughter,age 19 she is a freshman in college. I know it is very painful when our children leave us.I have another daughter age 15,she is in grade 10. Eventhough sometimes I feel very lonely and depressed. I think I will get use to this latter on. At the start I was very depressed and I asked my daughter visit us every other week.Stephan, You are a strong person mentally and Physcially. You will handle this , get involve in more activites or get a nice girl friend.My best wishes for your loving daughter lucy.My kind regards.

Bianca, Romania
I don`t know how to begin and I wonder what`s the first thing to begin with when you are in a foreign place? What`s the first thing to do in order to feel that you are alive? I have never travelled abroad and you can`t imagine how eager I am to explore the world! Sometimes I think that before that, I must read, gain precious information concerning a place or another; and then all of a sudden I think-is it any connection between imagination and reality, shouldn`t you live for that unique moment, for that moment of unreal surprise when you are face to face with that place, when everything you have read about fades away and your heart vibrates for the first time, feels for the first time the magic of traveling and discovering? Is it worth living for that?

River, Tianjin city, China
Hi, Stephen, LONG TIME NO SEE. Now,I'm back here to enjoy reading your column. I've been in my hometown for two months,i t's a small rural village without intenet, but a beautiful place with flowers and grass. Now,I'm studing in Nankai university as a graduate of economics for my first years. On my bookshelves there are a lots books too, "Microeconomics Theory" by Stephen A.Mathis and Janet Koscianski, "Business English" by Mary Ellen Guffey,"Game Theory and Information Economics" by Zhang Weiying, "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens,and so on. Sadly speeking, there isn't a guidebook, I like travel but as a student I don't have enough money and time. Of course I don't have a frige too, so I can't tell you what in it and tell you lot of myself from it. Hope you have a good trip to make your feet not itchy any more, ha, ha, good luck for lucy too.

Adek, Poland
Hello Stephan :-) You sound very nostalgic in this blog of yours. I do understand you. Now, when your beloved daughter is miles and miles away, you will have to get used to live on your own, I think it's 'real'. I've got three children and I have nobody to talk to at home in the evening, and I think it's 'real', too. Fortunatelly I have a job. Very often it's a good remedy for a feeling of loneliness. Loneliness is 'very real' when your children 'flew off their nest' to look for happines of their own, to begin a new chapter of their life. Thus, you yourself begin a new chapter of your life, too. That's life! I wish you all the best in the new chapter of your life. Until next time.

Tanya, Russia (Moscow)
Hello Stephen! Fridge and character, hm.. I think the food can't say who you are, but can say where you from. For example, Silvia - "ravioli by Giovanni Rana and tiramisu" - definitely Italy. As for me, let's see.. looooots of yoghurt (my breakfast actually), cheese, milk, juice, vegetables and fruit, pot of soup (haha, yeah, russian soup), jars with homemade jam, meat dumplings in freezer.. funny, I'm totally Rissian!))) Oh! I forgot about honey. This is time of honey fairs. Makers from all corners bring a great number of sorts and we buy ones - winter is coming :) Have a good one, bye!

Kirsti, France
BBC mentioned that all the messages are published, unless they break against the rules. I found out that one of my messages didn't appear not because it broke the rules but because the system crashed. Only a few hours ago I saw the invitation to rewrite if that had been the case.

Kim In - Hak , Korea
Today is korean's traditional holiday 'Chsok '. It's kind of 'Thanksgiving'.Chsok falls on August 15 on lunar calender annually.On Chsok we usually prepare particular foods to worship deceased ancestors so that today's my fridge is a little different from other days.There's a lot of fishes( not alive ), fried vegetables, some kinds of fruits(apples,Pears,persimmons,chestnuts,jujubes), Korean-style soup and Korean rice cake etc..Have you ever been in Korea ?If not I hope you to visit Korea someday. Bye !

