090 - Chats with Shana: Yearly REview

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In this episode, you'll hear about my year and many of the expressions taught in expression episodes.

The American English Podcast

The American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Hi Everyone!

This is the first of many (hopefully) yearly reviews. There’s nothing better than reflecting on the highlights in one’s year, especially with the help of images. I’ve done this partially for myself and also to help you listeners. I’ve talked about some of the events I’ve spoken about the podcast to “jog your memory” (episode #1) and used a number of other expressions from the expression episodes to talk about my 2020. This is very personal.

Portuguese Challenge – Day 0

90 Day Commitment 

4x per week / 30 mins a day 

Focus: Spoken Portuguese

Difficulties to Overcome: 

  • Accent 
  • Gender
  • Tenses

Feel free to join this challenge with me. If you do, be sure to let me know! 🙂

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Hi, everybody. My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting! Let’s do it.

Hi, everyone. Welcome to 2021 and also to Episode 90 of the American English Podcast. I’m so glad that you’re still listening to this podcast at episode number 90, or if your first episode is this one, I hope you enjoy.

This is going to be another Chats with Shana episode, which means that I will be speaking in a disorganized fashion, in a way that I would think naturally so that you can get an idea of how a native speaker would formulate thoughts and also the natural expressions that I would use.

There is a little bit of a different aspect I’d like to add to this episode, though, and that’s by adding a lot of expressions I’ve used in previous episodes.

So as you may know by now, there are expression episodes on this podcast, and those begin with an expression, obviously, that I explain in detail with examples. There’s a pronunciation aspect to it and then also a fun fact that’s tied to the expression.

Up until now, I think there are 46 different expressions that I’ve taught. So not quite fifty. I wish the number was rounded, but it’s not. And today I’d like to do a sort of review of them, but not really. I’d like to actually just use them in context.

So I have that list in front of me and I also have a well, actually, it’s just the app on my phone with all of my pictures stored. And I’m going to use these two aspects to create a sort of story of my year using the expressions in previous episodes. So it’s kind of a review of my year and – um sorry, Clara’s right here – and also a review of the expressions. So let’s get to it. And we’ll begin with January of 2020.

So at midnight on January 1st, 2020, I actually found out I was pregnant.

Lucas and I decided to wait until midnight because I had an inkling or a feeling that I was pregnant and I thought that would be a great way to start 2020. So I was pregnant for the majority of 2020. I gave birth in August and so that was pretty much what I remember. My highlight was of the entire year was the pregnancy and also, well, maybe the pregnancy wasn’t the highlight, but the the end of the pregnancy, the birth of my daughter Clara was.

So in January we went to Florida. That was a trip we took so that he could start working with music in the US. If you don’t know by now, Lucas is a music producer from Brazil and songwriter and he’s decided that he wants to work more closely with Spanish speakers to get into the pop music scene in the US.

Now, we stayed in Miami and that’s where Julia took her first steps, and that was about two weeks before her first birthday. We also took Julia to Disneyland for the first time, which I was probably more excited about, well definitely more than she was. And it was a bit of a pain, though. We spent the whole day carrying her around. If you’ve seen pictures, she was pretty heavy around one year old.

I always wondered, why do parents bring babies to Disneyland. If you’ve done it, congrats to you. I will take a baby to Disneyland again when hell freezes over or when pigs fly. In other words, never.

On January 28th, Julia had her first birthday and we debated and debated whether we should throw a big first birthday party. In the U.S. it’s very common to have big first birthday parties with friends and family and a theme.

In the end, my mom and I decided to plan a beach themed party and invite friends and family, and I ordered a massive cake that had blue buttercream for an ocean, there was a beach with flip flops and an umbrella, I believe.

Normally cakes from stores here that are sold with colorful buttercream are hit or miss. In other words, they can be good or they can be really bad. You never really know it’s spot on or not, but this one really hit the spot, so it was delicious.

Julia ate cake for the first time and she freaked out. And I think that’s the first time we really noted that she would have a sweet tooth.

