The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald

Many people start to study Engish when they are making a big change in their lives. Maybe a partner is taking more education, a parent has remarried and moved, home feels too dangerous, or your marital status has changed.  This is a great article about 6 people from Calgary who had to make job changes.  Your identity changes a lot, along with your employment status and where you live.  Read for some good ideas about how to “reinvent” your life.

We talked to six Calgarians up to their necks in the messy, but necessary, business of professional transformation.

Source: The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald

Gallery

Winter words: vocabulary for winter equipment

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Edmonton winter can start very early some years, and very late other years.  However, this year, our winter has already started! On Friday, the beginning of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the snow started to fall, all the way from Edmonton … Continue reading

This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

Nature is nurture for me. There are many stresses in modern life, but when I can spend even 15 minutes in a natural environment, I begin to relax and deal with things more effectively. This is a beautiful article showing how nature is used for wellbeing in many areas of the world. Even if you don’t want to read the very interesting article, you can enjoy the lovely images.

When we get closer to nature, be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree, we do our overstressed brains a favor.

Source: This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

If you want to read some very good quality writing, as well as learning about all kinds of amazing adventures around the world, then I highly recommend that you look for “Outside Magazine”. This article is very long, and includes a lot of information that might be confusing, but it’s the best analysis that I’ve seen for how various eating choices affect the environment. If you are planning to take a language proficiency exam, or if this is an interesting subject for you, I recommend that you read this article. Maybe you might want to read a couple of paragraphs/day, instead of trying to read the whole thing in one sitting. Get the main idea first, and then look up words that are unfamiliar to you.

The endless cascade of nutritional information—about localism, vegetarianism, veganism, organic food, the environmental impact of eating meat, poultry, or fish, and more—makes the simple goal of a healthy, sustainable diet seem hopelessly complex. We talked to scientists, chefs, and farmers to get the ultimate rundown on how you should fuel up.

Source: Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

Good & Bad Experiences: vacations and nights out

 

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My necessary travel equipment: passport, ID & money, and a good book

 

Last night:

 

Last night, I went out with my friends. Nine women got together, and we went to Pampa. It’s a Brazilian restaurant that’s downtown. It’s a good restaurant but more expensive. We had meat and wine, and we talked about men, politics and life. We had a fun time there, and then we went to Central Social Hall. It’s a bar, and we drank and danced there. I don’t like drinking alcohol very much, so I drank one Cuba Libre, which is rum with Coca Cola. I don’t like dancing either, so I didn’t go out very late. I got home at midnight. I went home in my friend’s boyfriend’s car. The rest of my friends danced and drank until very late, so they got home about 3 o’clock. It was a good night but not very much fun for me.


When we traveled to Real de Catorce, my first bad experience was when we burst a tire on the way. We had to stop for 3 hours because we hadn’t brought a spare tire, and that was boring. The people in the village were friendly, and they helped us to buy another tire because we didn’t know where to go.

My second bad experience was in the desert. When we were down in the desert, it started raining and we couldn’t ride because the land was converted to quicksand. We got stuck in the mud for 5 hours, and we had to stand around until the rain was over. It was terrible and funny because when we finished, we were very dirty.


I’m writing about a night out with friends. One weekend, three months ago, I went to another city to visit two very good friends.

When I arrived at my friend’s house, I got dressed in her home to go out. After that, we went to pick up my other friend. We went first to a restaurant for dinner and after that, we went to a quiet pub to drink and talk. Once we went into the bar, we met other friends and we decided go to a party in another city 1 hour away from this city. But the four had drunk alcohol, so that wasn’t a great idea. We drove, and then left my car in the parking lot, so we paid for a taxi to travel to the other city. We danced and drank until 7 in the morning. In the disco, I lost my coat, but someone returned it. The moment with my friends was fantastic and it finished when they closed the disco. Then, we returned to my friend’s house and slept here. When I got up, I remembered my car but I didn’t remember where it was parked, so my friend and I searched for it for 2 hours! I was very angry and I felt pretty bad but finally I found my car and laughed about the experience.


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In Edmonton, the Sugar Bowl is a restaurant and bar, and this is my favourite place. I went with a friend two weeks ago. I wanted to have food with meat, but because of my limited English, the waiter didn’t understand me and I got three burgers. I was eating burgers all week and I didn’t want this food any more! But this restaurant is always excellent. I get breakfast there with my husband every weekend, and we always have a good time there. We talk about our families, our country and our experiences and plans in Canada. There, I can see interesting people, and the majority are students at University of Alberta. The ambiance is very nice. When I finish my breakfast, I get a coffee and I go to my apartment walking between the trees, and beside the river.


