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Welcome to "Everyday English for Advanced English Speakers"
Practice common topics you'll encounter on a daily basis and pick up essential vocabulary you'll need for the most basic day-to-day tasks.
Language: English
Members: 11074
Officers: Larissa (Administrator)

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 Here in Latin America, they love to kick up their heels (=dance) to a good tune.  Since I arrived in Mexico 5 years ago I’ve attempted all sorts of dance styles – salsa, samba, bregga, reggae (here it’s a couples dance), merengue, cumbia, punta, forró … and I’ve not been particularly good at any of them.  The rhythm I have, but the moves and style I do not.


Samba no pé is very popular here in Brazil, and is danced solo.  There are 3 steps per measure, and the foot movements (step-ball-change) with an outturning of the toe result in a rather provocative swaying of one’s behind.


Here in the state of Pará, reggae is danced in couples, with the man’s knee locked between the woman’s thighs.  The music is in 4/4 time and follows a kind of left-right-left-pause, right-left-right-pause movement.  it is generally danced in quite a sensual way.


Salsa is my favourite, since it can be danced up close with someone you’re intimate with, or at an arm’s length with a stranger.  There are many styles of salsa, but I particularly love it when it involves a lot of spinning and fun under-the-arm moves!  Dancing salsa is a really popular form of socializing in Colombia and many other Latin American countries.


In Honduras I discovered the Punta – possibly the sexiest dance I’ve ever seen which involves seductive rapid gyration of the buttocks and hips while the upper half of your body stays still. 


Do you like to dance?  What are some popular forms of dance in your country?


 I’m lucky.  After many, many disastrous roommate (=a person with whom you share a house, but in a non-romantic way) relationships, I now have a great one.  Billy’s laidback (=relaxed), considerate, always pays the rent and bills on time, he owns a fridge and washing machine (which I don’t) and the best part – he’s usually not here!


Here are some tips for good roommate living.

  1.  Be clear from the beginning about your expectations and theirs.  If you hate dirty dishes, or if you love your loud music, get it out in the open from the start.
  2.  If something bothers you, address it before it becomes a huge frustrating problem in your head.
  3.  Let the small stuff slide (=forget about unimportant things).  A dirty dish here, or a onetime late night door slam isn’t worth making a big deal (=starting a big discussion or argument) about.  Be relaxed about everything that doesn’t actually affect your wellbeing.  It’s not worth starting something just for the sake of making a point (=trying to show you’re right).
  4. Respect their stuff. Don’t borrow things unless you’re SURE it’s ok.
  5. Keep their stuff safe.  Don’t bring strangers home, and always lock up (=lock doors and windows) behind you.
  6.  Know their schedules and respect them.  If your roommate works at 7am, don’t bring your drunk friends home at 3am. 
  7. Don’t talk about sensitive topics that are likely to lead to tension or fights.  Billy and I never discuss my exboyfriend (who makes me insane) or the way he treats girls (which I disagree with)!
  8. Make rules in the beginning, but don’t go overboard.  In our house, for example, smoking inside is banned (Billy smokes, I don’t), and I have to wash my clothes during the week since Billy is only in the house on Sundays.  In the beginning we disagreed on housework policies, so we decided to pay someone to come once a week and clean.


Have you ever had a roommate?  What do you think are the keys to a successful roommate relationship?


 Ah, stress.  People don’t really understand how it’s possible I ever have it, giving my current work activities involve only singing and blogging for Englishtown, and stress is so often associated with heavy workloads and long periods of time in the office.


But actually, I get stressed very easily.


Here in Brazil, people are very relaxed about time, and it drives me insane (=make me uncontrollably angry).  I always find myself tearing my hair out (=becoming extremely stressed) when members of my band are late for yet another rehearsal, or when I’m waiting for an hour in a queue.  I lose my temper (=get angry) quickly and people are often confused what I’m upset about.  If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “Relaxa Larissa!” or “Calma!” (Portugese, but I’m sure you can figure out what they mean), I wouldn’t be here writing this blog, because I’d be on a Caribbean holiday without any stress at all!