Anyway. So I let my parents know right about then that I was pregnant. And I let them know by putting a bun in their oven, which is a common expression in English, meaning that someone is pregnant. If you say I have a bun in the oven, it means I am pregnant. So this was kind of funny, my dad was confused. Why is there a bun in the oven? And it took them a minute to understand that I was in fact going to be giving birth around nine months later. So that bun was Clara and of course, that oven was my uterus. So it was really funny. My mom thought I was pulling her leg since Julia was only just about to turn one.

But I needed to tell them as soon as I found out, because the first time with my first daughter, with Julia, Lucas, spilled the beans. He told all of his family members that I was pregnant right when I found out and I wanted to wait until three months.

So in February, moving on to the next month, we had some friends visiting us from Brazil. This is before Covid and we decided to go to the snow. It was really exciting for them because it was – I don’t think it was the first time they went to the snow but – the first time that they went to Lake Tahoe, which we talk about all the time. It’s our favorite destination nearby with a giant lake. It’s beautiful in summertime, in wintertime. The hills were covered in snow, perfect for skiing. The lake was covered in ice. The scene blew their mind. They were very amazed by how beautiful it was.

They have ski resorts. And so we went to one of them and they were excited to try out skiing for the first time. Our friend Amanda thought skiing was a piece of cake. For the rest of them, it was a bit of a shit show. One of our friends fell off the ski lift. Others ended up on more advanced runs somehow and needed to make their way down. Others needed to scoot down the slope on their butts and were criticized by more skilled children flying by.

Anyway, right about the end of the day, they got the hang of it. Got the hang of it. Another expression there.

In March, we went to Brazil and it was going to be the first time that Julia got to know the family members there, or at least my sister in law, Sylvia, and her family. That was right about the time when the Coronavirus started affecting everyone. They blocked off flights from Europe to the US, I believe. And we were so worried that we were going to get stuck in Brazil – which is not normally a problem. I would normally love it, but being pregnant, it just complicated matters – and so our three-week trip got cut down to three days. It was very confusing at the time, too, because we weren’t exactly sure whether the Coronavirus would affect us, if it was just like the flu or what. It was right at the very beginning. We weren’t even sure if people on the plane would pass the virus by sneezing or cutting the cheese…another expression.

Sorry, I’m just focusing on the traveling because I’m starting to realize that the highlights of my year always regard traveling.

So (in) May we took a road trip down south to Southern California and spent a weekend on a farm with friends who’d also been quarantining. That was a very fun trip.

In June. Well, hello there. In June, we went camping, which I thought was a great idea. I mentioned it in one of the podcasts that we stayed in a trailer sort of park – like an RV park, and it was different from anything I’d ever experienced before.

I was very pregnant and it was really rough sleeping on top of rocks inside of a tent, and when it got very cold at night time, it was not very nice.

Moving on, let’s use some more of these expressions. So last year, it’s funny to say last year, because that was yesterday, but I also decided to grow a garden. And this is the second year in a row that I decided to take up such an endeavor and planted tomato seeds. And what else did I plant? Strawberries, and a bunch of yummy stuff in the backyard. I was debating whether I would do it because we have a family of squirrels that live in our trees. Clara, I don’t think she’s going to be quiet. And last year they ate my tomatoes and it made me very upset. I told them to take a hike, they were playing with fire. But, this year they came back. So this year I had about about 50 really good looking tomatoes and I woke up one morning and about all of them were half eaten.

Not fully eaten, mind you, half eaten. So I said, you know what? This is the last straw. And I ripped out all of the plants and transplanted them into my parents backyard. Anyway, it didn’t work. They all died.

For a minute I thought, OK, I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine and dig up all of the nuts they planted in the backyard. But I didn’t do that. I’ll eventually get over it. Next year maybe I’ll just get a greenhouse.

In August, I made a million muffins. That was my muffin month. I don’t know what inspired me to make so many muffins, but I am now the muffin woman. I kept wondering whether Clara was going to come into the world. Probably about every day I thought I was going into labor. And by the end of my pregnancy I had gained 40 pounds. 40 pounds being, I’m guessing, probably about 18 kilos.

So my hips were sore, my knees were sore. I couldn’t help but think about telepathy all of the time, which is the power to move objects from one area to another just with the power of your mind. It’s like, Matilda, if you’ve ever seen that movie or read that book by Roald Dahl. All I wanted to do was to sit on my butt and be able to clean my house just by looking at things. But there was no method to the madness. It was just a massive mess in my house.

