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A Gifted Cook
If there is a gene for cuisine, Gabe, my 11-year-old son, could splice it to perfection. Somewhere between Greenwich Village, where he was born, and the San Francisco Bay area, where he has grown up, the little kid with the stubborn disposition and freckles on his nose has forsaken Boy Scouts and baseball in favor of wielding a kitchen knife.
I suppose he is a member of the Emeril generation. Gabe has spent his formative years shopping at the Berkeley Bowl, where over half a dozen varieties of Thanksgiving yams, in lesser mortals, can instill emotional paralysis. He is blessed with a critical eye. “I think Emeril is really cheesy,” he observed the other night while watching a puff pastry segment. “He makes the stupidest jokes. But he cooks really well.”
With its manifold indigenous cultures, Oaxaca seemed the perfect place to push boundaries. Like the mole sauces for which it is justly famous, the region itself is a subtle blend of ingredients – from dusty Zapotec villages where Spanish is a second language to the zocalo in colonial Oaxaca, a sophisticated town square brimming with street life and vendors selling twisty, one-story-tall balloons.
Appealing to Gabe’s inner Iron Chef seemed like an indirect way to introduce him to a place where the artful approach to life presides. There was also a selfish motive: Gabe is my soul mate, a fellow food wanderer who is not above embracing insanity to follow his appetite wherever it leads.
Months ahead of time, we enrolled via the Internet in the daylong Wednesday cooking class at Seasons of My Heart, the chef and cookbook author Susana Trilling’s cooking school in the Elta Valley, about a 45-minute drive north to town. In her cookbook and PBS series of the same name, Ms. Trilling, an American whose maternal grandparents were Mexican, calls Oaxaca “the land of no waste” where cooking techniques in some ancient villages have endured for a thousand years.
I suspected that the very notion of what constitutes food in Oaxaca would test Gabe’s mettle. At the suggestion of Jacob, his older brother, we spent our second night in Mexico at a Oaxaca Guerrero baseball game, where instead of peanuts and Cracker Jack, vendors hawked huge trays piled high with chapulines, fried grasshoppers cooked in chili and lime, a local delicacy. Gabe was bug-eyed as he watched the man next to him snack on exoskeletal munchies in a paper bowl. “It’s probably less gross than a hot dog,” he admitted. “But on the rim of the bowl I saw a bunch of legs and served body parts. That’s revolting!”
Our cooking day began at the Wednesday market in Etla, shopping for ingredients and sampling as we went. On the way in the van, Gabe had made friends with Cindy and Fred Beams, fellow classmates from Boston, sharing opinions about Caesar salad and bemoaning his brother’s preference for plain pizza instead of Hawaiian. Cindy told Gabe about a delicious sauce she’d just had on her omelet at her B & B. “It was the best sauce – to die for,” she said. “Then I found out the provenance. Roasted worms.”
The Oaxacan taste for insects, we’d learn – including the worm salt spied at the supermarket and the “basket of fried locusts” at a nearby restaurant – was a source of protein dating back to pre-Hispanic times.
When our cooking class was over I saw a flicker of regret in his face, as though he sensed the world’s infinite variety and possibilities in all the dishes he didn’t learn to cook. “Mom”, he said plaintively, surveying the sensual offerings of the table. “Can we make everything when we get home?”
1. Gabe’s mother thinks that he is
2. Gabe is supposed to represent the Emeril generation because he
A) is fond of criticizing others.
B) feels happy being alone.
C) is interested in cooking.
D) is good at making jokes.
3. The narrator wanted to take Gabe to Oaxaca because
A) he could speak Spanish.
B) there are a lot of entertainments for children there.
C) he knew a lot about local cultures.
D) he was the best to keep her company.
4. Gabe was struck when he
A) was told that local cooking techniques were a thousand years old.
B) saw the man next to him eat insects.
C) did not find any dish to satisfy his appetite.
D) understood that a hot dog was less gross than a local delicacy.
5. The Oaxacan people eat insects because this kind of food
A) tastes pleasant.
B) is easy to cook.
C) contains an essential nutritional element.
D) helps to cure many diseases.
