Homegrown Foreigner

Jeremy talks about feeling like a foreigner when he returns to his hometown in Canada from teaching in Japan.


Abidemi: So Jeremy, we both work in Japan, and I was just talking about how it feels like to go home. How does it feel like for you, Jeremy?

Jeremy: Well, when I go back to Canada, really the first thing that I notice is the air. And it’s a funny thing to think but I know when I arrive in Vancouver and I walk out of the airport, I can smell West Coast Canada air. And it really gives a kind of positive feeling to me. You know, it’s a small thing but you notice how clean. I know it’s a stereotype with Canada but it really is such a clean place. And also, Vancouver, you have the smell of the ocean and you have the mountains right there. So that’s the first that I always notice.

But when I go back and I visit my parents, it takes me about 10 minutes to get used to where I am being back home. You know, it doesn’t take long at all. And I think it’s because that’s the house that I grew up in and just the feeling that I grew up with, it returns immediately. You know, it goes away when I’m away, when I’m living in Japan but as soon as I get back home, that feeling of comfort comes back within minutes. And I look forward to the same thing that everybody looks forward to when they go back home, and food is right at the top of that list.

You know, I honestly look forward to turkey dinner, maybe more than anything in the world, or prime rib or those types of things. But it’s just the small things; having mom make a snack or something like that. And just the feeling of being completely at ease and without a worry in the world is kind of what I most look forward to going back home.

There’s other things when you go out and you go to the stores and you circulate around town. It does feel a little bit like you’re an alien in your own town. And I mean—but that’s a feeling that I never mind. I have no problem being a foreigner in my own home now. I kind of enjoy the feeling. And sometimes, I even wish that I didn’t speak the language everybody else was speaking because I don’t want to hear everybody’s conversations to be honest.

But you know the feeling of being in my house or my parent’s house is really a feeling that is just complete comfort.

Abidemi: How often do you get to back home now?

Jeremy: Well, just because of the cost, I can probably only go back once a year. And also, we have an infant boy and traveling with a one-year old on a 10-hour flight is—until you do it, you really never realize how terrible it is. But it is uncomfortable. It is really uncomfortable. So yeah, we’re only able to make it back to Canada probably once a year now but his grandparents love seeing him so much that we want to do it as much as we possibly can.

Abidemi: I guess the fact that you can’t go as often as you would like makes it even much more worthwhile when you do get to go.

Jeremy: It’s true. It’s true, yeah. Just the expense and the time that we have to put in, while you’re there you basically savor every second. You don’t want to sleep. You just want to enjoy it. So yeah, it’s a pretty special experience going back home now.

Abidemi: That’s awesome.

End of Transcript

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson!

at the top of the list

imageFood is right at the top of that list.

When something is at the top of a list, it is important. Notice the following:

  1. Greece is that the top of my list of places to see.
  2. I have many goals, but having children is at the top of the list.

completely at ease

imageI was completely at ease.

Completely at ease means very relaxed.Notice the following:

  1. At home, I am completely at ease.
  2. On vacation I felt completely at ease.

without a worry in the world

imageI was without a worry in the world.

The phrase, without a worry in the world, means you have nothing to worry about. Notice the following:

  1. He lives his life without a worry in the world.
  2. I finally got a new job so now I can enjoy the weekend without a worry in the world.

make it back

imageWe’re only able to make it back to Canada probably once a year

Here, the phrase, make it back, means to return to someplace. Notice the following:

  1. Did you make it back on time?
  2. How did you make it back so soon?


imageIt even much more worthwhile.

Something worthwile is worth the time or effort spent on it. Notice the following:

  1. The ticket was expensive, but the movie was worthwile.
  2. The commute to my job is long, but the benefits make it worthwile.


imageYou basically savor every second.

When you savor something, you appreciate something fully. Notice the following:

  1. I savored my last week in college.
  2. City people often savor their time in the countryside.
Answer these questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Go here are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
on thet top • at ease • without a worry
make it back • worthwhile • savor
  1. She is always with her family.
  2. Going to Africa is of my list.
  3. He did not on time.
  4. He left college in the world.
  5. In the mountains, he got to fresh air.
  6. Losing weight made dieting .