43. Hobbies and Interests
Did you have other hobbies when you were younger?
Yes, when I was a child I had quite different hobbies to now. I used to play sport very often. I enjoyed football, swimming and athletics. I also used play board games with my friends quite often, but I rarely play them now. One hobby that I still have is collecting stamps. I’ve got a really big collection after all these years.
44. Holidays / Vacations
If you could go to any foreign country for a holiday, where would you go?
I would love to go to India. Like China, it is developing really quickly and I would like to see some of the changes that are taking place. I love Indian food and would really like to try it there to see how it compares to what I have eaten outside India. I would also like to see some of the historical buildings there, such as the Taj Mahal.
How much does a hotel room in your city cost per night?
Obviously, it depends on the quality and location of the hotel. There are some cheap hotels quite near the centre for about $50. These have small, clean rooms with a bathroom, so they are very good for people who don’t have big demands. In the centre of the city, there are five star hotels that will charge you at least $150. However, the facilities there are very nice and the rooms are larger.
When you were a child, did you do any housework?
Yes, I had to do quite a lot of household chores when I was a kid. The simplest job was taking out the rubbish. Sometimes, I would cut the grass in the garden. Sometimes, I had to help with the laundry and cleaning the floors. Actually, I enjoyed doing housework and even got paid for doing it occasionally.
47. Indoor Activities
Do you prefer indoor activities or outdoor ones?
I prefer outdoor activities, but only when the weather is nice. During the summer, I enjoy cycling, hiking and canoeing. Living in the countryside makes it easy to participate in these activities. I like being surrounded by nature and these activities are great ways of keeping fit. When it is cold or training, I prefer to stay indoors and watch TV or read a book.
48. The Internet
How has the Internet changed your life?
I think I am similar to most people in that I find the Internet a great way to get information. It is so much better than going to different places to find things out. In that way, it has been useful for my studies and my work. If I want to buy something, like a new mobile phone, I can use the Internet to compare products and see what other people think of them. I also find the Internet has made me more interested in keeping up with the news.
49. Keeping Fit
Have you ever been a member of a fitness club?
Yes, I was a member of my university fitness club while I was a student. It was very cheap to join and the club was well-equipped. I used to go there almost every day. However, since I graduated, I haven’t been a member of a fitness club. Perhaps I should join one because I think I’m putting on a little weight.
Do many foreigners speak your native language?
I think there are three main groups of foreigners who speak my native tongue. The first are people who have come to my country to study or to work. These people come from all over the world from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. The second group of people is the descendants of past emigrants. These people have learnt the language from their parents by speaking it at home. The third group consists of people who were born in my country, but have taken citizenship of other countries.
Clearly, they learnt the language as children as native speakers.
51. Learning English
What do you find easy about learning English?
Unlike many of my compatriots, I find the pronunciation is really easy. Most of the English sounds are the same in my language and English, so don’t have to learn many new ones. The really difficult sound for me is ‘th’. I think I’ve got it right now, but it took a lot of practise.
52. Leisure Time
How did you become interested in football?
When I was a kid, I used to go to watch football matches with my friends. It was very exciting! Also, football was on TV most weekends and often during the week. There were also lots of articles about football matches and players in the newspapers and my friends and I used to compete to see who knew the most or who got the news first.
Do you prefer to write letters or emails?
I definitely prefer writing emails. I love using computers and my handwriting is not very clear.
Moreover, it’s also just so much simpler to use email. You sit at home or in a café with a wireless connection, type your message and send. It’s also easy to write a draft and save it for editing later.
Which magazines do you read?
I love football, so I read a magazine called ‘Football Weekly’. It usually has about 100 pages and it is in colour. There are a lot of advertisements in the magazine. Some of the ads are for football related products, but others are not. There are many articles, including interviews with footballers and managers, discussions of football tactics and, of course, reports on matches from around the world.
55. The Media
Do you pay more attention to local, national or international news?
I pay more attention to local news. I only buy a local newspaper and don’t read news articles online very often. I find the national and international news too complicated. Besides, the local issues are the ones that affect me most, so I think I should pay more attention to them.
56. Meeting People
How did you meet most of your friends?
I think I met most of my friends the same way as other people – through study and work. I still have a few friends from secondary school, but more from university. As I have only been working for a short time, the friends I have met through work are not as close as those I met through my studies. I also have a very good friend that I met at a bar one evening. We just started chatting and have been close ever since.
Have you kept anything from your childhood to remind you of it?
In my parents’ house in the countryside, there is one room where we keep lots of old things in boxes.
A few of those boxes contain things from my childhood, but I haven’t kept anything specific from my childhood to remind me of it. I’m not even sure what is in the boxes, but probably some photographs, toys and perhaps even some clothes.
58. Museums and Art Galleries
Are there any museums or art galleries where you live?
As I live in a large city, there are many museums and art galleries and there are a few in my area. Two of the best museums are the History Museum which has things like old coins and pottery, and the Science and Technology Museum, which has a few old cars, old machines and some strange inventions that people don’t use now. I don’t know the art galleries very well, but the Modern Art
Gallery has some interesting paintings and sculptures.
At what times of day do you like to listen to music?
I like listening to music at any time of the day, but I most often listen to it when I am travelling to and from my university and in the evenings while I am surfing the Internet and checking my email. I like listening to music while I am walking or using public transport because it takes my mind off the journey.
