Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween (or Hallowe’en) is a holiday celebrated on October 31, thought to be one of the night of the year when ghosts, witches and fairies are especially active.
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.
The carved pumpkin lit by a candle inside is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols in America and is commonly called a jack-o'-lantern. Originating in Europe, these lanterns were first carved from a turnip or rutabaga. Believing that the head was the most powerful part of the body, containing the spirit and the knowledge, the Celts used the "head" of the vegetable to frighten off any superstitions.
Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows, movies, and other pop culture icons.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tips To Stay Safe on Your Gap Year Abroad ...

Prince Harry worked with Lesotho Aids orphans in 2004. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Knowledge of a second language, or better still, the ability to converse in the local tongue while on a gap year abroad, can be an invaluable safety tool, but often the excitement takes over and many forget to take adequate safety measures.
In the current climate of terrorist conflict and continued unrest in certain parts of the world, the government and the travel industry are taking extra precautions. Airport security has increased notably, baggage controls have become much stricter and people are being urged to travel in groups, refrain from visiting politically unstable places and register all travel plans with appropriate British authorities.
Peggy Lohmann, spokeswoman for Rosetta Stone said: “Being able to speak the local language, even if it’s only basic phrases, automatically puts you ahead of the pack. It increases your confidence in the sense that you know that you will be able to understand and follow instructions in an emergency situation, you will be able to read directions and will be in a position to explain your situation to local authorities much more proficiently.“
It is wrong and dangerous to assume that everywhere British residents travel, they will be able to get by with only English. That is not the case and in some places, such an assumption is likely to cause offence.
“It is common knowledge amongst locals in many of the less developed parts of the world that police in those areas are not English educated. Therefore, it is also common practice to perform the so-called ‘language test’ on tourists. Should they fail to understand a basic question, they are deemed a perfect target for petty crime, as even the local authorities will not bother investigating a claim that they cannot understand. Young people in the UK are not being offered enough opportunity to learn a foreign language. In 2004, the government ceased compulsory language education for students past the age of 14, meaning that upon finishing school most graduates have no knowledge of any language other than English.
Peggy continued: “Since schools are not providing this opportunity, it is up to parents to help their children gain these valuable skills that will benefit both their future career and social development, and help them stay safe when traveling. It can be as easy as providing them with a computer and a Rosetta Stone box set, so they can learn at home at their own pace.”
Other Rosetta Stone tips to stay safe on your gap year abroad:
Obey cultural and religious rules and customs
• If only learning language basics, ensure you know the terms for any medical conditions you have
• Always carry ID and personal details, like blood type and any strong allergies
• Know how to get in touch with emergency services
• If accepting employment, do research on the organisation to ensure it is reputable
• Adhere to travel advice regarding unsafe areas
• Understand how much you should pay for things and know the exchange rate
• Leave your travel details and itinerary with family or friends
• Don’t accept invitations to homes or hitch rides from strangers, no matter how helpful and friendly they appear, or how desperate and tired you are

Gap-Year Advice...

.. Going it Alone
Finishing school presented me with that heady sense of liberation that comes to all prospective gappers. The stress of A-levels, teachers and rules was suddenly gone. As I contemplated my future, I realised that I wasn't considering just my new-found freedom beyond the confines of college, but also the world beyond Britain. I wanted a gap-year project, but what to do? How to do it? Where to do it? It was an overwhelming as well as enthralling choice.
While some of my friends were volunteering with the gap travel companies, others were learning languages or furthering their academic interests at foreign institutions. I wanted to travel.
When people ask me now, "What did you do for your gap year?", I often reply that I took it quite seriously. That is, I spent nearly eight months living out of a small pack, continuously on the move, travelling through the night on rickety buses to save money and cover miles, writing, photographing, dreaming the life of a Kerouac-like wanderer in foreign lands. I didn't learn a definite skill, apart from an acute ability to smell out inflated tourist prices.
For the first part of my trip, I made my way overland from India to Thailand, through Nepal, Tibet, China and Laos, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. Experiences, I soon realised, were more fun with people I knew well, but felt more profound when I was alone. But after three weeks without a companion, I began telling myself humorous anecdotes, aloud. I was relieved to meet friends again in Laos. In Bangkok I bumped into other people I knew, but didn't linger with them. ...
Telegraph, 18th August 2007

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Time flies!!!
I remember all days in your life,
I can see all your smiles and sorrows,
I Know it all,
I love you and I'll always will ... no matter what!!

Happy Birthday to you...

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Man Told me...

"A Man Told Me The Story of His Life" is a short story taken from the Collected Stories , by Grace Paley.
The story is being studied in your English classes. Leave your comment here.

Grace Paley...

Born in the Bronx,( Dec. 11, 1922— died Aug. 22, 2007), New York, Paley was the youngest child of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. She grew up in a socialist, intellectual household amid a babble of three languages;Yiddish, Russian, and English.
As a writer of fiction, Paley would pick up on the music of all three tongues, celebrating their rhythms and idioms.
From an early age, she wrote poetry, and at age 17 she took a course with the British poet W. H. Auden.
As a student Paley attended Hunter College and New York University.
She married early, in 1942, and settled with her husband in Greenwich Village, where they raised two children (the marriage would eventually end in divorce). In this community of artists, intellectuals, and bohemians, Paley became involved in leftist politics. She frequented anti-war and anti-nuclear demonstrations, and she became engaged in local issues.
As a young mother in the mid-1950s, Paley made her initial forays into writing fiction. The urge to tell stories had begun to grow in her, but the responsibilities of motherhood called. Falling ill one day, she arranged for her children to attend an after-school program while she convalesced. Paley was not too ill to sit at a typewriter, however, and the extra hours of quiet and solitude were all she needed to begin writing fiction.
Paley's stories explored the everyday lives of her contemporaries, focusing most attentively on the lives of women. The dreams and goals of her female characters, independent, strong-minded, and often idealistic, propelled these narratives forward.
She was perhaps the first writer to explore, with gritty realism, the lives and experiences of divorced mothers.
Some critics point to her early stories as the beginnings of a feminist literature, written years before the women's movement of the 1970s.
When she was not writing or protesting, Paley was teaching. Like most authors, she needed a source of income to supplement earnings from the occasional publication. Though her original motivation to teach was financial, Paley grew to enjoy the work and even to gain inspiration from it.
It was the short story that Paley had mastered as an art form. Late in her life, she remains one of America's most esteemed authors.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

5th October...

To teachers...