6. At the end of the class Gabe felt regret because
A) there were a lot of dishes he could not make on his own.
B) the dishes he made were not tasty.
C) he did not want to go back home.
D) he had not managed to master all the dishes he liked.
7. In paragraph 3 “brimming with” means
B) being filled with.
C) astonishing with.
D) beckoning with.
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А. Places to stay in
B. Arts and culture
C. New country image
D. Going out
E. Different landscapes
F. Transport system
G. National languages
H. Eating out
1. Belgium has always had a lot more than the faceless administrative buildings that you can see in the outskirts of its capital, Brussels. A number of beautiful historic cities and Brussels itself offer impressive architecture, lively nightlife, first-rate restaurants and numerous other attractions for visitors. Today, the old-fashioned idea of ‘boring Belgium' has been well and truly forgotten, as more and more people discover its very individual charms for themselves.
2. Nature in Belgium is varied. The rivers and hills of the Ardennes in the southeast contrast sharply with the rolling plains which make up much of the northern and western countryside. The most notable features are the great forest near the frontier with Germany and Luxembourg and the wide, sandy beaches of the northern coast.
3. It is easy both to enter and to travel around pocket-sized Belgium which is divided into the Dutch-speaking north and the French-speaking south. Officially the Belgians speak Dutch, French and German. Dutch is slightly more widely spoken than French, and German is spoken the least. The Belgians, living in the north, will often prefer to answer visitors in English rather than French, even if the visitor's French is good.
4. Belgium has a wide range of hotels from 5-star luxury to small family pensions and inns. In some regions of the country, farm holidays are available. There visitors can (for a small cost) participate in the daily work of the farm. There are plenty of opportunities to rent furnished villas, flats, rooms, or bungalows for a holiday period. These holiday houses and flats are comfortable and well-equipped.
5. The Belgian style of cooking is similar to French, based on meat and seafood. Each region in Belgium has its own special dish. Butter, cream, beer and wine are generously used in cooking. The Belgians are keen on their food, and the country is very well supplied with excellent restaurants to suit all budgets. The perfect evening out here involves a delicious meal, and the restaurants and cafes are busy at all times of the week.
6. As well as being one of the best cities in the world for eating out (both for its high quality and range), Brussels has a very active and varied nightlife. It has 10 theatres which produce plays in both Dutch and French. There are also dozens of cinemas, numerous discos and many night-time cafes in Brussels. Elsewhere, the nightlife choices depend on the size of the town, but there is no shortage of fun to be had in any of the major cities.
7. There is a good system of underground trains, trams and buses in all the major towns and cities. In addition, Belgium's waterways offer a pleasant way to enjoy the country. Visitors can take a one-hour cruise around the canals of Bruges, (sometimes described as the Venice of the North) or an extended cruise along the rivers and canals linking the major cities of Belgium and the Netherlands.
B. Public transport
C. Cultural differences
E. Camping holidays
F. Contacts with neighbours
G. Different landscapes
1. Sweden is a land of contrast, from the Danish influence of the southwest to the Laplanders wandering freely with their reindeer in the wild Arctic north. And while Sweden in cities is stylish and modern, the countryside offers many simpler pleasures for those who look for peace and calm. The land and its people have an air of reserved calm, and still the world’s best-selling pop group Abba, which used to attract crowds of hysterical fans, come from Sweden.
2. Historically, Sweden has an interesting story. Its dealings with the outside world began, in fact, during Viking times, when in addition to the well-known surprise attacks of the nearby lands, there was much trading around the Baltic, mostly in furs and weapons. Swedish connections with the other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, have been strong since the Middle Ages. The monarchies of all three are still closely linked.
3. Sweden's scenery has a gentler charm than that of neighbouring Norway's rocky coast. Much of Sweden is forested, and there are thousands lakes, notably large pools near the capital, Stockholm. The lakeside resort in the centre of Sweden is popular with Scandinavians, but most visitors prefer first the Baltic islands. The largest island, Gotland, with its ruined medieval churches, is a particular attraction.
