Monday, May 30, 2005

The event that changed my life completely

The event that changed my life completely was when I got married to my husband.

Firstly, when I got married, my family name changed to my husband's family name. Since then I've used it when signing signatures and documents.

Secondly, as a wife, I cannot make decisions completely without conferring with my husband, and last but not least, when I became a mother to my daughter. As a wife and mother I have tried my best to live up to my family name!

Nini Jaramillo
FCE preparation

Life experiences

Every one of us has their own experiences, whether good or bad, happy or sad, it could be memorable & unforgettable. They said:

Forget the past and gift yourself with the present.

I have many things that make me happy from the good old days.

The first exciting moment in my life was when I graduated and obtained my College Diploma. After long years of reading, memorizing and studying lessons, at last I reached the end, finished and completed all the requirements to be one of the professionals.

Well, my happiness did not end after that. After graduation, here comes the harder stage to focus on studying and reviewing again to be ready for another examination as compliance. We are required by our government to be a member of the Board of Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), so we can practice our professions respectively whatever it is. Without the PRC card, we can't find a good job and work legally in any hospitals or institutions.

The second extreme happiness was when I took and successfully passed the board examination. I was tremendously happy about passing it. I knew that I had achieved something, 'the goal of success'. I can't express my feelings about how happy I was and my family, upon reading my name in the newspaper published especially for those who pass the board.

Being professional, this is something that we should be proud of, and if there is still a chance for further studies we should not hesitate to do it regardless of our ages, because education is the best instrument for everything especially if you are applying for a good job, once it has been earned nothing can buy it back, it's a fulfillment, so Nina and I will not stop seeing you in Yethreb School, I hope so.

Connie dela Cruz
FCE preparation

Mohsen's weekend

Usually at the weekend I prefer to go to my mountain farm situated near Miselata. I have a house at the top of the mountain which is about four hundred metres higher than sea level. I always go on Thursday afternoon, sometimes alone, other times with my family, but I prefer to go by myself to be calmer.

I wake up early, at six o'clock. The first thing I do is exercise; walking and climbing the mountain. After that I eat my breakfast, green tea and zumita. I take a rest for about one hour and then I start working on the farm. I graft trees and plant trees at different times in the year. I give water to the newly planted trees. I also maintain my bee hives.

At 12 o'clock I take a rest for about one hour, then at one o'clock I start cooking lunch for myself. I like cooking. Sometimes I have friends visit in the afternoon.

Every weekend I relax and change my routine. That helps me to prepare for the busy week ahead.

Mohsen Meselatti

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Before and after!

Libyan tea

My five likes

These are the things that I like and enjoy doing.

One. Reading books that talk about real strange things that happen to normal people, changing their lives, and making it more interesting. I like these kinds of books, maybe because I hope these things would happen to me.

Two. Playing and playing forever, all kinds of playing. It doesn't matter if it is music, sports, games, and with children. Most people say there's a child inside of them, so I have one inside of me to .

Three. Meeting new friends, everyone has a special personality, and of course we are different, but I think the most important thing is how to communicate and make new friendships that last for a long time, and I try hard to do that and I like it.

Four. Cooking - my mother said that I had my grandmother's style in cooking. I like cooking, because I feel happy when all the family eats everything I cook.

Five. Painting is my special space. I go to paint to see an express my feelings, happiness, angry feelings, sadness maybe. Actually, I paint only for myself, and after I finish, I feel much better.

Samar Al-Debree
PET preparation

Five things that I like

I like chatting with my children, because sometimes they ask me strange and funny questions.

I like singing birds and some plants in my house, because both are from nature.

I always like my wife to be a good mood, because if she's in a good mood, she'll cook very well.

I like the old cities in the old things from history, because it makes me imagine how the people were living at that time.

I like my car's papers to be kept updated, because I don't like to break the traffic laws.

Younis Mohamed
PET preparation

Things I like

I like playing and watching football, because it's interesting, and it's a useful sport. It makes me meet new people and make new friends.

I like reading, it seems like the old Arabic saying is true, 'The book is the best friend', and so I read a lot to discover many things which I'm interested in. I read novels, newspapers, books, magazines etc.

I like traveling. Travel makes me learn about countries and their cultures, and it also makes me try different beings liked foods, ice skating etc., of course, it makes me meet new people, and learn new skills .

I like music. I like to hear most kinds of music. It gives me a wonderful feeling. By the way, I listen to English songs to improve my language skills .

