Hey there! And welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you improve your English and of course learn something new. My name’s Katya, I’m your host, and today with me…
Ken from the Philippines.
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So what do you want us to talk about? What do you want to listen to? It won’t take much time or effort, right? But we will really appreciate it. Alright, and so and today it’s not really just a discussion, but it’s more of a…
What is it? It’s more of a walk down the memory lane for us. So and we’re going to talk about events in our lives, so basically just a friendly conversation about our lives. So and before… Gary does not look very excited right now, so just so you know.
That’s how I look when I’m very excited. You just don’t see me this way very often.
Yeah, it’s like tears of joy and smile…
Yes, right, some combination of something.
So and before we talk about our life and different events, let’s first talk about biggest events in people’s lives in general. So what can be the biggest events in total? The most important ones?
Well, let me start off by saying, the day when we, I mean, the day when people are born. Of course, for some people they don’t want to, say, celebrate their birthday. But for others, you know, the gift of life is the most, I would say, one of the best things ever than you could have because not everyone gets to be born and experience life.
So I would say that’s you know, probably one of the most important things. And apart from that, I guess, you know, the basic ones, like going to school for the first time, because it’s a combination of a bit of fear and excitement, because you never know what’s gonna happen.
An then you find out that you have to do that for more than… for 11 more years of your life.
And then you start to hate it. For some people, but I’m not saying all because, well, personally I enjoyed my school life.
So, school. I guess we can add graduation in here when you actually finish the school after, again, 11 years of studying.
And then go to university. So depending on what major you wish to take, and it’s a different kind of experience, unlike school, because this time you need to be more responsible, because whatever major you take at university, it influences or affects your future job. So you gotta be very careful with that.
And I guess getting first job.
Right, you might end up teaching English.
Why not? I’m actually enjoying it.
Oh what are driving at in here Gary?
I’m sorry. Continue, Ken, it’s alright.
Well, graduation of course. And once you lend your first job, because it’s, you know, probably it’s your first time that you would earn money. And this time to actually embrace independence. Because, you know, a lot of people, they leave their families this time, they have their own lives and, you know, they need to plan for their future.
Yeah, become an adult. Not fun.
Adulting is not fun I should say.
Alright. So why don’t we actually… Well, of course there are lots of other events that can happen, people can get married, some people have children, some people move to another country for example.
So why don’t we talk about… No, I’ll give you the choice of what you want to talk about. So I would like you now to think about the most memorable event in your childhood. So, let’s start with the childhood. So, what comes to your mind? And how you felt.
Go ahead, Gary. Take the floor.
Well, let’s see. I would say that most of my childhood events. There were many of them that were significant, right. But as of this point, right, since childhood is pretty remote, pretty far away, they don’t seem very big. Even though they were big at the time of course.
Well, you know, when you’re a child, everything is so big, everything is important, but.
Everything is big. And then afterwards it just doesn’t seem so big, you know, when you look back at it again. But so this is childhood, yes? Well, going to school, that was big I guess. I don’t remember it vividly as being tremendous thing as such.
I changed schools, I think it’s down the plan here a little bit, but I did change schools. And those were all big changes at the time, right. If you go to another school, you change neighborhood and whatever. You have to find new friends, and everything changes. Those are big, those are big….
How did you feel when you changed schools?
I think at the time it was traumatic kinda, but not tremendously. It was okay, you know, it was… I can’t kinda find… People were good, I didn’t have major problems, I wasn’t bullied, right. Sometimes that can happen and that didn’t happen to me thankfully. And it was pretty smooth actually, but it was, you know, I know that at the time it was bumpy. Right. So.
Okay, while we’re still at it, because we’re talking about, you know, moving schools and transferring. I just want to interrupt you.
Because, well, good for you because you were not bullied. But I’m not saying that I was bullied, but I spent the first few years of my life in the village. And basically, well, I don’t’ know if it’s the same here in Russia or in other parts of the world, but people in the city tend to sort of look down on people who are from the village.
And when I moved to Manila, coming from the village, I was in what.. 5th grade. Yeah, when I was in 5th grade, the other kids simply… Well, they didn’t really say it per se, but I could feel it.
I think that’s very often the case in here too, you know, when there ‘s a kid moving from the village, yeah, some children tend to look down on them. Children are cruel! That’s one thing I understood when I started to work in a school.
They’re nasty little miracles.
I thought you wanted to say something else, nasty little, you know.
But I’m not saying this, because I stood my ground. I had a really good training at my school in the village. Because if we talk about English lessons, so we were taught how to read well, like, orally. And I remember we had this reading class and one time I volunteered to read a text.
