I have always found writing about my personal experiences easier than writing about an imaginary situation which I have never been through. I therefore usually encourage students to base their writing work on something familiar to them and then adapt it to the written assignment making changes where necessary and enriching with adjectives and their imagination.
As in most families, my life is divided into two eras: BC (before children) and AC (after children). In my BC days all my free time was dedicated to globetrotting and I had started writing a book about my travels. Many of those stories are outdated as times change, countries develop...
I would like to start posting some of my adventures not only to encourage students to do likewise, thus practising their writing, but to stimulate people into class discussion on the topics students have written about and shared.
Should anyone like to comment & let me know how things have changed since I visited these countries, it would be welcome feedback.
A WEARY TRAVELLER'S TALES
Tragicomic Episodes from a Globe-Trotter's Diary
As a young, well-travelled globe-trotter, I prefer visiting countries in order to get to know the people, their customs and traditions, rather than only seeing the sights from an air-conditioned bus after having left an anonymous first-class hotel. On my travels I have come across many tragicomic episodes worth recounting, which are not only amusing in themselves but offer a great insight into the ways and being of different peoples in far off countries.
The best way to appreciate other mentalities and ways of life is to try and integrate oneself with the people by travelling with local forms of transport, eating in local restaurants and sleeping in hotels where one can mix with the locals rather than with tourists.
Ways of the World (written in 1988):
Srinigar, the capital of Kashmir in the very north of India, is famous for its houseboats, where tourists stay in fully furnished rooms often with private bathrooms, enjoying exquisite meals in chandaliered dining rooms before lounging in luxuriously carpeted living rooms. We were staying in a more modest two bedroom houseboat with private bathroom, which nevertheless had a beautifully carved table amongst its luxuries in the living room.
One evening I was relaxing on my bed when I heard a strange metallic rattling and immediately attributed it to the noise the ropes make when they hit the mast in the wind. Only shortly afterwards did it occur to me that our houseboat had no mast. Then I listened and felt it must be in the room. I took my torch and looked under the armchair: there, in a cage, was a huge rat scratching at the door to get out. I called the owner immediately, who reacted by saying, "Thank goodness you found it. It's been running around the boat for days and so I thought I'd put a trap in your room just in case." It was very unpleasant to know a rat had been roaming our room and that others could be around, but to find out that the owner had let it free on the other side of the lake because he "hadn't the heart to kill it," certainly surprised us.
.... next episode coming soon!
Have you ever had any tragi-comic experiences?
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My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.