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clases de inglés

Episode 47: Malls in Chile and the Arrival of Amazon


Episode 47: Malls in Chile and the Arrival of Amazon

Today Paige and Martin tackle quite an interesting topic, we’re going to talk about malls. Which in the U.S. are a dying retail business, but here, surprisingly, they’re booming.  We also talk about the potential arrival of Amazon in the near future and its implications.


Episode 41: Cooking with Gringos


Episode 41: Cooking with Gringos

This week on the podcast, we're doing things a little bit differently. Instead of Coffee with Gringos, we are cooking with gringos! So, in order to teach you that vocabulary about food and about cooking, Paige and Mariah will be making a meal—lasagna.


Episode 40: Chilean Cities


Episode 40: Chilean Cities

Chile's a beautiful country. There's so much to see here. From the mountains to the sea to the desert to the forest... sometimes I don't think Chileans even realize how much their country has to offer. And so today we'll be chatting about some of the places that we've been to and comparing them because Chile has a lot of really, really different places.


Episode 39: Fears and Phobias


Episode 39: Fears and Phobias

On this episode we’ll talk about our fears, our phobias, and our superstitions... so good old human anxiety. But it's something that we all relate to, right?! Remember, as you're listening, if you get lost, the vocabulary guide and the transcript are on the website to help you out.


Episode 38: What's on your Bucket List?


Episode 38: What's on your Bucket List?

On this episode, we talk about bucket lists. The term comes from the idiom "kick the bucket," which means to die. It's a very old-fashioned idiom that means to die. So basically the bucket list means: What are all of the things you want to do before you kick the bucket? What are your hopes and dreams? Remember, as you're listening, if you get lost, the vocabulary guide and transcript are on the website to help you out.


Episode 36: Do your Chores!


Episode 36: Do your Chores!

This week we're talking about different things that we do around the house, around the apartment: household chores and tasks. It's not a glamorous topic, but it's definitely one that we talk about everyday because these are things that you're doing constantly, right?


Episode 23: Cheers to Drinking Vocabulary


Episode 23: Cheers to Drinking Vocabulary

So, I want you imagine that you are traveling in an English speaking country, and you go to the bar, and you're ready to order a drink, and you're like, "Shoot, I don't know vocabulary for any of the drinks on this menu!" Or maybe you don't have a menu! That's the worst case scenario. So, today, we are reviewing the vocabulary for some of our favorite alcoholic beverages. Now, we know that some people don't drink, but a lot of you do. So, tune in, and remember that if you get lost along the way, the vocabulary guide and transcript are on our website to help you out.


Episode 21: Summer Vacation Planning


Episode 21: Summer Vacation Planning

Welcome back to the podcast. This week, we are chatting about trip planning. We're both people that really enjoy travelling, especially living abroad, there are lots of opportunities to do it. And we know that a lot of our listeners do too! So today we're practicing vocabulary related to planning a trip.


Episode 19: New Year, New You?


Episode 19: New Year, New You?

Listen to Episode 19 of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Download the Episode 19 Transcript here!


Paige: You're listening to Coffee with Gringos. I'm Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. Welcome back to podcast. This week, we are chatting about New Years resolutions. Those are the goals that we set, and we try really hard to keep every year. Or maybe we don't try so hard to keep them. We'll talk about that today. Remember, as you listen to the episode today, if you get lost, the transcript and vocabulary guide are on our website to help you out.

Paige: Alright, so to talk about the common New Years resolutions, I think a lot of them have to do with health, right? Exercise more. Eat better.

Mariah: Right. Personal development, maybe learning a hobby, learning a skill. Or, I think, related to what you're saying, not necessarily eating better or exercising more, but eliminating a bad habit. I think resolutions generally fall into those three camps.

Paige: Yeah, eating less candy, not smoking, drinking less... all of those kind of vices I guess that we have. So, are you a New Years resolution setter?

Mariah: I think there are two types of people, maybe there are three types of people... people who are obsessed with New Years resolutions and very committed to them, people who set them and just absolutely fail, and people who really could care less.

Paige: What camp do you fall into?