I like to make friends. I believe that there are a lot of nice and good people. I know that it's not easy to get that one who's very close to my soul, but I have to try again and again. I also believe that friendship is the perfection of love. For example, recently, I met two nice ladies. One of them is my colleague at work, and the other one is my teacher. They have very good hearts, and they are very nice. In one word, they are amazing. I wish that I can be like their little brother.

Ali Matous
PET preparation

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sidi Andulsi - Tajoura, Libya

The turning points

My life could be completely different if two things have not happened to me.

First of all, I was very intelligent, but very naughty and not an ambitious child. I learned to read almost by myself when I was five, asking the adults about the letters. And when I went to school I had no difficulties in studying anything and all the teachers loved me, but I did not care about the marks and I never tried to be excellent.

But when I became 14 years old, because of English language, I had to move to another class. There I sat with one girl, who was extremely ambitious. She studied hard in order to achieve maximum points. She used to ask teachers to examine her again. She argued with them about the marks she was not happy with. I did not like her behaviour at all and I didn't bother if I had less points in some subjects. Until one day, she annoyed me by starting to compare her results with mine. I remained quiet, but inside I was very irritated. I decided to show her who was best. I knew that I possessed abilities and very easily, almost without efforts, I had excellent marks for the next two terms.

This was my first the turning point in my life. Because this year was very important and the certificate would determine in which high school you might be accepted in.

So having excellent marks, I found myself in the best high school, in the best class. I was astonished. I was frightened, because I said to myself that in the local secondary school, it was very easy but among these students, perfect in every way, boys and girls, I might fail. I decided I could not allow this to happen. I was alert to not making mistakes. I started taking care for every single step, so the result was that I became one of the best! I couldn't believe it! And still I did it without a lot of effort. My classmates knew it and they liked me because I used to share my knowledge, and help them and I always had time for jokes and a laugh. I finished this school with the maximum points, and I had no choice -- I had to continue climbing. I applied to study medicine.

This decision I made because I hated the Communist régime in my country. I kept in secret, but I thought that this was the only way to escape and be free of these stupid people. As a doctor, I thought I could cross the borders and I could help anybody -- even our enemy. My dream destination was Africa. . . .

So I consider myself as a happy person since I found a way for my dreams to become true, being a doctor. But here is the second turning point in my life.

It was September, 1990 when I received a telephone call from one of my girlfriends from this high school. She had become a teacher. When she phoned me and asked if I was still interested in working in Africa, and what about Libya? Of course I was. And she gave the information about the interview which I attended the next week. The strange thing is that she knew about this from one of her colleagues -- a teacher and musician who was working at that time in Benghazi . She called her husband and by the way, she said that her manager was going for medical staples in Sofia. I was approved, and after one year I was working in a nice hospital near Benghazi -- my town of beauty...

I had 9 happy years there, and I will love Libya forever. It was my way to freedom and this philosophy is the highest point of the spirit. So I will never forget those two girls who helped me by chance to achieve my dreams!

Sue Dyakova
FCE preparation

Monday, May 23, 2005

Our Condolences

Mr Khairi's mother passed away yesterday morning. We wish to offer our heartfelt sympathy to Mr Khairi and his family. My God give you the patience and strength to help you in this difficult time.

The staff and students of Yethreb School.

Please see Mrs Alea for information regarding the funeral services and rescheduling of classes.

My First Christmas Eve - a childhood memory

I grew up in my grandparents farmhouse in a nice village, where the fields began and the river, called Upper Dew, with crystal-clear water started wandering. The area impresses us with its beauty, surrounded by hills, which stand there as guards, supervised by high mountains from the South. The weather is just perfect with four seasons, the earth is fertile, watered from the river and many artificial canals.

My grandparents were still young at that time, and had good relationships with our neighbors, most of them being somehow our relatives. The life was full of joy, peace and quiet, and I felt most loved and the happiest child in the world, running after the butterflies, watching the flight of swallows, playing with other children, and having a full yard of chickens, ducks, lambs, and pigs. The dog was the cleverest creature I've ever seen. He used to understand almost anything we were talking about, and obeyed our commands. Every single day there was interesting things, and if there is anywhere called paradise, it must be like this village and like the life at that time.

