Home » Season 1 » Episode 01 – Meet Jackie

Episode 01 – Meet Jackie

In this episode, Foster interviews Jackie about how to identify a Chicago accent, how being adaptable and going with the flow is so important while learning a language, and so much more!

Here are some of the questions that were asked. It would be great practice for you to answer these questions yourself after listening to the episode!

  1. Where are you from?
  2. What makes your accent unique? Are there any characteristics of your accent that right away people know where you’re from?
  3. Where do you feel most “at home”?
  4. What has your career path looked like over the years?
  5. What has influenced you to make changes in your career path?
  6. Why did you decide to learn a foreign language? How has this experience been?
  7. Do you feel like your personality changes when you speak another language?
  8. Do you adapt easily to new situations? What situations are more challenging for you? What can you learn from these situations?
  9. Are you “resisting” anything while learning English? What is your inner dialogue like when you are speaking English? What small perspective changes can you make to make the learning process better and more enjoyable?

Homework assignment: What are you “resisting” in your life? Pay attention to when these feelings of frustration or judgment come up and reflect on them. How can you adapt and “go with the flow” so that these experiences are better?

Example: I’ve noticed that I get easily frustrated when I try to speak in English because I want to speak fast, and I need to stop and think a lot. This frustration makes me shut down and want to give up entirely. I could change this by taking the pressure off myself and focus on feeling proud of myself even if I make mistakes and need to pause while speaking.



Hello, hello, hey, sweet people. Welcome to “Improve your English, Improve Your Life”, a podcast that normally the introduction is done by Jackie, but today the tables are turned, and I am interviewing Jackie. My name’s Foster, and of course, I am here with Jackie. Jackie, how are you doing?


I’m doing great, Foster. How are you doing?


I’m doing well. I’m actually – I’m very interested to have the opportunity to interview you and get to know a little more about you.


Very exciting. I mean, you have interviewed me before for your guys’ podcast, which was really fun.

– your guys’ podcast = uma maneira bem informal de dizer “o podcast de vocês”

  • Hey, Martin and Judy! You guys forgot your guys’ jackets!



We’ll see if maybe some new stories will come up today.


So, I’m going to – I might ask you some questions that are not the traditional, like, “give us your background” questions.

– your background = seu histórico, onde você cresceu, o que estudou, etc.

  • Because of his musical background, it was very easy for him to become a famous pianist.

Também pode significar “fundo de uma imagem ou vista”

  • There is a strange person in the background of this picture. Do you know who it is?)



Um, but I think we should let our listeners know that we don’t know each other that well. We’ve never met in person. We are just both English teachers and entrepreneurs that have a lot of things in common, but still a lot of stuff I don’t know about you.

– entrepreneur (pronúncia: ɑn trə prəˈnɜr, -ˈnʊər, -ˈnyʊər / soa como: ontrapranír) = empreendedor

  • I don’t want to be and employee anymore, I want to be an entrepreneur and open my own company!

It’s true. And I honestly – I think that, uh, that makes for a better program. Because sometimes when I listen to podcasts and people already know each other, they don’t think of the questions that I have; “No, wait, ask them this” or “I don’t understand, what’s the story about that?” So, uh, we’re going to discover a lot of things about each other and about all the topics that we talk about, and the listeners will discover as well, along with us.


Excellent. So I think an interesting place for us to start is a question that I have a lot of difficulty with, but it’s a very simple question. So Jackie, where are you from?


Okay. I’m from Chicago.


*laughs* Okay. Nailed it!

Nailed it = de “to nail something”, expressão informal que significa “acertar em cheio” ou “conseguir fazer algo perfeitamente”

  • Did you get the job? Yes! I nailed the interview!
  • I’m a little nervous, I don’t know if I will do well on my test. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll nail it!)

*laughs* Yes, got that one right! Sweatin’ over here!

Sweatin’ (pronunciado “suétin”, ou com o “t” engolido) = uma maneira bem informal de dizer “sweating”, que vem do verbo “to sweat”, que significa “suar”. No inglês bem informal podemos comer o “g” de palavras na forma “ing”, substituindo por uma vírgula.

  • My mama loves bakin’ and cookin’ on Sundays.
  • I don’t like to sweat, that’s why I prefer winter to summer. Really? I love sweatin’, so even in winter I go to the gym!  

Okay, so you’re from Chicago.




Do you have the, kind of, stereotype of a Chicago accent?