60. Musical Instruments
Did you learn to play a musical instrument when you were a child?
Yes, I did. I learnt to play the piano because my parents thought it would make me smarter and more cultured. I’m not sure it worked! When I was a little older, I started learning to play the guitar as well.
I thought that guitar players looked cool. When I was a student, I took my guitar with me to bars and some of the owners gave me free beer or food and even paid me a little money to play.
Is your family name a common one in your country?
Yes, my family name is quite common, especially if you include the different variations of my family name. There are even some famous people who share my family name, but I don’t think we are related! I think that the most common family names in my country are Smith, Jones, and Brown.
Do you think your neighbours have a similar lifestyle to you?
I doubt it. My neighbours on the left side are an old couple and the ones on the right side are a little older than me and have children. I hardly ever hear them going out in the evenings and, as far as I know, we don’t share any hobbies. The old couple are retired, so my working lifestyle must be completely different to theirs. The only thing our lifestyles have in common is that we prefer cooking to going out to restaurants. I often hear them in their kitchens.
63. The News
Does the news affect your life very much?
I think it does sometimes. It seems to affect my working life more than my personal life. I work for an investment company, so we have to keep an eye on the news for developments that could affect businesses, such as the recent financial problems in the Euro zone. However, I did notice some recent stories that will affect me. The prices of water, gas and electricity will increase, which affects everyone who uses those resources.
Which kind of articles or features interest you the most?
Oh, I am definitely most interested in articles about famous celebrities, such as singers and actors. I love reading about their private lives, especially about who they are dating and which relationships have ended. Of course, I want to know which actors are making new films and which singers are making new albums too. Some of my friends like to read similar information about sports stars, but I’m not so interested in them.
Do noisy people bother you?
Yes, they do. I’m very lucky because my neighbours are very quiet. This means I can do a lot of studying at home and find it easy to relax there. I live in a city, so some noise is inevitable, especially the sound of traffic. Where I study, there is a lot of noise, but it’s not because the people are noisy –it’s because there are so many people in a small space.
What kind of numbers do you need to remember?
I don’t need to remember many numbers. I must remember the PIN for my bank card, so I can use the ATM. There are lots of other numbers I use, like phone numbers and dates of people’s birthdays, but I have those written down and stored in my mobile phone and computer, so I don’t need to remember them. Oh, I have to remember the number for my bicycle lock!
67. Outdoor Activities
Which outdoor activities would you like to take up?
I would love to take up some extreme sports, like bungee jumping. That would be so cool! I’m not sure where I can do it, but I suppose I could check online. I wanted to do it when I was younger, but my parents refused to let me have a go. Now, I’ve left home, so I think I can decide for myself. I’d also like to try snowboarding, but I live in the south and there is no snow.
Do you prefer family parties or parties with friends?
I prefer parties with friends. Sometimes, at family parties, it can be a little difficult to be yourself, because family members often expect you to behave in certain ways and to say certain things. Friends, on the other hand, are much more tolerant of what you say and do. Generally, I find that this makes parties with friends more fun than those with family members.
Is there anything you dislike about pets?
There are two things I dislike about pets – some pets anyway. First, they often don’t smell too good and secondly they sometimes make a lot of noise. Of course, this is not true of all pets. Fish are very quiet and an aquarium only smells if it not cleaned properly.
Do you think it would be interesting to be a professional photographer?
Yes, I think it would be. There are different kinds of professional photographers. I would like to one who takes photographs of natural scenery, because it involves quite a lot of travel and I find nature so beautiful and interesting. It might be interesting to be a wedding photographer, but I think that it might be difficult sometimes because some people are very demanding.
71. Places of Interest
Do you often visit places of natural beauty?
No. I would like to, but I live in a city and have a lot of work at the moment. When I was a child, I used to go cycling in the countryside, but now Beijing has expanded and what was countryside is now urban. However, if I have a week or two holiday from work, I like to travel to places of natural beauty in my country or abroad, especially to places with mountains, waterfalls and lakes.
72. Plans and Goals
Do you often make plans for the future?
I often make plans for the very near future. So, for example, when I wake up, I plan my day in my mind while eating breakfast. However, my plans for the longer term are vague. I think it is difficult to make long term plans because so many things can change. I might even decide to change the plan completely if I have a new idea.
What things do you own which you find particularly useful?
Like many people, I have electronic items like a mobile phone and a laptop that I find very useful for keeping in touch with friends and family and for finding information and for my work. However, there are a few less hi-tech items that I have which are very useful too. For example, I have a lot of books connected with my job and these are full of information that I use almost every day. I also have an exercise bike which I find very useful for keeping fit.
74. Primary School
Have you ever returned to see your primary school? Yes, I have. I went back last year to see what the school was like. The buildings were basically the same, but the classrooms seemed brighter than I remember and were full of interesting posters. One of my old teachers is now the head of the school.
Most of the teachers are so young. I’m sure the teachers were older when I was there.
75. Private Gardens
Would you like to have a garden?
I would love to. If I had a garden, I would grow wild flowers and vegetables in it. I would also buy some simple garden furniture – plastic chairs and a table – so that in summer I could sit outside and read a book or invite some friends over for a chat and some snacks. Houses with gardens are very expensive, so I will have to save for a long time.