One of my first memories from this period was the Christmas Eve when I was 2 1/2 years old. I was so impressed, so I remembered everything as if it was yesterday. Of course, what I remember is Father Christmas's is visit. We knocked and entered through the main door, and all the guests entered the room where the Christmas tree was. I was too frightened -- first, because he looked too big with long beard and furry leather coat, holding a strong wooden stick, and second because he directed all his attention to me. I found myself near the tree, in front of the wall. He asked me for my name, how old I was, and then to sing for him. I did not cry, but I was having tremors. My legs, my hands, my voice were out-of-control. I tried to sing, but in fact, I repeated many times, just the first line of the song I knew best.

But this fear finished very soon as this old man's started giving me a lot of presents. As a first child in my grandfather's family. I had a doll, a small bicycle, a teddy bear, a lot of books and dresses. I was amazed. I relaxed with this so good man. I ask him to give me more. I noticed that he gave to the others only one present and I was very happy to have so many.

Then he asked me, 'Who doesn't listen and must be punished?'. I pointed to my grandfather, explaining that he very often lies and messing up the bed covers instead of sitting on the chairs. My grandfather to escape ran into the other room. It was a bedroom, and he lay down on the bed. It was proof that I was right. I said, 'You see, that's what he is doing!'. I did not have feeling that I shouldn't betray my grandfather.

Soon Father Christmas left, and I noticed that my mother's uncle was again amongst us. 'Were have you been Uncle George? Father Christmas was here, and only you were absent!' Many years after I was told that Uncle George had been in the role of Father Christmas. This was an event I would never forget.

Sue Dyakova
FCE preparation

Sunday, May 22, 2005

English - what an odd language!

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of the English language. A language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

Friday, May 20, 2005

My likes & dislikes

I like my country, because it's where I was born, I'm very happy about my social position and my work, I also have many well educated friends and I'm respected by my generation and my family.

I like my religion, because the Islamic religion is a peaceful religion and the cleanest of the world religions. It's based on five daily prayers, we must wash five times a day, and only concentrate on God.

I like my work because it keeps me busy and supports my activities. I improve my position in life, and make progress for my family. To be a good member of the country, I also do my best to give what they give to me.

I like my family, because my life is my family. No love without a family, no life without a family, no assistance without a family. My family respects me very well, and I respect all my family members.

I like my education, because without education we lose everything. If we are not educated we would be like animals, no respect, no education.

I dislike pork, because pigs are the dirtiest animals in the world, and they do not have any jealousy. Also my religion doesn't allow Muslims to eat pork - it's forbidden.

I dislike liars, because lying is a big sin. People who lie can damage our lives easily, by not saying the truth. We must be careful in front of liars.

I dislike injustice because without injustice we can destroy our life and our country. The strong eat the weak. We can't stop the depravity.

I dislike cheating, because our prophet Mohammed said, "Who cheats is not from us".

I dislike ignorance, because ignorance is the bad way to treat things, and I prefer and educated enemy, rather than an ignorant friend.

Mohsen Meselati

Libyan woman baking bread - drawing by PET preparation student: Younis Mohammed

Half here, half there

Everybody wants to see their previous life again, but it is impossible. We can only think about the past and it’s really nice reminiscing about the good old days. Well, I grew up in a small village in a province, and that’s were I lived till I was 14 years old. The life that I spent when I was small is different from the life I spent in the city.

Because I’m the eldest girl in the family I had to take care of my younger sisters and a brother during those days when my parents were at work. We had to go to school too and I am the one responsible for changing their clothes (uniform), preparing their breakfast and everything else. In spite of this responsibility I still had time to study my lessons and help them do their homework, and even sometimes do the cooking. Though it was a very hectic schedule for me, I don’t have any regrets because all of them are now happily married and very responsible for their own families. Because we are just a middle class family every member of the family aimed to have a good life and they are thankful that I gave them more attention then my parents gave them.

After my high school days, we migrated to the city Manila and finished by college life there. After passing the Board exam, I was employed immediately in one of the hospitals in the city. I worked for two years locally, and I have been lucky to work abroad. Since then, I've been here in Libya for more than 20 years, half of my life, and even now I am still here, so I can say that this is my second country. Well, for me the life here is very simple and peaceful. The only pain and sorrow I’m in the one suffering is that I am away from my family, but I but still surviving anyway.

Comparing the life between the province, city, and abroad.
I felt contented, while I was still in the province, because it was trouble-free, and very simple living. Going to the city is more complicated, but I learned a lot too, especially the modern culture and traditions, it made me grow. Apart from all this. I earned my college degree in the city.

