book devlivery  

The books are finally out. A friend bought a few copies and took the photo when he got the delivery. I am very pleased to know that everything went well to this point. Hopefully, readers will enjoy this book as much as we enjoyed writing it. The book comes with a CD. I listened to some of the sound files. They are fantastic. It is definitely a big "plus" for readers who need some real life modelling from the native speakers.

Here is the link to a site where you can get the book online.

If you have any questions, you can also follow us on Facebook: 這時候,美國人會怎麼說? 

Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

The new book is finally in the press. The following is the note from our chief, Jason Lo, to share with us his personal thoughts.
Thank you, Jason.




懷著忐忑不安的心情,我找上了Julia Wei, Tony Lu 和 Stemfax。主要是我和他/她們幾位常互動,我們可以隨時連絡得上。美妙的事情發生了,他/她們都欣然同意了,而且完全不計較稿酬。


Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(2) 人氣()

I invited a friend over for lunch the other day.  I told him about one incident I encountered in Bucharest. We ended up with a debate after lunch. The following is the incident I mentioned to him.


One night when I went out for a walk in Bucharest, I saw a little girl no more than 6 years old out on the street after 9 o’clock at night. She was holding a picture of Jesus and sitting alone around the street corner by the hotel begging for money.

I was very sympathetic but I knew that if I gave her money, it would just encourage her parents to continue such a terrible ordeal for the little one. On my way back to the hotel, sure enough, the little girl had moved across the street sitting on the ground and falling asleep in a male’s arms behind a car. I assumed that he was the father. Further down the road, I saw a female with two other children begging for money again. This scene of panhandling is very common in Romania. 

I know the situation in Romania is dire, but we have people panhandling in all major metropolitans in North America, too. My friend insisted that he would definitely give money to those panhandlers because it is a profession that those people choose. Really?

Many panhandlers we have encountered here in Toronto are homeless drifters who chose to live that way. There is government social assistance available to some extent to help those people, but many of them have decided to opt out and panhandle on the street instead. So, for some of them, it is a life style decision by choice.

For the panhandlers in Romania, it is a complicated situation because the whole country is going through the growing pain of social and economic development ever since the fall of Communism. Some older Romanians are still romanticising with the social stability and the security that the Communist government used to bring to the old country. Right now, the social security is literally non-existent.

However, to give the littler girl money is somewhat indirectly encouraging her parents to put her on the street every night to beg for the sympathy from the passerby. I somehow struggle with the thought of “selling the kid for money”. Anyway, it was very difficult for me to walk by the kids without doing anything to help them. That was a restless night afterwards. 

Is panhandling really a profession? What do you think?

Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

Would you consider online tutoring as an effective way to help you learn English? What is your thought?


Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

  Hot! Hot! Hot!

For some of you who struggle to cram through boring English textbooks, here is something really different for your learning style. This book is full of fun and practical examples that you may not be able to find in the regular textbooks. It will be an interesting read to kill your weekend! Have fun reading it.


Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

Children tease each other all the time. Most of the time, they are harmless jokes. However, when the teasing becomes a pattern, it creates a lot of social problems and can easily get out of hand to become a bullying issue. As most of you know that I am such a no nonsense straight shooter with a bit of a twisted sense of humour in me. So, here is a funny incident happened last Friday.

I was on a yard-duty before the school started. Most of the students at this time were usually hanging out in the school yard. Different grade levels tend to hang out with their own respective group. The grade two and three boys have been heavily into basketball, so they like to hang out and play by the basketball net. Some of the older boys like to get involved occasionally and grab their ball just to torment them.

On this particular day, Abdulla came to me suddenly with a scowling face to report an encounter he had with two grade 5 boys. He explained that the boys were bugging him for his soccer ball because he left his soccer ball unattended under the basketball net. They told him that they would give him “3000 boogers” to trade for his soccer ball.

Now, we are dealing with kids here, so it is pretty gross for a little guy to hear that. Plus, this is not a new incident. Some of the little guys often have to put up with this type of nonsense jokes from the older boys. Plus, those two boys, though not considered as bullies at my school, are the usual suspects for enough share of schoolyard mischief.

I know they might be just teasing the little guys, but they surely needed to be taught a lesson. So, I told Abdulla that I would help him settle this matter but he needed to play along with me. He looked at me with a puzzled look, but then he smiled at me and agreed with an OK.

We slowly walked over to the other side of the yard where the grade 5 students were. I called out those two boys and said, “I heard that there is a trading going on. Apparently, you two boys would like to trade with Abdulla for his soccer ball with 3000 boogers. Well, I thought that is a pretty fair trade, so here is the ball. And, Abdulla and I would like to see those 3000 boogers right now!” I turned to look at Abdulla and said, “Right, Abdulla?” Abdulla showed a big grin from ear to ear and nodded.

The boys were stunned and looked at me like I was nuts. I said, “Come on, boys! Here is the ball. I am here to be the negotiator because I thought it is pretty hard to come up with 3000 of that gross stuff. I thought it is a fair trade. So, show me the boogers and here is your ball!”

Those two boys did not move at all. One of the boys sheepishly replied, “It was just a joke. We were joking with him.” I replied, “That is what I thought, too, but he obviously did not think it was funny at all. If you were simply joking with him, you should have told him after he and his friends got really grossed out by you.” I continued, “I am also joking with you, but I don’t see you enjoy my joke very much, either. Correct?”