Mariah: Honestly, I'm somewhere between two and three. I occasionally set them, and then I disastrously fail. Or I just don't do it at all because I don't want to fail. I don't know. How about you? Which group do you fall into?

Paige: I usually set a New Years resolution, but I've never been successful.

Mariah: Ever?!

Paige: No... the biggest one that I set probably every year I think I'm gonna try again this year, and maybe it will finally stick... but it's always, you know, a big character flaw of mine is waking up early. I hate the mornings. If I have to wake up for something, I can physically do it. If it's something, where you know, oh you should wake up early to do work or go to the gym or go for a run... I will snooze the heck out of it. I'll snooze for five minutes for two hours and get up two hours later.

Mariah: Me too... Me too.

Paige: So, it's probably one of my worst pet peeves of mine. So, every year, I'm like, "Nope, that's it, you're gonna wake up at 6:30 every morning, regardless of when you have to wake up." And probably the first week or two, I'm like very committed. And then I let a week slip... and then another week, and then I'm back to snoozing.

Mariah: Just back to the same old, sleeping in. Yeah, I hear you, I hear you.

Paige: What are your biggest New Years resolutions?

Mariah: Oh, that's a good question. One resolution that I have for the coming year is to be more on time. So, I am not the most punctual person in the world. I've arrived to Coffee with Gringos studios late many times... every time, except today. A round of applause!

Paige: I was very shocked when I heard the doorbell ring, and it was exactly on time... I was like this can't be Mariah, this must be someone else.

Mariah: Right, I'm a woman whose full of surprises, and being on time is one of them. So, I think that's a good goal. I would also like to wake up earlier, but frankly, I think that's pretty unrealistic for me, and so I'm going to set a goal that's maybe more achievable... which is showing up on time like 75% of the time.

Paige: I think that is the biggest flaw of New Year's resolutions is they are so unreachable.

Mariah: Right, they're lofty.

Paige: I'm gonna work out everyday for the next year! When you're a person who works out maybe once a month. That's unattainable for you. You're not going to go from once a month to everyday... so it's kind of, I think the pitfall is you set these unattainable resolutions, where you aren't gonna be successful.

Mariah: Right. I was reading an article the other day that was talking about New Year's resolutions. And it was actually focused on the UK, so it had surveyed a group of folks there, and it said that resolutions are impossible to achieve because they aren't specific, and they aren't realistic. And so, it was saying, you know... maybe your resolution is, "I want to save money." Well, that's really general and broad, but maybe something more achievable is to say, you know, "I want to save 50.000 pesos a month." Right? And all of a sudden, you have a measurable goal. And I think that's good advice.

Paige: Have you ever gone to the gym the week after New Years?

Mariah: Oh yeah. It's packed.

Paige: It's packed. You can tell everyone's New Year's resolution is to work out more, to exercise, I mean, I remember I would go to the gym, and I couldn't get a treadmill, I couldn't get a bike... and then, maybe two weeks in, it's like ghost town. No one's there anymore. It's like everyone already broke their New Year's resolution and is like, "Eh, that worked out for a good five straight days. I'm good for the year."

Mariah: Right, exactly, exactly. That's typical. Yeah. I think that the thing with New Year's resolutions is that a lot of times, these are big changes we're talking about. These lofty goals that we said people make... eating well or exercising routinely or drinking less alcohol or quitting a smoking habit. Those are not necessarily things that happen overnight. And I think that it's good that people see the turning of the year as an opportunity to make a change in their life. That's a positive thing, but at the same time, research shows, and I think we know as humans that changes take time, and you know, the change from December to January doesn't necessarily indicate that you're going to be able to flip a switch and become a triathlete that eats salad every single day.

Paige: No! And I think for our listeners who are trying to learn English, I think that is a good thing to keep in mind... set goals for yourself that are attainable. Maybe I wanna improve my English so that I'm speaking more in the past tense or that I'm, you know, able to strike up conversation more comfortably. Like, set reasonable goals instead of being like, "I wanna be fluent in 2019!" That's a very hard goal to have, so you wanna, like Mariah said, have some tangible goals.

