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Jan 10, 2017

The title question for this podcast might seem unusual. A more normal question would be, "What have you experienced?" My choice of words was inspired by a conversation that I had with a friend of mine from Bangladesh, Suman. He told me that because his country is warm and tropical, that he and his countrymen have no experience of snow. A friend of his now lives in Japan, and was able to describe to him how amazing and beautiful this white phenomenon is. Having never experienced(1) it before, it was a surprising and pleasant shock. I searched online to find out how many people, similarly, have never experienced snow. Well, I only came up with(2) a rough estimate, as nobody can be absolutely sure of the number. About 40% of the world's population has never seen snow in person. The areas that get no snow are equatorial South America and Africa, and the desert areas of the Middle East. This made me think of natural phenomena that I have never experienced. Coming from England, a green, cool country, I have never experienced a vast desert. This might seem funny to those of you who come from drier countries. And even though I have traveled fairly extensively, I have only seen the desert briefly in Arizona, and also the semi-arid La Mancha in Spain. I am not familiar with miles of sand. And how about you? Which kind of climate or phenomenon have you never experienced? Would you feel comfortable, for example, in a very green, rainy country, or is it more normal for you to see sand and sun? I wonder what it would feel like for an Eskimo who has never been around greenery to experience a tropical forest, or rolling, green hills full of sheep. It would take some time to get used to it, for sure(3). Another thing that I haven't experienced is the Aurora Borealis. I'm sure that the sky full of shifting colors would hypnotize me, and it would take a while to realize that it is real. Let me know which phenomenon you have never experienced but would like to.

1. 'Having never experienced it before,..' having + a past participle, is a great way to make a sentence interesting and different, as the main clause has to come afterwards. 

a. Having gone shopping, she came back with ten bags and a big smile on her face.

b. Having never scuba dived before, he was nervous but excited.

c. Having studied non-stop for eight hours, he ate dinner and went straight to bed.

2. 'To come up with' is another interesting use of 'up' in English that adds to an idiomatic phrase. In this case, the phrase means to produce, discover, or to come to a conclusion.

a. The investigators examined the room for hours, but only came up with one fingerprint.

b. We brainstormed about how to fix the problem. It was our youngest child who came up with the solution!

3. 'For sure' is a little add-on that we often use to just confirm what we have stated. It can also be said to agree with what someone else has just stated.

a. If we want to avoid the traffic, we'll have to leave early, for sure.

b. "If she keeps practicing, she will be a proficient driver in a few months."

  "For sure!"