Hi,

I traveled to the beach in Brazil two years ago with my husband. We drove there by car. It was great because I love to drive for a long time.

When we arrived there, it was a terrible experience for me. The place was beautiful. But everything went wrong that day. The weather was pretty bad; it was raining a lot and cold. We didn’t go to the beach. We stayed in the hotel for one day with nothing to do. The hotel was horrible. The people were unfriendly, they didn’t accept cards, only money, they didn’t have parking for the car, and the room smelled bad. I didn’t like the sheets because they weren’t clean enough for me. I asked my husband to move to another hotel, but they were all full. However, I liked the food. It was terrific.

At night, my husband and I went out to see the city. I loved the city; it was fantastic. There were good restaurants, many stores were open late at night and many people were in the street. It was supposed to be a three-day vacation, but we returned home on the second day.

I went back there again, but that time, the weather was amazing and we stayed at a fantastic hotel.


I went out with some friends, and we went to a pub and restaurant. It was a good one, with a beautiful design. We had typical food, like steak, salad, and fish, and then we had wine and entertainment. It was a very good evening. My friends and I enjoyed live music, we danced, and we talked about our vacations and experiences. We enjoyed our evening and we went home by taxi. We left the pub at 2 am, and we got at home about 2:30 am.

Fantastic. We had a great time: 10/10 points.


Bad experiences.

I went home last September, and I when I came back to Edmonton, my flight was terrible. I had to wait in the airport for 3 hours. The food on the plane was bad because it was cold. The flight attendants were also cold. After I got to Montréal at 11 pm, I missed my other flight, and I waited in airport another 12 hours for the next one. I was very tired because I didn’t sleep. After that, I finally arrived in Edmonton. For me, it was a bad experience.




A bad day in Valencia:

My girlfriend and I went to Valencia in the summer. One day was horrible because that day the people were unfriendly and cold in general and the weather was terrible (Oh my God!): It rained all day! My girlfriend lost her wallet in the restaurant where we went that day and the food was pretty bad (we did not return). At night, we went to a pub with live music and it was fantastic (we liked it). We drank a lot of alcohol, we ate a very big meal and then we went home by car at about 7:00 a.m. It was a day to forget, a bad day.


Hi sweetie,

How are you?   I went to Beijing.   The weather was fantastic. First I drove to Bar Street, a street with about 50 bars. The people were friendly. I was lost, and they directed me. I went to Wangfujing Hotel, where there were lots of people and delicious food. After dinner, I went to a teahouse because it’s a good place to talk.

Holiday: My husband, my son and I came to Beijing. The weather was horrible, we couldn’t get a taxi, I lost my luggage, and I was very anxious. The people were unfriendly. We checked into a hotel, but it was dark. When we came to a restaurant, it was crowded with too many people, and someone stole my wallet. I felt so depressed, and this holiday was very unhappy.


I wanted to tell you about my trip when I went to Germany.

This was a bad experience. Why? Let me explain that. I flew from Belgium to Frankfurt in Germany and on the plane, everyone was talking in German and a little English. I was frustrated, and I didn’t know what to do when I needed something. I didn’t know how to ask questions. You know what? I asked for water to drink and I didn’t specify that I wanted mineral water, either non-sparkling or with gas. So, the hostess gave me gas water, which I didn’t like because I don’t like sparkling water.

When I arrived in Frankfurt, I couldn’t find one of my suitcases. This was another problem, how to ask the question and in what language? The people didn’t respond, and they were unfriendly and very cold.

But just after, I asked another hostess the question: did she work at the airport, and did she speak French? She replied yes, and I was very happy because I was already starting to cry. And she got the information about my luggage. She told me to write everything that I had in my luggage and also the address where I would be. She told me to be quiet, and they would send me home. The good news is that I received my luggage 3 days later.

Thanks


I went out with my friends, Victoria and Elvira, in August. I wore blue trousers, a white blouse, and high heel shoes. My friends also wore nice clothes.

We went to “Hard Rock Café”, which is a bar and restaurant. There is good food and live music. On the weekends, various rock bands perform.

We had different dishes and drank wine and beer. We talked about music, movies and fashion.

We had a wonderful time.

After the restaurant, our husbands came for us. I got home at 1:30 am.


When we lived in Kuala Lumpur, I had bad experiences with taxi drivers. My daughter and I were returning from my friends’ place. We caught a taxi near her home. He said that price would be 15 RM. When we arrived, he said that the price was 50 RM. When I refused to pay, the taxi driver shouted at us. The guard from our condominium helped us. I paid 15 RM and he left. It was terrible and unpleasant.