Mariah: Right. That's a great point, Paige. I think that, like this article I was telling you about said: Is it attainable? Is it realistic? And is it measurable? So, instead of saying, "I wanna be fluent," saying, "Okay, I wanna practice 10 minutes a day in any way that I possibly can, whether that's listening to music or watching part of a series or listening to Coffee with Gringos!

Paige: Great goal to have for 2019.

Mariah: Right, but that's an attainable goal, maybe a realistic goal, like Paige said, is saying: "I'm going to master the past tense this year!" or "I'm going to be conversational this year!" But a goal like fluency is a lofty goal that might take you years to achieve.

Paige: And might disappoint you... because you're aiming for something that most people can't achieve. It's too high of a task to set for one year.

Mariah: Right, so it's a great goal to set, and we hope that learning English is part of your New Year's resolution, but if it is, make sure that you're setting it in a way where you can be successful and where you can actually see change instead of, you know, hitting the books, studying three hours a day for the first two weeks of the New Year, and then completely quitting by week three.

Paige: So, now that it's out there, it's recorded... Mariah is gonna work on being on time, I'm gonna work on getting up early...

Mariah: And our listeners are going to be devoted Coffee with Gringos fans.

Paige: Settled. 2019. Best year yet.

Mariah: Here we come. We're ready for ya. Thanks so much for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.


Goal (noun) - an objective

Example: This week, we are chatting about New Year’s resolutions. Those are the goals that we set, and we try really hard to keep every year.

To set goals (phrase) - to decide on and try to achieve your goals

Example: This year, Paige set the goal to wake up earlier.

Achieve (verb) - to obtain, to accomplish

Example: Sometimes it’s difficult to achieve your goals when they’re too unrealistic.

Resolution (noun) - an objective or goal

Example: It’s common to make New Year’s resolutions every year.

To keep a goal/resolution (phrase) - to be committed to your objective

Example: Every year, we try hard to keep our New Year’s resolutions.

Fall into camps (idiom) - are separated into groups

Example: Usually New Year’s resolutions fall into three camps: health, personal development, and eliminating a bad habit.

Vices (noun) - wrong or bad habits

Example: Some people try to eliminate their vices for New Year's - smoking and drinking for example.

Committed (adjective) - dedicated

Example: Some people are very committed to keeping their New Year’s resolutions.

Skill (noun) - an ability

Example: I want to learn a new skill for New Year’s… maybe I’ll learn to play the piano!

Fail (verb) - to not succeed, to not complete your objective

Example: Sometimes I set New Year’s Resolutions, but unfortunately, I almost always fail!

Flaw (noun) - an imperfection or weakness

Example: One of Paige’s biggest character flaws is that she’s not good at waking up early.

Hit snooze (slang) - to silence your alarm clock when it sounds

Example: I hate mornings! Sometimes I hit snooze five times.

Sleep in (phrasal verb) - to sleep late, especially to sleep later than you planned

Example: I love sleeping in, so it’s hard for me to wake up early.

Pet peeve (slang) - something that you find very annoying or frustrating

Example: Her pet peeve is when people arrive late.

On time (phrase) - punctual

Example: I almost never arrive on time.

Achievable (adjective) - able to be reached/obtained successfully

Example: It’s very important to set goals that are achievable.

Lofty (adjective) - unrealistic

Example: Exercising every single day is a lofty goal.

Pitfall (noun) - danger or difficulty

Example: One of the pitfalls of setting resolutions is that people often choose goals that are completely unattainable!

Work out (phrasal verb) - to exercise

Example: One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to work out more.

Flip a switch (idiom) - make a very sudden change

Example: Research shows that it’s very difficult to flip a switch and change a habit.

Attainable (adjective) - possible to obtain or achieve

Example: If you’re an English language learner, set an attainable goal, and try to practice for just ten minutes every day!

Hit the books (idiom) - study very, very intensely

Example: You don’t need to hit the books for three hours a day to improve your English, but it is important to practice a little every day!

Download the Episode 19 Transcript here!


Episode 18: Let's Get Political


Episode 18: Let's Get Political

Listen to Episode 18 of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Download the Episode 18 Transcript here!