The boys nodded and later apologized to Abdulla, and so, life moved on from there.

I later shared the story with those two boys’ teacher and my principal. Their teacher and others in the staff room got a kick out of that story because this is not the first time for those two boys. They like to be cool dudes going around to play jokes on others. It is about time for them to realize that they have to be careful when doing that to people they don’t know.

Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I am coming home! Taiwan, here I come!

    Taipei 101

Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

I was shopping for a laser measuring device a few days ago. I called around and finally found one on Home Hardware's web site. I called the local store and got hold of a sales girl. I asked her to check if the item is available at the store. She was not sure if she could do it on the computer. She asked another woman next to her and the woman answered yes. I could hear the whole conversation when the other woman was trying to instruct her how she should work on the computer. But, then she told me on the phone that she could not do it, and it would be better for me to drive to the store to check it myself. What?! I told her it would be a long drive for me just to find out that they don't have any in stock. 

I used to be in sales. I don't understand how people such as this girl can keep her job. It would be so easy for her to check her computer for their inventory. Anyway, lazy birds get nothing. She was too lazy to do it on her computer. So, I drove to another hardware store that is closer to my house, and paid a fortune for the gadget. It might not have saved me money but it did save me the long drive and all the time and bother. Big loss for her company.

Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

The phone rang in the middle of one afternoon last week. I answered the phone, and a guy with a very strong accent on the other end of the line introduced himself as Michael Williams from the so-called “Window Service Centre”, claiming to be a contracted agency for Microsoft. He indicated that they had received messages from my computer, and they had a good reason to believe that my computer had encountered some issues with viruses (a problem which I happened to experience at the time).

I was skeptical but didn’t disbelieve him right away. I was somewhat curious about how he got hold of my personal information while he was trying to tell me that I had a computer virus and I needed to let him solve my problem. He wanted me to verify my name, address and phone number. Well. Well. Now, this is always a funny part when I get any telemarketing phone call from who-know-where. I immediately replied, “Wait, you should know my phone number and my name because you are the one who called me! I didn’t call you! So, why should I verify my information with you? I should ask you to prove yourself and how you got hold of my personal information."  (I could be very blunt, or pretend to be comical when I played this chatting game on the phone.)

Throughout our phone conversation, I kept pressing for how his company got hold of my personal information without my permission, and I would like to talk to his supervisor regarding the invasion of privacy. I was more annoyed with that than anything else. However, every time when I asked him questions, he would try to come back to my computer problem. It was like he was reading off a script, and he did not like to be steered away from his script. This went on for a long time. I finally had enough and told him that I knew very little about computer technical problems (a computer dummy), and I would have my family call him later. First, I asked him if his last name is Williams or William. He could not understand what I was trying to ask. That is strange, isn’t it? Haha…. Then, I asked for his phone number and address so I could call him back later. At first, he did not want to give me his phone number. He gave me a 6-digit phone number, which did not make sense at all, because our number has 7 digits. I told him that his phone number does not make sense and asked what his area code was. He had no idea what I meant about area code. I knew then this guy with an accent, very likely East Indian accent, had no idea about his area code. In fact, he didn’t know his own last name. Hahara…..

Anyway, after I hung up, I dial *69 to locate him and got hold of the source of a phone number. I then called that number back. A recording message from the federal government explained that the number I was trying to dial was a phishing scam. The government beat me to it and the big brother was watching them already! Splendid!

The fact is Microsoft would never call us for our personal computer problem. These scammers are just trying to gain access to our computer, so they could get our personal information. Shame on them!

This afternoon while I was almost snoozing on the couch (what a luxury for me), the phone rang. A voice introduced himself as Thomas William, a representative from Window Call Centre. He asked me if I had experienced problems with my computer. Here you go again! Why would they pick the same last name? Anyway, I was more annoyed that he interrupted my once-in-a-blue-moon “beauty sleep” in the afternoon. I went on the same routine phishing about how he got hold of my personal information and where he was located.  This went on for a while and going nowhere. At the end, I just screamed at him and told him that he (Thomas William), Michael Williams, or whatever Williams they want to call themselves should stop this scam. I have talked to the official and they are watching their move. Get lost, scammers! 


Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()

He was in and out of the hospital since November. About a month ago, she was hoping to take him home from the hospital for the summer. She told me that she was looking forward to taking care of him and strengthening his body for two months. "The sun would be good for him in the backyard," she said. 

She was hired as a permanent teacher last October, a month before he failed ill to cancer. I have been her mentor as well as her grade level partner since last year when she was substituting for a contract position. For a long time after he got ill, she didn't want us to help her at all because she considered it as her family issue. After she used up all her sick-day allowance and then he got sicker, she had to juggle between home and school. The family problem had finally affected her professional work. For the final report cards, she finally broke down and accepted our offer to let us help her finish her class reports. When I saw her a few days ago, she choked to tears to tell me that it was only the matter of days for him. All she wanted was to take him home for the summer.

Her husband died of leukemia yesterday morning in the hospital and left his wife with two kids, aged 13 and 15. He was 57. I didn't get to know him, but I know he was loved.


Julia1492 發表在 痞客邦 留言(0) 人氣()