5-Minute English: The Post Office and Mail

163 - 5-Minute English: The Post Office and Mail


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


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! 


Visiting the post office in the United States can be both a chore and a new experience to practice English. In this 5-minute English lesson, you are going to hear a true story about my grandma.I’ll use her true story as a canvas to expose you to a bunch of new vocabulary related to thistopic. By the end, you will be prepared for your next trip to the US Post Office and for any situation in which you need vocabulary related to mail, sending letters and cards, packages and anything in that realm. 

So this is a topic-specific lesson, it will be advanced. 

Don’t worry though, I’ve created a full lesson that goes alongside this audio to help you out.

The supplementary lesson contains an image sheet with pictures of all of the key vocabulary discussed, a video for you with those images to practice your pronunciation, as well as many exercises and quizzes. As a language learner myself, this will be incredibly useful not only forthe comprehension side of learning, but for the retention side as well. We all want to rememberwhat we learn, right? You’ll find the links for the Premium Content in the episode notes. 

I think a lot of you will relate to this story. If you do, I’d love to hear from you, you can write a comment on Spotify, you can write to me on Instagram @americanenglishpodcast, or — I’m so excited about this one — you can send me a real postcard. Yes, real mail, real post. 

I want to decorate my wall in my office with postcards from you guys. I got this idea from myfriend Pete, and I want to use it as sort of a reminder why I create this podcast. It’s because of all of you and I’m excited to see if I receive anything. So stay tuned to hear the address, it’s at the end of this episode, and you can also find it in the episode notes. 

Without any further ado, I’ll begin with an introduction, then you’ll hear the 5-minute English episode with all of the intensely topic-specific vocabulary, and then at the very end, you’re going to hear the recording one more time. Don’t miss listening to it the second time around. That is going to be a great way to pick up vocabulary you didn’t pick up the first time, reinforce the words that you understood from context. Just listen to the end, all right? 


My grandma, Maria, was Spanish. She was born and raised in Spain, in a small town called Sonseca in Castilla La Mancha. Or should I say the land of Don Quixote?

Sonseca is small, it’s teeny tiny. I mean, it’s to the point everyone knows everyone on the streets. 

For some, that familiarity sounds like a dream. For others, it’s a nightmare. My grandma, well, she wasn’t meant for a small town. In English, she was what we’d call "a big fish in a small pond," meaning her dreams and ambitions didn’t fit in a town of a few thousand with not much to do. She had an adventurous spirit and a travel bug, so at the age of 19, she left and became an au pair in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. 

Au pair is a French loanword we use in English. It’s essentially a nanny, someone who lives with a family and takes care of the kids. She was an au pair for an American family [00:05:00] who taught her about the culture of the United States, and they helped her master English as a second language. She loved English. 

So after returning to Europe, she used English as a tour guide in Madrid and spent her days  sharing Spanish culture with Americans. One day she met a very tall Michigander, my grandpa.Together they traveled the world, got married and had kids. The point is, they eventually settled in the US, far, far from Spain. 


That’s the end of the free version of this transcript. Sign up to Season 4 for the full transcript, quiz and more.

Buy Stamps at the USPS
I recommend buying a booklet of First-Class Forever stamps; they retain their value even when the purchase price increases.