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May 9, 2018



I never thought that I would get here, but here I am. China, that is. I'm so excited that I'm sure even my sentences will have grammatical errors. This was an unexpected(1) trip, an opportunity that suddenly came my way. I would have been an idiot to not take advantage of my good fortune. Of course, I could have(2) stayed at home for the week, and done the usual things, you know: work, cooking, laundry, walk the dogs. However, as I have my mother and in-laws available to help, I jumped at the chance to come here, to China, instead. So, this is my first day, in Shanghai. My husband is in a business meeting, and as I write, I am hanging out in the hotel room which has an incredible view of the city. We are up on the 59th floor; I'm surprised that it doesn't make me feel dizzy. My first surprise when I arrived was to see how many trees there are in the city. There are more trees than in Seattle! Even the highway is bordered by either a line of deciduous trees, or indeed a forest. In fact, wherever there is space between the buildings, there are masses of trees. And I have never seen so many buildings, high rises, in my life. They stretch out like a giant lego project into the horizon. And yet everything is so neat, organized, and clean. Directly below our hotel is a park that looks like a mini-forest(3). There is a large pond in the middle, and I can see the roof of a restaurant, partly hidden by the canopy of the trees. After my husband's meeting, we will go there for a walk, and maybe have a bite to eat. One thing I realize as I talk to the hotel staff, and move around, is how ignorant I am. Seriously; I know so little about China, and my Chinese is practically non-existent. When I was in school, our history curriculum taught us very little about China. And our news media in UK and U.S has only recently given some time to news about this country. I think we can be inadvertently kept quite separate from other continents if we're not careful, don't you think? Mind you, all of that can change with a little effort, especially now that we have access to the internet. So, one of my goals for today, when I have finished this podcast, is to get on Youtube, to watch some Chinese history, and learn a few words and phrases. That's where I will begin.

1. 'Unexpected' What a great word! It's very common, and with a bit of practice, is not too difficult to pronounce.

a. I had some unexpected news yesterday from my sister.

b. There was an unexpected interruption to their journey, so they had to rearrange their plans.

2. 'Could have/ would have'. We've practiced this plenty of times, but it's essential for fluency.

a. I could have flown to Beijing, but instead I flew to Shanghai.

b. You should have checked your receipt; I think they overcharged you.

3. The use of 'mini'. We can unofficially use mini with all sorts of nouns to create our own sentences.

a. Our party was a mini-disaster. Frank fell on the cake. Sue fell down the stairs. And Rodger broke his ankle.

b. Students, tomorrow we will have a mini-exam, so make sure you study your notes tonight.