WE 015: Bucket List

WE 015: Bucket List

Hi there, this is the World of English podcast, this is Sylvia. I would love to invite you  to the 15th episode. And well, spring has finally come. I hope you are all great, you are alright. You’re enjoying the good weather. I’m super happy that winter has finally finished. Well, it hasn’t been this very long winter, but I’m just happy that we’re enjoying this wonderful weather, that everything is coming back to life, that we can take these long walks outdoors because this weather is really wonderful.

And talking about spring and talking about this good weather, well, there is Easter coming and naturally we all start thinking or we all have started thinking about the holiday and I have to tell you something, I have to just reveal a little secret, but it is not a secret. I’ve got this very weird feeling and I don’t know if you agree with me, if you share the same feeling but every time I start thinking about Easter I always, kind of instantly, instinctively, start thinking about Christmas. Isn’t that a little bit weird? I would say it is but I’ll just tell you why it happens, well why it is so, because in Poland we’ve got these two great types of holidays, right, and this is Christmas and Easter. And of course, there’s been these debates like discussions which holiday is better. Obviously we are not going to discuss it here or we’re not going to answer this question because I do not think any of the holiday is more important or better but I would just say that there are more followers and more fans of Christmas just because of the presents, right. So we all wait impatiently before Christmas to get our presents. 

But this division, right, or the difference between Christmas and Easter is not going to be the subject of today’s meeting. But as I said, so when I think about Easter and then I start thinking about Christmas and usually when I think about Christmas, I think about these resolutions, right. They are called New Year’s resolutions because as the year ends people usually make these resolutions, decisions, promises what they would like to do, what they would like to achieve, how they would like to change themselves and their lives in the forthcoming year. 

And I don’t know if you know but there is also another list, a list similar to these resolutions that you can make and you do not have to wait for Christmas, you don’t have to wait for the end of the year, you don’t have to wait for any holiday, you can do it just anytime. And in this list, right, you promise yourself what you would like to do. You set your goals. You seek improvement in your life through such a list.

You know, people have different attitudes, right, some people and need such lists, others don’t. But this list is very special because it deals with a very delicate matter,  a matter that we do not feel very fine with, right, but, because of this list we can kind of feel a little bit easier about the subject. And this list is called the bucket list.

In the bucket list, what you do is you write this statement or these sentences and they usually go like that – before I die, I will … And I’ll tell you why the bucket list is called the bucket list because it is all connected with English, with the phrases in English. In English when we die, however weird that sounds, so when somebody dies, we say in the humorous way, right, because people have been trying, they’ve been trying to do it for centuries, somehow to deal with the subject of death in a more humorous way, and one of the phrases that you can use to describe death is to kick the bucket. In Polish we’ve got an immediate equivalent of this very phrase, but in Polish, we do not kick the bucket, but we kick the calendar. In English there is no such phrase. So I just use this expression, right, just as translation, just so tell you what that means. But if you want to talk about it in English, obviously, you can’t say that somebody has kicked the calendar because nobody in England would understand that. What you would need to say is you would need to say that somebody has kicked the bucket. And that’s why this list is called the bucket list.

Before I go to this very list and I’ll tell you how to compose it and I’ll tell you how to build it and I’ll tell you a little bit also about grammar because the bucket list is a perfect opportunity to talk about grammar a little bit, I’d like also to talk about a film which is entitled The Bucket List, it has got the very same title. 

Two great actors star in this film. And these actors are Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. The reviews of the film were actually mixed, so some people said that the film was absolutely fantastic, others said that it wasn’t that great, because perhaps the screenplay is not very unusual, but what is great there of course is the acting and they say that these actors saved, I mean Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, they saved the film. But what is truly great about the film is the feelings, right, that it evokes.

And I’ll tell you a little bit about the plot. I’m not going to spoil the party, so to say, so  I’m not going to tell you all. But as you can imagine if the film is entitled The Bucket List, it has something to do with this idea of producing the list of the things that you want to do before you die. 

So, in the film there are two men, right, and they are completely different because one of them is this millionaire or billionaire, who has enjoyed this life of freedom, great money, a lot of friends, a lot of parties and there is this other man, this other person who is this humble mechanic, a simple person, but a person who knows much about life and he possesses this great wisdom about life. And in this very unfortunate situation and very unimaginable circumstance, but, these two men meet, they meet in hospital where they are informed that both of them are suffering from cancer.

So, this very scene, right, suggests and shows us that everybody is equal. So these two men couldn’t be more different from each other, but because they are facing the same trouble, they are facing the same problem, in a way they become equal, in a way they become the same.

And what they do, right, well this information, this news is super sad. And a lot of people would just think about it in terms of some sentence, right, and they wouldn’t like to do anything. But what they do and they show us that you have to live your life to the fullest, because they produce this bucket list and they decide to go on this trip around the world. This trip is truly unusual and it is around the world because the itinerary of the trip includes the Himalayas, they want to visit the Himalayas, they want to see the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Hong Kong, France, if I remember right, so there are a lot of places.

But what is great about the film, it is not only this visiting different places, which is also fantastic because many of us would like to go to different parts of the world, but somehow we postpone these decisions, right, we say we do not have time, we need to wait. Well, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson tell us that there is no time to wait. If you want to do something, you have to do it right now. 

But what is also great about the film, as I said, it is not only the trips but it is the emotions, the emotions that are evoked, the discussions between the characters, the feelings, the reunions with the families, getting rid of regrets, coming to terms with the life and the deeds, because they know, right, that this end is coming and they know that they have to do something about it, I mean, if they have regrets, if there are some feelings that are uneasy for them, they need to do something about that.