4. Sweden boasts a good range of hotels, covering the full spectrum of prices and standards. Many of them offer discounts in summer and at weekends during the winter. In addition, working farms throughout Sweden offer accommodation, either in the main farmhouse or in a cottage nearby. Forest cabins and chalets are also available throughout the country, generally set in beautiful surroundings, near lakes, in quiet forest glades or on an island in some remote place.
5. Living in a tent or caravan with your family or friends at weekends and on holiday is extremely popular in Sweden and there is a fantastic variety of special places. Most are located on a lakeside or by the sea with free bathing facilities close at hand. There are over 600 campsites in the country. It is often possible to rent boats or bicycles, play mini-golf or tennis, ride a horse or relax in a sauna. It is also possible to camp in areas away from other houses.
6. Swedes like plain meals, simply prepared from the freshest ingredients. As a country with a sea coast and many freshwater lakes, fish dishes are found on all hotel or restaurant menus. Top-class restaurants in Sweden are usually fairly expensive, but even the smallest towns have reasonably priced self-service restaurants and grill bars. Many restaurants all over Sweden offer a special dish of the day at a reduced price that includes main course, salad, soft drink and coffee.
7. Stockholm has a variety of pubs, cafes, clubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres but in the country evenings tend to be very calm and peaceful. From August to June the Royal Ballet performs in Stockholm. Music and theatre productions take place in many cities during the summer in the open air. Outside Stockholm in the 18th-century palace there are performances of 18th-century opera very popular with tourists.
B. Way of life
C. Public transport
E. Places to stay in
F. Favourite food
G. Hot spots for kids
1. Denmark, a small kingdom in northern Europe, has a lot of interesting places for tourists with children. For example, Legoland, a theme park, has become the largest tourist attraction in Denmark outside its capital Copenhagen. And Copenhagen itself is world famous for its Tivoli Gardens amusement park, which opened in 1843 in the heart of the city. The park offers ballet and circus performances, restaurants, concerts, and fireworks displays.
2. Denmark is the smallest Scandinavian country, consisting of the Jutland peninsula, north of Germany, and over 400 islands of various sizes, some inhabited and linked to the mainland by ferry or bridge. Throughout the country, low hills provide a constant change of attractive views; there are also cool and shady forests of beech trees, large areas of open land covered with rough grass, a beautiful lake district, sand dunes and white cliffs on the coast.
3. More than four-fifths of all Danes live in towns. The main cities represent a combination of medieval buildings, such as castles and cathedrals, and modern office buildings and homes. Denmark's high standard of living and wide-ranging social services guarantee that the cities have no poor districts. Most people in the cities live in flats. But in the suburbs many also live in single-family houses.
4. Denmark's fine beaches attract many visitors, and there are hotels and pensions in all major seaside resorts. Besides, excellent inns are to be found all over the country. Some are small and only serve local travellers, but others are adapted to the tourist and have established reputations for both international dishes and local specialities. There are also private rooms to let, usually for one night, and chalets all over Denmark.
5. There is a wide selection of places to go out in the evening, particularly in Copenhagen. Jazz and dance clubs in the capital city are top quality and world-famous performers appear regularly. There are numerous cafes, beer gardens and speciality beer bars. Entertainment available includes opera at the recently opened opera house in Copenhagen, ballet and theatre at a number of places in the larger cities, and live music of all kinds.
6. Most Danes eat four meals a day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late-evening supper. Breakfast generally consists of cereal, cheese, or eggs. Dinner, which includes fish or meat, is usually the only hot meal. A traditional Danish dinner consists of roast duckling stuffed with apples, served with red cabbage and boiled potatoes. The other Danish meals consist mostly of sandwiches.
7. Almost all adult Danes can read and write. Danish law requires children to attend nine years of school. Primary school consists of the first seven grades, and secondary school lasts from three to five years. A five-year secondary school student can enter a university. Denmark has three universities. The University of Copenhagen is the oldest and largest. It was founded in 1479 and has about 24,000 students.
