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A roller-coaster week

Episode description

In this bonus episode, Andrew talks about commuting to work in a typhoon, celebrating Chuseok, and the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Plus, in the vocabulary lesson, he teaches you how to use the expression to go into [something] mode.


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Hello, everyone, how’s it going? I hope you had an awesome week and are doing well. Welcome back to another bonus episode of the Culips English Podcast. I’m your host, Andrew and it’s great to be back here with you again. There’s a free transcript for this episode that you can download by clicking the link in the description, or by visiting our website Culips.com, and I hope you’ll find the transcript helpful for improving your English while you listen along and study with this episode. And of course, in the bonus episodes, guys, I just tell you some stories about what’s going on in my life, share a little bit about what’s new with me, and teach you a useful English expression that will help improve your English listening and speaking and overall communication skills. 

So why don’t we jump right into it and get started? So last week, wow, I really had a roller coaster of a week last week. Have you heard anyone use that expression before? Just like the shape of a roller coaster where there’s high points and low points, if we describe something as being like a roller coaster, it means that there are a lot of ups and downs and many, many changes. So last week, there were good things and bad things that happened. On Monday, the week got off to a bit of a rough start, things kind of started on a scary note because of a typhoon named Hinnamnor that was making quick progress towards the Korean peninsula where I live. For those of you who don’t know, I’m Canadian, but I do live in South Korea right now. So, there were a lot of people who were worried about the strength of the typhoon. The weather report said that it was going to be a strong one. And people were nervous about the damage that it potentially might cause. 

The typhoon did hit us here on Monday, and in Seoul, where I’m located, we got hit with a huge rainfall. It just rained and rained and rained. And I live about 20 minutes away from my workplace, the university that I work at, and I don’t have a car, and there’s no subway station near my university. So, I usually just walk to work. It’s a nice way to get some light exercise in the morning, and some fresh air before starting my work day. And on Monday, it felt like I had to go into survival mode, just to make it to work in one piece because the rain was really, really coming down. So, I was prepared. I wore a full set of rain clothes, everyone, rain boots, waterproof pants, a rain jacket, an umbrella. But in the end, it was totally all in vain and totally useless, because by the time I got to my campus, I was drenched and totally soaked. I think it was a good lesson for me. You know, I’m pretty stubborn in general, I like to stick to my guns, stick to my routine. But there are some days maybe when you should just take a bus or a taxi, and Monday was one of those days. But I’m not a complete fool. I was prepared, and I brought a spare set of clothes with me. Because I predicted that I was going to be just totally drenched by the time I arrived at the office, and it was true. So, I was able to change into my dry clothes before I had to teach my first class. 

Anyway, it was a heck of a Monday-morning commute. And seeing how intense the rain was on Monday and how strong the storm was on Monday, my university, and I think many schools across the country actually, decided to cancel classes for Tuesday. But then Tuesday rolled around, and in the end, the storm completely petered out and the weather was gorgeous on Tuesday. We had beautiful blue skies, and just a nice sunny day. So, it was pretty ironic that we didn’t have class on Tuesday when the weather was just gorgeous, but on Monday, when the weather was terrible, and there was this huge storm, then everyone had to go to campus. But nevertheless, I do think that the authorities made the right decision. Personally, I’m a bit of a cautious person. And I always think that it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Do you agree with that, that it’s better to be safe than sorry? So thankfully, the typhoon ended up being way, way weaker than predicted and there was no damage here in Seoul and just a little bit of damage in other parts of the country. 

Fast forwarding through the week to Friday, I woke up in the morning to pretty interesting news. And I’m sure all of you have heard about this news as well. And that was that Queen Elizabeth, the second, the Queen of England had passed away. Now I’m mentioning this, because I think many English learners are probably interested in the monarchy in England. So, Queen Elizabeth was the Queen of England and of Scotland and the UK, and many other English-speaking countries as well, of course, not the USA, but my country, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand and others, you know, she was the queen of our country. And even if you look on the Canadian money, the $20 bill, you’ll see the portrait of Queen Elizabeth. Now, personally speaking, this is just my personal opinion, but I’m not a big supporter of the idea of a royal family. It just seems really old fashioned, and out of date, to have a queen in our modern democratic society. 

But let’s put my personal opinion aside for now, because it was really shocking to see that the Queen had passed. She was the longest-reigning British monarch and had been the queen for my whole life. And it was really fascinating to watch the news coverage of the event, and see the reaction in the UK, and in different countries around the world. Now, I heard that thankfully, she died peacefully of old age. If I remember correctly, she was 96 years old. And now that the Queen has passed, we have a king, a king, it feels really strange for me to say that. Canada has a king, the UK has a king, King Charles the third. Now I’ve known him as Prince Charles for my whole life and now suddenly, he is the king. For me, events like this really feel like you can see history unfolding in real time. And they’re just so interesting to watch from a historical perspective, from this historical point of view. And I expect the funeral will happen in the next several days or so. And I’ll definitely be tuning into the funeral. I think it will be a very somber event, you know, a lot of British people really, really loved this queen. So, there’ll be lots of pomp and circumstance. As the nation says goodbye to the Queen. There will be an extreme amount of formality to the funeral ceremony. And it’s just something that you don’t see every day, a very rare event to witness. So again, it’s just like history is unfolding before our eyes. And it was a sad but fascinating event that happened last week. 