I think I – I can. I feel like it’s gotten weaker over the years. I’ve noticed that, when I’m with my family and when I’m in Chicago for a period of time, it definitely gets stronger. I don’t know if you notice that about your accent as well, but –


Oh, yeah.


I mean – I have a Chicago accent. Like, if I – I can crank it up. *laughs* I can really turn it on if people want me to! But I think by teaching, I try to teach with a little bit more of a neutral accent if possible. Not completely changing my accent, but just not so strong. But when I’m with, yeah, my family and friends, it definitely comes out much stronger, for sure.

crank it up = expressão idiomática informal que expressa “aumentar algo bastant” ou “colocar algo no máximo”.

  • All right, everyone! Let’s crank up the volume and start dancing!

Yeah. Do you have any examples of, like, stereotypical Chicago accents, um, like idiomatic phrases? ‘Cause I’m not very familiar with the Chicago accent.


Okay, so, I think what’s a big giveaway are the “o’s”. So, um, like, for example, the word “hot dog”. I say “hát dág” It’s almost like an “a” sound! “rock”, “hard rock café”, um…

giveaway = expressão que significa “algo que entrega”

  • Your expression is a giveaway that you are happy.

Frequentemente é usado com “dead” para expressar que algo “entrega na hora”

  • Maria’s big stomach is a dead giveaway that she is pregnant. 



*laughs* It’s…I remember when I was in, er, high school, I did this, like, outdoor camping trip. Uh, I went to Oregon, and I was with a bunch of people from the West Coast. And I, I remember, I was telling people that there was a rock in my sleeping bag. And everyone’s like, “Oh. My. Gosh! Your accent is so strong!” And that was the first time I had ever been with people, like, from another state, and I was, like, “What are you talking about?” And I was talking about how, like, my socks, my socks were wet. Like, “I have to dry my socks, my socks were wet”, and they were, like, “OH MY –“, and everyone was just laughing at my (accent) *laughs*. Or “The book is ON” – I think the “o’s” are the dead giveaway –

outdoor = em português, significa “anúncio grande em forma de cartaz, painel, etc. exposto às margens de ruas e em outros pontos ao ar livre”, mas em inglês “outdoor” simplesmente significa “em ambiente externo”, e o que se chama “outdoor” no Brasil é “billboard” em inglês.
– A billboard is a kind of outdoor advertising.

Oregon (pronúncia: ˈɒrɪɡən, ɔr ɪ gən, -ˌgɒn / soa como: órigan, ôrigan) = um estado nos EUA que fica na região noroeste, logo acima da California. É famoso pelas suas belezas naturais.

a bunch (pronúncia: bʌntʃ / soa como: bântch) = uma expressão informal que expressa “um monte”. A expressão “a whole bunch” significa “um montão”. (ex. There’s a bunch of people here!/ Jerry is sick because he ate a whole bunch of cookies!)

oh my gosh = expressão informal de surpresa que expressa algo como “minha nossa!”, ou “nossa!” Também tem a expressão “oh my God”, que é mais “ai, meu Deus!” Na internet é bem comum usar só “omg” para ambos.
– Did you see her clothes? Oh my gosh, they were amazing!
– Omg, can you stop following me? I’m just going to the bathroom!

Foster: Oh, yeah.

Jackie: – for being from the Midwest, specifically the Chicago area.

the Midwest = região centro-oeste dos EUA


I find that so delightful.

delightful (pronúncia: dɪˈlaɪtfʊl) / soa como: deláitfol) = algo ou alguém que agrada muito

  • Have you met Joanna? Yes! She was here yesterday, she’s a delightful person!

*laughs* It’s not the most beautiful accent, and I always laugh when I get comments like “oh, you have the most beautiful accent”. Only Brazilians, only foreigners would say that, because I think other Americans do not find the Chicago accent very attractive.


I find all accents – I mean, I’m a language person, but – all accents are fascinating.

Jackie: Yeah.


But, just so I’m clear about this: so, you’re telling me, most of the time, an “o” sound – so if I say “rock”, or “hot dog” you would say…how do you say it?


“rák”, “hát dág”.


“hát dág”.


Yeah. It’s just an –


Yeah, yeah. And even, like, my name, “Jackie”. It’s just like that “á” is more exaggerated.

exaggerated (pronúncia: ɪɡˈzædʒəˌreɪtɪd / soa como: egzádjereited)


Yeah. It almost seems a little more similar to Brazilian Portuguese.