А. Education: the Way to the Top
B. From Agony to Love
C. Teaching to Learn
D. Learning That Never Stops
E. Things Worth Learning
F. The Right Word Can Bring Changes
G. What My Father Taught Me
H. The Power of Numbers
1. Education has the power to transform a person’s life. I am the living example of this. When I was on the streets, I thought I was not good at anything but I wrote a poem, and it got published. I went back to school to learn. I have learned the benefit of research and reading, of debate and listening. One day soon a group of fresh-faced college students will call me professor.
2. Language has the capacity to change the world and the way we live in it. People are often afraid to call things by their direct names, use taboos not to notice dangerous tendencies. Freedom begins with naming things. This has to happen in spite of political climates, careers being won or lost, and the fear of being criticized. After Helen Caldicott used the word ‘nuclear arms race’ an anti-nuclear movement appeared.
3. I never wanted to be a teacher. Yet years later, I find myself teaching high school English. I consider my job to be one of the most important aspects of my life, still I do not teach for the love of teaching. I am a teacher because I love to learn, and I have come to realize that the best way to learn is to teach.
4. One day my sister and I got one and the same homework. My sister finished the task in 2 minutes and went off to play. But I could not do it, so I went into my sister's room and quickly copied her work. But there was one small problem: my father caught me. He didn’t punish me, but explained that cheating makes people feel helpless. And then I was left feeling guilty for cheating.
5. Lifelong learning does not mean spending all my time reading. It is equally important to get the habit of asking such questions as “what don’t I know about this topic, or subject?”, “what can I learn from this moment or person?”, and “what more do I need to learn?” regardless of where I am, who I am talking to, or what I am doing.
6. Math has always been something that I am good at. Mathematics attracts me because of its stability. It has logic; it is dependable and never changes. There might be some additions to the area of mathematics, but once mathematics is created, it is set in stone. We would not be able to check emails or play videogames without the computer solving complex algorithms.
7. When my high school English teacher asked us to read Shakespeare, I thought it was boring and too difficult. I agonized over the syntax – I had never read anything like this. But now I am a Shakespeare professor, and enjoy teaching Hamlet every semester. Each time I re-read the play, I find and learn something new for myself.
А. Not Just Fun
B. Running For Heart and Mind
C. United By The Game
D. I Want To Be A Coach
E. Team Work in Sport and Life
F. Next Year We Win
G. Learning From Father
H. School between Practices
1. I believe playing sports is more than an activity to fill your day, it can teach important life lessons. When I was a child, my dad spent a lot of time teaching me how to play different sports. He told me that if I can succeed in sports, I can succeed at anything in life. He used to say, “It’s not about how good you become. It’s about working hard to get where you want to be.”
2. I like bicycles. Group rides help me to get new skills and make new friends. I try to apply the tactics of group riding to team work in the real world. In the perfect group ride, each rider takes a turn leading the pack, while the others enjoy the benefits of drafting. I think this way of working is a great method for approaching a group task anywhere.
3. I believe in the power of running. Running should not be a battle for your body but rather a rest for your mind. I felt this last fall, when I was running in the park. Suddenly I felt as if I could have run forever, as if I could use running as a source of therapy for my body. Running allows the body to release different types of stress and even change our understanding of life.
4. My father coached basketball every day of his life, and I was right there with him in the gym watching him work his magic. Basketball appears entertaining and exciting. But the path to success is not simple. My father always told me, “Nothing is free.” I took this advice and ran with it. I truly believe that only practice and determination lead to success.
5. Baseball is so much more than a sport. One of the powers of baseball is that it brings people together. It unites fans of all ages, genders, and nationalities. No matter who you are, you can be a baseball fan. My mom and I have one unspoken rule: no matter what has been going on before, no fighting at the game.
6. I believe that you must always be loyal to the sport teams you support. The teams I follow in the United States generally lose many more than they win. The start of each season brings dreams of victory in baseball, basketball or football, dreams that fade away soon. But then there is always next year. It will be our year for sure.
7. I was determined to join the swim team. I knew I would get my strengths and learn my weaknesses there. Waking up early for 6:30 A.M. practices is what swim team is all about, as it helps us get into state. On a long school day you think about the practice in the pool after school. You want to hear the crowd cheering you, telling you that you have to do more than your best.