Let’s talk about something happier now. On Friday, it was also the start of the Chuseok holiday here in South Korea. For those of you who don’t know, Chuseok is the autumn harvest festival. And I guess you could say that it’s most similar to Thanksgiving that we celebrate in Canada and in the USA. You know, it’s just a holiday where you gather with your family, and you eat a lot of delicious food. And this year for Chuseok, my wife and I, we went to my brother-in-law’s house to celebrate Chuseok and to gather with the rest of the family. My brother-in-law and his wife, they prepared an absolute feast for us. It was a really impressive spread, a delicious spread. A spread. Maybe you’re familiar with that word as a verb, right? Like to spread butter on bread or to spread jam on toast. That’s usually the way that we use this word, but we can also use it as a noun to talk about a really impressive spread or a huge spread. And this just means a very big, huge meal. I think maybe we use it because if you could imagine a really big dinner table with food spread out across the table so that the table is covered in food, I think that’s why we use this word. But when you hear it as a noun, it just means a really big meal. And guys, I ate so much food I pigged out the ribs that were amazing, octopus, meatballs, some delicious shrimp, of course some delicious kimchi, and just many, many more dishes that I can’t even remember. But it was all delish, and to top it off, for dessert, my favorite for dessert, we had fruit, which is a really common dessert in South Korea is just to eat fruit, so apples and grapes, and we even had some beer, so that was lovely. And all in all, it was just nice to spend some time with my wife’s side of the family and to celebrate Chuseok together. 

Before we head into the vocabulary lesson for this episode, I just want to give a special shout out, and a big thank you, to all of the brand-new Culips members who joined us as members last week, it was great to see so many people decide to get serious about their English learning, and to take things to the next level. It’s really motivating for me as well to see so many people passionate about learning. Guys, this inspires me to study harder as well, and to work harder here at Culips to make the best learning material for everyone. So, I’m just really happy that you decided to study with us. And I know that you have a lot of options out there when it comes to learning, everyone. There are so many different YouTube channels and podcasts and services for learning English. But I really appreciate everybody, members or non-members, doesn’t matter, anybody who spends time and studies English with Culips and with me each week, it’s just so awesome and I’m so thankful for our whole Culips community. 

We also released a brand-new Chatterbox episode last week. And it was with my cohost Anna, and we talked all about something that’s really interesting to me, and that is the history of tea. Drinking tea in the UK, and the culture and the traditions around tea drinking in the United Kingdom. And now that fall is almost here and the weather’s getting cooler, personally, I’ve been drinking a lot more tea recently. So, I think this was the perfect time to release this episode. In fact, in front of me right now I have a delicious cup of green tea, in fact. So, if you’re a tea drinker, like me, or even a history geek like me, make sure to check out this episode because I think you’ll really enjoy it. And of course, there is the full transcript and study guide for members as well to accompany that. So, make sure to grab it to aid your study. 

And now it’s time for this week’s vocabulary lesson. So, everyone earlier in the episode, I was talking about walking to work, and the extreme rains of Typhoon Hinnamnor and I mentioned I had to go into survival mode to make it to work. Now, that’s actually the expression that I want to teach you today, to go into survival mode. And we can change this expression, depending on the situation that we’re in, we can change that noun to reflect the context that we’re facing. So, I had to face a survival situation, right? I was going into a very dangerous weather situation with heavy rains and strong winds. So, it was appropriate to use that expression in that context. Before we go any further, why don’t we rewind the episode for a moment, go back and listen to the part of the episode where I was talking about walking to work one more time, and we’ll hear how I used that expression to go into survival mode. Let’s do it. 

And on Monday, it felt like I had to go into survival mode just to make it to work in one piece. And on Monday, it felt like I had to go into survival mode just to make it to work in one piece. 

So go into survival mode means that I adjusted my life to deal with this new kind of dangerous situation where I needed to survive. Of course, I was being a little bit cheeky because it wasn’t a real life or death survival situation, but it was still a situation where I had to protect myself from the elements. So, as I mentioned just a moment ago, we can use this expression in a variety of situations, OK? It’s almost like you can imagine that you have a setting on your phone for different situations that you might have to encounter. Like, for example, when you fly on an airplane, you have to put your phone into airplane mode, right? You’re dealing with the situation of flying, where maybe it’s dangerous to have all of your satellites and communication functions turned on on your phone. So, you have to put your phone into airplane mode, right? Just like me, when I had to go outside into the rain, I had to put my life into survival mode for that situation. So, that’s how we can use it. Now, I think it’s probably best if we listen to a bunch of example sentences using similar expressions, and then I can break them down and explain them to you one by one. So, let’s check out some examples now. 

