Mr MoJo’s diary: adventures to read for learning English

Reading is definitely the thing to do when you learn English and want to enrich your vocabulary. Here is a series of stories for you to read and that will help you to learn new English words and phrases. Thanks to MoJo’s diary you will dive into the adventures of an English man in… Fareastland!

Who’s Mr Mojo?? People who have been attending our English speaking courses in London might know Mr MoJo already. Mr MoJo is the English teacher running most of the English courses for learning English through Drama. And he is the one who is going to do next Learn English through Drama summer courses. He’s been living in the Far East since last Autumn, teaching and writing. I asked him to tell us more about his life there. This is the first episode of Mr MoJo’s adventures saga. Enjoy it!

Beat The Clock

16:30 GMT

I’m sorry, we cannot let you on the flight.” You’ve just spent 6 months planning a working trip to the other side of the world and, having given up your job, having trusted your new employer to advise you correctly regarding visas, these are not the words you want to hear at the Etihad check-in desk at Heathrow, two hours before the flight you assumed to be taking.

What to do? Cut your losses and beg for your old job back? Not possible. What’s gone is gone. Besides, your job wasn’t the only thing you gave up: you moved out of your flat, too. It’s just you, a heavy suitcase and an apparently invalid ticket to Vietnam…

Not a great start, admittedly. Nevertheless, this was my start, and one that I must embrace. After all, don’t all good stories start with a broken sense of peace; a problem to solve? And this problem was quite simple:

  1. Without a visa, I could only stay in Vietnam for 15 days.
  2. My return flight was booked for a date long passed this deadline.
  3. The airline needed proof I would leave before the deadline.

19:30 GMT

The lights of London glitter ever more distant as Etihad flight EY0018 takes you toward a destination that you had been looking forward to experiencing for half a year, but had momentarily seemed impossible to you only 90 minutes ago. You breathe a sigh of relief as you reflect on a problem solved…

I had understood that the only thing stopping me boarding was a date. Easy: change the date! Must act quickly – only 105 minutes to go. (45 minutes if you consider that check-in closes an hour before the flight.) So where’s the Etihad sales desk? There? Maybe. There are several other airlines there. Quick: look! Virgin…Emirates… KLM… No Etihad! “Excuse me, could you tell me where I can find the Etihad desk?… Thank you.”

Run! Run! Only 35 minutes to go! Here it is… at least, here’s an empty desk. Where’re the staff? Closed? There’s a sign. What does it say? “For all out-of-hours enquiries, please phone 0843 903…” It’s a premium rate number! No choice. Bite the bullet. It’s got to be done. “Welcome to Etihad Airways. Please note that this call may be recorded for training purposes. If you require flight information, please press 1. If you require bookings, please press 2. If you require information regarding flight changes, please go to etihad dot com forward slash enquiries and search for...”

What!?! I can only do it online? Ridiculous! Hurry: only 25 minutes to go. Where’s my phone? Here. Internet… Etihad.com… Enquiries… Flight changes… And the price to change my flight is… six hundred and what? That’s more than the flights there and back cost me in the first place! I can’t afford it. There’s got to be a cheaper way.

17 minutes to go. New approach. Google. Cheapest flights: Vietnam to anywhere…

Quick, run, run! Hurry, hurry! Another sign. What does it say? “Warning: this check-in desk is about to close.

“WAIT!!!”

“I’m sorry Mr MoJo. As I said, we can’t let you on the flight without proof that you will be leaving Vietnam within the next 15-”

“Here, look at my phone: I have a confirmed booking for a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in exactly two weeks.”

“Thank you Mr MoJo. Do you have any bags to check in?”

19:35 GMT

Your sigh of relief is followed by a new troublesome thought: a one-hour flight delay in Heathrow (that actually made all your rushing and running superfluous) means that you will only have 15 minutes between landing in Abu Dhabi and finding the gate for your on-going flight to Ho Chi Minh City. It doesn’t seem possible. And yet neither did getting through check-in at Heathrow. What was it you were telling yourself? All good stories start with a problem to solve? I guess a lot of good stories continue with more problems to solve…

Mr MoJo

Vocabulary

Phrasal Verbs

give up

  • If I give up my job, I stop doing it – I resign
  • If I give up my TV, I stop watching it.
  • If I give up jogging, I stop doing it.
  • If I give up my gym membership, I stop paying for it.
  • If I give something up, I don’t necessarily give it to someone else.

move out

  • If I move out of somewhere, I stop living there.

Idioms

  • beat the clock perform a task quickly or within a fixed time limit. OXFORD DICTIONARY
  • cut your losses to avoid losing any more money than you have already lost. (let’s cut our losses and sell the business before prices drop any further.) CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
  • bite the bullet to force yourself to do something unpleasant or difficult. (I hate going to the dentist, but I’ll just have to bite the bullet.) CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

Words/Phrases

  • beg (verb) to make a strong and urgent request. CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
  • deadline (noun) a time or day by which something must be done. /ˈdedlaɪn/ CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
  • out of hours available during the period of the day in which business is not normally conducted. /’aʊtəv’aʊəz/ OXFORD DICTIONARY
  • afford (verb) to have enough money to pay for something. /əˈfɔːd/ OXFORD DICTIONARY
  • approach a way of doing something. /əˈprəʊʧ/ CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
  • superfluous more than is needed. /suːˈpɜːfluːəs/ CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
6th September 2020
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