And my teacher was so impressed, so she said wow, where did you learn this? How come you read very well? Like, orally? I just said well, I was taught very well in school.
To be honest with you, the other kids were just jealous. Like, oh, okay, now we have this kid.
Another reasons to hate me.
And now things… Nothing like success.
Exactly. And I was even invited by my teacher to go to her other classes to read orally.
As a model. And when I came back to my class they said oh so you must feel good about yourself, yeah?
Did you feel like a star?
Right. Wow. Were you a teacher’s pet?
I hate to use this term, because it has negative connotations. Let’s just say…
This is your opportunity to get bullied at age… Right. I’m not gonna disclose your age, you’re never old enough, too old… That’s what the internet is all about, it’s about grown-up bullying, right.
If we’re gonna be technical about it, yes, I was a teacher’s pet.
Okay, okay, he’s come clean, now we know. Alright, no, I’m joking. Good for you, good for you.
But I must say though, despite the initial, let’s say, not so good experience, the rest of it was… Finally I was able to win over, you know, most of classmates. Because I have a jolly personality, I’d like to think so.
Very humble as well, yes, we can see that.
Yes. So, you know, it’s not that rough.
You know, I love asking this question in general about childhood and memorable events, cause different people remember different things. And when I think about my childhood, two moments, you know, come to mind.
The first one was breaking a collarbone when I was like 3 or 4 years old and then thing is that I was at… Well, it was not really a hospital, but it was, you know, for kids who had tuberculosis or were thought to have. I didn’t. But yeah, so and I broke a collarbone and…
I do not know how to call her, a nurse maybe, she said you’re fine, why are you crying? And then the next day my parents came and I said I can’t lift my arm, so they took me to a hospital. It turned out I had a broken collarbone.
But what I remember most vividly is that I was lying at home, watching tv and somebody, so my aunt maybe, they brought those sweet cookies and bologna. And this was not a thing that you could easily get in Yakutia at that time.
I was like is that for me? I can actually eat it? I don’t have to share the whole piece? So and that’s what I remember. I don’t remember the pain, I don’t remember, you know, suffering or anything, but I do remember the treats that my aunt brought me.
The bologna, the bologna.
Yeah, it was bologna! Or actually it was bologna. When we went to church there was a dollar per pound for the bologna. They call it bologna.
So I think that yeah, this is the most vivid memory. And the second one was also, well, I remember trying a banana. And I remember how much I hated it, and the whole of my family hated it. And then, you know, that’s not a big deal, until two years later we found out that you have to wait for them to become yellow.
And then eat them. So you know we had never seen a banana before so we were like why do people like them? They’re green and they’re like yike. Not very tasty. And then two years later we found that we had to wait.
See there’s all kinds of nuances in life.
That’s what I like about being child, cause you’re so innocent. And you know, the other thing is that, well, in my childhood I really loved daydreaming. One thing in particular that I remember – I was lying down on the front steps of our house, and I was simply looking at the clouds, imagining myself like Superman or some kind of a superhero who could fly.
And you know, that’s the thing about childhood because you are free to dream. I’m not saying that we are not free to dream as, you know, adults.
Ken looked at me, I just want to add. I don’t wanna say, Gary, that…
But then again, life is much more serious as adults.
He’s looking at me again.
You know, as an adult you want to dream, you start daydreaming and then all you can think of is, you know, my next mortgage payment.
Yeah, the bills to pay and. That’s why… That’s why I love my childhood, because I was a dreamer and I had I would say a rich imagination. And the good thing about it was my grandmother was very supportive. By the way, I don’t want to set the tone, to make it sound like sad.
But anyway, I come from a broken family, which means that, you know, my parents were separated. But I would say in general it was still a very happy childhood because I never felt for a second that I as missing something somehow.
Because my grandmother acted as both my father and my mother. And she really made sure that I wasn’t different from, you know, most kids.
That sounds like Russia, like today, and kids today. Grandmother is all.
Well a good grandmother is a very good thing, right.
Since we’re talking about childhood. What is your earliest childhood memory?
Well the first thing that comes to mind is when I was about 5 years old, wait wait. 1990. Cause I remember trying to put a calendar on the wall and then it was a calendar that was sent by my mom from Japan. And I remember it was so colorful. It’s actually a picture of nature.
I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was, I mean, it had something to do with nature. And then as I was putting it on the wall, I asked my grandmother, so what’s this? 1990? And then my grandmother said yeah, it’s the year now. Ah.
That’s how you learned the concept of a year.
Exactly. I was about 5 then, I guess so.
