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A Hiking Family

II. Listening Exercises
Listen to the conversation again by pressing the Play Audio button and read along with the conversation. Review the Key Vocabulary and the sample sentences.

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My name's Randall Davis, and I'm originally from the state of Indiana in the United States. When I was 19 years old, I moved to Venezuela in South America, and later returned to the United States, where I attended Brigham Young University in the 1980s. I majored in Spanish education and TESOL, or teaching English as a second language. After graduating from college, my wife and I moved to Japan where we lived for eight years. Now, I work back in the States in Utah.

However, my greatest interests are my family. Years ago, I wanted to make something of myself in my profession . . . you know . . . get ahead in life. However, I realized that the most important things in life lived within the walls of my own home, and today, I try to put them first. My kids wouldn't remember me for the work I did outside of the home; they would only recall the moments we spent together.

Therefore, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have four children, and we go hiking and camping together, usually in Utah. On our hikes, we often talk about life, and I tell stories or share personal experiences. When I do this, I can focus on the kids without the distractions of video games or the Internet. Telling stories sounds easy, but when you have to think of a new story on a hot, 12-kilometer hike through the desert, you have come up with ideas off the top of your head.

Now, this doesn't mean we don't have problems; all families face challenges in their lives, and our family is no exception. However, we try to talk openly about our problems, and we try to solve our problems together. Building a strong family takes time, but it is worth the effort.

Family pictures from hiking trips in Utah:

Right: Park Avenue, Arches National Park

Below: Mill Creek Canyon, Moab, Utah

Bottom Right: Eye of the Whale, Arches National Park


Key Vocabulary [Top]

  • make something of oneself (idiom): become successful in a career
    - My dad never thought I would make something of myself because I didn't graduate from a prestigious university, but I proved him wrong.

  • get ahead (phrasal verb): become successful in the business world
    - If you want to get ahead in life, you have to set clear goals.

  • realize (verb): understand the importance of something
    - Many young married couples don't realize how challenging raising children can be until they have children of their own.

  • recall (verb): remember something from the past
    - I can't recall a time when my parents argued in front of me and my brothers.

  • focus on (verb): pay careful and direct attention to a particular person or thing
    - When people focus too much on their careers, they sometimes neglect their family's needs.

  • distraction (noun): something that takes your attention away from another activity
    - Watching too much TV can be a big distraction from building a good relationship with children.

  • off the top of your head (idiom): think of something immediately without preparation
    - I felt really embarrassed when I couldn't remember her name off the top of my head.

Vocabulary Activities [Top]

Now, do these exercises to review the vocabulary. Then, return back to the Post-Listening Exercise to use the vocabulary in real conversations.


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