Going to the present.
Living abroad for me, is the most challenging life I've ever had, especially being alone for more than 10 years. I learned to be strong enough in every aspect of life as though. As long as I have goals that say:

If others can, why can't I? and
What you can do, I can do better.
It's enough to be a better person. But the most important is that: (We should have a faith in God.) Because he is always there to guide us, leading us to the right path.

For me this country Libya is unforgettable. Why?
Well, I got my job here, got married here, had my son here, and finally got separated here too. Is it memorable? Whew!! Lastly, life is really worth living, isn't it?

It is me, Connie.

FCE preparation

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some examples of things I dislike

Actually, I dislike many things. I’ll give you examples:

I dislike the traffic in the street when I want to go some place.

I don’t like some food, but I like most food.

Last month I bought a t-shirt but when I washed it, it shrunk, so I dislike this kind of clothes.

I like all kinds of music except Hard Rock.

I like the summer season, but I dislike sweltering hot days.

PET preparation

5 things I dislike

1. War
I don’t like war at all. What do we get from war? Death, destroyed buildings. I wish all the people would stop making war and live in peace.

2. Lies
I hate every person who tells lies. This is a bad habit. Lies destroy trust and everything, and if you find someone telling lies that means you can’t depend on him for anything.

3. High places
I am afraid of high places so much, I sometimes see the nightmare that I am standing on a high building and I am so afraid that suddenly I wake up and thank Allah because it was just a dream.

4. Vegetables
In fact I don’t like vegetables, but the doctors always say you have to eat vegetables every day for good health.

5. Sickness
I don’t like being sick. Being sick makes me in a bad mood and I don’t feel well and have pain in all my body. The worst thing is that you have to stay in bed all day and take medicine. I really hate that.

Nadia Ali
PET preparation

What I dislike in this life

I’ll write about what I dislike in this life. So, I’ll separate it into what I dislike in people, sport and food.

In people I dislike cheating between friends because you must trust each one of them.

In sport I dislike the hate between players in the same sports game because they appear to love each other but in fact they hate each other.

And in food I dislike junk food because it’s not useful to our body.

PET preparation

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My favourite clothes

I adore the traditional Libyan clothes in general and I am especially fond of wearing the complete set of clothes for men which is called 'zaboun'. It consists of three pieces; the trousers, the waistcoat and another jacket like piece but without a collar and buttons. All three parts are the same colour which is usually black and made of fabric with a lot of hand embroidered decoration along the edges and sides. To complete the image you have to wear a long Arabic shirt; white in colour underneath, and a black or red hat (sometimes topped with a tassel) and white slippers.

It is an expensive costume and I was very happy when my father bought me one a couple of years ago after graduation. I love to wear it because it reminds me of that beautiful occasion and also because it is part of my culture and traditions. I feel very proud and boast of my country and my people when I wear it. I usually choose it for celebrations, especially religious occasions and wedding parties.

This type of clothes has another advantage - because it's made carefully, by experienced and talented hands, it lasts for a long time and you need only to change the shirt from time to time.

Khalid Afet
Ielts preparation

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Annual Party

The annual party commemorating Mrs Alea's 21st birthday was held today at Yethreb School. Staff, students and guests all enjoyed an exciting evening filled with laughter, music, dancing and food. Below are some of the pictures highlighting the event.

Khairi singing with Mrs Alea

Are these wall flowers?

Enjoying the party.

Mrs Carolina and her husband, dancing the 'salsa'.

The African Eagles - that's Khairi (one of our students) playing guitar in the back.

Dancing - Libyan style!

The African Eagles provided music for the party.

Dancing doctors!

Class as usual for Mrs Carolina's students right up until the minute the party started. Those are really dedicated students!

Who is this?

Lady in Red - dancing with me!

Doing the twist!

Plenty to eat at the party.


Ms Thureyah was running around so fast she was only a blur!

Enjoying the evening.

Music of all kinds.

This is Nini and Mrs Alea with the cake that Nini made!

Can you hoola-hoop?

Snakes & Ladders Game

Here's a fun game to play that will help you improve your English. Click on the picture or the link to play.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Do you watch BBC NEWS?

Watching the news is an excellent way to improve your English.
The BBC offers an online weekly world news quiz called The Week in Questions. Click on the picture above or this link to check it out.