Like when you say “Jackie”, I would say “Jackie”, but when you really open your mouth and say “djáki”, that almost sounds – even when you say “yeah”.


Yeah. *laughs* You turned it on!


That almost sounds like “é” in Portuguese. “Pois é”.

Jackie: Right.


Huh. Fascinating.

huh = vocalização que, dependendo da entonação, muda o sentido; se for uma entonação aguda, expressa pergunta (algo como “hã?”). Se for uma entonação mais baixa, o “huh” pode expressar um pouco de surpresa, ou, se for ao fim de uma pergunta, vai ter um sentido parecido com o “né?” 

  • Hey, are you listening to me? Huh? Sorry, I had my earphones on, I couldn’t hear you.
  • Hey, did you see this? Oh, let me see. Huh, that looks interesting.
  • This is really easy, huh? 

Now you’ll be able to identify the Chicagoans in your life.


Okay. So, I said that was a difficult question. And it obviously was not, for you. I think what I wanted to ask is “where do you consider ‘home’”?


Hm. Now that is a good question. Honestly, I am one of those people that – I feel at home almost everywhere that I’m at, but I also feel like I can’t stay in the same place forever. It’s a really weird thing, and maybe you can relate to this, Foster; I think some people can relate to this.

Foster: Totally.


But when I hear some people tell me, like, “This is my Forever Home. I came here, and this is where I’m gonna be for the rest of my life”, and I – I’m like, I, I, cannot relate to that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that in any place. If anything, I feel very comfortable in almost every single place that I’ve lived in.


Yeah, just to, to interrupt really quick, there is a popular TV show in the US, that my partner Alexia really enjoys, called “Forever Home”. And it’s, like, building these crazy houses for families, and the idea is they live there forever. And Alexia is, like, “Oh, that’s so sweet”, and I’m thinking, like, “Oh my gosh! What – they’re going to stay there forever?”


Sounds like a prison sentence! No! *laughs*

Foster: *laughs*


Yeah, well, I’m glad you understand, I knew you would understand. But, um, even for us here in Florida, this is – we have a beautiful house, we’re very happy here, we probably will stay here for a while, mostly because of the kids. I don’t wanna move them all over the place because it is stressful for them.

Foster: hm-hm.


But if I didn’t have children, I probably would be bouncing around a lot more. Actually, I love Europe. I studied abroad in Spain for six months, and I went back several times ‘cause I just wanted to stay there longer. But, uh, I felt –


Where did you study in Spain?


In Sevilla. Seville.

Foster: Oh, yeah.


Beautiful. So, I don’t know. Part of me, like…I like feeling comfortable here; like, it’s very, very comfortable being back in the US, and living in Florida, and the nice weather, but I feel like, when I get too comfortable, I get that itch to…”oh, (you) gotta try something different, don’t get too comfortable.” Uh…


Right, right.


I don’t know.


I totally relate to you, I think I asked you that question because I don’t have an answer to it.

I relate to you = vem da expressão “to relate to someone”, e tem o sentido de algo como “eu sei o que é essa experiência”

  • I’m suffering from insomnia due to stress. I haven’t slept well in days! Oh, I can’t relate to you, sorry. I’ve never had insomnia.

Jackie: Yeah.


But I believe my perspective nowadays is more, just, kind of like, “I have my different places in the world”, which essentially are places that I visited or lived in for a period of time and felt connected to.

Jackie: hm-hm.


So, you have Chicago, you have Florida – where in Florida are you?


I’m in Orlando, near Orlando.

Foster: Okay.


But Florida, I’ve lived in Iowa, where I went to college, I lived in Spain, I lived in Brazil for ten years, um…and yeah, even in Brazil we lived in several different places. Just…república – the Brazilian frat house – I lived there for a while. Then we moved to an apartment, a town home, we bought our own apartment, just all these different…but I, I like, I enjoy moving, and I enjoy going to new places and kind of just discovering the new place. And not just to travel. I like to, like, make my life there. Like, have my coffee shop, and have my routine, and this is where I go to the grocery store, and I get really excited about making these places my home. But I think it could be anywhere – almost anywhere, some places would be really difficult. But I think as long as you have, you know, the, the people that you love with you, your animals, things like that make any place feel like – like a home. But I don’t have any attachment to, like, my physical house, or a specific location. Just Earth, planet Earth. *laughs*

frat house = de “fraternity house” (lit. “casa de irmandade”) = uma casa onde alunos universitários que fazem parte de uma “fraternidade” – neste caso, uma associação de alunos homens de uma universidade ou faculdade – moram, se reuném, e fazem festas. A versão feminina é a “sorority house”.


