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0125 Moving

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 125: Moving.

Welcome back to English as a Second Language Podcast episode 125. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development in, where else, beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This podcast, like all of our podcasts, is made possible by the work of Dr. Lucy Tse who writes the scripts and does most of the work involved here. I am the voice of the podcast and Lucy does all the work so, as usual, we want to thank her for everything she does.

Today’s podcast is going to be about someone moving from one house or one apartment to another house or apartment. Let’s go!

[start of dialogue]

Edmundo: What are you doing?

Ruth: Oh, I'm packing. My lease is up at the end of the month and I'm moving to Vancouver for six months while my boyfriend is finishing his degree at the university.

Edmundo: Oh, wow. Are you moving yourself or are you using a moving company?

Ruth: I'm renting a U-Haul and doing it myself. I'm putting some of my furniture in storage since we plan to move back here after he graduates.

Edmundo: Can I help? Do you need me to forward your mail?

Ruth: Thanks for the offer. I've submitted a change-of-address form to the post office so I hope my mail will get forwarded automatically. One thing I have to remember to do is to shut off the utilities: gas, electricity, and phone‚ but I'll have two more weeks to do that.

Edmundo: Well, good luck in Vancouver. I don't envy you. I hate moving. Let me know if you need any help with those boxes.

Ruth: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

[end of dialogue]

We’re talking about someone who needs to move from one house or apartment or one city to another city. In this dialogue, we begin with Edmundo saying, “What are you doing?” And Ruth, his friend, says, “Oh, I’m packing.” “I’m packing” (packing). “To pack” means to put things in a box or in a suitcase – in a bag – so that you can take them somewhere else. If you are going on a trip, you pack a bag or a suitcase. If you are moving, you have to pack everything in your house, put things in boxes and in bags to move them.

So, Ruth says she’s packing because her “lease is up” at the end of the month. A “lease” (lease) is a contract. It’s a legal agreement when you rent an apartment or a house; you have to sign a contract. We call that contract a “lease.” When you rent a house or an apartment or a car, anything that you are going to use, you have this lease. So, you sign a lease. When the lease is over, when your contract is over, we say that your “lease is up.” “Your lease is up.” It’s just an idiom that we have. So, Ruth’s lease is up at the end of the month and we learnt that she is moving to Vancouver.

Well, Edmundo says, “Wow” (wow) – is an expression of surprise or when something is really amazing to you. Unusually , you might say, “Wow.” Edmundo says, “Wow, are you moving yourself or are you using a moving company?” Well, “to move yourself” would mean you would put everything in your own car and drive there. To use a moving company is a company with a big truck that comes and people put your things into the truck and the truck drives to your new house – your new apartment - and they “unpack.” Notice the opposite of pack is to “unpack” (unpack) – all one word. So, they take your things and they put them into your new house. Actually, to unpack means to take things out of the boxes – just moving the boxes into your house – your new house is not the same as “unpacking,” technically. Although there are some companies that if you pay them enough money, they’ll pack and unpack your house.

Well, Ruth says that she is going to move herself. She’s doing it by herself and she’s renting a “U-Haul.” Well, “U-Haul” is the name of a company that rents trucks to individual people so they can use their big trucks for moving. It’s just one company, but it’s a very company in the entire United States. So, when someone says they’re renting a “U-Haul” – and I should explain U-Haul is spelled (U) – the capital (U)-(HAUL). “To haul” (haul) is similar to move. The verb “to haul” means to move. So, “U-Haul” means you are going to move. You are going to haul your things. So, someone says, “I’m renting a U-Haul” – they mean a truck from the company called “U-Haul.”

Ruth says she’s putting some of her furniture, her chairs, her tables, her couch, – couch is the same as a sofa – in “storage.” When we say, “I’m going to put something in storage” (storage) they mean that you are going to rent a place that will keep your things for however long you want them to. You have to pay them. So, you have a little space where you can put all of your things and there are many companies that have big buildings where you can rent a little part of the space – very popular in Los Angeles. And this is called “storage.”

So, she’s putting some of her things in storage and when she moves back to whatever city she is in, she will then take it out of storage and be able to use it again. Edmundo offers to help Ruth. “Can I help?” he says. “Do you need me to forward your mail?” “To forward” (forward) – as a verb – “to forward” – means that something – you get a letter. It comes to you and you forward it to someone else. So, you mail it again to someone else. In the United States, there is just one government – semi-government, partially government supported company that delivers regular mail – the United States Postal Service. There are many private companies which will also deliver letters, packages, boxes – companies like Federal Express or, another very popular one is called “UPS” – United Postal Service. Those are private companies. But for your regular mail – for your bills, for the letters, normal letters, you use the government sponsored United States Postal Service. People usually just call it the “post-office.” Well, if you are going to move, you need to tell the post-office where your new address is and they will forward your mail. So, instead of sending it to your old address, they will send it to your new address – this is called “forwarding” your mail.

Ruth says to Edmundo, “Thanks for the offer,” meaning thank you for asking me to help. She says, “I’ve submitted a change of address form to the post office.” A “change of address form” (form) is just a little card that says, “Hey, I’m moving. Please send my mail to this new address.” And if you are going to move in the United States, you usually have to send that card at least a couple of weeks before. Some post offices, some places, it can be a shorter time. But it’s safer to send it early. And then you tell them, “Beginning on this day, I want my mail forwarded. “ Well, this is a change of address form and she submitted (submitted) – means she gave, in this case, she submitted the form to the post-office – her local post-office – the post office where she lives right now. And she, therefore, says that her mail will get forwarded automatically, so that she doesn’t have to do anything special.

