Last week I was in Albania.  Twenty years ago, Albania was a very poor, backward country.  Today, twenty years later, it is a strong country with a lot of development. Visiting Albanitia makes me feel hope for all countries.

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA (girl, age 13) FROM ALBANIA

Nancy:  What have you been doing this week?

Amanda:  I first wake up in the morning and I get ready for school, and the school starts at 8:30.  I have nine classes, forty-five minutes each, in school and they finish at a quarter to four.  Then I come home.  Some days I have an English course or a volleyball course.  On Monday and Thursday, I have an English course, and on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, I have volleyball.  In the weekend, I go shopping or go to the cinema.*  Then in the afternoons I always read a book or do my homework.  In the evening, I always watch TV or get on the computer.

Nancy:  Why do you do volleyball?

Amanda:  Because it’s my favorite sport.  I enjoy it a lot.  I play on the Partizani Voli team.  Now on June first we will start to compete with other teams.  We’re number ten, so we have a lot of work to do.

Nancy:  Why do you take the English course after school?

Amanda:  I study English because I want to go outside of our country to go to school.  I want to become an economist.  I also study English at school.

Nancy:  Where would you like to go to university?

Amanda:  I would like to go to university in Italy.  I would like to work as an economist in a bank and start a new life, like a grownup.

Nancy:  Is there anything else special happening in your life now?

Amanda:   Well, I’m going to do a spelling bee* through the US Embassy.  This is my second time.  Last time I got third place.

Nancy:  Is your life different than your father’s life was when he was thirteen?

Amanda:  Life has changed a lot.  In my father’s time, they didn’t have a lot of things like I do.  My father ate bread and oil.  I eat hamburgers and fast food, so I can’t complain.  Now school is harder than it was then.  I play computer games, but my father played with stones and a plastic ball.

Nancy:  Is there anything that you would like to say to kids in Afghanistan?

Amanda:  We can always look on the bright side.  Things could be worse.*

 

SOME VOCABULARY

Cinema  Americans usually say ‘the movies’ but in British English, people say ‘the cinema.’

Spelling bee  This is a traditional kind of contest to see who can spell the most words correctly.

Look on the bright side.  Things could be worse.  This is a traditional saying and means that we can always see something positive in our situation.  For example, if we have bad shoes, we can think, “Some other people have no feet.  I am happy that I have shoes.”

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  Life for Miranda is very different from the life her father had as a child.  How is your life different from life when your parents were young?
  2. What are two of the happy things (bright side) in your life?

 

 

 

 

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Replies to This Discussion

It's a pleasure to hear from you, Jamil.  I haven't had messages from anyone in this group for a long time.  I'm very glad that your parents have happy memories of their childhood, and I hope that you have many happy family times together with them.  Good family memories are one of the biggest blessings we have in life.

Tomorrow here is Thanksgiving Day.  Families get together, eat a big meal (usually with a roast turkey) and remember all the reasons we have to feel thankful.  It is one  of my very favorite holidays.

Nancy

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