Culips - Andrew - Bonus episode #092 – Exploring Melbourne

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In this bonus episode, Andrew talks about one of the highlights of his time in Melbourne: a visit to the State Library Victoria. He then tells a funny story about a disagreement with his wife regarding eSIMs. Finally, he shares his opinion regarding travel-style compatibility and why it’s important to consider when going on a trip with other people. Andrew’s stories are interesting, easy to understand, and packed with everyday English vocabulary and expressions. Listening is like hanging out with a native English speaking friend.

What is the special feature Andrew enjoys about the La Trobe Reading Room in the State Library Victoria?

It has modern digital interactive screens.
It has a glass dome that lets in natural light.
It includes a high-tech augmented reality experience.


Andrew: Hello everyone, how is it going? I hope you're doing well. It's good to be back here with you again for another bonus episode. Today we have bonus episode number 92. Oh my god, we are slowly but surely creeping up to bonus episode number 100.

Do you guys have any ideas for how we should celebrate when we hit bonus episode number 100? If you have any ideas in mind, let me know. I would love to hear about your plans for celebrating that milestone. I don't know, it'd be cool if we could do something special.

I'll have to think about it, and I would like you to think about it as well. And if you come up with a good idea, please share it with me. The best way, of course, to get in touch with me and our whole Culips community is by joining our Discord server.

And the link to join the Discord server for free will be in the description for this episode. So that's where you can get in touch and leave an idea for how we can celebrate episode number 100. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We're only on episode number 92.

And what I plan to do here today everyone is tell you a couple of short stories. I'm really going to emphasize and try to be short and brief today because there is a hockey game that I want to watch here coming up starting in about 30 minutes.

So that means I have to finish within 30 minutes, so I don't miss the exciting ice hockey game. What I'm going to do is tell you a couple of stories, at least one, maybe if we have time two, about my time in Melbourne. And I think this will be the last episode where I talk about Melbourne.

Next week I'll talk about briefly visiting Singapore because I was there just for a short… Do you remember the word that I taught you last week that you can use to talk about a brief period, a short period of time? That word is stint. I was in Singapore just for a brief stint.

So, I'll talk about that next week. And then the travel stories are finished. Then I'll continue talking about my, you know, everyday life here in Korea.

And for those of you who are new to this series that is exactly what we do here on the bonus episodes, I just tell you some stories from my everyday life, my everyday adventures that I get up to as a Canadian living abroad in South Korea.

And the goal that we try to achieve here, the reason why I'm making these episodes for you is that I believe listening is such an important part of becoming a fluent English speaker.

And so, what we try to do here at Culips with the bonus episode stories is help you to achieve B.I.G.B. B.I.G.B. And maybe you're wondering, "Oh my god, what is he talking about? What does B-I-G-B, B.I.G.B mean?"

Well, it stands for building your English fluency, increasing your cultural knowledge of English-speaking countries and English-speaking people, growing your vocabulary, and ultimately, becoming a better English communicator.

Before we get to my stories, I do have a couple of announcements. The first one is about Culips membership. The best way to improve your English with Culips is by becoming a Culips member.

Membership can help you take your English skills to the next level and become a confident English speaker. As a Culips member, you'll get unlimited access to all of the learning materials that our amazing team of teachers create to help you improve your English faster than ever.

Some of the benefits you get as a member include interactive transcripts and helpful study guides for all of our regular episodes, plus ad-free audio. So, you don't have to listen to ads like this if you are a Culips member.

You'll also get an invitation to our monthly live streams where you can hang out and practice English with me, with our Discord moderator, Alina, who is my co-host for the live streams, and of course with the other members of the Culips member community.

Plus, you also get some special exclusive bonuses like access to our member-only series, The Fluency Files, and so much more. And the best thing is this all comes at an affordable price.

So, to join the Culips member club and become a member today and start improving your English with us, just visit our website, You can learn all of the details and you can sign up there or you can just follow the link that we'll put in the description for this episode.