Politics. Whether you like it or not, this is an incredibly important topic! Today, Paige and Mariah do their best to explain the always entertaining, often confusing United States political system.


Paige: You’re listening to Coffee with Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika! Welcome back to the show! The theme of today’s episode is politics. Dun, dun, dun… It’s a topic that you either love to love or you love to hate, but no matter what, it’s part of our life, and so… we’re going to chat about it today. And remember, if you get lost along the way, the transcript and the vocabulary guide are right there on our website to help you out.

Paige: Okay, so, to start off… me and Mariah, as you all know, are from the US. And we had quite a big election that happened last week.

Mariah: Yeah, recently we had midterm elections. So, midterm elections, they’re not presidential, they’re basically for some of the seats in Congress in both the House and the Senate.

Paige: And it’s usually a big election because it kind of sways the power.

Mariah: Right.

Paige: So, in the US we have two main political parties. We have the Democrats, which are more liberal, more left-wing. And then we have the Republicans, which is the right-wing, conservative.

Mariah: In Chile, I’ve realized that a lot of people have pretty solid knowledge of the US political system. I’ve been surprised and a little bit humbled because I certainly didn’t have that knowledge of the Chilean system prior to coming here. But for those of you who don’t know, and it’s obviously totally fine if you don’t! In the US, we have the Executive Branch of power, the Judicial Branch of power, and then we have the Legislative Branch, which is our congressional branch and includes two main parts. It includes the Senate, and it includes the House of Representatives. And in the midterm elections, there are usually many, many seats availabe in both the house and the Senate, and depending on what happens, that balance of power between the House of Representatives and the Senate can sometimes change. And when it changes, we call it “flipping the House,” and when it doesn’t change, we call it “holding the House” or “holding the Senate.” So, for example, in the last election, Democrats flipped the House, and they now have control. And the Republicans held the Senate.

Paige: Exactly, so it was a very, very important election for both those political parties. And so in the US, we are federal, but we also have state law. So the midterm elections was federal positions. We’re talking about House Representatives, we’re talking about Senators. So, to break that down too, each state gets two senators and the House of Representatives depends on the size... the population of your state. So, a state like Rhode Island that is very small has fewer House Representatives than a state like California. So, it’s really based on size when it comes to your House Reps. And that’s federally. This is talking about in Washington DC. But each state has their own laws.

Mariah: Right, and I’m glad that you brought that up Paige because I think people often forget about the major importance of local politics, and elections like these… for United States citizens, they’re a huge opportunity to vote on local politics and vote for politicians that will change things in your own community because obviously federal law is not as personalized to the things that you are your family experience on a day-to-day basis.

Paige: No, and some of the big elections that happened in the midterms were races for governor. So, a lot of states had those seats open, and a governor is basically a president of a state. He is the executive branch of that state.

Mariah: Or she!

Paige: Or she, sorry! So, that person basically maintains that state. They oversee the laws that are passed in that state. The enforcement. They’re basically, like I said, the president of that state. So, very important. And like Mariah said, it’s more personal! The laws that each state have touch your life a little bit more, than say, a federal law does.

Mariah: Right, exactly. Yeah, you’re voting for somebody that intimately knows and can represent your district for example. And that, that’s different than voting for a senator that will serve you nationally.

Paige: So, like Mariah was saying, federally we have House Reps and Senators. And each state has their own House Rep and Senator as well. And so, if you live in a state like say, Minnesota, you have your state House Rep, and you have your State Senators. And then you have your Federal Senators and your Federal House Reps.

Mariah: It’s a little complex. There’s a lot going on. I know that something that people know more about here, especially because when a president is elected of any country in the world, it has global shockwaves, right? And, something that Paige and I have talked about is that in the United States, presidents can serve… they serve a four year term, but then they can run for re-election and serve another four-year term. But consecutively. This is different than in Chile because I learned, we both learned, that here, you can serve a four-year term, then you have to stop, and then you can run for re-election! I was completely surprised by that. It’s a really fascinating system.

Paige: And it’s interesting that the past two presidents have done so.