I think I… The earliest I can remember I think and you got the false memory category here too, but I think, I’m sure this is real and I don’t know why this is even vivid, you say that memory’s vivid, right. It’s just that I remember being in a crib in my grandmother’s and my grandfather’s bedroom. It was kinda, they had a room and there was an alcove off of the… right there. And I remember being like behind bars, you know.
How old were you? What do you think?
I don’t know how old I’d be.
Well you must’ve been like less than three definitely.
Yeah, I guess yeah. I would have to be really little. I don’t remember really anything about what it was except that I do remember, I remember the view from there and how the whole thing looked and I had to be quite little, cause the alcove wasn’t very big. And... But anyhow, there was nothing attached to it, it wasn’t like you know.
Just a random picture or memory.
Cause I tried to remember mine and I think I had almost the same situation. I don’t remember the event.
You were in the crib too? I’m kidding.
No, no, I remember, you know, some… I remember like the floor and crawling, but then again, I after that thought about that. Was it really my memory? Or was it a false memory? Cause, you know, we sometimes can have false memories.
But in general, you know, it’s interesting that the first… Well, usually the first memories that we have, they, you know, go back to the age of 2, between 2 and 4 probably, because at that time, you know, we start to identify ourselves as I.
So you know how little kids, they’re not… They do not realize it’s them in the mirror for example, they don’t understand that they exist, like I.
Yeah. So and then they say that by the age of 2 they start to realize it’s them, they have this sense of self-awareness, so thus the memories somehow start to form. But what events or feelings maybe do you think we are most likely to remember? I mean, when we are kids. And in general.
I think the ones that truly made us happy. Of course, for me personally. The ones when I was, say for example, with my friends, with other kids I mean. And of course some huge celebrations where I had toys, lots of food to eat. And speaking of which, I just want to give this one as an example.
When I was 7 years old, that’s probably I’d say the happiest birthday in my childhood, because I remember there were lots of guests. And one of the friends of my grandmother, she gave me like a furniture of table and chairs for my action figures.
And I would never forget that, because it was given to me I thought what is this? And then I realized, oh my god, I’m gonna have Batman and Spiderman sit down over here. I was just so happy, I was over the moon.
They rang the bell with the gift. Right. They didn’t’ even know it. But they did.
Yeah, so we can say some strong feelings of happiness maybe, so that we are more likely to remember. And I think we can add fear and, you know, negative experience too.
Cause you know, a lot of people, they remember very vividly when, for example, a dog was running at them to… Even though they were like 2 years old or 3 years old, cause they were scared.
But even when it’s not that traumatic, you know, as such, but for example, you were in a shop and you thought you lost your mother for example. And then she was just, you know, not far away. But that still, you know, was a shocking experience and you are kinda more likely to remember that.
But what about these false memories? How can these form? How can these appear? It’s not just, like, you know…
I’ve noticed that a lot of memories I think we, like if you see a picture, you see pictures, you can… You build everything around the picture. You don’t actually remember the event maybe. In my case, anyway, I’m just talking for myself. You maybe don’t even remember the event, but the picture puts it there.
And that’s a true memory, but t’s like everything actually is coming out of that picture. And if we didn’t have the picture, maybe I wouldn’t even have remembered the event or, the, you know, something else that you might learn form the picture, right.
But because it’s there and so I have, you know, my dad was kind of a hobby photographer, right, and so as a baby, he took pictures of me as a baby. Of course I don’t remember that. But I’ve got a lot of pictures of me as a baby.
With hats on, funny ears, I mean. It’s classy stuff, you know. First rate things. But then you know, going later on, there’s all kinds of things that I mainly remember probably from the pictures. Which is not false memories. I guess I’m not talking about that. The thing… The problem with false memories is you don’t know they’re false.
It’s… You kinda convince yourself.
And if pictures, you know, is usually something that helps you to remember, but what if you hear the stories about your childhood? Are they real stories?
Because people, again, we people forget details, so you hear the story over and over again from your parents or other people, but what if they have forgotten something?
Or added to it. Have you ever heard about the story of Jean Piaget, who was a Swiss psychologist? Cause he gave an example of these false memories. Cause when he was a baby, a little baby, he had a nanny.
So and he vividly remembered the situation when someone tried to kidnap him while he was in a stroller. And the nanny fought the man. So and later, and of course he’s been told the story hundreds of times by everyone.
So and then later when they came home, his nanny and him, his nanny was given a watch as a reward, so and then, you know, the story was told everybody and by everybody. But then 15 years later the nanny returned the watch saying she had made everything up just to get the reward. But he remembered vividly her fighting.
Sure, sure, sure, sure, sure. And this came out of the story.
So and I think this was actually the reason why he started to look into the topic of memory in general.
