Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Distant Lands

I was working with some Malaysian students today and, to get them talking to each other in English, I asked them what they thought was the best thing about Britain, what was the worst thing about Britain, and what was the thing about Britain that had surprised them the most.

The general answer, to all three questions, seemed to be "The weather".

Many of the students loved the fact that we have seasons here in Britain. "It's always hot and humid in our country," said one in tones of disappointment.

I think she could see the misty-eyed longing in my expression when she said the word "hot" and she moved swiftly on to say how much she'd enjoyed ski-ing in Scotland over the Christmas holiday, even though she couldn't understand a word that anyone said as the English-language teaching back home had not prepared them for Scottish accents.

"I'd never seen snow before," said one, "and I sent a video of myself making a snowman to my family, and they loved it. "

It was fascinating to see the British weather through their eyes. You just never know what it's going to do the next day! How exciting!

They asked me what it was that I disliked most about Britain.

"Well, one of the things is the traffic." I said.

They looked bewildered. "What traffic?"

They couldn't believe that it bothered me. Leeds, apparently, is a city of quiet country lanes with just the occasional motor car, compared with Kuala Lumpur.

I love hearing about life in other parts of the world.

In contrast, I heard an interesting small news item on the radio today. Apparently in the Philippines there has been a spate of what are becoming known as My Way shootings.

There are a lot of guns about in the Philippines, apparently, and a lot of people who sing very badly who enjoy karaoke.

For some reason a badly-sung My Way is particularly annoying to audience members with guns. And, really, the lyrics do just invites some kind of a response, don't they? And that's what has been happening.

"And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curt - - " - - BANG!

It was probably as well that I didn't have a gun handy when our next-door neighbours were all singing it very loudly in the garden at three in the morning once.


Anonymous Ben said...

I noticed that after living in Madrid everywhere in the UK seems quiet! Especially in the evenings! And yes the weather is so unpredictable, at least in Spain you can guess what the weather will be like the next day. In the summer it´s either hot, hotter or really hot!

10:40 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I agree with the Malaysians. British weather is beautifully unpredictable. What isn't unpredictable is the weather-related moaning of my moaning fellow citizens. To every time there is a season.

12:45 am  
Blogger Malc said...

The weather is something that makes Britain such a great country to live in. Of course, in Orkney we get two or three seasons in a day and very little traffic.

Word verification: humus

10:59 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

If I had ten million dollars/pounds, I would send the entire populace of Canton, Georgia, to Kuala Lumpur so they could see what real traffic is like. Maybe when they returned they would stop complaining weekly in the "Soapbox" section of the local freebie newspaper about how bad traffic is near the new shopping center on the edge of town.

My verification word is colsili, which is too close to "cold, silly" to be accidental....

2:50 pm  

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