613 Meet the Family

Shuan talks about his family back in Canada.

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Todd: So Shuan, you mentioned your family, do you have a big family?

Shuan: No, I have a fairly small family, actually, I've only got, including me there's only four people in my family.

Todd: So it's your mother, your father, you...

Shuan: And my sister.

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Todd: Oh, and your sister. OK, is your sister younger or older than you?

Shuan: She's younger. She just started university actually.

Todd: Ah, so you're the big brother.

Shuan: I am, yeah.

Todd: OK, that's nice. So where does your family live right now?

Shuan: Ah, my mother and my father live in Victoria in Canada and my sister is on the other side of Canada in Montreal in Quebec.

Todd: Well, tell me about your father. What's your father like?

Shuan: My father is pretty much the most interesting person I think I know. He all different kinds of stories about his childhood, and his growing up.

Todd: Did you grow up in Canada?

Shuan: No, he grew up in Liverpool, in England.

Todd: OK, nice, and what does your father do?

Shuan: Ah, he was a pilot until five years ago, five years ago, it was kind of tragic, but he had a heart attack and he wasn't allowed to fly anymore.

Todd: Oh, I'm sorry.

Shuan: It's fine. He makes, he's pretty much happier now I guess.

Todd: OK, so he was OK after the heart attack.

Shuan: He's fine, yeah.

Todd: OK, what about your mother? Does she work?

Shuan: My mother, no, she doesn't. She used to work. In fact my mother and my father met at work. They both worked for Cathay Pacific, which is an airline based in Hong Kong. My mother was a stewardess and my father was a pilot, so they met that way in Osaka actually.

Todd: Oh, what a story. OK and what about your sister? You said that she's a student.

Shuan: She's a student. She's actually in her first year in McGill. she's actually in her first year in McGill unversity which is in Quebec. I haven't spoken to her lately so I don't know how she's doing.

Todd: OK, do you know what she studies?

Shuan: I believe it's arts and humanities.

Todd: So you and your sister, are you similar or quite different?

Shuan: Oh, we are definely quite different.

Todd: How so?

Shuan: I was the rebelious type. I pretty much laid the foundation for my sister to get all the freedoms that she has, and she doesn't appreciate any of the things I've done so,.. another way that we're different is that she's really into arts and drawing and painting and making music where as I'm more into the technical side of things, like I'm into computer making, fixing cars.

Todd: So it sounds like your quite different. Well, maybe she'll listen to this and she'll appreciate you more.
Shuan: I hope so.


Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson


I have a fairly small family.

Here, 'fairly'  means that the family is moderately small. Notice the following:

  1. The weather is fairly good today. It's not too hot.
  2. Out new house is fairly small, but it's the perfect size for our little family.

pretty much

My father is pretty much the most interesting person I think I know.

'Pretty much' can be replaced by 'basically.' Notice the following:

  1. Spaghetti is pretty much her favorite food.
  2. He is pretty much self-employed.


It was kind of tragic, but five years ago, my father had a heart attack.

Something 'tragic' is very sad. Notice the following:

  1. The story of his life is so tragic.
  2. The end of that book is so tragic that it made me cry.

I haven't spoken to her

I haven't spoken to her lately, so I don't know what she's doing.

If you 'haven't spoken to someone' lately, you haven't talked to that person recently. Notice the following:

  1. We hadn't spoken to them in a while, so I didn't know their dog had died.
  2. I haven't spoken to Lisa yet, but I'm sure that she'll want to come to the concert.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
fairly • pretty much • tragic
haven't spoken
  1. The characters he plays in movies are always so .
  2. It is warm out today, considering it is winter.
  3. She is fluent in French.
  4. I to him since our big fight.