Mariah: Right! Right, it was Bachelet, Pinera, Bachelet, Pinera.

Paige: So it’s not only the law, but it seems like it’s very normal here.

Mariah: Or, it has been!

Paige: It has been, at least recently. I wish I was here during the election, the most recent election. But I do know from research that it is very different. The US itself is just very different, where in 2016, when that election was over, people were already considering and looking at 2020, which is the next presidential election. In the US, it’s like this non-stop election campaigning period, where even the day after an election, people are already looking to the next one. It’s constant fundraising, campaigning, advocacy...

Mariah: Lobbying.

Paige: Where in most countries, there’s laws where you cannot campaign until a certain amount of time before the election. In the US, it’s like years… people just constantly campaign.

Mariah: Right, it feels like the political machine never rests in the United States. That’s what I would say.

Paige: The other thing I noticed was you can walk by La Moneda… and you can be, I mean, what… 300 feet away from the building? Where in the US, our La Moneda is the White House, and there’s a huge fence with military security… you can barely poke your eye in to see the White House. You can get nowhere near. Where here, there’s even a street that goes behind La Moneda that you can drive by.

Mariah: Right, so access to government buildings is really, really different. Didn’t you go to La Moneda the other day?

Paige: Yeah! Besides teaching, I also am a reporter, and I was interviewing someone there. I set up the interview the day before, I just showed my ID, I walked in, and I was inside La Moneda, and I was in someone’s office interviewing them. Where in the US, I’ve done interviews in the White House, but you need to be pre-screened, I need to show my passport, I need to do this a week before before I can even get near the gate.

Mariah: Probably intense security once you enter…

Paige: Yeah, it was liberating! It was nice that, it was like the people have access. You walk by La Moneda… people are outside having picnics and hanging out with friends and enjoying the green space right in front of it. Where in the US, it’s like, we’re a democracy but we’re caged up!

Mariah: Right, you can look at the home of the United States’ democracy behind a very large and imposing fence.

Paige: With huge rifles!

Mariah: Yeah, I like that too. Spaces are important, and when a government building feels like it belongs to the people, I think that that’s a really cool element of a country’s politics.

Paige: The biggest thing that I’ve realized too when I’ve talked to a lot of my students about politics, and I think that you will take this away from this episode is that it’s confusing. The US politics are complex because we are this federal government that is state-run as well. So, when people talk about “Oh, this is going on in the US!” It’s like…oh, that’s actually a Texas law. I don’t have that law in Massachusetts! Or, I heard about this law in California… well, we don’t have this law in Minnesota. So, it’s very, very…

Mariah: Convoluted. Totally. I agree.

Paige: So we talked about how important the midterm elections were, but did you vote in the midterm elections, Mariah?

Mariah: Absolutely. Absolutely. Voting, to me, is a really important way to participate in the political process. And I feel really lucky because Minnesota is a state that tries really hard to make voting accessible, and so for example, if you’re in the state, you can do same-day registration. You can register to vote, vote that day, awesome. And, in terms of voting from afar, I sent an email requesting an absentee ballot with a form with some of my information, they emailed me a ballot, they emailed me a PDF of my ballot, I printed it, I voted, and then I mailed it right back. It was a painless process. It was easy. And, it felt good to have my vote counted. How about you? Did you vote?

Paige: I did! I went home in October, and so I did a similar process, but I actually went in and got the absentee ballot and just filled it out and sent it in right then when I was home. But no, like you said, I think that we are abroad, we are living in Chile, but the politics that are still going on in our homes are important, and we should have a voice in it!

Mariah: Totally, and I know that in some countries, it’s not possible to vote from a distance, and so I feel fortunate that we’re able to do that in our country. Voting’s good. Make your voice heard.

Paige: So, even though, we were talking about politics today, I hope that this didn’t feel too political.

Mariah: Or too boring!

Paige: We just felt like it was good to…

Mariah: Politics are talked about everywhere! They’re talked about in the United States, they’re talked about here, and as the world becomes more and more globalized, these are conversations that are just going to keep happening more and more.

Paige: So these are good tools for your toolbox.

Mariah: Exactly. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon!