А. Personal style in a uniform
B. Old but dear
C. Get a holiday spirit
D. Dance competition
E. A hobby that carries away
F. Meaning without words
G. The number is not guilty
H. Yes to school uniform
1. Dance is in my heart, in my blood and in my mind. I dance daily. The seldom-used dining room of my house is now an often-used ballroom. The CD-changer has five discs at the ready: waltz, rock-and-roll, swing, salsa, and tango. Tango is a complex and difficult dance. I take three dancing lessons a week, and I am off to Buenos Aires for three months to feel the culture of tango.
2. Clothes play an important role in my life. My passion for fashion began when I was in elementary school. I attended a private school with uniformed dress code. At first I felt bad that I could not wear what I wanted, but soon I learned to display my creativity and style through shoes and accessories. They can make each of us each of us unique, in a uniform or not.
3. I believe that music has a bigger place in our society than it is given credit for. The single word ‘music’ covers so many styles. Rock bands and classical musicians make listeners get the meaning from the music. Music tells stories about life and death, expresses feelings of love, sadness, anger, guilt, and pain without using words.
4. Even as an eighteen year old young adult, I still feel the magic of Christmas. I believe in a real Christmas tree. My family has had a real Christmas tree every year of my life. When you get home and smell the sweet pine needles, something magical goes into your soul, raises your spirits. Every year we buy a real tree to fully embrace the spirit of Christmas.
5. People often try to get rid of the number thirteen. Many hotels and office buildings across the world do not have a 13th floor! I believe that the number thirteen is not an unlucky number. I was born on January, 13 and do not consider myself unlucky in any way at all! I believe that this number should have all the rights and respect we give the rest of the numbers.
6. Many kids that go to public schools don’t wear a uniform. They like to show off the new expensive clothes and often have trouble picking out outfits for school in the morning. They are more worried about whether their shirt matches the belt, rather than if the homework is completed. I believe that this is a fault of our school system and only causes problems.
7. They say that the music of your youth is the soundtrack of your life. I am 50; I enjoy new artists and new music, but I still find words of wisdom in singles of sixties and seventies, still believe that "you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need," that "all you need is love." I like to listen to the songs I grew up with.
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A School Story
It happened at my private school thirty odd years ago, and I still can't explain it. I came to that school in September and among the boys who arrived on the same day was one whom I took to. I will call him McLeod. The school was a large one: there must have been from 120 to 130 boys there as a rule, and so a considerable staff of masters was required. One term a new master made his appearance. His name was Sampson. He was a tall, well-built, pale, black-bearded man. I think we liked him. He had travelled a good deal, and had stories which amused us on our school walks, so that there was some competition among us to get a chance to listen to him.
Well, the first odd thing that happened was this. Sampson was doing Latin grammar with us. One of his favourite methods was to make us construct sentences out of our own heads to illustrate the rules he was trying to teach us. Now, on this occasion he ordered us each to make a sentence bringing in the verb memini, 'I remember.' Well, most of us made up some ordinary sentence such as 'I remember my father,' but the boy I mentioned - McLeod - was evidently thinking of something more interesting than that. Finally, very quickly he wrote a couple of lines on his paper, and showed it up with the rest. The phrase was "Remember the lake among the four oaks." Later McLeod told me that it had just come into his head. When Sampson read it he got up and went to the mantel-piece and stopped quite a long time without saying anything looking really embarrassed. Then he wanted to know why McLeod had put it down, and where his family lived, and if there was such a lake there, and things like that.
There was one other incident of the same kind. We were told to make a conditional sentence, expressing a future consequence. We did it and showed up our bits of paper, and Sampson began looking through them. All at once he got up, made some odd sort of noise in his throat, and rushed out. I noticed that he hadn't taken any of the papers with him, so we went to look at them on his desk. The top paper on the desk was written in red ink - which no one used - and it wasn't in anyone's handwriting who was in the class. I questioned everyone myself! Then I thought of counting the bits of paper: there were seventeen of them on the desk, and sixteen boys in the form. I put the extra paper in my bag and kept it. The phrase on it was simple and harmless enough: 'If you don't come to me, I'll come to you.' That same afternoon I took it out of my bag - I know for certain it was the same bit of paper, for I made a finger-mark on it - and there was no single piece of writing on it!
