“What’s that strange sound?”
“It sounds like…”
“Could it be…?”
“Yes, it is — an American accent!”
Not many Americans in Prague these days.
The city used to be full of them, or rather, full of us. 550,000 visited in 2019.
But not these days. Americans are not allowed into most European countries. Nor the Brazilians, nor the Tanzanians, nor the Mongolians.
In fact, these days, the streets are empty except for the locals.
But I’m an exception.
I have something that the other 328 million Americans don’t…
Behind A Closed Door
In October I returned to a very closed Euorpe.
In December I went home for Christmas.
And two weeks ago I came back.
And not much has changed — with just a few exceptions like Serbia and Sweden, it’s still a very closed continent.
So how did I get back in when the sign at the border clearly says, “No foreigners allowed”?
Easy — I have a piece of plastic in my wallet that says I’m a permanent resident. And permanent residents, like citizens, are allowed to come and go.
I didn’t think this piece of plastic was very special before, but now it’s like magic.
It’s like a magic key that opens doors.
Without this key, the door to Prague is closed.
With this key, it’s wide open.
Isn’t it the same with English?
Isn’t English a magic key?
The Real English
Phrasal verbs… the past perfect… irregular verbs…
Is this English?
Is this my mother tongue?
Is this why the world loves Shakespeare, Sinatra and The Simpsons?
And is this what 1.5 billion students around the world work so hard to master?
Or is it something else?
I say it is.
I say, just like the residency permit in my wallet, English is a key that opens invisible doors.
Without English, you see the door, but it’s closed. You watch other people open the door and they seem more successful, happier, more confident….
With English, you walk up to the door, open it, and inside is a bigger, better world waiting for you…
“Oh, you’re an English speakers! Come in! Come in! Let me take your coat. Now, what would you like? A better job? A higher salary? More respect from your colleagues? Would you like to work abroad? Travel abroad? Study abroad? Would you like to help your children? Would you like to help the world? Would you like to be the hero in your family? It’s your choice. You just have to choose…”
Last night during my weekly poker game, my friend Jakub told me about when he got his magic key.
“I could start my own business selling to tourists. I have friends from around the world. I can travel. And I have access to more information, so whatever I wanted to learn, whatever problem I need to solve, the information is now available to me.”
Share Your Story About Your Magic Key
What about you?
When you have your magic key, what will you do? Where will you go? What or who will be in your life that’s not in your life now?
Or maybe you already have your magic key…?
If yes, then how is your life better now? What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
What have you done? Where have you gone? Who have you met? What do you have?
Tell me! I want to know!
And the other Vitamin V readers want to know!
Share your story in the comment secttion below, start a conversation, and let’s build our motivation!
(Because who can get excited about irregular verbs? Zzzzz…..)
Well, you challenge and I accept. I am an Argentine living in Brazil since 1990. I am 77 years old, and a retired architect. Sometimes I am a writer. I have my own house with a beautiful garden, nearby the beach. I speak Spanish and Portuguese. My English is quiet intermediate level. I’d like your funny articles about an American in Prague (Gershwin in the Czech Republic ?). You are demystifying the real ways to learn and improve English without learning grammar and other fake ancient ways to give up. OK, this is all for now. Beste regards and take care about the Coronavirus.
Hi Marcos, thanks for the reply! I can imagine your garden by the sea-sounds lovely!
And what will you do with better English? Or what has English already given you? I’m curious…
Hey! My name is Ulyana.I am Ukrainian, I am 46, I am an employee. I speak Ukrainian and Russian. I like English and really want to speak it fluently. Thank you for giving us this magic key. Your articles are very interesting and useful for me!
Hi Ulyana, nice to meet you. And what will you do when you can speak it fluently?
Hi, my name is nahid i am 49 years old,l live in USA since 2016 i came with my family. my original language is Arabic and i know some English, now maybe you are wonder that how i live in USA for like 8 years and still can’t speak English, unfortunately yes.and this is my problem and my dream as well , that i can’t speak English fluent, although i have been tried every thing, i went to college stady ESL and started from intermediate and finished all the classes but there is no improve. so what you think I should do.
Hi Nahid, thanks for sharing. Of course, I would recommend a daily English routine. But what is your dream? What’s waiting for you behind the door? I ask because it must be a strong motivation. And maybe there’s something you can do to make it stronger…
My dream is to speak English fluently so that I can rely on myself. Get a certificate. Or work, communicating with people becomes easier
Sounds good to me!
Hi! Rayan How are you? I’m Mauricio Rozo and I’m 40 years old, I begging to study this beautiful language since 1998 because in my school I hated it, but then when I’m graduate of my high school, here in Colombia my parents gift me a trip, with them to visit my uncle in the Miami U.S. My uncle had a native girlfriend and I wanted to speak with her something, but my English in this time was so bad, however I tried to stablish a conversation with her. Then when I was finishing my vacations I must return to my country, and I decided to study English because I feel that I want, and I like it. I was study for a year. Since this time 1998 to now a days I feel that I’m in intermediate level like B1 but, how nobody or a little people practicing this language here in my country it’s difficult to improve it. In 2019 I tried to immigrate with my family to the US, but things in this moment wasn’t good only we stayed there for a month and only I could practice with my cousins and some friends for a littler, then the covid 19 situation arrive and we couldn’t return and we have been pass more of one year encloser in my country. I hope this year turns different and everything change for good, and we can travel again, I don’t know if to U.S Canada , Australia , New Zeeland but it’s secure that we want to go to an English speaker country with a high culture and with a high life style for me and for mine’s. That’s for sure and that’s our dream. But is sure too that English is the key.
Hi Mauricio, thanks for sharing. That’s a strong motivation. I hope this is the year you can finally get back to the US or Canada or somewhere else.
Because of COVID-19 crisis we are all exposed on lockdowns, but still we could support/stimulate our imaginations in order to travel all over our wonderful world.
Lacky you that you have your magic peace of paper!!!✅
Let’s up date our
I would tend too to get hypoteticaly that kind of permanent residence paper.
Owning that kind of magic paper would mean hypoteticaly improving analytic skills regarding market’s price action.
Owning that kind of magic paper would mean hypoteticaly putting max. efforts to reach higher knowledge to make confident decisions.
Undoubtedly US and UK have the most powerful, most developed scientific/ educational centers.
I only want to talk in English as I talk in pashto and in Urdu…. But with little vocablary its impossible… From my student life I am not confident I cannot talk freely to other…. But I know very wel that I am intelligent…
The magic key showed itself to me during my mission in Afghanistan, 10 years ago. I understood then that I have only one life and it can end at any time because of different causes. As a result, I decided to make some changes and adjustments in mine. I cleaned it up of friends who were not the most appropriate, I started to do things that I used to procrastinate and to enjoy life. I have now the time in my advantage, I use it, the most, how I want to. I have not many friends but they are real. I’ m not afraid to say what I think and I’m not afraid to say no, when is the case. Life is beautiful. The magic key is the open eyes towards the life. Towards an amazing life for your own.
Good story. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Ryan, so wonderful learning from this article and I truly inclined to your advice. I think I have possessed a “key”, but a limited one, that only can open small invisible doors! I am currently hired at an international organization and it is my wish and dream to boost the characteristics of this key that will help take me to higher level in my profession. I am grateful for your willingness to help me navigate through these waters of Conversation Academy.
Great! Glad you liked it!