#HappyThanksgiving by Amanda Jones

In the last few years, traditions surrounding Thanksgiving have changed significantly. Let’s take a look at the Thanksgiving holiday and shopping traditions surrounding it (and how these holidays and traditions have spread around the world).

thanksgiving.jpgThanksgiving (November the 24th)
Although celebrated in many countries, it’s safe to say this holiday is most often associated with the U.S. and Canada. On Thanksgiving, families (and friends) have a large meal* and give thanks for the good things in their lives. In my family, we go around the table before eating and say what we are thankful for. It’s a nice opportunity to reflect on the positive things in our lives.

Thanksgiving is always held on a Thursday, so many people do not work Friday and instead enjoy a long weekend before the craziness of the Christmas season begins. We don’t call it a ‘puente’ like they do in Spain, but that’s exactly what it is!

After Thanksgiving dinner, you have two options: go into a turkey coma (my personal favorite choice) or partake in this strange new tradition: Black Friday.

video27n-1-webBlack Friday (November the 25th)
The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas season, and with this season comes the holiday shopping craze called Black Friday. Black Friday used to be a day where stores opened early and gave discounts on more expensive items: I remember my mother waking up at 5 am to be at a department store called Mervyn’s by 6. By around 2 pm, all her Christmas shopping was usually done! For my Mom, it was a way to do all of the Christmas shopping at one time (and at a discount). Black Friday was all about efficiency for us!

Today, Black Friday has grown into something much different. Stores now open as early as Thanksgiving night, and people sometimes stand in line for hours to enter the store and buy gifts at a discounted price. Several years ago, we decided not to go Black Friday shopping anymore. Instead, we sleep in late the day after Thanksgiving and worry about the Christmas shopping later. I’d rather avoid the crowds!

17FORAGING1-jumbo.jpgSmall Business Saturday (November the 26th)
An interesting response to Black Friday has been the invention of Small Business Saturday. This “holiday” has only existed since 2010, but it’s already become a staple of many shopping districts. While most people go to larger chain stores on Black Friday, they choose Saturday to shop at locally owned stores. This day promotes shopping at businesses that are owned by community members. It’s a great way to connect with local business owners and promote small business!

Cyber Monday (November the 28th)
The crazy week of post-Thanksgiving shopping continues with Cyber Monday. On this day, e-commerce stores such as Amazon have large sales on many items. Even Kindle books are on sale (which I always take advantage of)! This is great for the person who prefers to stay inside and do their Christmas shopping at home. Compared to waking up in the middle of the night and facing the Black Friday crowds, I think Cyber Monday sounds like a nice alternative!

Which of these have you experienced? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook!

*The meal is typically roasted turkey that is stuffed with a mixture of bread and spices (called stuffing). Side dishes are usually mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh bread with cranberry sauce, green beans and creamy mushrooms topped with fried onions, and roasted sweet potatoes. Pumpkin pie and apple pie are the dessert staples.

By Amanda Jones

Let’s meet… Amanda! TEACHER INTERVIEW

amandajonesToday we are interviewing Amanda Jones. Amanda was born in Monterrey (California). She’s been teaching English for 8 years and living in Spain for almost 2. As well as being a teacher, she’s also a yoga instructor and a freelance writer. If you’d like to practice some English and read about her articles go to Sedimentality and, if you’d love to do yoga while you’re learning English, join her classes at Bella Yoga.

Now, let’s meet her!

What do you think is the most important trait that an English teacher should have? Any great teacher should understand how it feels to be in their student’s shoes. That’s why I think that all English instructors should also be learning another language or skill at the same time as they are teaching!

What do you most like about teaching English? I’m a writer, and I love the English language. I love its idioms, its expressions, and dialects. I truly enjoy teaching students how to express themselves using these devices.

What type of learning/activities do you most like to emphasise in your classes? Any of my students will tell you that I love phrasal verbs! I think they are daunting because there are so many, but they’re a vital part of the English language learning process, and very helpful because students can apply them in everyday speech. I’m also a big fan of reading, and I love reading books with my students and then discussing them in class.

Amanda’s piece of advice «Set small goals: don’t begin with the intention of “mastering English.” Start small and say, “I don’t know how to express ______________,” and go from there.»

Why do you like working for Ziggurat? I love the opportunity to travel throughout Barcelona and meet students in their work environments. I also LOVE teaching test preparation, and am thankful that Ziggurat gives me the chance to share this skill with many students.

What other things are you doing professionally in your life? I’m a certified yoga instructor, and a freelance writer. I have a little website, Sedimentality, where I combine my love of writing, food, and travel.

What do you like doing in your free time? I love yoga (in any language! I attend classes in Catalan, Spanish, and English) and I love photography, and food and wine.

How has Yoga helped you in your English teaching? A popular motto in yoga is “practice and all is coming.” I think this applies perfectly to English as well. Without practice, all of our grammar and vocabulary knowledge is useless! We must learn to be patient and enjoy the process, not the destination. Only then are we truly students, and only then are we enjoying what we are doing.