Example sentence number one.
After work, when I ride the bus home, I immediately feel sleepy and want to go into nap mode. After work when I ride the bus home, I immediately feel sleepy and want to go into nap mode. 

Let’s break this example down. So, the speaker said that when he is riding the bus home after a long day of work, he immediately feels sleepy and just wants to take a nap. He wants to go into nap mode, OK? So, in other words, he wants to turn his mental state from awake into a sleeping state, almost just like you put your phone to sleep, right? You put your phone into sleep mode, you could put your brain into sleep mode as well. So, he said, I want to go into nap mode, meaning I want to sleep. 

Example sentence number two.
The other team is really strong, so if we want to win this game, we need to go into beast mode. The other team is really strong, so if we want to win this game, we need to go into beast mode. 

Let’s break this example down. The speaker said that the other team, I guess maybe he’s an athlete on a soccer team or something, the other team that they’re about to play is very, very strong. So, if they want to win the game, they need to go into beast mode, b-e-a-s-t beast, like a wild animal. So, what does it mean to go into beast mode? Can you guess? Can you get a feeling for it? It means like you need to go wild, you need to give it all of your effort, you need to go crazy just like a wild animal attacking its prey. So, they just need to play their hearts out and have the game of their lives if they want to beat the other team. 

Example sentence number three.
My sister has some pretty strong political opinions, so don’t talk about politics around her. If you do, she might go into attack mode, so it’s better just to avoid talking politics around her altogether. My sister has some pretty strong political opinions, so don’t talk about politics around her. If you do, she might go into attack mode, so it’s better just to avoid talking politics around her altogether. 

Let’s break this final example down. So, in this one, the speaker is talking about his sister and his sister has very, very strong political opinions. And if you say something that she disagrees with, she’s not just going to ignore it, she won’t just let it slide. Instead, she will argue with you about that political opinion, and she might go into attack mode. So, full on aggressive attack mode, right? Aggressively arguing about the political differences that the two people have. Maybe you know, some people like this. It’s common, sometimes at family dinners even where there’s one family member who has one political belief, and another family member who has a different political belief. And if they talk politics then just a big argument happens and they attack each other. They both go into attack mode, and not many people enjoy hanging out in that kind of situation. 

Congratulations, everyone. That’s it for another English study sesh. Great job on making it to the end of this episode. Thank you for listening all the way to the end. And I hope you are able to learn some new things with me and with this lesson. So have a great week everyone. Try your best to do a lot more English practice this week, and we’ll see you again during the next episode which will be a little later in the week. Please take care, I’ll talk to you later, goodbye.

Host: Andrew Bates
Music and sound effects: Pixabay.com
Thumbnail image: Canva.com
Episode preparation/research: Andrew Bates
Business manager: Tsuyoshi Kaneshima

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15 days ago

Hi Andrew~!
I always appreciate your help.
I have an expression to ask you about in this episode.
In the second paragraph, you said ” ~ things kind of started on a scary note ~.”
Is it okay to understand on a scary note as in a scary way?

Reply to  tongyeoung
14 days ago

Great question! Yes, on a scary note has the same meaning as in a scary way. Hope that helps.

18 days ago

I am Ali from Saudi Arabia in Asia
I am waiting this professional steps from many months. I was asking myself why this dream website or podcast do this the best step.

I don’t believe what I’m see
eventually all my order to improve my English skills in one place
thanks Teacher Andres and all his staff

Reply to  amhawas
15 days ago

Thanks for the great feedback. Happy to hear you’re finding Culips helpful 🙂

20 days ago

It is like feeling that I am listening to your weekly life. Very interesting!
It’s perfect the color of the word in the script changed when you spoke.
Very Good!
I love the Culips episodes, and I always enjoy various episodes.
Sometimes I can’t understand 100% but mostly understand 80%~100% even without the script.
I came to Chiang Mai two months ago and had to speak English with some people. But it isn’t easy to understand what they are saying.
Their accent and pronunciation are far from yours.
I know there is a lot of type of English in the world.
If you’re not a native speaker, I think you should be used to several types of English. It makes learning English very hard.
But I feel happy when I listen to your episodes.

Last edited 20 days ago by greenes
Reply to  greenes
15 days ago

That’s a great point! It’s important to listen to many different kinds of accents to strengthen our listening skills. To be honest, even native speakers sometimes have issues understanding people with strong accents. Becoming a great listener is just something we have to develop through practice and exposure.

21 days ago

Hi Andrew! I really like your bonus episodes. It was a great idea to create this section. I look forward to them every week. It’s very interesting to know about your real life. Your weekly stories are so warm and close. Thanks a lot and keep it up forever.

Reply to  galina
15 days ago

Wonderful feedback. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying them and I’ll try to keep making them regularly. Thanks, Galina!

A roller-coaster week

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