IMG_2363.JPGWhen I flew to Canada I had a very stressful trip. This was my first flight, I flew alone, and I didn’t know the English language. The entire trip lasted 20 hours. I had two transfers, first in Warsaw in Poland. I had very little time, maybe 50 minutes and I was afraid that I would not make my connecting flight. And my second flight change was in Toronto, Canada. The airport was very large and very strange. I had to find my baggage and my plane to Edmonton. I had three hours until my next plane to Edmonton, but checking to find my baggage and debriefings in Customs and Immigration took me a long time. Everything is very difficult when you don’t speak the English language. My last flight from Toronto to Edmonton was first delayed for 30 minutes and then the storms ended, and we could land in Edmonton. When I landed I was very happy because I was very tired of traveling. For my 2 weeks back in Poland, unfortunately, I have to survive this journey again. I have learned a little English, so it will certainly be easier!

 

The Best of Edmonton

The students in my low intermediate class are studying about shopping, and they have learned a lot about using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here, they share some of the best places that they have found around Edmonton.

I like Edmonton because the society is relaxed. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname, Canada’s Festival City. In Canada, it’s the most popular city for festivals.

Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction in Edmonton, which is the largest living history museum in Canada by area.

If you stay in a hotel, the most expensive is The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and it has four stars. The price is $228.44 and that doesn’t include taxes and service fees of USD 28.03.

Here in Edmonton, you have to pay more GST (like VAT or HST).

If you want to buy the least expensive fruits and vegetables, No Frills is the least expensive grocery store.

If you want to visit a mall, West Edmonton mall is the biggest in Edmonton. Before, it was the biggest in the world but now it is only the most popular. You can find anything, you like there.

Hello! I’m from Brazil. Now I live in Edmonton, and I have stayed in Edmonton for five months. I haven’t had a long time to make great suggestions, but I’m enjoying my time a lot. Edmonton has a lot of great festivals in the summer. You should go to the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton or Fringe Festival Theater. Most festivals are amazing for families or on your own. Taste of Edmonton and Heritage festival both have food, but Heritage doesn’t have drinks with alcohol. Taste of Edmonton has a specific location for tasting wine and beer. Heritage has a lot of different traditional food and dances from all over the world. This is fantastic because you can learn a little about the culture of other countries. At the Fringe Theater Festival you should watch a presentation of arts on the street, for example, magic, acrobatics, or juggling outside or inside. If you watch theatre inside, you paid too much money. You can see pictures, handicrafts and snacks if you take more time.

I have some other suggestions for the best restaurants, nicest hotels, best department stores, most unusual markets and the most interesting museums. The best restaurant you should try is Rick’s. If you can spend more money, you could try Lux steakhouse. I don’t know a lot of hotels, but you could try Matrix Hotel. This hotel is downtown, and it has breakfast and a nice environment. The best mall you could visit is Southgate because it has a lot of stores, clothes, house, shoes, sports and others things. If you like to walk and have time, you could go to South Edmonton Common. The most unusual market you should go to a farmers’ market on Saturday on 104 Street. The most interesting museum near Edmonton is in Drumheller. You should visit Telus World of Science or Drumheller Museum to see the dinosaurs. In Edmonton, there are a lot of different places for you to visit.

When you arrive in Edmonton you should go to West Edmonton Mall. In West Edmonton Mall, there are a lot of cheap shops and expensive shops, so it depends on what suits you. In West Edmonton Mall, you can buy whatever you like. You can buy all kinds of clothes, electronic products, toys, souvenirs, and food. Also in West Edmonton Mall you can spend your time pleasantly. The most unusual markets are Costco and Sobeys. I always go there. The best Chinese restaurant where I was is, “Double Greeting Wonton House”. This restaurant looks ugly, but there is good food! In my opinion, the nicest hotel in Edmonton is the Hotel Macdonald. I was there for a moment and I saw a cool dog there. In the lobby, there is a model Hotel Macdonald building built with Lego. I was at one festival in St Albert. This festival was about old cars and a lot of people brought their own old cars and drove them around my street. For me, this was amazing because cars in Poland are different than Canadian cars.

Places to visit when you are in Edmonton:

When visiting Edmonton, you shouldn’t miss:

If you visit with children you can’t miss the most interesting park, “Fort Edmonton Park”!

Another park is “William Hawrelak Park”, and this is the most beautiful park in summer and in winter.

The best and the nicest Hotel is “Fairmont Hotel Macdonald” but it is also the most expensive.

The most interesting market is the “Farmers Market” in Old Strathcona. But there are many other interesting markets in the city in the summer.