Home Sweet Home

Tell me why birds can fly and WHY do the powers to be have to put a road through the middle of my house when we live in the desert?
Tell me why! ! ! . . . Please! !
Mrs Alea
Click on comments below, and tell Mrs Alea why you think they are going to put a road through the middle of her house!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Question Time!

Mrs Brown's bungalow is decorated entirely in pink. The carpet, lampshades, ceiling, walls etc are all pink. What colour are her stairs?

Do you know the answer? Tell your teacher next time you go to class.
You will earn a gold star!

English Facts

How quickly can you find out what is unusual about this paragraph? It looks so ordinary that you would think that nothing was wrong with it at all, and in fact, nothing is. But it is unusual. Why? If you study it and think about it you may find out, but I am not going to assist you in any way. You must do it without coaching. No doubt if you work at it for long, it will dawn on you. I don't know. Now, go to work and try your luck.

Here's the answer:
In the whole paragraph, there is no letter e used. This is called a lipogram.

Food of the Philippines

Rice is the dietary staple, prepared in a variety of ways and included in desserts as well as main meals. The primary source of protein is fish, and pork and poultry are the most common meats. Garlic is used liberally. A typical meal might consist of boiled rice, fried fish, a vegetable, and fruit for dessert. Fruit is also often eaten for breakfast. Because the Philippines has been influenced by many diverse cultures, the cuisine is also diverse. Meat and fish are often roasted and served on skewers. 'Kare-kare' is a stew of meat and vegetables served in a peanut sauce. A favorite snack is 'halo-halo', a drink made from sweetened beans, milk, and fruits served in colorful layers with crushed ice. At large celebrations, the 'lechon', a stuffed goat or sheep or cow or pig is often roasted over a charcoal fire.

Filipinos usually eat three meals a day, with snack periods between meals. When guests are present, they are seated nearest the head of the home and are always served first. No one eats until after the guest has had a bite or two. It is proper to keep one's hands above the table. Conversation is informal during meals. Although compliments are welcomed, the best way for a guest to show appreciation of the cooking is to eat heartily. A small portion is left on the plate to indicate that the person has had enough to eat.

Lucena 'Nini' Jaramillo
FCE preparation

The person I most admire – written by a 15 year-old

The youths today are much more confident than it was 15 – 20 years ago. They are free to think and speak whatever they want and they can have their own beliefs without a fear of being punished for this. Especially it concerns the youth of the former Soviet Union. As we all know the socialism in 50-60’s of the century tried to create people who are practically the same: who would have one belief, one way of behaving, one way of dress, even one way of haircut.

Luckily in recent years this problem has disappeared and everyone has the right to have their own personality. But the question is: How do the contemporary people create their character?

Nowadays the movies, the television, the books and comics have an incredible influence over the youth. Many young boys and girls try to imitate their favourite singers, actors or comic heroes. They dress, act, speak, laugh, cry, smile and behave like them. So here is another question: How to choose the right person to imitate?

I think it depends on which society you have grown up in. For example, I grew up far from cinemas, famous singer’s concerts, discos and comic-clubs. I grew up in a developing country. Now I prefer books to TV, and my favourite person is a book character. He is not so famous all over the world, but in east Europe and Russia he is well known. The name of this character is Pechorin and he is the main character in Lermontov’s book ‘The Hero of Our Time’.

Perhaps, many of you would ask yourselves who is Lermontov? So I’ll digress from Pechorin for a moment. Michael Lermontov was born in 1814 and in 1837 he wrote his brilliant poem to Pushkin’s (the greatest Russian writer) death. After Lermontov’s death in 1841 his friend found many papers with poems, stories, and novels. One of those novels was “The Hero of Our Time’. As I’ve already wrote the main character there is Pechorin. He is a young man completely bored of life. Many readers think he is totally dead from the inside, but few of them are able to understand his deep and contradictory nature. Pechorin is intelligent, ironic, ingenious and the most important – loyal to his friends. Although he has no respect to conceptions such as:: love, sacrifice in the name of love, and marriage, personally, I like this person the best, because such unceremoniousness makes him free of duties of the heart and he is totally independent from women. He is master of his life and there is no conscience that would stopped him from doing what he has dreamed about. Of course, this description would probably repel the readers, but the point is that Pechorin in spite of his minuses is a god person. Maybe that is why I liked him – because his is a combination of good and bad, and the border between them is almost invisible. It is not easy to be so improvident. For me it’s a talent and I would always aspire to be like Pechorin. Unfortunately, I know it’s impossible for me to reach his imperturbability because I can’t be indifferent to somebody’s pain.

