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Jul 13, 2016

The number of people in my house has grown from six to seven recently. A young man from Spain has come to spend six weeks with us. He is no ordinary young man; he's actually my second cousin, and is here to spend time with this side of the family, and of course, to learn English. Thankfully, he is the same age as my youngest son, and is very fun-loving. I'm sure that he will pick up(1) a lot of English while he plays with my kids. That was actually how I picked up a lot of Spanish when I was a child. My mother would take me to Mallorca in Spain, to spend about a month in the summers. Because children play so much, and are less inhibited than adults, they absorb language like little sponges. Well, that's what happened to me, and I'm very thankful for the experience. So far(2), we have taken my cousin to Seattle for a couple of days, and down to a local river to look for gold. Today, I plan on taking him to the museum in the town of Cashmere which is excellent. He will get his first view of Native American life, and be able to walk through some of the original pioneer cabins of this area. Like most boys who are thirteen, he is very curious and constantly asks questions. Of course, I don't always have the answers! Coming to the U.S is a big step for him, especially being so young(3). Mind you, he is a world traveller. His mother is an air hostess and is able to get cheap airline tickets, so they travel internationally all the time. So he is extremely comfortable in airports, and understands the routines of getting from one place to another. I hope that him being here will encourage my children to spend time in Spain, and also become international travelers.

1. 'To pick up' is used in this podcast to mean 'to come to understand', ' to learn in a natural way'.

a. When we went to Iceland, my kids picked up a lot of vocabulary.

b. I used to watch my mum cook, and so, over time I picked up how to cook.

2. 'So far' is like saying 'up to this point'. It is a very simple and conversational phrase.

a. So far this summer, we have only had a few very hot days.

b. The fund-raiser so far has made $2,430,000.

3. 'Coming to the U.S is a big step for him, especially being so young,' the last part of this sentence has a great structure that is flexible. You can add many things to 'especially being so ...'.

a. They will have a great time at the party, especially being so sociable.

b. She will feel so much better with the new medicine, especially after being so ill.

c. It will be a relief when the presidential race is over, especially after so much news coverage.

italki for practice with English teachers!