The next day Sampson was in school again, much as usual. That night the third and last incident in my story happened. We - McLeod and I - slept in a bedroom the windows of which looked out at the main building of the school. Sampson slept in the main building on the first floor. At an hour which I can't remember exactly, but some time between one and two, I was woken up by somebody shaking me. I saw McLeod in the light of the moon which was looking right into our windows. 'Come,' he said, - 'come, there's someone getting in through Sampson's window. About five minutes before I woke you, I found myself looking out of this window here, and there was a man sitting on Sampson's window-sill, and looking in.' 'What sort of man? Is anyone from the senior class going to play a trick on him? Or was it a burglar?!' McLeod seemed unwilling to answer. 'I don't know,' he said, 'but I can tell you one thing - he was as thin as a rail: and water was running down his hair and clothing and,' he said, looking round and whispering as if he hardly liked to hear himself, 'I'm not at all sure that he was alive.' Naturally I came and looked, and naturally there was no one there.
And next day Mr. Sampson was gone: not to be found, and I believe no trace of him has ever come to light since. Neither McLeod nor I ever mentioned what we had seen to anyone. We seemed unable to speak about it. We both felt strange horror which neither could explain.
1. Why did schoolchildren like the new teacher, Mr. Sampson?
А) They liked his appearance.
B) He often went for a walk with them.
C) He organized competitions for them.
D) They enjoyed listening to his stories.
2. How did Mr. Sampson teach Latin grammar?
А) He told the pupils to learn the rules by heart.
B) He asked the pupils to make up example sentences.
C) He illustrated the rules with pictures.
D) He made up interesting sentences to illustrate the rules.
3. Why did McLeod write the phrase "Remember the lake among the four oaks?"
А) There was a place like that in his native town.
B) He wanted to show his knowledge of Latin grammar.
C) The phrase suddenly came to his mind.
D) He wanted to embarrass the teacher.
4. What did Mr. Sampson do after reading the examples of conditional sentences?
А) He left the classroom immediately.
B) He put the papers with the examples into his bag.
C) He asked who had written the example in red ink.
D) He gave marks to the pupils.
5. What was wrong with the paper written in red ink?
А) It didn’t illustrate the rule that was studied.
B) It had finger-marks on it.
C) It didn’t belong to anyone in the class.
D) It had many grammar mistakes.
6. Who did McLeod see on Mr. Sampson’s window-sill?
B) A stranger.
C) One of his schoolmates.
D) Mr. Sampson.
7. Why did the boys never tell anyone about the incident at night?
А) They were not asked about it.
B) Mr. Sampson asked them not to tell anyone.
C) They agreed to keep it secret.
D) They were afraid to speak about it.
First Train Trip
I must have been about eight when I made my first train trip. I think I was in second grade at that time. It was midsummer, hot and wet in central Kansas, and time for my aunt Winnie’s annual vacation from the store, where she worked as a clerk six days a week. She invited me to join her on a trip to Pittsburgh, fifty miles away, to see her sister, my aunt Alice. "Sally, would you like to go there by train or by car?" aunt Winnie asked. "Oh, please, by train, aunt Winnie, dear! We’ve been there by car three times already!"
Alice was one of my favourite relatives and I was delighted to be invited to her house. As I was the youngest niece in Mother’s big family, the aunties all tended to spoil me and Alice was no exception. She kept a boarding house for college students, a two-storey, brown brick building with comfortable, nicely decorated rooms at the corner of 1200 Kearney Avenue. She was also a world-class cook, which kept her boarding house full of young people. It seemed to me that their life was so exciting and joyful.
Since I’d never ridden a train before, I became more and more excited as the magic day drew near. I kept questioning Mother about train travel, but she just said, "Wait. You’ll see." For an eight-year-old, waiting was really difficult, but finally the big day arrived. Mother had helped me pack the night before, and my little suitcase was full with summer sundresses, shorts and blouses, underwear and pyjamas. I was reading Billy Whiskers, a fantastic story about a goat that once made a train trip to New York, and I had put that in as well. It was almost midnight when I could go to bed at last.