Alexandra,Ekaterinburg city, Russia
Hi, Stephen, First of all – my congratulations to you – now you are a father for a student girl! It’s great but at the same time it is pity that you have to be apart…). You could not even to tell exactly about the content of your fridge and bookshelves …It’s obvious for all readers of your column that a spirit is greatly dominated in your personality .It is much easier for such person to spend money for purchasing something special for mind and soul (books, DVD for lovely music or exciting movie or for accomplishing dreams from your childhood etc.) , than buying something “substantial” for eating . It seems that a content of fridge is just a point to spare money for something else, preferable, nevertheless at the same time to visit a luxury restaurant with friends is quite a habitual for you (is not an eating out in a good place in a company of good friends sooner for soul than simply for stomach?)…As for living next to psychologist … I think it is not simple matter. But… is not you yourself a psychologist as well? Not by education. You are a philosopher and a psychologist by “double major” of your nature, accordingly to the frame of your mind. It does not matter what you narrate about – Chinese students or New-Yorkers in a Subway train, trees in London lightly touched with autumn or your trip to Africa. You are also think and act like a psychologist contributing to solve your daughter’s problems and, I can bet it, you stayed a psychologist even while choosing a new curtains for your ex-girlfriend and wallpapering her bedroom. You are analyzing people (or yourself) through situations Always. (May be she is “ex” now just because it seemed to be too much thoughtfulness in your relationship? ) But I think, it is your contemplation on different issues that makes your on-line-lessons so magnetic for students of all ages who wants to think deeply.Good idea about girl friend from Russia you have never had before. It would be rather unknown experience, I guess. The Russians in general are the spiritual nation, and the most of women are good educated and hard working, and nevertheless they are overloaded in every day life both in job and family, they don’t miss a lot of other interesting things in life and stay quite a romantic… They are also very patient because they have to be subordinated in a huge degree to men in this society, which firs and foremost caters for male demands (nothing can do – Russia is “with one foot in Asia”… It is unlikely in this country to have “she-president” or something like that…Thank you very much for possibility of interesting communication,Bye, Alexandra, Eketerinburg

Hyoshil, Lincoln
hi! Stephen i am rather interested in the suitcace of Lucy than your fridge's stuff (ha ha ha...). it looks nice and fancy. i do get itchy feet in Autumn a lot camprare to other seasons.But i have got a little son who i have to look after and he is very demanding.he is my real life at the moment and i do enjoy every single moment. hope you don't cry when you left Lucy behind you!

Priyanka, India
Hi, Stephen,How r u? I am fine. There is no need to say ur column is very useful and informative. I am learning many things from u. I thinks it is very difficult to write in simple language as u writes. U have lots of information.I have just started learning through BBC site. TIll date i was unaware of this facility and feeling we are very lucky to have teacher like u. I am an C A but though i dont have confidence of speaking in english. I know i need to practice everyday. Practice is must but i makes mistake everytime and realise it after making mistake. I dont have confidence.

Marianna, Slovakia, Bojnice
Be careful! Survive.

Adriana, Brazil
Hi Stephen. Have a nice trip. I'd like to be inside that box for tracking you and Lucy in your adventures.

Ana Paula, Brazil
Hi Stephen!By now, it´s 17:30 here in Brazil, and it´s really cloudy outside, hmm... maybe it´s going to rain Stephen. Moreover, it´s time for my coffee-break. I had a cup of black coffee and two slices of a whole yoghurt bread, in a light version, with cottage cheese. Lying on the table is a brand new copy(now in English) of one of my favourite and beloved Dostoievski books, 'Brothers Karamazov'. A sigh, and a strong desire to be anywhere out there in this big globe, just seeing the world... Oh, this makes me remember George Bailey(James Stewart)so much in 'It´s a Wonderful Life'!Aaah!!! Luckily, I have you Stephen, who share your amazing life stories in a kind and friendly way. You´re right, real life is meeting new people and places, is feeling the wind blowing in your face and think 'I´m alive!', is going to sleep with the sky as your blanket, is having time to your friends, it´s... it´s being owner of your own time ( very hard nowadays)... Aahh... Oh yeh boy, this is the real life indeed :-).Anyway, I hope your big Kleenex box could be enough for the tears you´ll drop.Take care, see you, Ana Paula.PS- Stephen, could you please wish good luck to Lucy for me? I wish all the best for her in this new undergraduate life that she will begin.