Anyway, Lucas and I kept trying to cut corners to figure out a way for me to give birth earlier, to induce labor. Some of them were futile and one of them, I think, actually worked. But I’m not willing to share that one publicly.

In any case, Clara was born at the end of August and she’s such a lovely little baby.

September. Well, the weeks that ensued Clara’s birth left us exhausted. With Julia, Lucas and I tag-teamed nightshifts. I woke up from 9:00 to 4:00 a.m. and Lucas would be with her from four until, I guess nine in the morning, until breakfast. This time I’m taking care of Clara pretty much on my own at nighttime. He’s working a lot. But he’s been very helpful, I always put him on a pedestal. I don’t feel like I could have married a better person because he always tries to help out. Whoo!

Yes, I’m thinking September, October, October. Yes, I just feel like it was just October. It was the strangest Halloween in history. We ended up going to the pumpkin patch, as we normally do, to look at pumpkins, to pick out some.

But this year, there weren’t very many people there and everybody was wearing face masks.

On Halloween, the girls dressed up. Julia dressed up as Minnie Mouse and Clara dressed up as a chicken. And she was not very happy to be in that chicken outfit.

But we went around the neighborhoods close to my parents’ house and everyone created very cool contraptions to deliver candy. I don’t think I ever posted images of it.

Or videos of it. Some of them set the candy on tables outside and you could just pick up a little bag of candy. Others had pipes that they would shoot the candy down and it would land in your bucket in front of their driveway. Other ones would fling the candy so that you had to catch it in your bucket. It was very, very funny. And I think maybe they should keep doing this because it was definitely more entertaining than actually going up to the door every single time and and just saying trick or treat.

I think I’ve been on a roll with some of these terms. I think I’ve probably used about 15 of them. November was… it’s kind of all turning into a mush, honestly, near the end of the year because not much was happening on our end.

But December, we ordered a lot of gifts online. I talked about in the red in one of my podcast episodes, when I’m talking about Black Friday. And we definitely took advantage of Black Friday sales, bought a lot of gifts.

Christmas itself was lovely. We set up our tree at the end of November and so we got to see it all throughout December.

We taught Julia some Christmas songs. She officially knows Jingle Bells, which is really exciting because I have a lot of memories singing that with my family as a kid. I can’t really say much else about the year other than I’m really happy to see Clara’s finally developing. She’s been very active, like squirming around in her bassinet, and Julia’s talking more and more.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but we are raising her bilingual in Portuguese and in English. So we speak Portuguese at home and she’s managing to divide the two languages, to know when to speak one and when to speak the other, which I’m really happy about.

Speaking about 2021, I have a few New Year’s resolutions, which you you’ll probably hear me speak about on the podcast and probably on Instagram. Next year, I plan on cooking four new recipes each month and learning how to cook better. As for language learning, I realized because Julia is speaking Portuguese now pretty well, I need to improve my Portuguese level so that I can tell stories to her without stalling every now and then to remember certain vocabulary words or to just express myself better when it comes to complex storytelling,

I feel like that is when you’ve reached a really advanced level in a language, when you can tell a story in a way you would in your native language. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there in Portuguese, but I want to try. So this next year, I’m going to be doing 90 minute segments, 90 minute, 90 day segments of practice sessions, and I’m going to record myself in them, hopefully with a video which would be starting today talking about what I plan to do. So we’ll we’ll see if I can manage to do that today to get started. And you’ll be able to see the progress as I go along. If you’re interested in checking that out, I’ll be sure to post that on the episode web page.

But in any case, I hope you heard a lot of the expressions that were from previous episodes. In a future episode, I might go through the rest of them that I did not touch on today. I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and are having a wonderful New Year’s Day and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Thank you for listening to this episode of the American English Podcast. Remember, it’s my goal here to not only help you improve your listening comprehension, but to show you how to speak like someone from the States.

If you want to receive the full transcript for this episode, or you just want to support this podcast, make sure to sign up to premium content on americanenglishpodcast.com. Thanks, and hope to see you soon!

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Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

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