Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes by vegetarians – One

MTr 2

Lucy, Glasgow:

 In Cuba, a very helpful restaurateur bent over backwards when I told him, “soy vegetarian.” However, when he served me my plate of crisps, grilled vegetables, beans and rice, he proclaimed: “But you cannot be a vegetarian – you’re not skinny!”

Anecdotes by vegetarians – Two

MTr 3

Julieta, Buenos Aires, Argentina:

I am a non-meat eater in a country where vegetarianism is an exotic illness. Try telling people you don’t eat red meat in Argentina. First question is always “Why?” followed by “Are you sick?” and, later, any of the following: “Are you sure? Come on, a bit won't hurt”, or “Don’t you ever feel like you’re dying for steak?”

 

Anecdotes by vegetarians – Three

MTr 4

Jonathan Pagden, Chesham, Bucks:

I once stayed in a hotel in Munich (in a land famous for offering six varieties of meat for breakfast), and asked for the vegetarian lunch option. The waiter brought a plate of bacon. When I pointed this out, he said, with a completely straight face, “It came from a vegetarian pig.” I still don't know whether he was joking.

 

Anecdotes by vegetarians – Four

MTr 5

Damian Bown, London, England: 

My sister, also a vegetarian, recounts visiting a restaurant in northern Italy asked “I am a vegetarian, is that a problem?” to which the waiter replied “Only for you madam, only for you.”

 

Anecdotes by vegetarians – Five

MTr 6

Laura Dover, Calgary, Canada:

When I was in (then) Czechoslovakia in 1992, I order a meatless, fishless pizza. Sure enough, they brought me a ham pizza. My Czech boyfriend berated the waitress and pointed out the meat on the pizza. “But it is chopped up in small pieces!” she exclaimed.

Anecdotes about teaching English – One

MTr 2 Teaching English

A practical attitude

We were having a repetition class a few days before a test. I had prepared a worksheet with a set of tasks similar to those planned for the test. One of them was drawing conclusions about the past using modals (can't have, must have and so on). Among others, I prepared a cue “He was rich and handsome, but she didn't want to marry him.” I was expecting something like “She must have been in love with another man” or “She can't have loved him.” What I got instead, and quite promptly, from a very gentle and sweet 18-year-old girl was “She can't have been normal!”

Anecdotes about teaching English – Two

MTr 3 Teaching English

New York, New York!

To teach a young man, about 30 years old, to use the past simple tense, I gave him a scenario to use. “Your friend came to visit from New York. You took him on a tour of your city. Tell us what happened.”

He replied, in complete seriousness, “He came and stayed at my apartment. The next day we went to the metro to go on a tour of the city. We went downstairs, he got on the train, the doors closed, train left and I haven't seen him since! It has been three weeks!”

I still laugh at how clever that was. And he used the tense correctly!



Anecdotes about teaching English – Three

MTr 4 Teaching English

Uncomfortable moment

Whilst teaching English to a small group of foreign businessmen of different nationalities, we began a role play based upon the report we had just seen. The subject concerned smoking – cancer and the resulting lawsuits initiated by those afflicted. Casting the German student in the role of cancer victim and his Dutch classmate as a rich tobacco executive, I sat back to watch the action unfold.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten what the word “cancer” is in German (though it now explains the zodiac a little more). Imagine my horror and surprise when he opened the debate with the line “I've got crabs and it's all your fault!” Falling off my chair in hysterics took some explaining too.

 

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