And a quick announcement about our upcoming Culips live streams.

The next two have been announced and I'm going to share the dates and the times with you now so that I hope you can join us because the more the merrier when it comes to the member live streams, the more people participating, the more fun it is, and yeah, so I hope you can definitely join us for that if you are a Culips member.

OK, the first live stream that I would like to announce is coming up on the 7th of March and it will be happening at 8.30pm Korean Standard Time. So, you have to check and see what time that is in your local time zone.

The next after that will be at the end of March, OK, because we didn't have a live stream in February because I was traveling, so that's why we're doing two in March.

The next one after that will be towards the end of March and it will be happening on Tuesday, March the 26th, again at 8.30pm Korean Standard Time and it will be happening on our Discord server. So, Culips members, please come and join us for the live streams.

I think it will be a lot of fun to hang out, to practice English together and to spend some time with our member community.

One last final thing that I wanted to announce here before we get started is that there is an interactive transcript and a vocabulary glossary that will teach you about some of the difficult vocabulary that you'll hear me use while I'm telling you some stories today and you can get it absolutely for free whether you're a Culips member or not, just by following the link that we'll put in the description for this episode.

It's a great study tool. We design it to be helpful for you. So, if you haven't checked it out yet, the glossary and the transcript, then please do so and let me know what you think after you study with it. OK, now let's get started with this week's episode and this week's stories.

The first thing that I wanted to talk about is travel styles. Travel styles. Have you ever been on a trip with a friend or maybe it was like a business trip with a colleague? Who knows?

Sometime when you had to travel with someone else and your travel style and your friends or your coworkers or your family members, whoever it is, their travel style didn't mesh up. You had some conflict.

Maybe you got into an argument. Maybe you got into a fight. Maybe you stormed off and went back home because you got so frustrated with your travel partner. I think this is a pretty common experience.

I know in my life I've been on lots of trips with many different people and travel compatibility is a real thing. Sometimes you and your travel partner are on the same page. You see eye to eye. Those two idiomatic expressions just mean to agree with how you should do things.

If you see eye to eye, if you're on the same page, it means you're in alignment with your thinking and you agree on how you should travel. But sometimes on the other hand, you don't align. You don't see eye to eye.

You're not on the same page and you have different priorities, and it can make for a frustrating trip if that is the situation that you find yourself in. Well, thankfully, I have to say I didn't find myself in that situation at all.

During our time in Australia and Singapore, my wife and I were very much on the same page. We are very much compatible with our travel styles.

Now, that doesn't always mean that we want to do the same things or that we have the same priorities, but we didn't really fight at all during the whole time we were away. And we didn't really have any conflict during our trip. I can tell you a funny story here quickly.

The first fight, actually the first and the only argument or fight that my wife and I had the whole time we were away, at least I think we only argued once. I'll have to confirm with my wife, but as much as I can remember, we only fought once, and it wasn't even a big fight.

It was just like this small little tiff. A tiff is what you can call a short argument. And it happened at the worst possible timing. OK? In my opinion, this is the absolute, the worst time to argue with your wife is when you are sitting on the airplane, just ready to take off on a trip. OK?

This is where our argument happened. And the reason that we fought was over just the silly thing as most arguments are in life, you know, especially with your romantic partner, your significant other. Usually fights and arguments are over stupid, little, trivial things.

And this one definitely was. So, my wife and I are getting ready to take off on our adventure to Australia. Our excitement is at an all-time high. We're really stoked and really ready to get started with our trip.

And, you know, after you board the airplane, usually there's I don't know, 20 or 30 minutes that you have to sit and wait while other passengers are boarding. And when the staff on the airline, the flight attendants, you know, they're checking safety things.

They're doing their safety demonstration. All of that. We're just sitting waiting there. And also, this is usually the very last time that you can use the Internet until you arrive at your destination. Now, sometimes airplanes have wireless Internet and it's becoming more and more common.

