A2 Basic UK 164 Folder Collection
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- Hello, everybody.
This is Jack from tofluency.com,
along with my wife Kate.
And if you have seen one
of our lessons before,

then you'll know that we
have natural conversations

about a variety of different topics.
And that's what this video is about.
So if you are new, then welcome to you.
Please like this video and also subscribe.
And check out the description,
because I'm going to
leave key vocabulary there

so you can learn some
new words and phrases.

Okay, that was a long introduction.
What are we going to talk about?
- (laughs) Okay.
So today, I'd like to
talk about the experience

of living in a foreign country.
- Yeah, the experience of
living in a foreign country,

which is what I am doing right now,
what we both did when we lived in Spain.
- And if you're learning English,
you're probably wondering, you
know, what it would be like

to live in America or the UK.
Maybe you've had an
experience living or visiting

one of these countries, so.
- Yeah.
And I know a lot of people who
follow us here live in the UK

and live in America.
We get a lot of emails from people,
so it's kind of interesting
to think about it in that way.

So we moved to Spain in 2008.
- Wow.
- 10 years ago.
- Oh my goodness, I can't
believe it's been 10 years.

- It's been 10 years.
- Okay.
- And we first, we lived
in Bilbao for a year

and then we lived in Valencia, in Spain.
How can we start this?
What do you think is
a good place to start?

- Yeah.
So I was thinking we
could talk a little bit

about what it's like to
be in a foreign country

and some of the things that we missed.
- While living there.
- Yes.
- Right, yeah.
And some of the things that we miss
about not being in Spain now.
- Yeah, yeah.
Like some of the things that
were the hardest at the time,

and some of the best
things that we took away

from that experience.
- Okay, perfect.
So one of the biggest challenges
we faced when we got there

was finding somewhere to live.
And I do know that some
people didn't want us

because we were foreign.
They heard the accent, you know.
Shockingly, they didn't
think I was Spanish

when I was speaking to them
over the phone (laughs).

So it was quite difficult to find a place
but not just because of that
but because also we didn't
know the regulations,

we didn't know how things worked.
- Yeah, I think that's a really big part
of living in a foreign country
that people can find challenging
is like there's so much that
you just don't know exactly

how to do things.
- Exactly.
- And little things.
Like big things, like
finding an apartment,

but also little things like
getting food at the supermarket.

- Yeah.
Or one thing about Bilbao
was when you are at a bar

or a restaurant, you just throw napkins,
you throw the little
toothpicks, the pinchos.

- Oh, pinchos.
I miss pinchos, and the food in Spain.
- Yes.
So pinchos are like these
little snacks, usually bread

and then something on top.
- Yes.
- But when you are finished
with whatever you're using,

you throw it on the floor.
- In Bilbao.
- In Bilbao.
The other thing about Bilbao,
people drove really well

compared to Valencia.
- (laughs) We love Valencia
though too, so yeah.

- Oh yeah, I'm just saying in Valencia,
people were crazy on the roads.
- True.
- True.
And you had to, when the green man came on
to cross the road, you
had to be very quick.

- Yeah, you had to run.
- (laughs) Yeah.
Because it gave you like five seconds
to cross six lanes of traffic.
- True.
- But going back to Bilbao,
it took us a long time

to find a place.
And one of the things I
remember was having to pay

the realtor a month's rent
because they helped us
find this apartment.

- This apartment.
- We didn't know that.
- Nope.
- That was something new to us.
- It was a surprise.
- It was a surprise.
So it took us a long time to find a place.
We also found it difficult to know
when there was a holiday
and the fact that everything is closed.
Everything is closed.
- Everything is closed.

Which is amazing, because
people take that time

to go back to their villages,
to really close up stores and businesses
and take that break.
But when you're foreign and you don't know
how those kind of cultural things work,
it can be difficult.
- Yes.
And just a note on that, it
helps protect family businesses,

doesn't it, because they
can take that time off

knowing that everything else is closed.
One thing as well, when
we had to get furniture,

where did we go?
- We went to Ikea.
- What happened at Ikea?
- We didn't know that
the subway had closed

and we bought an entire
apartment worth of furniture.

- Yeah.
- We had a bed and a table
and some chairs already,

but we got everything else.
And so we just rolled out of Ikea
with our shopping carts full,
(laughs) no idea how to get it home.
- Yeah, so I remember standing there
after going through the checkout
and just looking at the
delivery service as well,

which was closed.
Subway had closed.
And people were starting
to look at us and talk.