Globals. Global citizens.

Jackie: Yes!


I think that’s beautiful.

Jackie: Thank you!


And I can really relate, and that’s probably one of the reasons we are doing this podcast together.


Exactly. We connected on that level.


Jackie, I’m curious. I imagine most people listening to this podcast right now, they know you as “Ask Jackie” –

Jackie: hm-hm.


– the teacher that’s most famous on Youtube.


Ah, I don’t think I’m the most famous! There’s a lot of other teachers!


No, no, I’m, I’m, I don’t know if you’re more famous on another platform that I don’t know about.


I’m not on social media, so…


I honestly don’t know. I think, yeah, Youtube, then Facebook, then Instagram. I guess would be where I have the most subscribers and followers, but, yeah, I’m not sure, either.    


So, can you give a very, like, condensed version of what your professional career has looked like?


Yeah. I mean, I started out as a Spanish teacher in Chicago. And then I went on to get my master’s and I became a school counselor, and I worked as a school counselor for a while. And it was like you said, you know, the existential crisis type of thing; it’s like, you spend your whole life working, and studying, and planning, to get to that end goal. Like, “I’m gonna go to school, go to college, get my degree, get this job”, and that’s it. And then you get the job, and you realize, like, “Hmm…is this really it? Is it – this is it? I don’t know, something feels off.” And like I mentioned in the other interview, that I did with you guys, is… I felt like I was “wishing away my life” in some ways. I was, like, counting down the days for the weekend, counting down the months for Spring break, uh, counting down the years for my retirement – and I was in my early twenties! I’m like, “I’m wishing my life away! Like, this is crazy!” Um, and I always had a really strong pull, like an internal pull – I don’t even know where it comes from, because no one in my family speaks any other languages except for English. Uh, and most of my family members have never left Chicago. Like, everyone is there, except for, like, a few people who had to leave for work reasons.

school counselor = lit. “conselheiro escolar”. Um ou uma profissional cujo trabalho é aconselhar e oferecer apoio a alunos, seja com questões acadêmicas, de carreira, ou mesmo socio-emocionais.

Is this it?/This is it? = expressões que significam “É (só) isso/esse/essa?”

  • Excuse me, I’m looking for my book. It’s big, and red…

-Oh, is this it?
-Yes! Thank you very much!

  • Is that the Mona Lisa? It’s so small!

-Yes, this is it.
-Oh, I’m a little disappointed.

(something) feels off = expressa algo como “parece estranho, não correto”

  • What do you think about my painting?

– I don’t know, something about it feel off…oh, you forgot to paint the tree!
– Oops!
wishing away my life/wishing my life away = significa algo como “gastando a vida só desejando”

  • You can’t just wish your life away! You have to go out and do something!

Foster: hm-hm.


So, it was just, the fact that I wanted to go abroad, and I was really interested in the Hispanic culture originally, because – Portuguese was never an option in high school. I didn’t – and I never – I didn’t know anybody from Brazil, I had never met anybody from Brazil, so I knew nothing about Brazil. But maybe if I had I would’ve been more interested in it. But, um, yeah, I decided, “You know what, life is short, I’m just gonna go and see what happens”. And I was also in a situation in which I could come back, which is easier than other people’s situations. But I started teaching English, and then I started creating groups of students to teach from our apartment. And then it was just little by little. And then we rented out a room, um, and then with the demand growing, I hired some more teachers to help me, and then eventually, after our school was running for about five or six years was when I decided to enter the digital world. And that’s when I created my course. Well, first it was the Youtube channel and the social media, and then I created the Ask Jackie online course. And I’ve had it now for about four or five years, I think. Yeah, maybe four, five years. And that’s what I do know; I mean, I just create content, and, you know, talk with my students, and do lives with them, and answer their questions, and, just – it’s, it’s really amazing. I do love – I love what I do, and I’m very, very grateful for the job that I have, because I have had jobs in the past that I did not appreciate, but we have to have those experiences in order to know what is good when it does come to us.

You know what? = expressão que significa algo como “Sabe de uma coisa?”

  • Hey, you know what? I think we should go out today!

