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0225 Feeling Homesick

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 225: Feeling Homesick.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 225. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com and download the Learning Guide for this podcast.

Today's podcast is called “Feeling Homesick.” Let's get started.

[Start of story]

Annie: Why the long face?

Luis: I don’t know. I guess I’m feeling a little homesick.

Annie: I thought you got over that. I know the adjustment was hard when you first got here, but I thought you were coping pretty well.

Luis: I was. It’s just that the holidays are coming up and I won’t be able to go home because I can’t afford the airfare. I’m just longing for some of the comforts of home, like my mom’s cooking and being around my family.

Annie: Yeah, it can get pretty lonely over the holidays. When I first got here, I’d get depressed and nostalgic for anything that reminded me of home. But, you know, I think I was just seeing things through rose-colored glasses.

Luis: What do you mean?

Annie: Well, things back home weren’t really that idyllic, but from this distance, all I could think of was the good stuff and none of the bad.

Luis: I see what you mean, but I’m still bummed out.

Annie: I have an idea. Why don’t we put on our own little holiday celebration? We can have it at my place and we can invite all of our friends who are on their own this time of year. We’ll each do something that’ll remind us of home. What do you say? Misery loves company, as they say.

Luis: You know, I could really go for that. You don’t mind all of the trouble?

Annie: What trouble? As long as I don’t have to cook, I’m up for it.

Luis: Cool. I’ll ask around to see who else wants to come.

Annie: Okay. I’ll do the same.

Luis: Thanks. I’m feeling better already.

[End of story]

This episode is called “Feeling Homesick,” “homesick” (one word). To feel or to be homesick means to miss your place where you would normally live. If you move to another place or you are traveling, you may still want to go back to your old house and your old friends and your family; this is to be homesick, when someone misses their home, either because they have moved or because they are taking a vacation or a trip somewhere.

Annie says to Luis, “Why the long face?” This is short for why do you have a long face. When we say someone has a long, “long,” face, we mean that they're sad - that they're not happy.

Luis says, “I don’t know. I guess I’m feeling a little homesick.” Annie says, “I thought you got over that,” meaning I thought that this was no longer a problem for you. “I know the adjustment was hard when you first” moved here. Adjustment, “adjustment,” means to adapt or to change to your new place - your new environment. So, she's saying I thought that although you had a difficult adjustment - it took you some time to get used to this new place - that you were over that - that you no longer had a problem with that.

She says, “I thought you were coping pretty well.” To cope, “cope,” means to manage or to deal with a difficult situation. “I can't cope,” that would be something you would say when you feel as though the situation is too difficult. When my 24 nieces and nephews come and visit me, I can't cope. There's too much noise - too many of them. Yes, I actually do have 24 nieces and nephews!

Well, Annie says that Luis is not coping very well. Luis says that he was coping well, “It’s just that the holidays are coming up and I won’t be able to go home,” he says. It's just that means the only reason that he is feeling this way is because the holidays - Christmas or Chanukah or some other holiday - is coming up and he “won't be able to go home.” When we say something is coming up, we mean it is coming close in time. If today is Monday, Wednesday is coming up - it's close in time.

Luis says that he cannot “afford the airfare,” meaning he doesn't have money for the airfare. To afford, “afford,” means to have enough money to do something Luis says that he's “longing for some of the comforts of home.” To long for something, as a verb, means to want something very badly - to strongly want something. The comforts of home is an expression that refers to the things that you like that are in your house or that are in your home. In general, comforts (usually plural) means the good things in life - the things that make your life pleasant.

Annie says that yes, it can be “pretty lonely over the holidays.” Lonely, “lonely,” means to not be with other people - to be sad because you are by yourself; you do not have other friends or family near you. Notice that she uses the expression “over the holidays,” we use that to mean during the time of the holidays.

Annie says that when she first got to the city where they live, she would “get depressed and nostalgic for anything that reminded” her of home. To be depressed means to be very sad. Sometimes, you don't even know why you're sad; sometimes you do. If you come home and there's no food your refrigerator and you're hungry, you could get very sad - very depressed. This happens to me almost every day!

To be nostalgic, nostalgic,” means to think about something in the past, and to be a little sad remembering someone or someplace in the past that is part of happy memory. So, it was happy back then, and you're thinking back on that particular time or place or person, and you feel a little sad because you miss that person. You would like to have those happy times again.