We arrived at the station early, purchased our tickets and found our car. I was fascinated by the face-to-face seats so some passengers could ride backwards. Why would anyone, I thought, want to see where they’d been? I only wanted to see what lay ahead for me.
Finally, the conductor shouted, "All aboard!" to the people on the platform. They climbed into the cars, the engineer blew the whistle and clanged the bell, and we pulled out of the station.
This train stopped at every town between my home in Solomon and Pittsburgh. It was known as the "milk train" because at one time it had delivered goods as well as passengers to these villages. I looked eagerly at the signs at each station. I’d been through all these towns by car, but this was different. The shaky ride of the coaches, the soft brown plush seats, the smells of the engine drifting back down the track and in through the open windows made this trip far more exotic.
The conductor, with his black uniform and shiny hat, the twinkling signals that told the engineer when to stop and go, thrilled me. To an adult, the trip must have seemed painfully slow, but I enjoyed every minute.
Aunt Winnie had packed a lunch for us to eat along the way as there was no dining car in the train. I was dying to know just what was in that big shopping bag she carried, but she, too, said, "Wait. You’ll see." Midway, Aunt Winnie pulled down her shopping bag from the luggage rack above our seats. My eyes widened as she opened it and began to take out its contents. I had expected lunchmeat sandwiches, but instead there was a container of fried chicken, two hardboiled eggs, bread and butter wrapped in waxed paper, crisp radishes and slim green onions from Winnie’s garden, as well as rosy sliced tomatoes. She had brought paper plates, paper cups and some of the "everyday" silverware. A large bottle of cold tea was well wrapped in a dishtowel; the ice had melted, but it was still chilly. I cautiously balanced my plate on my knees and ate, wiping my lips and fingers with a large paper napkin. This was living!
When we had cleaned our plates, Aunt Winnie looked into the bag one more time. The best treat of all appeared – homemade chocolate cakes! Another cup of cold tea washed these down and then we carefully returned the remains of the food and silverware to the bag, which Aunt Winnie put into the corner by her feet.
"Almost there," said my aunt, looking out of the window at the scenery passing by. And sure enough, as we pulled into the Pittsburgh station we immediately caught sight of aunt Alice, waiting for us, a smile like the sun lighting up her face, arms wide open. We got off the train and she led us past the taxi rank and the bus stop to her car that was parked near the station. And all the way to her home she was asking about my impressions of my first train trip and I could hardly find the words to express all the thrill and excitement that filled me.
1. The first time Sally travelled by train was when she
А) had to move to her aunt Alice.
B) had a summer vacation at school.
C) went to Pittsburgh for the first time in her life.
D) visited her aunt Alice together with aunt Winnie.
2. Aunt Alice made her living by
А) working as a cook.
B) keeping a boarding house.
C) decorating houses.
D) working as a teacher at college.
3. Sally was waiting for her first train trip so impatiently that she
А) packed her things long before the trip.
B) lost her appetite a week before the trip.
C) asked her Mother many questions about train trips.
D) couldn't sleep the night before the trip
4. Sally didn’t like the idea of riding backwards because
А) it could make her sick.
B) she could miss her station.
C) she could miss the conductor.
D) she wanted to see where she was going.
5. The trip to Pittsburgh by train seemed so exotic to Sally because
А) she had never travelled so far from her native town.
B) travelling by train was very different from a car ride.
C) she had never travelled in comfort.
D) she had never travelled without her parents.
6. Sally thought that at lunchtime they would have
А) meat sandwiches.
B) bread and butter with coffee.
C) fried chicken, eggs and vegetables.
D) tea with chocolate cakes.
7. Aunt Alice was waiting for Sally and aunt Winnie
А) at home.
B) in her car.
C) on the platform.
D) at the bus stop.
“Dear Kathy! Chance made us sisters, hearts made us friends.” This quote is at the center of a collage of photographs – covering our twenty-something years – that now hangs in my office. My sister, Susie, made it for me as a wedding present. It probably cost very little to make (she is a starving college student, after all), but it means more to me than any of the more “traditional” wedding presents my husband and I received from family and friends last June. Whenever I look at the collage, it reminds me of my sister and what a true friend she is.