That’s enough, right, about the film because, as I said, I’m not going to be this spoiler. I’m not going to spoil the party for you. So if you like, if you haven’t seen the film, please do. But indeed this film is the bucket list, like the the whole of it because they have this list, they have these things they want to do and they literally know that they are dying, so that’s why they write before I die, I will … 

And here we come to the grammar part of this bucket list, because I don’t know if all of you recognize this grammar that is hidden behind the title of the film and behind this structure, because if we say before I die, I will, what we actually use, the kind of grammar that we use here is first conditional.

I’m sure most of you have heard this expression. You are familiar with this grammar element and I’ll just tell you a little bit about this first conditional. So most people know, right, that if you put if or when in the sentence, and in this way you build the condition, then you do not use will after that, right. So you say if the weather is good tomorrow, we will go for a walk or if you call me in the evening, I will gladly meet you and have some nice meal together, for instance.

The same goes for when, right, so when you call me, I will meet you in the evening or when you help me, I will do the same for you one day. But not many people know that there are also other words that can be used here, right. So it is not only if and when but there is after and before. So that’s why we use first conditional in the bucket list, in this structure before I die, I will … 

Also we can use after, well, obviously not in this sentence because that wouldn’t make sense. But another sentence for the first conditional here would be after I finish work, I will give you a call, for instance. And it is also first conditional. Another word that comes into play here, another expression here would be as soon as, so as soon as I get the results, I will let you know.

And here we come to this part where I would like to present my bucket list to you.  Because each of us, well, should have, I believe, should have that kind of bucket list because, well, it, as I said, this thing is supposed to make this very difficult, very difficult and delicate subject of death and dying, it is supposed to make it a little bit more humorous and light-hearted if it is possible. But, if we could come back to this film for a second. In the reviews we could also read that what the direct did, he indeed managed to, kind of, deal with this subject of death in this light-hearted manner. He produced a comedy or a film that is comedy-like and it deals with this difficult subject. So actually we can try and we can do it a little bit easier to deal with, to digest so to say.

So my bucket list would include a couple of sentences. I would like to reveal like the three of them. And the first one would be:

Before I die, I will visit New York or I would like to visit New York.

And right now you know that I have never been to America. I’ve never been to New York. I’ve been to London, to England a couple of times but I have never been to America and this is actually my dream and if I tell you right now here and it is being recorded that I will visit New York, well, what can I do, right, I will have to just keep this promise and go to New York one day. But seriously it is my dream. It is my goal. I would love to see the place. I believe that it is truly remarkable, a truly unique place and if I ever have this opportunity, I will do it. Another sentence on the list is: 

Before I die, I will bring up my son to be a good man.

And here it’s getting a little bit serious. I think it is the most difficult role for me to conduct. The most difficult duty that I would like to carry out, deliver and I will do my best to make it this way and I’ll just do my utmost and hopefully it’ll be this way. The third one, the third one would be:

Before I die, I will learn some other foreign language. 

You know me and you know that English is my true love and English would be, well, it’s the second language, right, because Polish is the first one and English is the second. But I also speak other languages and I think I told you about this that I can speak German a little bit, but still when I go to Germany, I speak German. But there is this Spanish, right, that comes into play and I would love to learn Spanish. I know just a couple of phrases in Spanish. The phrases that actually saved my life when I went to Spain because to my surprise, well, when you speak English, you think you are like the king or the queen of the world. So when you travel to other places, other countries, you just believe you will speak English and everything will be alright. But there are some places where people wouldn’t rather speak English. They would love to speak their own mother tongues. And Spain is just one of them, is this example. 

I was super surprised when I went to Spain that people did not understand me and I realized there was trouble. So I used a little bit of my Spanish and this saved my life, but obviously they are just a couple of phrases and I would love to learn Spanish. I would love to speak the language more fluently.

So these are my statements. These are my promises, my statements from the bucket list. So before I die, I will visit New York; before I die, I will bring up my son to be a good man; and before I die, I will learn some other foreign language. And I just wonder what your bucket list is or what your bucket list could be. I wonder if you have ever thought about this. If not, perhaps this is the great opportunity, the great chance to do it. Why don’t you sit down and just write it? Why don’t you sit down and type it? Just think about it if there is anything that you would like to achieve, you would like to do before you die.

And I would also like to ask you and I would also appreciate it if you could just tell me about it, right, tell me what you have set for yourselves and present the bucket list to me. So please email me at s.krawczyk@spikkeo.com and I would gladly just read about your bucket list and the things that you have produced. 

And, well, for the time being I would love to wish you the very great Easter. I would like you to have this wonderful time, family time with families, with friends with pets. Yes, cause pets are important and you know that they are important. I would like to wish you this good weather. And of course I’m wishing that also for myself because this good weather just makes us go out and inhale the fresh air and spend some time outdoors. And I also wish you a lot of good food because the holidays, both Christmas and Easter, they are these great chances and opportunities for us to eat something good. I wonder which food that is there is better for you, the Christmas food or the the Easter food? I’m a great Easter, right, so I would eat, well, I can’t say anything but I just enjoy the Christmas dishes and the Easter dishes. I love the Easter cakes, so I can’t really wait to have a try and to eat something good. 

So, just to sum up, guys enjoy the wonderful time with your families, with friends. Enjoy the weather and please I just hope that we’ll meet next time. Bye. Bye.

GLOSSARY

resolution – postanowienie 

forthcoming – nadchodzący 

kick the bucket – kopnąć w kalendarz 

star – występować w filmie 

evoke – przywoływać/ wywoływać  

spoil the party – popsuć zabawę 

humble – skromny 

sentence – wyrok 

itinerary – plan podróży 

postpone – odkładać w czasie/ przekładać 

get rid of – pozbyć się 

come to terms with – pogodzić się z 

light-hearted – radosny/ żartobliwy 

digest – trawić 

to my surprise – ku mojemu zaskoczeniu 

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