Annie goes on to say that she thinks she was “just seeing things through rose-colored glasses.” To see something through rose, “rose,” (hyphen) colored glasses means to think something is better, or to see something as being better than it really is. So, you're being too optimistic; you're thinking things are better, but the reality is in real life, they're not as good as you think they are.

Luis asks Annie what she means, and she says that “things back home,” meaning in the place where she grew up - where her family is, things were not “really that idyllic,” “idyllic.” To be idyllic means to be perfect, without any problems. To be peaceful, that would be idyllic. A vacation in Hawaii on the beach, for me, that would be idyllic; the perfect thing. In fact, I think I need a vacation, don't you? Let's all meet in Honolulu, Hawaii over the holidays. I'll see you there!

Luis says, “I see what you mean,” meaning I understand you, “but I’m still bummed out.” To be bummed, “bummed,” or to be bummed out, either one is possible, means to be disappointed - to be depressed - to be sad. Someone could say, “I'm really bummed about the game today” - I'm really sad about what happened.

Annie then has an idea; she suggests that they have their own holiday celebration. They can all go over to her house - she and her friends and Luis and anyone else who is “on their own this time of year.” To be on your own means to be alone or by yourself. She says, “Misery loves company.” This is an old expression. Misery, “misery,” means something that is sad - something that causes you to be sad.

So, “Misery loves company,” here company means other people; it doesn't mean a business. The word company can also mean other people. You may say, “I can't talk to you right now on the phone, I have company,” meaning I have people visiting me - people - other people who are here. So, misery loves company means people who are sad like other people who are sad - want to be with them.

Luis says that he “could really go for” Annie's idea, meaning he really likes it. She says that it would not be a lot of trouble because she is “up for it.” To be up for something means to be willing to do something. Someone may say to you “Hey, let's go to Honolulu with Jeff McQuillan and everyone who listens to the ESL Podcast for the holidays,” and you say, “Sure, I'm up for it,” meaning yes, I am willing to do that. Well, back to the real world here. Luis and Annie say that they're going to get together, and that's the happy end to our story.

Now let's listen to the dialogue again, this time read at a normal speed.

[Start of story]

Annie: Why the long face?

Luis: I don’t know. I guess I’m feeling a little homesick.

Annie: I thought you got over that. I know the adjustment was hard when you first got here, but I thought you were coping pretty well.

Luis: I was. It’s just that the holidays are coming up and I won’t be able to go home because I can’t afford the airfare. I’m just longing for some of the comforts of home, like my mom’s cooking and being around my family.

Annie: Yeah, it can get pretty lonely over the holidays. When I first got here, I’d get depressed and nostalgic for anything that reminded me of home. But, you know, I think I was just seeing things through rose-colored glasses.

Luis: What do you mean?

Annie: Well, things back home weren’t really that idyllic, but from this distance, all I could think of was the good stuff and none of the bad.

Luis: I see what you mean, but I’m still bummed out.

Annie: I have an idea. Why don’t we put on our own little holiday celebration? We can have it at my place and we can invite all of our friends who are on their own this time of year. We’ll each do something that’ll remind us of home. What do you say? Misery loves company, as they say.

Luis: You know, I could really go for that. You don’t mind all of the trouble?

Annie: What trouble? As long as I don’t have to cook, I’m up for it.

Luis: Cool. I’ll ask around to see who else wants to come.

Annie: Okay. I’ll do the same.

Luis: Thanks. I’m feeling better already.

[End of story]

The script for today's podcast was by Dr. Lucy Tse. And of course, I'll ask Dr. Tse if she wants to come with us all to Hawaii! Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com, and of course, to return again and listen to us here on ESL Podcast.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. 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
long face – an expression of sadness on someone’s face; the look on a person’s face when they are unhappy

* He had such a long face when he got home from work that we immediately knew something was wrong.


homesick – sad to be away from family, friends, and home; missing or longing to be home

* Whenever Alexander looks at pictures of his family, he becomes homesick.


adjustment – adaptation; change to fit into a new environment or place

* It was hard for Sheila’s daughter to make the adjustment to going to daycare most of the day when Sheila went back to work full-time.


to cope – to manage or to deal with a difficult situation

* She isn’t coping very well with her mother’s death. I wish I knew how to help her.