I get stressed out (=become very stressed) when we have a show scheduled in 2 days and we still haven’t had a rehearsal.  I get seriously on edge (=nervous and tense) when someone is LATE for a rehearsal. 


If something is causing me severe stress, particularly relationship problems or money problems, I suffer from insomnia (=sleeplessness) and mild depression (=unreasonable sadness).  Inability to sleep is always the first sign that I have to sort out a problem in my life, along with really vivid dreams that wake me with a start with clear messages.


What causes you stress?  What are your stress related symptoms?

 They say time really flies when you’re having fun, and that was certainly true last weekend, it seemed like I was back in the city in no time!  I went to the beach to sing reggae with my new band, and we had a great time.  The trip took a long time, but we killed time playing games and chatting. 


We didn’t play as many times as I would have liked, but next time we’ll be more organized and book more shows.  We wasted a lot of time talking to the wrong people in the wrong venues, but we’ll know better next time.  I ran into a friend of mine, a singer who I hadn’t seen in a really long time, and he introduced me to some bar owners who booked gigs with us for the end of the month.  His percussionist was interested in me and kept trying to hug and kiss me, but I didn’t give him the time of day.


I hurt my leg on Saturday so I had a hard time getting around in the soft sand.  That was disappointing because I was stuck in one place, but at the same time it was good that I couldn’t go out partying every night and ruin my voice!  Even without being able to walk around a lot, I had the time of my life in Algodoal.  I really love going to the beach from time to time, it takes the stress out of city living.  However, for the time being I’m stuck in the city writing blogs for Englishtown.




Do you know any other expressions using the word time? 

 Anyone who says they’re not afraid of anything is lying.  When we’re young our fears usually involve monsters or ghosts, and as we get older they become more realistic.  Public speaking, growing old, being alone… we all fear something, whether we admit it or not.


Walking outside in the dark gives me the jitters (=makes me very nervous and shaky), I guess because I’ve been robbed so many times at night.  Then if a bicycle comes towards me, my blood runs cold (=I become very frightened and get a chill)!  I’ve been assaulted by men on bikes several times, so it really makes me jump out of my skin (=I literally jerk with fear) when one of them gets too close to me, particularly if there are two boys or young men on one bike.


I’m a singer, and going on stage to sing in front of large numbers of people has never given me a problem… but I often get butterflies in my stomach (=I feel nervous) when I teach a new English class for the first time.  Worse still is when I have to give bad news to someone.  Particularly if that bad news is related to something I’ve done wrong, like if I’ve borrowed something from a friend and lost it, or made a big mistake that affects them… I always find myself with my heart in my mouth (=feeling anxious) and a little bit tongue-tied (=stuttering, unable to speak clearly) when I have to tell them what happened.


What are you afraid of?

In Australia (where I come from), gambling is an extremely common past time.  Now, for better or for worse, many bars and restaurants have a pokie room (pokie is short for Poker Machine).  I never really got a taste for it (probably for the best), since statistically you’re only going to lose money, and I seem to lose more than most when I do give it a go.


There are a lot of common expressions that originated in gambling, here are some of the most well-used.


You think that guy isn’t married?  Do you wanna bet?  (I don’t believe that’s true)


I really hit the jackpot when I met my girlfriend!  (I got extremely lucky)


You can bet your bottom dollar those two are having an affair. (I’m extremely sure it’s true)


She told me she hadn’t taken my money with a poker face. (without giving away anything with facial expressions)


I told him I’d leave my job if he didn’t increase my salary, and he called my bluff. (forced me to go through with a threat)


I thought I’d won the argument, but he had an ace up his sleeve (an advantage that he was keeping hidden)


I laid my cards on the table and told him I was interested in somebody else. (revealed everything)


Can you use these expressions in sentences of your own?


They say Friendship is like money – easier to make than to keep.  In my life this has certainly become true, probably because of the amount of travelling I do.  I’ve become accustomed to staying a short period of time in many different places, so I make new friends easily, but sometimes neglect them after a few months.  I have to really be conscious about maintaining the relationships I start.