Yeah I think that memory is very very undependable. I mean if you want to actually know what it was. It’s pretty undependable. Ans you know, we’re story-makers. I mean, that’s just what people do and so we fill things in, and this has also been studied every each way.
And you know, so we just, I mean, it’s all kind of other implications for like criminal, you know, criminal situations and all of this. It’s very very undependable. And as an adult, I try to write things down.
It’s all part of that. I’ll admit that it’s the part where little less dreaming, little more… This is what actually happened, but anyway, yeah. Yeah, I think there is a lot of false memory.
Yeah, but we won’t find out, cause we think they’re real. You know, it’s interesting to talk not only about our memories and false memories, but collective memory as well. You know, when we remember the same thing as, you know, a group of people and then it turns our to be wrong.
I don’t know, maybe that’s now happening a lot because of the social media or because of the Internet. But one of the examples that I have… Well, I don’t guess you’ve watched Star Wars, but.
Maybe, maybe a couple, yeah.
I have watched Star Wars.
I guess the first two or three.
You have! So do you remember the moment which is quoted everywhere, which is ‘Luke I am your son’. Oh, ‘Luke I am your father’, sorry.
Yeah, was that in the first one? Or was it in like the fourth one? That’s later.
No no no, it was actually in the second one.
Yeah, I didn’t see the second one.
So, the fifth one. I mean the second one that came out in 1980-something. So anyhoo, so we all remember this phrase like “Luke, I am your father”. But it was never there. It was never these words. But still we, millions of people, remember it like that.
The same situation in a Russian cartoon which is called “The kitten named Woof”. And there was one moment which we all remember sounds exactly like that, but again, it was never there. And some people even took the liberty to contact the producers and ask like, was there ever any other variant?
Any other version shown on tv? And they said, no. This is the only one, the original. So why? Why? How come that we remember not just as a group of people of 10 people, but millions of us? The same phrase?
It gets some form that’s easy to remember. And that’s the form, right, but it’s not actually what was there. It’s a variation.
So memory is a fantastic and, you know, mysterious thing, just as our brain is.
It’s not always reliable. Unless you have concrete evidence to, you know, back it up or to make it plain.
I think that’s why I like Instagram so much – it’s like a little diary. I take a picture so that later I can see the picture and the day. Well now that we don’t really print photos, so we can’t remember. Actually, my mom and I, in December, we went through old pictures.
And some of them were, kinda signed, the date was written on them on the other side. But then sometimes I’m like mom, who is it? When was it? Oh, what year is it? And she’s like I have no idea. She just couldn’t remember, she’s just somewhere in the 70s? Early 70s? I’m like wow, so helpful.
You know, that’s what makes me jealous of, you know, the generation of today, because social media is out there at the early stage of their lives. And so they record everything and save them digitally, unlike back in the day when, you know, we used this camera, where you have to go to some… To have it what?
Developed, exactly. And I don’t even have the copy of the films anymore. I don’t know where they are and we didn’t have this habit of writing down the date on the back of the picture. So every time I see these old photos, this is like how old was I in this photo? And what year? Clueless.
We even had a bit of a, well, not an argument, with my mom. Cause there was a picture of a baby. I’m like that’s my sister. She’s like ‘No, that’s you’. I’m like mom, this is black and white. When I was born, you had a polaroid, so they were color… She’s like no-no-no, it’s you.
I’m like no, it’s my sister. Cause we looked identical as, you know, if you look at the pictures. Nope, we still could not come to an agreement, I still think that was my sister, my mom thinks it was me. Yup. She’s like I don’t know, but it looks like you. I’m like we look identical.
I can’t even imagine having everything documented, I mean I would… That would be just socially, or just everywhere, that would be really really really different, right. I mean that would give you something to, you know, connect to theoretically. Going back, you can look back.
And usually you got nothing, you got a picture, a few pictures, you know. I sometimes would write something down at the time. But whatever I didn’t write down, man, it is gone. I mean, it’s virtually gone. I mean, which is what happened to your mom.
For her, it’s just a blur, that’s what this stuff is to me. Even the big events and things that work. Kinda major, I’m, you know, a lot older than you are. And it does make a difference, it just turns into this kind of… It’s like my childhood, I remember more of a generality of it.
I remember being able to play outside and, you know, be out till late, just running around being a kid. And I remember that more than any of the, you know.
Specific details, the dates.
Yeah, like plants were real things. Like flowered bees, and flowers, and bees, that was a thing. Insects were real, I mean, they were my buddies, they were my pals. It was a serious thing, you know. And that I remember. But to get into the events being important – it kind of becomes a blur.