She says, “One thing I have to remember is to shut off the utilities.” “Utilities” (utilities) are the gas, the electricity, the water, your phone – these are all your utilities at a house or an apartment. “To shut off the utilities” means to turn off. But we use that special verb “to shut off” especially for gas, electricity and water. So, you shut off your utilities, you stop them. So, you tell the gas company, “I’m leaving.” You tell the phone company, “I want you to get rid of this number.” So, you cancel or shut off all of these different things and you have to do that before you move.

Well, Edmundo wishes Ruth good luck in Vancouver. She’s moving to the city of Vancouver in Canada. He says, “I don’t envy you. I hate moving.” “To envy” (envy) means the same as to be jealous. I want what you have. You, for example, you buy a new car – a nice car. And I want your car. I “envy you,” meaning I want to have what you have. But Edmundo says, “I don’t envy you,” meaning it’s not a very pleasant good thing to have to move. But he tells her, “Let me know if you need any help.” “Let me know” means tell me if you need any help.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue this time at a native rate of speech.

[start of dialogue]

Edmundo: What are you doing?

Ruth: Oh, I'm packing. My lease is up at the end of the month and I'm moving to Vancouver for six months while my boyfriend is finishing his degree at the university.

Edmundo: Oh, wow. Are you moving yourself or are you using a moving company?

Ruth: I'm renting a U-Haul and doing it myself. I'm putting some of my furniture in storage since we plan to move back here after he graduates.

Edmundo: Can I help? Do you need me to forward your mail?

Ruth: Thanks for the offer. I've submitted a change-of-address form to the post office so I hope my mail will get forwarded automatically. One thing I have to remember to do is to shut off the utilities: gas, electricity, and phone‚ but I'll have two more weeks to do that.

Edmundo: Well, good luck in Vancouver. I don't envy you. I hate moving. Let me know if you need any help with those boxes.

Ruth: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

[end of dialogue]

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
to pack – to fill boxes and cases with items one owns, like clothing, so that one can take those items to another place where one will visit or live

* Joaquin is leaving to visit his parents for two weeks, but he still needs to pack his clothes in his suitcase.

for a lease to be up – when a written agreement, which says that someone can live in an apartment or house that one does not own but pays money to live in, has ended

* The lease is up on Shantel’s apartment, so she decided to move to a better one.

moving company – a company or business someone pays money to, to take items he or she owns from one home (house or apartment) and bring those items to another home

* The family had a large number of belongings, so they decided to pay a moving company to take them to their new home.

U-Haul – a large truck or van someone can pay money to borrow and use for a short amount of time, to take items from one place to another

* Geoffrey paid $150 to rent a U-Haul truck to move his belongings out of his old office building and into his new office.

storage – a place where one puts items one owns but does not have room to keep in one’s home, with the thought of taking those items back in the future

* Angelina put her couch and chairs in storage when she moved back into her parents’ house, but she took them out of storage later when she got a new apartment.

to forward (one's) mail – for the post office to send mail (letters and packages) sent to where one lived in the past to the place where one lives now

* Simon moved out of his old house in Sacramento last month, so the post office must forward his mail to his new house in San Diego for a few months.

change-of-address form – a formal notice one fills out and gives to the post office to let the post office know that one lives in a different place and needs one’s mail to be delivered to that new place

* Wynona filled out the post office’s change-of-address form because she did not want any of her bills or letters to get lost after she moved to a new house.

automatically – without one needing to take extra action; when an action or event happens without someone saying or doing anything to cause that action or event to happen

* The heater automatically starts to run when the temperature in the house drops to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

to shut off – to turn off; to stop the power or energy source that allows a machine to work

* Monroe shut off his computer because he does not need to use it anymore today.

utilities – services that one pays to have in one’s home, such as gas, electricity, and telephone service

* Camellia needed to pay for her utilities or she would not lose electricity and water service in her house.

I don't envy you. – I do not wish that I were doing what you are doing.; a statement one makes to another person, who is in an undesirable position

* I hate going to the doctor, so I don’t envy you now that you must go.

Culture Note
The U.S. Census

According to the U.S. Constitution, the “federal” (national) government must “take a census” (count the number of people) living in the United States every 10 years. The first census was in 1790, so every year ending in zero is a census year. One of the main reasons for the census is to determine how “to allot” (to divide among different people or groups of people) the 435 members that “form” (are part of) the United States House of Representatives, the officials who represent the people of the United States and make laws. States that have more people get more representatives, and states that have a smaller population are given fewer representatives, but the number of representatives is always 435. In order to “take into account” (consider; make part of a decision) births, deaths, and “migration” (moving from one part of the country to another), the government counts every 10 years and then makes any necessary changes. During the 1980s and 1990s, for example, states in the Southwest U.S., such as Arizona, Nevada, and California, increased their number of representatives due to more people moving to those states for jobs.

How does the U.S. Census “Bureau” (office) collect “data” (information) to count people? First, it mails a letter to every “residence” (house, apartment, or other place where people live) in the U.S. with a “survey” (a list of questions). Most people get a two- or three-page survey that they are asked “to fill out” (to complete) and mail back to the government within about two weeks. The survey asks just a few questions, including the names of everyone living in your house, your telephone number, whether you own your residence or rent it, your age, your sex, your birthday, your “income” (how much money you make), and your “race” (such as African American, Asian American, and white). It is very simple and short, and is available in many different languages.

One more interesting fact about the U.S. Census: the Census Bureau counts everyone, even people who are living here “without permission” (illegally). The government also promises to keep the information secret for at least 72 years so that people will be honest and not “withhold” (refuse to give) information they are asking for.