Silvana - Pantanal - Brazil
Hi Stephen, it's a pleasure to meet you. This is my first comment here, i found this blog only last week...ok...i know i'm too late!...but i'm here and a like it very much. Well there are a lots of fruit, bread, cheese, juice, chocolate in my fridge but nothing organic and the worst thing is that i don't have champagne...i must have to buy it! Don't you think so? :)I love to travel and when you say "It's time to go somewhere, anywhere" i know what you means and remember a phrase from a book i like (Art of Travel - Alain de Botton)..."the worst thing we meet when we come back home is that everything is the same way we left, only we are changed, our home is still there untouched and cold..." (i tried to translate...of course my book is in portuguese). When i come back home i try to discouver another place to travel as soon as possible...maybe this is my escape way for the real life.I tell you i'm sorry for my bad english. I can read,understand, talk sometimes but when i write i lose some words, maybe on the clouds :). I want to thank you because you're helping me to become better. Take care yourself! Cheers!

Analu Lima - Brasil - Curitiba - South
Hi Stephen,I have to agreed with you your bookshelves shows who we really are. That's good to hear about travel, prepare the bags, the route, and put the foot on the street = this expression we use in Brazil I don't know how to say that in English. Maybe you can say next time. I get enjoy each article. bye, be a good boy.

Silvia, Italy
This is my fridge from the bottom to the top:- tomatoes and grape- ravioli by Giovanni Rana and ham (all ready-made)- tiramisu I have made yesterday (really good!!)- parmigiano, fresh cheese and skimmed yoghurt- merely battery eggs- coca-cola zero(R) (which is the difference between coke zero and diet coke?)- fibre containing fruit juice drinkand... carrot juice (that my boyfriend bought one month ago and it's undrinkable!)And that's all! What can you tell about me? Would you switch your fridge with mine?

Yvonne, Germany (NRW)
Hello again Stephen,hey! You really used a German word: wanderlust! Wow. A new experience to me, although I knew that some words out of my mother tongue are integrated in English language.I understand your feelings about your wanderlust - it´s a wonderful world outside just to be discovered by us...As we Germans are the inventors of "wanderlust", wandern is re-activated even by young people ( and I think of going with Rucksack from point to point). Did you ever go a long turn, like a pilgrimage? I love reading your fascinating column. You mustn´t cry about your daughters move. Be proud of her, she is great. She will achieve a lot.

Kirsti, France
Heehee, Stephen. What if I AM a Finnish psychologist? Should I then tell you how I can bear living with myself? I am not, but I could have been - I never finished my studies. Escaping when running? No, taking some real efforts to keep oneself fit, of course. - I thought of your wanderlust fed by messages coming world wide. Fortunately for you, you don't get all the messages. Some of mine have never appeared, and I can't think this happens only to me. Amy, a teacher blogger, mentioned lots of spam. If with the reduced number of messages you have itching feet, you would rush around like a whirlwind if you got them all.
BBC Learning English:
We publish all suitable comments unless they break house rules or a technical issue prevents us from publishing.

Marcus Tullius, Germany, Bremen
Hello, Stephen,I've just finished reading your text and I am happy I've come across your column. It is very nice and I have already improved my English by reading it.I am afraid I disagree with your idea that the content of someone's fridge tells a lot about his/her personality. But I'd like to join in and let you know what's in mine. Maybe you'll end up helping find out more about myself. Who knows? Okay, here I go.In my fridge there's a litre of soya milk, but not for me. I always give it to my five-year-old son, because people say it is very healthy. I cannot drink it. It always makes me sit on my stomach. It's no use trying...You can also find three or four litres of juice in my fridge, such as vegetable, tomato, orange or apple juice, all without sugar or additives. I also drink beetroot juice with joy, which my son refuses to take, because he thinks it is a sort of vampire drink. He is into vampire stories...I am very much fond of cheese, so there are at least four types of cheese in my fridge: German, French (the type which doesn't wander around on the table), Norwegian and Swiss. I also like an English cheese sprinkled with a herb the name of which I can't recall at the moment. Let's not forget the two veg pizzas. You will find three boxes of fishmongers as well. I love them with rice and beens. Lettuce and tomatoes are always to be found in my fridge, but also less conventional food such as flour, cereals, cornflakes and even chocolate biscuits (which I keep hidden from my family after a long sermon about the danger sugar poses for human health). The reason these things are in the fridge is that I have been battling against flour moth in my kitchen for weeks. They are very difficult to get rid of...Well, I think it's time I stopped. I am looking forward to reading your next text. Don't worry, I haven't fallen in love with you, as some of your readers!Good-bye and till next time.Marcus Tullius

Amir,Iran
Have a good trip and I hope Lucy a very successful semester.


 
Stephen Keeler
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