I sometimes wish we had taken more pictures as a family, you know, later what else are you going to have later? It’s pictures and maybe videos.
That’s why now I take a documentation and I take it seriously. I have, if you open my computer, I have basically different folders there. They have the specific year, the specific events, so with the exact title.
So every once in a while or when I’m in the mood to go down the memory lane, sort of nostalgic, I just go back to those photos and boom! Of course this happened in 2017, summer 2017, when I spent time with my friends, bla bla bla, so. I wish I had that option or opportunity when I was a kid, at least some digital proof that will remind me.
You were a child, Ken, I’m sure you were. Even if you don’t have digital proof.
Yeah, I know, but I just want to be more precise about the dates and the time.
I understand, I completely understand.
We recently tried to remember every New year celebration, the last 10-11 years with my family. We couldn’t! We had to actually dig up photos and different files to remember who was where on a certain new year and everything.
Of course, you know, when we think back every year, let’s say 2020 or 2019 and so on, you’ll remember one, probably two things that happened, the biggest events of the year. So, let’s say 2019 – you’ll remember like this happened, this event happened. But very often we do not remember most of the time, but just one or two biggest events.
Right. Well, I am methodical about writing things down now. And…
Wait-wait, Gary, do you keep a diary?
I use an app for that and I have an amazing number. Would you believe… Guess how many entries I have in my… Guess how many.
When did you start keeping it?
I started it about 10 years ago in this form.
Almost ten years ago, nine years ago maybe. Guess how many.
I think it’s in the thousands, like 2000?
So Ken, if you think you’re weird with a couple dozen folders.
That’s… And you know the number! So you must keep track of it!
I’m gonna actually demonstrate this in a dramatic. Of course on a podcast, audio, you lose the drama of that. But…
You wont’ be able to see it. Oh my goodness, yeah.
Oh! My! Goodness! Wow! But that’s so…
So that’s the kind of person that you… That’s my problem, the part of my problem.
I think that’s amazing cause…
Another symptom of my problem.
But later on you can just choose the date or the month or the year.
You can search it, you can search it, yeah.
And since it’s digital, it makes it easier to browse and easier to go through.
Yeah and I’ve got more and more what I choose to capture. So a lot of it’s practical, but you know, like whatever you’ve done or if you’ve bought something. Or whatever the thing was, or met with somebody, talked with them, you know. You can just search and if you know roughly the date or if you don’t, then it’s just pulls a poll of the…
But Gary, do you really exactly remember the details? Because let me tell you…
I don’t remember the details, no. I remember when I do. I do at the time.
Because about a month ago when I went back to my digital diary as well, well, by the way, I don’t do that anymore today. But when I went back to 10 years ago and I just wanted to see what I was like and what I was thinking at the time, and then I tried to open one entry that was back in 2010.
And then I read some names and I’m like who are these people? I basically wrote about them I said I’m not gonna miss you, you bla bla bla. It was a rough day for me.
And you’re right, you don’t miss them.
You were completely correct.
But I was trying to remember.
Well that’s how our memory works I think. When we feel like that we don’t need to remember that anymore, wiped!
Or even if we do, it’s gone anyway. It doesn’t matter what we think.
That can happen too, that can happen too.
That happens too. I’ve got, you know.
Well, no, what I’m saying is that you know, you’ll just come up with stuff that you… I mean, you don’t even remember the person, right. I mean.
That obviously was someone that, you know, was significant enough…
Yeah, to make it to the diary. You don’t have to be very significant to make it to my diary, trust me.
Alright. But that’s about memories and childhood memories in particular. And why don’t we talk about a different event, an important event in everybody’s life. The first job. So what was your first job ever?
Oh my god, I was I think 19 years old when I got my first job, but it was a part-time job. I was still finishing my studies at the university. I was a remedial teacher. Basically the job involves assisting students with their homework, projects or with their exams.
Yeah, that was my very first job. And to be honest with you, I’ve been teaching for a very long time now to a point that I don’t even know what other jobs I can do. Sometimes I ask myself is that all that you can do? Like, besides being a teacher, what else can you do? I’ve never had any other jobs in my life, really.
Interesting. Not even when you were like a teenager and you wanted to make some money?
No. I didn’t work as a shop assistant, never. Waiter – no. Whatever. Just teaching. And I remember when I got this job, I was so happy because I thought oh my god, for the first time in my life I’m gonna earn, you know, money from my own hard work. But I was too, okay, I was too stupid then, because…
Weren’t we all at the age of 19?
Well the thing is that back then Nokia was on top of the game, it was like the iPhone of today. But it was like iPhone of that era.