- And talk about us.
- They thought that we were from...
- I don't remember.
- Finland.
- From Finland.
That's amazing.
That's really cool.
- So what happened?
- Well, I think that all
of these little experiences

are really what was hardest for me
about living in a foreign country,
which is just trying to be,
you know, just trying to live

and have people see me as a person.
- Right.
- Who, you know.
And so many little things,
like it's hard to have a sense of humor
when you don't speak the language,
and probably you're finding
this if you're learning English,

that your sense of
humor may not translate.

- Exactly.
- So jokes and things like that.
And then just trying to have
a, you know, conversation

and take care of business is challenging.
- Take care of business.
- Yeah.
- And just to finish the story, okay,
in case people are wondering.
- Yes.
It has a happy ending.
- Yeah, at Ikea there was
a guy who worked there

and he saw that we were having problems
and he took us with all our
stuff back to our apartment.

- Yes.
- Which was very nice.
- It was amazing.
We're very thankful still.
- Still, definitely.
- 10 years later.
- So yeah.
What are two or three,
you've got a question?

- Yeah, I was just gonna say.
So we talked about some
things that were challenging

at first.
But I almost forgot those
now, it's been so long.

What are some of the amazing
things about living in Spain

that have really stuck with you?
- That's the question I was gonna ask.
- Oh.
- Yeah, so we had the same idea.
Well, I think a big part of it for me was
it was the first time that I was working
and living on my own.
So I went to university and
I was living on my own then,

but when I was working in my hometown,
I was living with my parents.
So it was the first time
that I was living and working

on my own.
And I remember getting to Bilbao
and just being so excited.

And we were really open
to trying new things

and really experiencing Spain.
But some of the things I really enjoyed,
part of it is the bar hopping
and going out with people

and the culture of having
a little bit of alcohol

and a little bit of food,
going to the next place.

And the friends that
we made there was part

of that experience too.
The people were great.
- So amazing.
- Really good fun.
And when we talk about a sense of humor,
where we could laugh and joke about things
if, if they spoke English.
- (laughs) Yes.
And by the end of the experience too,
we could understand more about
the sense of humor and...

- Yeah, and have the context for that too.
Because a lot of the time you're learning
about the current political situation,
you have to learn about
the local football team

and the history of it
and why that's important.

You have to learn all
these different things.

The audio's still going.
To like really get that context
and to understand what is going on there.
- Yeah, absolutely.
- We worked as English
teachers, didn't we?

- We did, uh huh, both of us.
- I also just enjoyed being in a big city
with lots of public transport.
- Yes.
You know, some countries
are a little bit harder

to kind of live a casual young life in
and I think that the
United States in places

can be challenging if
you don't have a car,

if you don't have, you
know, I guess savings

for health insurance and things like that.
Yes, so there were so
many good things too.

And now you've started this
whole other chapter of your life

where you're living in a foreign country
and I forget that sometimes.
- Yeah, you do forget that.
- Yeah, do you forget it too?
- Yeah.
I see where I live now as home.
And one of the things here
is that people don't talk

about the fact I'm English all the time.
Whereas in other parts of the
US, that can be quite novel

and people only want to talk about that.
But here, people are more...
I guess, you know, we've
been friends with people

for a long time.
I probably modified the
way I speak a little bit

so people can understand.
And (laughs) like I say soccer.
- He says soccer.
- I say soccer all the time.
Because there's no point
in saying football,

because then that creates confusion.
- So much confusion.
- Yeah, I'm saying that to justify
in case a friend from home is watching,
because they don't like it.
But yeah.
- You're American.
- I see it as home.
- Practically.
- Well, not legally.
- Yet.
- Yet.
What about you?
Do you notice anything about
me living in a foreign country

that, you know, is there anything
that you pick up on still?

Or do you feel like I'm just here?
- Yeah, that's a really
hard question to answer

because we are together so much
and a lot of what we're
doing, you know, parenting,

just running our lives, where
we don't really get a time

to step back and to think about it.
I think when I really thought about it
was when you mentioned that
you were a little bit homesick

before our trip.
And so when you were feeling homesick,
what occurred to you?
What were you thinking about and missing?
- Yeah, I think it's just
being in an environment

that you grew up in.
More than anything.
- And so, what about that environment?
- The way people speak.
The food.
The sense of humor, in certain ways.
And just to experience it again,
that's what I was missing.
And it wasn't a really strong feeling.
I wasn't like "Oh, I need to
go home, I miss it so much."

But it was more a feeling
of wanting to go back,

just to experience it again.
And it's a good problem to have
because we talked about
America and the UK.