Many of my friends can’t understand me and people like Pechorin, but it won’t prevent us from appearing more and more, men who are much more interested in their own feelings than in others. And it will lead to more and more women who can put men in their places. But until then I will admire Pechorin’s character, because it’s better to bet on a winning side.

FCE preparation

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Saad Al Taweel - Ielts preparation

Nice to meet you

Dear Mrs Alea . . .

When I first heard about your course which was only two of three days ago, and was told that you teach it, I thought that I was going to go to this school, with an old fashioned English teacher and take those boring lessons and go home to study just to pass the exam. But in fact, I found the exact opposite, from the minute I stepped in, I was greeted by a welcoming smile from the lady, who I didn't know her name, but she's the one that gave me the test.

She introduced me to you and at first, as you were coming out of the classroom, you looked fierce and angry, it was as if you were fighting with one of the students inside. Also when I started the first class you came in shouting and started throwing the copybooks all over the place, one out the window, the other almost hitting a student on the head. They were flying like saucers. I started to wonder what I have done to myself. Today it's that boy’s face, tomorrow it'll be mine. But when the class started, things started to change, the angry and dreadful sad face changed to a beautiful, cheerful smiley face, full of happiness and joy and as the minutes went by, I found myself getting easily used to the mood and all the surroundings as if it was my thirteenth lesson, not my first. In fact I was astonished at myself, as I'm not the kind of person that can get along with people straight away. It takes me time to loosen up, but I found myself speaking up and taking part in the conversation and in many of the jokes as well. This is my first time attending an English class, all my English I learnt from my childhood and school, but honestly if I knew that English lessons were this much fun, I would have skipped medicine and majored in English, especially when they have a gorgeous, glamourous teacher like you.

As for the introduction to myself, maybe some other time, but what i would prefer is to chat it all out with you over a nice cup of tea and maybe some biscuits and I would tell you all about myself.

Abdllatif Fituri
Ielts foundation

Childhood memory

It's very difficult for somebody to forget a childhood memory, which is printed deep inside their brains, which will persist until the end of his life.

I still remember the day when I was 10 years old, my father had told my mother, my siblings and I that we were going to the United States for 6 months. It is something that means a lot to someone older than me; visiting America is a dream, it's the new world, the heaven on earth. But for me at that time it was just a place somewhere - that's all.

The story started when my father asked the family to prepare for the trip. I said with confidence, "I'm not going because I'll loose a year of school. I want to stay with my grandparents." I insisted to stay and my father, seeing how serious I was about this, agreed.

Until this point, everything was smooth, but when my family left and one week passed, I began to miss my family and I realized that it's not as simple as I thought. But a good point is that my focus was on my studies and my father wouldn't let me alone in those 6 months because he sent me a letter almost every week. I still remember one day a postman came to me, saying that I had a big box full of clothes sent from the USA waiting to be picked up at the post office.

To be honest, it wasn't easy to stay away from my family for half a year. In the end, it was an experience that not all children had, but remains with good things and bad things, which can never be forgotten.

Abdul Baset Basher
Ielts preparation

A place where I feel happy

Some people have places where they feel happy. It's not a problem where it is, but what this place means to them. The place that I think really makes me happy is the sea. I enjoy going to the beach in summer and I always have a wonderful time there.

Usually, I like to go to the beach with my friends. Most of the time we camp for 2 to 3 days, enjoying swimming, playing and fishing. We've done this trip annually for the last 7 years.
Besides swimming, my friends and I prefer taking a boat to the deep sea, then we go diving. It is extremely marvelous to see how life is underwater. Strange fishes, different kinds of plants and rocks, natural arts can be seen below.

On the other hand, especially in the early morning when the sun rises, it looks like it's coming from the deep sea. The picture of sunshine is amazing, especially when the sun's rays meet with the surface of the sea. The blue sky, fresh air, free horizon, and a tremendous environment makes our minds completely relaxed, away from problems of work and the stresses of everyday life.

In conclusion, I think I find myself when I go to the sea, especially after heavy work.

Take my advice, try it yourself!!

Abdul Baset Basher
Ielts preparation

Days of Sunshine and Mermaids Tales

Childhood days are the sweetest days of our lives to many of us. Those days have gone, but we still remember them with happiness blended with sadness sometimes. This is my own remembrance.