Susie and I weren’t always close friends. Far from it, in fact. We shared a room for nearly fifteen years when we were younger, and at the time I thought I couldn’t have asked for a worse roommate. She was always around! If we argued and I wanted to go to my room to be alone, she’d follow me right in. If I told her to go away, she’d say right back, “It’s my room, too! And I can be here if I want to.” I’d consult my mother and she usually agreed with Susie. I suppose being three years younger has its benefits.
When we were kids, she’d “borrow” my dolls without asking. (And no toy was safe in her hands.) When we got older, Susie quit borrowing my toys and started borrowing my clothes. That was the final straw. I couldn’t take it anymore. I begged my parents to let me have a room of my own – preferably one with a lock on the door. The answer was always a resounding “no.” “Please?!” I’d beg. My parents would just shake their heads. They didn’t agree with each other on much, but for some reason they had a united front on this issue.
To crown it all, she had this habit of doing everything I did. Choirs, rock bands, sports teams, dance studios: There was no place where I was safe. “She looks up to you,” my mom would say. I didn’t care. I just wanted a piece of my life that didn’t involve my little sister. When I complained to my mother, she’d just smile and say, “One day you’ll want her around.” Sure.
It’s strange how mothers have this habit of being right about everything. When I was sixteen and my sister was thirteen, we went through a series of life-changing events together that would forever change our relationship. First, my parents announced that they were divorcing. My dad packed up and moved to an apartment in New Hampshire – more than a half hour drive away from our cozy house in Massachusetts. He bought me my first car and I often went with Susie to his place when we missed him a lot. During those trips we started discussing our troubles and making plans about how to reunite the family again. But a year later, our father met his future second wife and moved again; this time to Indiana. This meant we could only see him once or twice a year, as opposed to once every few weeks. That was hard.
Yet those few months changed my relationship with my sister forever. We started having more heart-to-heart talks as opposed to silly fights. Over time, she became my most cherished friend. It’s not uncommon for us to have three-hour-long telephone conversations about everything or about nothing--just laughing over memories from childhood or high school.
She’s the only person who’s been through all of the tough stuff that I’ve been through, and the only person who truly understands me. Susie and I have shared so much. She’s been my roommate, my friend, and my partner in crime. We’ve done plays together, gone to amusement parks, sang, and taken long road trips together. We’ve laughed until our sides hurt, and wiped away each others’ tears.
Even though distance separates us now, we’re closer than ever. Sisters share a special bond. They’ve seen all of your most embarrassing moments. They know your deepest, darkest secrets. Most importantly, they love you unconditionally. I’m lucky to be able to say that my little sister is my best friend. I only wish everyone could be so fortunate.
1. Why is the collage of photographs more important for Kathy than the other wedding presents?
А) It reminds Kathy of her wedding.
B) Kathy didn't like the other wedding presents.
C) It was the most expensive present.
D) Kathy’s sister made it for her.
2. Why was Kathy against sharing a room with her sister?
А) They always quarreled.
B) Susie never left her alone.
C) They were of different age.
D) Susie said it was her own room.
3. What did Kathy call the final straw in paragraph 3?
А) The fact that Susie often borrowed Kathy’s toys.
B) The fact that Susie never asked for the things she borrowed.
C) The fact that Susie began to wear Kathy’s clothes without her permission.
D) The fact that Susie broke all the toys she played with.
4. What was Kathy’s greatest wish that she mentioned in paragraph 4?
А) To have a separate life from her sister.
B) To live in peace and safety.
C) To never part with her sister.
D) To have the same hobbies as her sister.
5. When did the relationship between Susie and Kathy start to change?
А) When they moved to a new house.
B) After their father married the second time.
C) After their parents divorced.
D) When Kathy’s father bought her a car.
6. What are Kathy’s relationships with Susie now?
А) They hate each other.
B) They are close friends.
C) They are business partners.
D) They do not see each other.
7. Why do the sisters understand each other?
А) They have got the same hobbies.
B) They have similar sense of humour.
C) They love each other very much.
D) They have similar life experience.