Yeah. Yeah, I hear ya. You said something that I don’t want to – I don’t wanna miss. Um, you mentioned that you, essentially are the only person from your family that has learned a foreign language?

I hear ya = versão mais informal da expressão “I hear you”, que expressa que você ouviu a pessoa e entende o sentimento dela.

  • Ugh, it’s so hot today.

– I hear ya, I’ll get some ice cream for us.

Jackie: hm-hm.


That’s the same case for me.

Jackie: Yeah.


I’m wondering, like, how did that go? Like, I don’t know if you have siblings, but…do your parents, or extended family, do people understand it, do they think it’s strange?


I think – now I think they think it’s really cool. Um, at first, no at first – I mean, they were supportive of me studying Spanish in college, for example, and wanting to be a Spanish teacher. What I think a lot of people did not understand was my desire to live far away from them. And it wasn’t that I was trying to get away from them, or I was running away from a horrible situation; it wasn’t that at all. It just was, like, a really strong interest of mine. You know, it’s like, “Why do you play guitar?” It’s like, “I don’t know, I just really enjoy it, I really like it, there’s something that just pulls me to it.” And that’s exactly how I felt – not just studying a language to be able to teach it in Chicago, I wanted to experience the culture, I wanted to live in the country, and just completely immerse myself in the lifestyle. And I think when you fall in love with not just the language, but the people and the culture and the food and the dance and the music, um, the whole experience of it is so much richer. And, and not everyone’s going to understand that, you know? Some people are a little bit more practical, like, “I need to learn English in order to get this job. But I have zero interest in – in anything else related to it.”  And that’s okay. But I was, I was the opposite.


Yeah. Do you think it is…hmm. You say it’s a lot more practical – some people might be more practical, like “I need to learn English to get this job”?

Jackie: Right.


Do you think that is actually a practical way to go about it? Because I tend to agree with you that learning a new language and culture and country – it’s like one of the biggest things that you will do in your life. Do you think you can do it without falling in love with the people and the places and the culture?


I mean, I think you can. I just think it’s more difficult. And I think there is a difference in the person who speaks a language but also, like, embodies that language, that culture; like, understands the inside jokes, understands the gestures, understands, like, all that cultural baggage that people have, um, vs. a person who learned to speak well from classes and a book, without ever really immersing themselves in the culture. Sure, that other student could communicate well, and may know how to speak enough to get by, um, and maybe – they could even speak very well in a little bit more of a formal way, but they may miss out on some, some cultural clues, and they may misunderstand, you know, even personal space, or gestures that people make, or jokes that people have, or what – there’s so much more than just speaking a language, to understanding a culture. And, um, just, I think, when you have that added to it, the experience is much better, and I think the long term effects are much stronger, too, because it has an emotional impact on you. It actually changes who you are in general, it’s not just this separate part of you. If you see how other people live, how other people react, how other people raise their kids, how the people clean, eat – like, everything is so different. Everything’s so different! I was like, “Wait, you guys are dumping water on the floor? And then, like – *laughs*

– dumping = do verbo “to dump”, que significa “depositar de maneira desenfreada”

  • Hey! Don’t just dump your dirty clothes on the floor! Put them in the washing machine!

Foster: *laughs*


Using a squeegee to put it in the drain? Like, this is crazy!” But it works! I mean, it works really well! It’s like, “Wow, their houses are so clean! Why don’t we do this?” Um, but it just – it just opens your eyes to so much more than communicating. It’s just different ways of living in general.

squeegee (pronúncia: ˈskwiːdʒiː/ soa como: skuí-djí) = rodo de limpeza


Yeah. I really like the word that you used, “embody”, like, “embodiment”. Um, do you feel like you have two different “Jackies”, like, “American/Chicago Jackie” and then “Brazilian Jackie”? Or does it feel like one person, but two different parts?

Jackie: Yeah.


How does that manifest in you?


I feel like…I don’t know if it’s two different, but I do think like all of us have several different versions that get kinda pulled out at different times. You know, for example, if you’re in a formal situation or a business meeting, you’re gonna change the language, you’re gonna change your posture a little bit than if you’re at a barbecue drinking beer with your friends. You know, there’s – we all do this. We kind of…it’s not that we put on different masks, but just different versions of us come out at different times. And that could not necessarily be with whatever country you’re in, it’s like, with different people that you’re with. You know, with some people you may feel that you shut down a little bit more. And other people you really shine bright and you come out, it’s kind of how they make you feel, that energy you get off of them.

shut down = “desligar”; nesse contexto, expressa que a pessoa “se apaga” ou se torna “inativa”

  • I am not confrontational at all. If someone yells at me, I usually shut down and don’t answer them.