to afford – to be able to pay for something; to have enough money for something

* I would like to buy a new computer, but I can’t afford it right now.


to long for (something) – to strongly want something; to have a strong wish for something

* They have been studying very hard for final exams, and now that the exams are over, they’re longing for summer vacation.


comforts of home – things found in the home that make life more pleasant; things that make you feel comfortable and happy at home

* After two weeks of hiking in the mountains, we were ready to enjoy the comforts of home: a hot bath, good food, and a soft bed.


lonely – sad to not be with other people; sad to be by oneself

* He feels very lonely when his wife has to travel for work.


to be depressed – to be sad, sometimes without an explanation

* When people are depressed, they often stay in bed all day.


nostalgic – sad when remembering a past time or a place far away that is part of a happy memory

* I felt nostalgic when I thought about how my brother and I used to play together when we were children.


to see through rose-colored glasses – to see something as being better than it really is; to see only the good and not the bad

* Ever since they got married, they’re always so happy and optimistic! They’re seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.


idyllic – perfect; without problems; peaceful and beautiful

* We had an idyllic vacation in the Caribbean. The beaches were beautiful and quiet, and we were able to forget about all of our problems.


to be bummed out – to be disappointed, depressed, or sad

* Zachary was bummed out when he heard that he didn’t get the job in Peru.


on (one’s) own – without other people; by oneself

* Do you live on your own or do you have a roommate?


misery loves company – a saying that means that sad people like to be around other sad people

* Julie and Zelda spend a lot of time together crying about their ex-boyfriends. I guess misery loves company.


to be up for (something) – to be willing to participate; to be willing to do something

* Do you think you’ll be up for a movie tonight after work?

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Luis feel homesick?
a) Being in his home makes him feel sick.
b) He doesn’t like any kind of holiday.
c) He misses being with his family.

2. What does Annie suggest to help Luis feel better?
a) To see things through rose-colored glasses.
b) To have a party with other friends.
c) To buy airfare to go back home.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
adjustment

The word “adjustment,” in this podcast, means an adaptation or change to fit into a new environment. For example, “Going to college was a major adjustment for me because I had never lived away from home before.” As a verb, “to adjust” can mean to adapt to a new situation: “It was difficult for him to adjust to his new job.” An “adjustment” also means a small change to make something better: “This chair needs a few adjustments to make it more comfortable.” When used as a verb, “to adjust” can mean to change something to make it work better. For example, “I need to adjust my watch because it’s five minutes fast.” Or, “Could you please adjust the volume on the TV so that it isn’t so loud?”

to be up for (something)

In this podcast, the phrase “to be up for (something)” means to be willing to do something: “I’m up for some ice cream. Would anyone like to join me?” The phrase “to be up to (something)” has the same meaning: “If you’re up to it, let’s go running at 5:30 tomorrow morning.” The phrase “to be up to (someone)” means that that person is responsible or will make the decision. For example, “It’s up to me to make sure that the children are ready for school each morning.” Or, “It’s up to him to decide whether we’ll work on this project.” The phrase “to be up against (something)” means to face problems: “She was up against many problems, but her good attitude kept her from giving up.”

Culture Note
Many U.S. citizens “live abroad” (live in other countries). Some live abroad for work or school, and others live abroad because they want to learn about another language or culture. Living in a foreign country is an exciting adventure, but almost everyone feels homesick during some part of the experience.

When Americans living abroad feel homesick, they often wish that they could eat “comfort foods” like their parents used to make for them when they were children. Common comfort foods are hot soups, tuna “casseroles” (baked noodles with vegetables and cheese), chocolate-chip cookies, and apple pie. The taste of comfort foods can help these people remember their homes and happy memories of their families.

Americans living abroad often meet with other “expats,” (short for “expatriates”; people who are living away from their home country). Expats are different from “immigrants” because expats are only in the country temporarily, while immigrants usually commit to stay in the new country long term and adjust to life permanently.

Expats sometimes get together to “recreate” (create again) the comforts of home. In most capital cities there are clubs for the Americans who live there. These clubs often organize special events, such as “bake sales” or sales of home-baked bread and desserts that are similar to what they would eat in the U.S. These clubs also help people celebrate American holidays together. For example, many Americans living abroad celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday together in late November. This helps them feel less homesick even though they are far away from their families.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b