The most beautiful thing I remember about growing up is visiting the beach with my whole family. At that time we used to go to the beach every summer and we stayed there for two weeks. I always had a great time. In the day time I used to get up early to watch the golden ball as it rose from the sea. I thought it had slept the whole night within the sea's depths. My grandmother always told the children that we were like sunflowers because we were hungry to the sun's warmth and we were happy about its light which made us feel secure to play, swim and to build sand castles. This hobby was an attraction to many children, and the funny thing was when our castle was completed the sea's waves got jealous and came to us and took the sands again and dismantled everything. But we were so happy and we never gave up.

At night time, the calm, warm family feelings and the dark blue sky with stars and moon made our sitting around the fire after a delicious dinner unforgettable moments for me. The lovely tales of my grandmother were so interesting. One night she told us how she met a gorgeous mermaid and how she took her on a magic journey very deep inside the sea till they reached the villages of mermaids, with big castles made from gold and jewelry. My grandmother told us the place was heaven and one day we would all be there.

Yousef Zaid
Ielts preparation

The best childhood memory

I still clearly remember my first days in primary school. I remember how exciting it was to be sitting at a strange desk facing a large blackboard which we could hardly reach. The students were pretty and everything was tidy in that old school. I still have in my mind the image of those great, ancient olive trees, which gave a very magnificent and marvelous setting to the school.

What was more exciting was the wonderful marks which I got at the end of the year and how surprising it was. I was so afraid of failing, but when the teacher entered the class that day, holding in his hands the exam result papers and showing his brilliant wide grin. He joked about the results of the exam, and then he drew a palm tree on the blackboard. He drew three people climbing that tree; one on the top, one in the middle, and another near the bottom. He solved this mystery by saying the one on the top of the tree is Khalid, i.e. I was at the top of the class. This was the most beautiful thing I ever heard in my life, and its power gave me the courage and enthusiasm which I still feel in my academic life today.

Khalid Afet
Ielts preparation

A childhood memory

At the age of five, we went to live in Ireland because my father was going to finish his post graduate studies there.

For the first three or four years we stayed in Dublin. I can't quite remember all the details but what I can remember is that we lived on an estate where there was a lot of children, and that I used to go out everyday playing with them.

Some of those children had bicycles to ride. I would watch them ride the bikes, speeding, swerving and crashing into each other, fall off and getting up, laughing and giggling as they do. Sometimes I would get really angry watching them because I didn't have a bike.

I would go home to my mother crying and begging her to buy me a bicycle. But every time she would say that I was still too young. As the days went by my mother became very annoyed by my moaning, crying and complaining everyday. So my parents decided to buy me a bicycle. We went to the shop and I chose a very big bike, it was as I remember, as big as me, but I was imitating the other children and watched how they showed off with their big bikes and so I wanted the biggest one so that I could do the same. At that moment it didn't matter or come to my mind how I was going to ride it or even get on it. All I wanted was a big bike so that I could show off in front of my friends.

After a long argument with my parents showing me nice little bikes and me insisting on a big one, we came to an agreement on a blue BMX. It was an average sized bike, a compromise between the one I wanted and the little ones. It had two very strong brakes and a very nice seat and it didn't have any stabilizers!!!

We took it home and I showed it to all my friends with my head in the sky, I was the happiest kid ever that day. From that day forward the moaning and crying about buying the bike stopped, but a new argument had started.

When my parents bought the bike they thought that would be the end of it. They didn't realize that it was just the beginning. They didn't think that teaching me how to ride a bike was harder than anything in the whole wide world. The day we bought the bike I didn't ride it. It was all spent in showing it to all the children and after that I had to go to bed.

The next day I was up early, without any breakfast or washing my face, grabbed the bike and was out for a spin not realizing or even thinking that riding a bike would be a difficult task. I thought that like the other children, you get on and you get off. But it wasn't like that, when I got on before I even started to pedal, I fell off. That was the first scratch of many. I went in to my mother, crying and shouting. At first she was frightened and then she started to laugh at me. From that day the learning process started and my parents started taking me to the park, teaching me how to ride. Although I had many crashes and falls, crashing into walls and trees and falling left and right, in the end I got the hang of it and became a great rider, beating all the children and even riding without hands.

Today I have won over two hundred trophies, the first was in the Tour de France and three times again after and now going for the fourth.

Abdllatif Fituri
Ielts foundation