But –
Pro tip, you should probably stop hanging out with the people who make you feel like you shut down and hang out more with the people that make you shine.

pro tip = maneira informal de dizer “professional tip”, significa “dica profissional”. Hoje em dia é geralmente usado para dizer algo como “superdica”. 

  • If you’re going to travel to New York in December, pro tip: take lots of Winter clothes!

Exactly! Exactly! The people that kind of suck you dry and make you feel like, “oh my God, I’m exhausted”! Yeah, maybe spend less time with them! And, like you said, hang out with those that bring out the best in you and – and it should be an even exchange, as well. You want to help people shine, too. But, um, I feel like I can adapt very well to several situations. I don’t know if it’s necessarily, like, a different me, I just can be me but, in whatever situation is necessary. And that’s actually a really good skill, because we have to be adaptable in life in general. It was like, Darwin’s theory. It’s basically – it’s not the strongest that survive, it’s those that are the most adaptable. And we have to adapt! We have to evolve as humans, we have to grow. Otherwise, we’re gonna be left in the Stone Age. *laughs*

Stone Age = Idade da Pedra


This is proven by science!

Jackie: Yes!

Foster: You heard it here first!


Do you think that there are ways that people can practice to cultivate that skill of being more adaptable?


I think, um, if you notice yourself, like, resisting, or judging or expecting things to be the way that you believe they should be, I think the first step is just notice that. Like, “huh. I’m being a little judgy, I’m resisting, I’m expecting this person to have the same reaction that I would have”, and just kind of notice that, and question it. Like, “Why? What? Where is this coming from, and should I really be doing this?” And then sometimes we can correct ourselves. I know one of my friends that was in Brazil with me, she was dating a guy from Rio. And I remember, to this day, she was telling – she told me about a conversation that she had with him. They were in a pharmacy – like, the drugstores down there – and she was annoyed because she wanted the, the American products. Like, she wanted specific products that she had been using in the States, and she couldn’t find them there. And she was kinda complaining about it, and he said to her, he’s like: “You’re in Brazil. You need to try out new things, you know, and do different things.” And I would catch myself complaining about the long lines, or the poor service, uh…and I just reminded myself, like, “This is a different country. I cannot have the same expectations that it’s gonna be the United States everywhere I go.” And, and even with people – you know, like, people handle situations in a different way than I maybe would, and rather than judge them and say “That’s wrong, and my way is right”, just understand that it’s very gray, and we all have to just be open-minded and understand that there’s several ways to look at everything. And if we just do that little tiny step, it does help us to be more flexible and less resistant in these situations. But we have to want to be adaptable. You have to want it; otherwise, you’re just going to fight it and resist it and think everybody is wrong except for yourself. That doesn’t help.

– a little judgy = lit. “um pouquinho julgadora”, expressa algo como “julgando demais”.

  • Did you see the color our neighbors decided to paint their house?

– We shouldn’t be judgy. Let them choose whatever color they want.

It’s very gray = lit. “É muito cinza”, no sentido de “não é preto no branco”, ou “não tem só certo ou errado”.

  • In this movie, it’s difficult to know which are the good guys and which are the bad guys. It’s very gray.

Yeah. Yeah. “If you resist, it persists”.

Jackie: Yes!


That’s a phrase I hear, like, in meditation circles.


Yeah, that is true. It’s so true!

Foster: Yeah.


And it’s gonna keep showing up until you finally let go a little bit.


Well, to put this in, a – in the context of language learning –

Jackie: hm-hm.


I feel like that’s – one of the biggest obstacles is just resistance, whether it be resisting to talk to people, to have conversations, to take your language to the next level. Do you have advice for how people can overcome that resistance, specifically in the context of improving a new language?