It's a good problem to have.
- Yeah, we're very lucky that we get
to kind of experience both
cultures and you know,

to make our lives in this
town or city that we chose,

which is really neat.
But your children are American.
- Yeah.
- Is that strange?
- Well, the other day we were
watching videos of Thomas

and he is now 4 1/2, and there was a video
of when he was about two.
And I feel like his accent when he was two
was more British.
Not more British than American,
but it sounded a little bit more British.
- More British than it is?
- And then now it's American.
But I think what happens is I
don't hear an American accent

when you speak, I just hear
you because I'm used to it.

And it's the same with my children.
I just hear them speak
and I don't really think

"Oh, you sound American."
- Sound American.
- Because I'm so used to
the American accent now.

It's just normal.
It doesn't sound strange.
- So recently when we went back to the UK,
what were some things that
really stood out to you?

Either when we were in the
UK or when we came back here?

- It's hard to say.
I was gonna say the traffic.
I know that's not like a real big thing,
but the traffic was crazy.
- Yeah.
In the UK.
- In the UK.
But then again, we live in a smaller city.
And we spent hours,
probably took us three hours

instead of an hour and
half to get to the airport

in New York, so we just
had New York traffic.

And there was nothing
really that I can think of

that stood out.
What about you?
- Okay, so we were in the
north of England in December.

We knew the weather was not gonna be great
and we were happy with that,
we just wanted to see family and friends.
But was the weather
better than you remember,

worse than you remember,
or about the same?

- When I was growing up, it
was just what it was like.

But after having this
experience here, living here,

it was really bad.
- There you have it, yes.
- And maybe bad isn't the
right word, but it was gray.

It rained every day.
And it never got super cold,
because we had just been in Connecticut
where it was minus 20 degrees celsius.
- So cold.
- And we went back to
Connecticut and it was minus 30,

it was crazy.
- So cold.
(laughs) So cold.
- And I used to think that
there wasn't a big difference

between minus four and minus
10, minus 15, but there is.

- Yes, your skin just hurts.
And probably if there's
anybody from Russia listening,

they're laughing at us.
But it does.
- Yeah.
But it never got that cold,
but it was just the gray atmosphere.
- It's dreary.
- Yeah, and it never gets really light.
Especially in the north.
It's not too much better in the south,
it's such a small island.
So that is definitely
one thing that stood out.

- Would you want to ever
go back and live in the UK?

- Yeah.
- And what motivates that?
- That's a good question.
I think just to be closer to family
and friends, old friends.
- Yes, Jack has this
amazing group of friends

that he's had almost his entire life,
since they were in
primary school together.

Is that right?
- Yeah, that is right, primary.
What's it called here?
- Elementary school.
- Yeah.
So yeah, friends, family.
And just to experience the culture again
after a pause, a break,
moving somewhere else.

- And you mentioned food and
there was something else.

But while we're on food, what
food were you thinking of--

- Sauces.
- Sauces.
- Always sauces.
Salad cream.
- Salad cream, which is
basically like sweet mayonnaise,

if you're familiar with that.
- Brown sauce.
- Brown sauce, like steak sauce sort of.
- Yeah, brown sauce.
- Brown sauce.
- And you can get those here but...
- Yeah, not in every grocery store.
- No, you have to find it.
- You have to really look for them.
- They're more expensive.
But I also like to experience
those sauces in the UK.

Oh, another thing I miss.
Another thing is football.
Football, soccer football.
- You can just say soccer.
- Soccer.
That's another thing I miss.
And it's growing here,
but I went to a football
game, soccer game, it's hard.

This is the problem I have.
I'm gonna call it football
for the rest of this video.

- What?
- It gives me a license.
- Okay, that's fine.
- I went to my local football
team and watched them play

and it was an incredible experience.
- And you got to bring your son.
- Yeah.
My son went for the first time.
It was great.
But it was cold and it was wet.
(laughs) It was great.
- Did you get a little choked up?
- Choked up, a little bit, yeah.
Which means emotional.
When we scored, I did a little bit, yeah.
So that was a lot of fun.
- Did you tell everybody
what your hometown team is?

- I mentioned it many times.
If you're new here though
or if you need a reminder,

it's Preston North End.
I'll leave a link to that
Wikipedia page in the description.

- Great.
- So you can all check that out.
- Yeah.
It's funny the things that
you miss, like sauces.

Like I missed strange little things
when we were living in Spain.
I missed peanut butter.
- Can you not get that in Spain?
- I think you can, but it's not as common.
So I missed like Reese's Pieces.
- Which you never eat.
- Which I never eat.
And Thin Mints.
Like, the things that you crave are small.
But the experience of
living in a foreign country,

do you think that it changes
just the way that you think

about the world?
- Yeah.
Well, it takes you out of your environment
and your comfort zone.
And it kind of resets certain things,
the way you think about the world,
which is always based on your environment
and your upbringing and your experiences.
So when you're thrown
into a different country.