“The Royal Alberta Museum” is the nicest museum in Edmonton.

But if you want to buy something, you can visit the biggest mall in America: “West Edmonton Mall” and after that, you can eat in the best restaurant in Edmonton: “Sorrentino’s Restaurant” or in the most unusual restaurant, “Louisiana Purchase” where you can eat crocodile.

I hope you enjoy your visit.

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics | PhraseMix.com

A lot of my students are very interested in fashion, shopping, and makeup.  There is a LOT of vocabulary about these subjects, but you can learn it pretty easily if it’s important for you.  I recommend that you look for English fashion magazines, which contain a lot of photographs.  Generally, there will be a very detailed description of each of the styles that are in the book, including colours and styles.  Many women’s magazines also contain a lot of ads and articles that relate to cosmetics.  Take some time to browse, if fashion is important to you!

Aaron’s Phrase Mix covers a lot of English expressions and idioms, and you can follow Aaron on Twitter @phrasemix

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics | PhraseMix.com.

 

Roots and English Words

One of the reasons that I have chosen to teach ESL as a second career is because of my lifelong fascination with words.  Words have brought me so much joy in my life.  Reading has always been one of my favourite activities, first in print, and more recently in audiobooks.  When I listen to music, I’m only drawn to songs with interesting lyrics.  The harmony and melody are very important, but I’m only really interested when the words of a song are meaningful in some way.  I only took Latin for 1 year, but I’ve always been grateful that my early teachers took time to point out the patterns in the English language.  They helped to notice prefixes (word beginnings) and suffixes (word endings), and to recognize the roots of many common words.  When we know a little bit more about the origins of a word, we can understand much more about its meaning, as well as pronunciation and usage.  As I studied to teach ESL, I was fascinated to learn that most of our food and government vocabulary came from the Norman French when they controlled England.

I hope that this webpage will help you a bit in your journey to understand new words.  Often, the new word will have some clues that will help you to guess at the meaning.

Roots and English Words.

Video

What do you think about trash?

Garbage is everywhereIf you want to study English at a higher level, especially if you want to take a language proficiency test, you are almost sure to find information about trash. Other words with similar meaning are: garbage, waste, rubbish, refuse, or discarded material. Everyone throws away materials that they don’t use. What happens to it after that? Different jurisdictions take different approaches to the problem of waste, including landfills, recycling, composting, or burning garbage. Here are some interesting videos about the subject.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/2662525″>Sustainable Dave Explains Worm Composting</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user919573″>Sustainable Dave</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Farmers and gardeners are very worried about the lack of rain and high heat in Alberta.  These 2 news stories talk about the conditions.  See what new vocabulary you can find.Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation.

Parkland County east of Edmonton has de­clared a state of agri­cul­tur­al dis­as­ter.

A com­bin­a­tion of drought and grass­hop­pers have dev­as­tat­ed crops in the re­gion, the county said in a news re­lease Tuesday.

County of­fi­cials will re­quest a dis­as­ter re­cov­ery program be set up by both the prov­in­cial and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments.

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library

Many students ask me how they can improve their vocabulary, as well as their writing, and in my opinion, the best way to do that quickly is to read as much as you can in English, about subjects that interest you.  New books are expensive, and if you borrow books from the library, you may find it hard to finish them within 3 weeks.  An excellent way to learn about many new things is to visit the Books2Buy booksale, which is held several times/year at the Stanley A. Milner Library, in downtown Edmonton.  It’s just upstairs from the Churchill LRT station.  The best selection is available early Friday morning, and the best deal is available on Sunday, when you can fill a whole box with used books for only $10!  For only $1-2/book, I recommend buying a good selection: some children’s books, non-fiction, English learning, and books that teach you how to do something new.  Don’t miss this opportunity!

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library.

Injured on the ice!

I didn’t stay around for the group picture on Friday!

Short Story:

Friday I fell on the ice and I broke my wrist. I visited 2 hospitals and 2 clinics to get help.  It was a bad break.  Doctors tried to stretch my arm to fix the bone, but that didn’t work.  I stayed in hospital 3 nights, and I had an operation to fix my arm.  Now, I have a cast for 6 weeks. 

Long Story:

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to meet my friends from November Project Canada for a workout, 3 mornings/week at 6 am.  Friday mornings are hills at Emily Murphy Park.  Thursday night was rainy and it was warm (+5) on Friday morning, so I assumed that the sidewalks would be clear, and I wouldn’t need to wear spikes.  When I arrived at the hill, several people said that it was slippery, and they said to be careful.  For some reason, though, I started running and I wanted to keep running.  I have always had trouble with slipping on ice, so I’m usually very careful when it’s icy outside.  I went up and down the hill 3 times, but the third time, I slipped quickly, and I went straight down and landed on my bum.  Unfortunately, my right hand was underneath me when I fell. I knew right away that my wrist was broken.  Many people offered me help, but I wanted to sit still for a little while before standing up.