Exactly. So I was too stupid to actually save up my money just to buy a new Nokia phone. And I remember it was Nokia 6600, that was way back 2005. I worked for about 4 months I guess, 4-5 months. I worked really hard just for that stupid phone. And guess what? Where is Nokia now?
I mean, no judgement of course, but what about people who get a loan just to buy a new phone now?
Okay, they’re more stupid, I’m not that stupid.
I said no judgement. This is judgement-free place, Ken!
You want to feel good about yourself, okay, you’re smarter that those people.
Oh god. Alright, Gary, what was your first job?
Well, my first job was, I worked for my dad, my dad had a business, and so I was doing things there. Which is not like a real job. The real job is when you go and work for somebody else. So my first job was, unlike Ken, I came out of the blue collar hard working proletariat, I worked in a restaurant.
I was a bus-boy. Busboy is a highly-untrained professional, untrained not professional person who cleans dishes off of tables and carries them back in the kitchen and…
I was, believe it or not, I was… Yeah, this might actually… I would’ve been maybe like 16-17.
I was working a little bit under my level, but it was fine. And yeah, but yeah, it was my first, and it was not a great, it was, you know, it was not a great job. Not a professional.
I think first jobs are very often non-professional. You just do that to make some money for the first time.
Yeah, get some money, get a job. It was a summer job.
Cause my first job was also a summer job. You know like ticket conductors, ticket collectors on a bus. I worked from 7 am till 9pm and I was 11.
Child labor. Where were the protectors, child protectors.
Not in Yakutia at that time, definitely not. But yeah, I was so proud of myself, that at the age of 11 I could make 200…
A little child freezing its 40…
No, it was in the summer!
Oh, I was assuming it was 50 below zero.
No, it was, you know, 35 degree heat in an old bus.
I don’t know which is worse.
But I was so excited, it was my first job and, you know, I felt so proud of myself that by the id of summer I was able to buy my mom a gift for her birthday with my own money! I was like! And I still remember it was 250 rubles for the whole day and 300 rubles if you didn’t eat, if you didn’t’ have lunch.
250 rubles in the whole day, so this was in what year? This would have been in the 90s, mid 90s.
2004, okay, I was gonna say 250 rubles in a given period of time, it would have been big money.
No, no, no. It wasn’t, it wasn’t. But still, I was very very proud of myself.
Well, sure. You should have been.
Yeah, but I… Yeah, that was it.
Wow, at 11 years old, so… Did your parents… Did your mom pack you a lunch or did you just… хот доги.
Yeah, basically. Well, it was not really fast food, but at, you know, when we had breaks in a place where all the buses stand, there was some people who cooked at home and they brought it here and they sold it. So now when you look back it may not sound very hygienic, you know. Cause you never know what conditions they cooked that in. But yeah, I was very-very proud.
Well the 35-degree heat probably keeps it fresh, so.
Right? Absolutely not suspicious and not dangerous at all.
Right, no germs would possibly breed at that temperature.
No, absolutely, So yeah. And what about your, let’s say, most memorable travel?
Right, some silence there. Gary, do you wanna go first?
Gary looks at Ken like please go first.
Ken, why don’t you start this off?
Okay, I would say one of the most, but definitely not the most memorable, because, you know, I’ve been to different places and I would say a lot of them, they were really memorable. But one thing in particular I guess, the first time I went abroad, that was in 2010 when my Korean dad, that’s how I, you know, referred to him.
Actually, he was my student, cause I was like his private teacher, English teacher. So he sponsored me and another tutor, cause, well, he was rich.
We all went to Vietnam and I was just so happy about it, because I thought oh my god, for the first time in my life I’m gonna go to another country and we went to Ho Chi Minh, we visited World War II memorials. We saw…
I forgot the religion, but it’s some kind of a, like, a local religion, not exactly Buddhist, but anyway. We went to the temple, what else? We went to the Mekong river. It was all memorable, because, you know, for a first time and to be in another country.
For me it was everything was new, and I was so excited. And the good thing about it was I really enjoyed it because I didn’t even have to plan unlike now whenever I travel, I always have to make sure that I have to pay for this and that. But that time it was all for free. So.
Free vacation. Let’s see. Travel. I would guess, I could say coming to Russia, that was a thing, I will say that. But I would say that maybe in that sense the first time that I just got in my car as an adult, really older than I should’ve been for having this being the first time that I did this. But I got in my car and I just kind of went on a vacation and I drove to the East coast of the United States and I drove around a few places.
You drove to the east coast?
Yeah, it’s not far from Ohio, it’s not a big deal. But I just hadn’t done that and I just hadn’t done this sort of travel thing, I don’t know why I didn’t’ do that. I guess it was because I was on my own or whatever. And I mean this was later, I don’t even know what year, but it was memorable just because I realized I could do this. It’s stupid, but this is something.