Thrown in, you know.
When you go to a different country.
And one thing I will say as
well is as English teachers

living in Spain, people wanted
to make friends with us.

Because they wanted to
practice their English.

And we knew that, but it was
a really good relationship.

- And I think in general
when you are, you know,

somebody foreign living
in a different country,

if you're open to making
friends people are excited

to have that cultural exchange
and to kind of talk to you

and learn more about your
country and where you're from.

And I know people still do it with you.
Not as often, but they're excited.
- I think people don't want
to ask me where I'm from

because they might be worried about...
This is just my theory.
About me saying "Well, I'm in America.
"What do you mean where am I from?"
- (laughs) Or that
you're really Australian.

- That's it.
- Or South African or something
that they don't really know.

- Yeah, half of people who
guess, they guess Australian.

- Yeah.
- And, yeah.
So I feel like people
are worried about making

that wrong assumption.
Like if I say "Oh, where
in America are you from?"

And the person says "I'm from Canada."
- Oh yeah.
- You know?
That has happened before.
- That has happened before.
- Especially traveling, because
you meet a lot of people

from English speaking countries
and you can make that mistake.
So I feel like people
are worried about that

and it's difficult for
them to ask the question

in a way that might be...
In a way that isn't
impolite in their own head.

- Yes, yeah.
And I think that, to be honest,
that's something that
comes up again and again

when you have these experiences
in foreign countries.

I think that people are more worried
about other people judging
them than they need to be.

You know, you go to a foreign country,
you put yourself out there,
you know, and people see that

and they recognize that
and they like that,

they want to help you.
- Yeah.
But then there are also the people
who immediately do a British accent.
- Oh, yes.
- And usually a bad one.
And I don't mind it in general.
- And now that we've
spent some time in the UK,

(laughs) I can say that people also do
a terrible American accent.
- Yeah.
They do.
And it's just one of those things.
- Yeah.
It sounds like a cowboy
crossed with a gangster.

- Can you do?
- No, no.
- (laughs) Can you give an example
of what that would sound like?
- No.
But you can imagine it.
- That's funny.
And if you could move to a
foreign country that isn't Spain,

that isn't the UK--
- Isn't the UK?
- Yeah.
- No!
- Well, to experience
another foreign culture,

which one would it be?
- How about if you could move
to any English speaking
country for a while...

- No, any country.
- Okay.
- The question is any country.
That isn't Spain or the UK or America.
- Or America, okay.
- Where would you like?
- Oh, me.
- Yeah, I'm asking you a question.
- Oh, I thought that we were asking them
and I was like...
- No, no, no, no, I'm saying for you.
Like where would you like to experience?
- This is a really tricky question.
I think that I would be
excited to experience

some of the European countries
where people have really good chocolate
and ride the bicycles a lot.
- So, cause I've got something in my head
that I would choose.
- Okay, what would you choose?
- Germany.
- Okay.
Maybe Germany, maybe Denmark.
Just to be somewhere.
And also somewhere where
people don't speak English

so I could have that experience
of being somebody who
doesn't speak the language.

Because it's so uncomfortable at times
to not be able to express yourself,
but you learn so much.
And that's just amazing.
- And that's the lesson, isn't it?
- Yeah.
- Yeah, and if people are going
to an English speaking country,
it's so easy to find that expat community
and just stay there.
And we fell into that trap
where we did too much of that

maybe in Spain.
- Maybe.
- It was difficult because
we were English teachers,

so our job was to only speak in English.
- True.
- But yeah, and I think
that's a great question.

Great question for them.
- Now that I tried to talk
over your question from you

with one.
- It's always Kate's question.
- Okay, Kate's question!
If you could move to any
English speaking country,

so we've got Canada, the
United States, Australia,

I feel like we left out a lot.
- New Zealand, Ireland, the UK.
- New Zealand, Ireland, the UK.
Which country would you choose and why,
and how long would you want to live there?
- Wow, great question.
- Yeah.
- Fantastic.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this episode
of our conversational lessons.
And again, if you are new,
like, subscribe to this channel.
We have many more conversations
coming up this year.

- Yes, it's very exciting.
- And also like I said
before, check the description

for lists of the key
phrases and the vocabulary

that we used.
And thank you so much for
watching and for being here.

Bye for now.
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Advanced English Conversation Lesson #9: Living Abroad (learn real English w/ subtitles)

164 Folder Collection
洪子雯 published on June 13, 2019
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