It was still before 0630 hours when I drove away, to the University of Alberta Hospital (the U).  I parked at a meter but I couldn’t even get coins out of my purse.  I checked into the emergency room (ER) and waited, and waited.  I could see that more and more patients were arriving, but no patients were going to see doctors, even after the day shift arrived at the hospital.  I asked, and the nurses said that all of the beds in ER were completely full, so the doctors couldn’t see anyone until some of those patients had been discharged.  Since I believed that I only needed an X-ray and a cast, I felt it would be best to go to a walk-in clinic.  After asking a few people I learned that X-ray was available at Allin Clinic.  Unfortunately, when I arrived there, I learned that they didn’t have a walk-in clinic, so I went to the Medicentre on Jasper Avenue. First, I got a coffee and loaf at Starbucks.  It was almost school time, so I phoned work to make sure they got my message that I wouldn’t be in.  One of the receptionists at the Medicentre began to shout at me for using the phone in the clinic, even though none of the doctors had started work yet.  I tried to explain that I was just quickly calling work, and I couldn’t open the door because of my broken wrist, but she was too busy shouting to hear what I said.  Finally, I saw the doctor and got an X-ray requisition, and my wrist was very swollen.  I returned  to the Allin Clinic, waited and got an X-ray, and they sent me back to the Medicentre with a disc (CD) that contained my X-rays.  When I saw the doctor again, he was at his computer.  He showed me that my bone was chipped away at the wrist, so I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon.  He recommended that I go to the Royal Alexandra Hospital (the Alex).

At that point, it was about noon, and my phone was dead.  I had sent text messages to my kids, to let them know what was going on, but we couldn’t reach each other.  I stopped by home to get a drink of water, to change into clothes that would be easy to manage and to get my laptop, so I could recharge my phone.  I was able to phone my kids once I parked my car at the Alex since I was using my car charger.  My son checked online to see what the waits were like at all the hospitals around the city: more than 3 hours everywhere!  I decided to stay at the Alex, since I had already paid for 24 hours parking, and it was closer to home for me.  I waited about 1/2 hour in the lineup to see the triage nurse.  When they saw that I already had X-rays and I had been waiting all morning for care, they said they would try to get me in faster.  I was in a bed in ER in less than 1 hour, and I had an ECG and a lot of bloodwork done, but it took a few more hours before they had enough people available to try to improve my arm without surgery.  Finally, there was an ER doctor and resident, and anesthesiologist and resident, a nurse, someone to cast my arm, and a respiratory technologist in the room.  They gave me “conscious sedation”, medication that only put me to sleep for about 2 minutes.  During that time, they yanked on my arm, to try to bring the broken bone into the correct position for casting.  This is called a “reduction”.  Following the procedure, I had many more X-rays.  After reviewing those X-rays, an ortho Dr. and her resident told me I’d definitely need surgery.

The good news was that I was permitted to eat.  My daughter picked up my car keys and brought me some extra clothes, and the charger for my laptop.  She also brought me a meal from Wendy’s.  When she arrived, the ER was on “lockdown”, so nobody was permitted to enter.  Luckily, a security guard delivered my things to me.  Soon after that, I moved to the orthopedic surgery unit, across the street.  Much to my surprise, I had a private room, with lots of space.  Soon, I was on IV fluids, not allowed to eat or drink anything for the whole day.  It’s pretty boring when you can’t eat or drink, and you can’t go anywhere.  Luckily, I was quite sleepy, and I slept a lot, listening to an audiobook or music while I was awake.  Sometime after 7 pm, the nurse brought my tray and said that I wouldn’t have surgery that day.  The food was quite bad, but I ate some of it, and then went to the food court, to get a meal from Tim Horton’s.  At midnight, I was back on an IV.  Sunday was the same, no food or drink, but in the evening, they arrived to take me to surgery.  It was about 7 again when I returned to my room and had a meal.

The next day, I needed to take antibiotics twice, to prevent infection.  All of my tubes were removed for the last time, and I was given a prescription for pain medication.  I went to the main building to get my pills, and for my son-in-law to pick me up.  Finally home again!  Fortunately, I don’t have too much pain, except at night, when I’m at home, and I can take medication.  It’s inconvenient to be unable to use my right hand for now, but I will probably have this big cast off in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, I’m avoiding driving and other tasks that are difficult with only one hand.