This is something I could do, and it was kinda of a revelation in a way. And then of course I did do that, and it was good and interesting and all that. But that was just the United states and the east coast and nothing spectacular. But just the fact of going. Right.
Well, it’s 500 miles from Cleveland to New York city, and then you go north, that’s how I did it. It’s like a day’s drive across Pennsylvania to get to New York. And then it’s another, you know, 5-6 hours to get out of New York and into other places. Not even 6 hours to get out of course, a couple of hours.
So where did you go? You just drove from Cleveland to New York city?
I just drove, yeah, around New York, I wasn’t going to New York, but just up to New England and just, you know, I had gone to college there, but I hadn’t returned there just as a travel thing. So I was doing that for the first time and that had seemed like that was just something I discovered that I could do.
Even though I obviously could’ve done it much earlier. I’m sure everybody that I knew had already done this or the equivalent of it. But anyhow, so that was just sort of thing of like breaking a barrier or something, discovering a new thing. And then of course going to Russia is just a small thing compared to that, you know.
Yeah, not a big deal. Especially going to Magadan.
Yeah, sunny Magadan, yeah. Well the sun always shines there, at least…
At least in July, right. Most of the time.
I think mine was in 2013 when I went to London. Even though it was not my first trip abroad, cause in 2011 my mom and I, we went to China. But that was my first travel abroad alone. And I was very excited, I was a little bit scared, cause you know, alone!
I was 20. So you know, I had to look up all the places and where to go and I think it was the most memorable not only because it was my first travel alone abroad, but because first, I still remember this. So one of the first places that I went to was the National Gallery.
And being form a very small town in Yakutia and then moving to Novosibirsk, which, despite being the third biggest city does not have much art, I went to the gallery and I saw Monet, Van Gogh. And it was not just a copy or a picture of a picture, you know. It was the original! I was like ah!
They actually made this! I’m looking at what these people made with… It was… I think I spent like 5 hours there really. And I have been to the National Gallery within the two weeks that I spent in London, I visited it four times I think. I jut couldn’t stop coming there.
It was so shocking and unbelievable! And later when I went to Boston I went to a museum with a local and I was like wow, and she was like yeah, okay, Monet, cool, Picasso, fine. Like, you don’t understand the treasure that you have! Cause people live in places where they don’t see any art.
So yeah, that was just fantastic for me. Yeah. And what about holidays? So can you think of the most memorable holiday? Maybe that was new year or Christmas celebration or your birthday or Independence day? I don’t know, you tell me.
I just love it how they look at each other like you go first, no you go first.
No, I remember, again, I’ll just make generalization as I’m sure at my age it’s probably just me, but I tend to remember kind of the overall thing and maybe not so many, you know, one specific event. I remember family holidays. And again, this is helped a lot by pictures.
I don’t even know what form this would have if we didn’t have some pictures of these holidays, you know. This would have been with my, this would be my grandparents’ generation. Everybody was alive, and I had kind of a big family and that generation. So, my grandmother had like five brothers and sisters.
Yeah, which is a big family. They were second generation, so they immigrated as a kind of a… So yeah, they had children, children born in the United States, but they were Saxon in Germany. And like my great-grandmother never spoke English at all. And so.
But anyway, her children who were now my uncles and aunts they were all sort of in a good, good healthy age and all of those things. And my grandmother, my father’s mother, was a tremendous cook. My other grandmother was quite the opposite, but she was just.. I mean she loved to cook. And so for her to have 15 people in and, you know, make a big turkey…
She’s like that’s my time to shine!
I mean she was just in her element. We would say in her glory, that’s what we say. She’s doing her thing. And I mean, so just this giant table of food, you know, sort of… The circle unbroken, as they say, if you know what I mean, if you know the song.
And just being a little kid and, you know, you’re just sitting there with all this food and there’s big plate in front of you. And everything is wonderful and you know all that stuff. It was kind of, kinda great.
That reminds me of our family gatherings too. That’s why I miss my childhood so much, because for example in my case we would celebrate the New Year in Manila, so coming from the village we would all fly to Manila, because we, well, we have relatives there.
And everyone was present. And, you know, it’s not even about all the toys that I would receive, because hey, it’s new year’s dy. And basically for kids it’s like a field day for us because we receive, you know, different presents.
But more than that the atmosphere and the fact that you get to see your other relatives and everyone is in a celebratory mood. That just makes me so damn happy. Which unfortunately today I don’t think I have that opportunity, well, I’m not in the Philippines at the moment. So yeah, I just miss that time, especially New Year. That was back in the early 1990s, that beautiful decade.
