English Conversation Partner—-Add More Colors to Life

I take part in the program of English Conversation Partners program at Ohio State. Thanks to this program, I made a new friend who has lived in America for almost all her life.

Every time we meet, I can learn some interesting things. Yesterday, we had dinner together in Sloopy Diner in the Ohio Union and we talked almost all the things listed on the menu. I was always at a lost when I was reading restaurant menus. I didn’t know the names. I didn’t know the food, either. Then I didn’t know what to order. But this time, before we ordered our meal, she patiently explained what the foods are and how they are cooked. That was really helpful. I know grilling is a cooking method to make hamburgers; pancakes are big round sweet cakes, usually eaten during breakfast; the things written under the food name are what is contained in the food. I also know the differences between entrées and side dishes. The learning process about food was so appetizing since I love eating very much. :-)

Today, we went to Mirror Lake. Sitting beside the water made me feel very peaceful, which was a good state in which to have conversation. I loved today’s topic, traditional festivals. When I introduced some popular festivals in China to her, she was astonished by some beautiful old stories behind these festivals. Take the Qi Xi festival-Chinese Valentine’s Day as an example. Niu Lang and Zhi Nv who are a couple, can only meet once a year on Qi Xi because Zhi Nv is from heaven but Niu Lang is just an ordinary man on earth. My partner thought this festival is very romantic for it has such a touching story. During our conversation, I noticed that before I mixed up the terms “holiday” and “festival.” I thought that Christmas and Thanksgiving were both festivals in America. But my conversation partner told me that these are “holidays” and should not be considered “festivals” because when mention these days, people only know that they can have a day off and (usually) no need to go to school or go to work. In the U.S., festivals are those days people get together to celebrate something. People will have some public activities for festivals. And festivals can be at different times in different years. On the other hand, holidays usually have the same dates every year. It is really exciting to learn interesting things from other countries.

After I met my conversation partner, I no longer just stay at home to read text books on weekends. Speaking with her and exchanging ideas on issues are the best way for me to learn all kinds of new things in life here, not to mention improve by speaking skills. I love having someone with whom to share interesting things!



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