Yeah, and, I – it happens a lot with language. I think people who maybe are more math-minded possibly, um, want to organize everything in nice, neat little categories. So, for example, if they learn a rule, and then there are exceptions to that rule, it can be very frustrating to that type of person. Or if there’s a way you express a certain sentence in Portuguese, but the translation in English is completely different. There are people that are, like, “Why? Why? Jackie, why? Why?” And sometimes there is a, a reason for it, and you can explain, “Well, this is the rule, this – you know, whenever you wanna express this idea in English, you use this structure.” But it’s very gray. And, and I think we have to accept that and not force things to be the exact same way as they are in Portuguese. And, and I think the process ends up being a lot better. And I have two children that are very different from each other, and I have one that is a “resistor”, *laughs*, and one that is the most flexible “adapter”, “whatever”, in the world. And it was so interesting, with the two of them, ‘cause I taught them English, ‘cause we were living in Brazil, and my oldest one – he’s the “resistor” – but he’s, he’s great. I mean, he obviously has learned to adapt. But, uh, I would teach him something and he would argue with me because he didn’t understand that there were two – I was trying to teach him another language. For example, I would say, “Olha, Gabriel, um sapo!” No, I would say “Oh, look, Gabriel, a frog!” And he’d say “No! É um sapo!” He would argue with me. And I (was) like, “Well, you’re right” *laughs* “In Portuguese you say ‘sapo’, but in English it’s a ‘frog’”, and he just resisted. It was definitely a harder journey for him, but once he understood, “Ahh, okay. It’s just a different language, there’s gonna be two words for everything that I see, that’s just how my life is gonna be”, it ended up being much easier for him. But with Leo, my youngest, anything I’d say, he would be like “Oh, okay,” and he’d just accept it. And his learning process was so fast, because he didn’t resist it, he didn’t question it, he didn’t, you know, fight it. And, and I think, as learners – you know, it’s okay to question and to want to understand the rules and, like, “how can I apply this in future situations?”, but I think we have to accept the differences, and just accept them, and “Okay, that’s it. So, here I go.” And especially with the anxiety around speaking – if people are really nervous and they’re, you know, “Oh, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it” – you know, that inner dialogue, you’re telling yourself repeatedly that you can’t do something. You have to really change that around so that it’s more supportive.


You said so many interesting things. First, I think we should definitely do an entire episode about bilingual children – that’s fascinating.

Jackie: Yeah!


The idea that you said, okay, that “My son just kind of accepted that there has to be two words for everything.”

Jackie: Yeah!


That’s kind of like a big thing to accept.  

Jackie: Yeah! *laughs*


Um, but also, this idea of resistance and acceptance. Because, in general, as teachers, as educators, I think we want our students to be curious and ask questions –

Jackie: Exactly.


– but at the same time there’s, like, a certain level of acceptance that needs to be there.


Yeah, and it’s true, because – especially we see nowadays, we don’t wanna raise, like, a bunch of easily-manipulated sheep. You know, we (don’t) want people to be you know, “just do what I say, follow me”. You know, we want people to question and to reflect and to create their own opinions about everything. I think that’s incredibly important. But there are times with language or with other things that we learn that, um, you have to understand, like, well, this is just how it is. You know? And…and even with cultural differences. There’s things you just can’t force it, you can’t force people to think the way you think or to do what you think is right. Like, everyone’s gonna have their own way of living and expressing. But, um…yeah, it’s kind of finding that balance between questioning with the intention of being able to understand in the future and being able to apply whatever knowledge you need to future situations and accepting that there’s gonna be things that they’re just that way, that’s just the way people speak. That’s just a phrase that’s used, it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s how it is!

easily-manipulated sheep = lit. “ovelhas facilmente manipuladas”. Em inglês, é bem comum chamar pessoas que não sabem pensar por si só de “ovelhas”.


Yeah. Yeah, I’m thinking now, when you put it in that perspective…like, it seems like it’s leaning more towards “fluidity” rather than “fluency”. Like, I feel like a lot of people think “fluency” means “perfection”.

Jackie: Yes.


But if you can just be, like, “fluent” in “fluidity”, like, uh…to be – the ability to roll with it and, I think, accept – that’s kind of like a meta skill.

to roll with it = lit. “rolar com isso/a coisa”, expressão idiomática que expressa algo como “ir com a onda”, ou “se adaptar à situação apesar de algo inesperado”.

  • We bought too many beers for the barbecue, but we decided to just roll with it and gave some to the neighbors.

Jackie: Yeah, yeah.


But these are things I just wanted to put a pin in before just so we could touch on them again in another episode.




Jackie, I know we are hitting time, and I appreciate you answering all of my weird questions.  

– weird (pronúncia: wɪərd / soa como: uírd) = esquisito 


Those are awesome questions! You ask the best ones!


I’ve learned…I’ve learned a lot about you. I think our listeners have as well. And, as always, would you like to leave our listeners with a small piece of homework?