I have a bit of a difficulty to say which one was my most memorable, because if we think about, you know, the time that I was the happiest, probably that was New Year of 2015 because I remember mentioning it before, I was in London.
That was my second trip there. And I had dreamed about seeing the fireworks in person and I did, and that was spectacular. And I was even crying because of how happy I was. But if we… now that I think about it, I think I want to remember, other than any other holiday, the new year of 20… not 15 then, it must have been 16, yeah, 2016.
Even though it was kinda boring, you know, just the new year celebration 2016, which is, you know, had some salads, ate, watched the tv, the president’s speech. But that was the last new year ever that we celebrated as a family, as the whole family. And if I had known that it was, it would be the last one, I would probably, you know, take more pictures or make it more memorable.
But, alas. So, now I want to cherish this exact holiday and not any birthday, not any travel, cause I also thought maybe I can say that my birthday in New York city was, you know, was one of the most memorable. But I understand that I don’t wanna remember that as vividly as that new year, so.
Speaking of, so do you think… Because we have talked about happiest moments, amazing moments, but what do you think about bad and sad situations? Should we remember them or should we try to forget them and erase them from our memory? Or should we keep them since they are still, you know, part of our life?
You know, it’s part of our history. And I think that, you know, we shouldn’t be in denial of those things. Because after all we are still gonna learn something from those events in our lives. As much as, you know, the memory might be painful and we would like to forget that, but it helps shape our humanity, for us to become real people and to understand life better.
Because for example in my case, well, I’ve already mentioned it earlier about my parents, you know, separating. And there was a part in my childhood when sometimes I would question like why do other children have their own parents?
And every time I would go to school to get, you know, the report card together with my aunt. I remember specifically I had this classmate, he wasn’t exactly the smartest, well, to put it lightly.
To put it mildly. But I remember his mom was so happy and even proud of him. And I was thinking to myself like how could you be so proud of such a student?
Such a complete total failure as there can possibly be.
His words, okay, not mine. So anyway.
But you get what I mean. And I don’t know.
Maybe I was just jealous at the time, because I was like no one’s proud of me. Where is my mom? Where is my dad? They should be with me. But unfortunately, you know, I didn’t grow up them. Instead, it was my grandmother who looked after me.
Anyway, I am happy even though my childhood was not exactly complete in a traditional sense, that I had my parents. But anyway I promised myself that no matter what comes to me in life, later on that I need to have a strong, you know. I need to be courageous.
Because now as an adult I can say that I’m mature enough to face the challenges in life. And life is not always colorful with rainbows and unicorns. You have to face it, you know, realistically, that there will always be challenges and not all events in life will be nice or beautiful. Sometimes you need to cry.
I do now. Ken you’re okay.
So in your personal rating now Ken’s okay. Good job, Ken!
Ken has definitely got some brownies points right now.
I’m looking for approval. No. I’ve already lost it. No. Well, one of the benefits of things in the past becoming a little bit distinct, but you sort remember the whole thing is that whatever the not great things were, which of course were there. They kind of also blend in. And it’s just part of the… You know, as they say at the National gallery what would the great picture be without shadows, right.
And it’s just the way it is, the way the whole thing works. And so, and I’ve been, you know, blessed by having things generally be, you know, not traumatic. And work through very much. And it’s just the way it is and, you know, whatever…
It doesn’t mean that everything’s been rainbows and unicorns you know. To quote Ken, Ken’s phrase. It hasn’t been that, but far from that. But little light and unicorns, rainbow’s a little dim. Yes, one color on that rainbow and it’s grey. No. But still, it all does kinda blend together and it’s okay, it’s good. I mean…
It’s a part of life, it’s a part of life so we just should, you know, embrace it. Do not, you know, live in denial that no, that never happened, I don’t want to remember that, cause it is what it is.
Alright. Wow, that was an interesting talk. I think we learned a little bit more about each other, I like it, getting closer. Alright, so that was the BigAppleSchool podcast and today we discussed memorable events, our childhood, the happiest moments. And whether or not we should remember the sad and not as pleasant moments of our lives.
So thank you for listening and remember, if you struggle to understand our conversation, you are always welcome top our website which is BigAppleSchool.com/podcast. You can find full scripts of each episode there, so you can read and listen and it’s done in a very convenient way so don’t be afraid that you’ll have to read 15 pages of a text, no.
Also, if you want to get more content which will help you learn English, you can follow us on the social media, such Instagram, Vk, Youtube, Telegram. Basically, everywhere. Just search our name, which is again, BigAppleSchool. So that was Katya and my guests for today were…
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