Love to love or love to hate (phrase) - something that you truly enjoy or that you enjoy having negative feelings about

Example: Politics is a topic that you either love to love or love to hate.

Start off (phrasal verb) - to begin

Example: To start off, Mariah and I are going to talk about the recent midterm elections that happened in the United States.

Midterm elections (noun) - in the United States, the general elections that happen two years into a president’s four year term

Example: The midterm elections happy halfway through a presidency. In the midterms, citizens vote for federal, state, and local officials.

Seats (noun) - available positions

Example: During the midterms, many congressional seats are open.

Sway (verb) - to move from side to side

Example: And it’s usually a big election because it sways the power.

Political parties (noun) - an organized group of people with similar views

Example: In the US, we have two main political parties.

Democrats (noun) - the left-wing, liberal political party

Example: In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the candidate for the Democrats.

Republicans (noun) - the right-wing, conservative political party

Example: In 2016, Donald Trump was the candidate for the Republicans.

Humbled (adjective) - to feel less proud

Example: In Chile, I’ve realized that a lot of people have pretty solid knowledge of the US political system. I’ve been surprised and a little bit humbled because I certainly didn’t have that knowledge of the Chilean system prior to coming here.

Branch (noun) - in the political context, a large section or part

Example: The United States government has three main branches.

Executive Branch (noun) - the part of the US government that is administrative, includes the president

Example: The Executive Branch implements the laws passed by Congress.

Legislative Branch (noun) - the part of the US government that makes laws

Example: The Senate and the House of Representatives are part of the Legislative Branch.

Judicial Branch (noun) - the part of the US government that interprets the law and administers justice

Example: The Supreme Court is part of the Judicial Branch.

Senate/Senators (noun) - the upper section of the United States Congress, the people who serve in the Senate

Example: Each state elects two senators to serve in the Senate.

House of Representatives/House Reps - the lower section of the United States Congress, the people who serve in the House of Representatives

Example: House Reps work together in the House of Representatives to create laws for people in the United States.

Flip (verb) - in a political context, when the power changes

Example: In the most recent midterm election, Democrats flipped the House of Representatives.

Hold (verb) - in a political context, when the power doesn’t change

Example: In the most recent midterm election, Republicans held the Senate.

Federal (noun) - the national level of government in the US

Example: The United States is governed at a federal level and a state level.

Term (noun) - the amount of time a politician can serve

Example: In Chile, the president can serve four-year terms non-consecutively.

Convoluted (adjective) - confusing or unclear

Example: In general, politics can be very convoluted.

Fundraise (adjective) - to raise money for something

Example: Politicians are often fundraising non-stop in the United States.

Ballot (noun) - the document you complete when you vote

Example: Since I’m in Chile, I had to mail my ballot to Minnesota. That’s called an absentee ballot!

Same-day registration (noun) - when a state allows voters to register on the day of the election

Example: Minnesota makes voting very accessible because it has a same-day registration law.

Download the Episode 18 Transcript here!


Episode 14: Love is in the Air


Episode 14: Love is in the Air

Love is in the air… and the parks… and the metro. This week, we’re chatting about romantic topics like weddings and dating! Paige and Mariah tell you about wedding customs in the United States and we share our thoughts on PDA in Chile. What’s PDA, you ask? Press play, and we’ll tell you!


Episode 13: From El Salvador to Chile... A Visit with Victor!


Episode 13: From El Salvador to Chile... A Visit with Victor!

In this edition of Coffee with Gringos, we’re joined by our pal and fellow Dynamic English teacher, Victor! Victor shares his inspiring journey to learn English and build a life in Chile. He tells us how a guy from El Salvador ended up in Santiago and shares his passion for bike riding. This is a good one. Whether you’re driving, cooking dinner, or avoiding doing your actual work… hang out with Victor, Paige, and Mariah for the next 15 minutes.


Episode 12: Sports, Here and Abroad


Episode 12: Sports, Here and Abroad

Did you know Chile's National Sport is....Rodeo. We discuss which sports are popular here and back home in the U.S. Remember if you get lost you can always refer back to the transcript and vocabulary guide.