Yes. So the homework I have for everybody listening is just to kind of reflect on what areas of your life or even in language learning that you could be more adaptable, possibly. Because just like Charles Darwin said, it’s not survival of the strongest or the fittest, it’s the most adaptable that actually do the best and we’ve noticed this with our own students and our own friends and family members. Like, if you can roll with the situation, if you can be in a more like “flow state” – like Foster, you mentioned – the experience is so much better. And you don’t suffer as much, ‘cause you’re not fighting it. And I’m not saying that you just have to accept every single thing that comes your way, but just question a little bit more. So next time you hear something or you feel yourself like, “ugh”, fighting it, just question it. Maybe you’re right, maybe it’s totally wrong, and you don’t agree with it, and that’s okay. But if we just reflect, question it, and allow ourselves to maybe be a little bit more adaptable, I think that helps with just every area in life.


I think that’s beautiful. Can you, perhaps, provide a concrete example just so I can visualize it in my head?


Yeah. Yeah. So let’s say you have a job interview in English, okay, with an American company. And maybe you watched several Youtube videos and you talked to all these people, and they told you “well, Americans, they don’t hug” or “you have to shake hands firmly”, or they gave you a whole list of things that you have in your head so that you’re well prepared. “This is how it is in the States, everybody is this way” – you know, that general stereotype. And let’s say you show up at the interview and it’s completely different; they’re in jeans and a t-shirt, and they hug you, and it’s just completely not what you expected.

Foster: *laughs*

Jackie: I think…*laughs*


I think if you’re doing an interview for one of our companies…


It might be like that!

Foster: *laughs* yeah!


They’re in their flip-flops!

– They’re in their flip-flops = expressão que significa “eles estão de chinelo”. “flip-flops” é o nome para o chinelo tipo Havaianas.

  • Have you seen Marcia? She’s in a red dress and blue flip-flops.

No firm handshakes, lots of hugs, super chill.

handshakes = apertos de mão

chill = adjetivo que significa “relax”, “sem estresse”


Yeah! They answer the door in their flip-flops and they’re, they’re having a good old time. But I think in that type of situation, rather than, like, resisting, or panicking, or freaking out, you can just adapt. You know, maybe take off your suit coat, unbutton your shirt a little bit. Just, uh, whatever! Whatever you need to do, just flow!

– a good old time = em inglês, é muito comum acrescentarmos “good old” para descrever algo ou alguém que conhecemos com afeição ou aprovação.

  • I can’t get used to using an app to take notes. I prefer a good old paper notebook.

freaking out = da expressão “to freak out”, que significa “ficar louco” ou “pirar”, ou “ter uma reação extremamente forte”.

  • When I told John about the broken window, he freaked out! He’s so mad right now!

unbutton = desabotoar

  • unbuttoned my shirt before taking it off.)

*laughs* take off your shirt!


Take off your shirt, if that’s the vibe! Who knows? *laughs* But just be with that mindset of “go with the flow”. You know, just be up, you know, prepared – I think it’s definitely important to be very prepared for, you know, as much as we can be – but also open to whatever may happen. And if these surprises happen, rather than freak out about them, get excited, and go – flow with it, roll with it, and, and I think the experience will end up being much better.

– vibe = versão curta e informal de “vibration”. Tem o sentido literal de “vibração”, mas é usado muito hoje em dia para falar da sensação que algo, alguém, ou algum lugar passa ou está passando.

  • I really like my living room. It has a very comfortable vibe.



I don’t know if that’s a good homework assignment.*laughs* We’ll go with it!


Now, find an area in your life, something, a challenge – anything that comes up, and go with the flow. The reason we prepare is so we can go with the flow when things don’t go the way we expect. 

Jackie: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Foster: Perfect.

Jackie: Awesome.

Foster: Thank you, Jackie.

Jackie: Thank you, Foster!


It was great getting to know you a little bit better. Any last words?


No, I just, uh – I mean, I actually – I like that we’re leaving on this note, because now I just kind of have that in my mind. Like, “go with the flow, let’s see what happens, and just…kind of go throughout your day open-minded and just seeing what unexpected things happen, and kind of get excited about them rather than ignore them or freak out about them.” It happens.


Exactly. Go with the flow. You don’t know how to end a podcast episode just roll with it.

Jackie: *laughs* That’s right!


Thank you! Thank you, sweet people. We will see you in the next episode.


*laughs* Bye, guys!   

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