But on the plane that we are flying, it was a premium feature. You had to pay for a wireless connection. And I would say that I love the Internet. I'm addicted to the Internet. I can't go very long without using the Internet. However, I can go the length of a flight.

And in fact, it's kind of nice to disconnect for a little while and to not have to worry about email or anything, right? You can just totally disconnect from the Internet for a little while while you're flying.

So, while I had that last little bit of my Internet connection, I used that time to install my eSIM that I was going to use in Australia and eSIM. Actually, guys, I'm not an expert about this, so I don't know all of the details and I can't really tell you in good detail what an eSIM is.

Essentially, it's like a digital version of a SIM card and you can use it. It's just like some software that you install on your phone that lets you use a data connection in the country that you're traveling to.

You can't use it to make phone calls, but you can use it to access data and to connect to the Internet with your phone while you're traveling. And they're usually cheaper than buying a regular SIM card and having to sign up for a phone number and stuff.

And also, that can be a little bit inconvenient if you're traveling and you need to buy a physical SIM card and install it on your phone. You know, you have to find one in the airport and buy it and blah, blah, blah. And it takes time.

These eSIMs, and I know this sounds like an ad for an eSIM, but believe me, I'm not sponsored. If you're an eSIM CEO and you want to sponsor me, let me know. Maybe we can work that out, but I'm not sponsored by them or anything, OK.

So, eSIMs are just this digital thing that you download, you install it on your phone and voila, you have an Internet connection when you arrive in your host country or the country that you are traveling to.

So, during the last little bit on the airplane there, I downloaded my eSIM and I was installing it and you need to have an Internet connection while you're installing your eSIM, which is why I was taking advantage of that little bit of time while I was waiting so that I could get that installed.

As I was doing that, my wife looked over from her seat and she asked me, what are you doing? And I said, "Oh, I'm installing my eSIM card so that when we arrive in Australia, I can hit the ground running."

That's a great expression there: "To hit the ground running." If you don't know that one already, it's an idiom and it just means to be prepared and ready to start when something starts. So as soon as I land in Australia, I could hit the ground running.

I would already have prepared my phone to use the Internet and I wouldn't have to do any installation or setup. I could just start using the Internet right away. So, I told her, "Yeah, I'm installing this eSIM so I can hit the ground running when I arrive in Australia."

And my wife said, "How are you installing your eSIM? I haven't told you the details about your eSIM yet." And I said, "Huh, what? What do you mean? What are you talking about?" And she said, "Oh, I bought us two eSIMs last night." And I said, "What? I already bought my eSIM!"

See, the night before we were getting ready for our trip, and we talked about buying eSIMs. And there was some confusion in what we were talking about. I thought we were talking about buying eSIMs separately.

So, I would buy one for my phone and she would buy one for her phone. However, she was thinking that she would do them for both of us. So, she would buy the two eSIMs for both of us. And I think many Culips listeners will know that my wife and I are in a multilingual relationship.

She is a native Korean speaker. I am a native English speaker. And when we talk together, we mix up and code switch between the two languages often. Sometimes I speak Korean. Sometimes she speaks English. Sometimes she speaks Korean. Sometimes I speak English.

So, we go back and forth. And for the most part, this works out totally well and we are able to communicate without any issues. And honestly, I think we're great communicators. We usually don't have any communication issues at all. However, we're not perfect.

And we had a communication issue that day, apparently, because I thought we were talking about buying our eSIMs separately. She thought we were talking about them together. And so, I bought my own eSIM. I didn't buy one for her and she bought two eSIMs, one for her, one for me.

And at that moment, we got into a little bit of a tiff because I was saying, you know, it's not that important. It's OK, whatever. It's not that much money. And at the same time, she was a little upset that we wasted money and we didn't communicate effectively and that we had an extra eSIM.

We couldn't refund it. We couldn't take it back. It was just a waste of money. So, at that moment, we were a little hot, I guess, a little bit angry at each other, not really angry, but, you know, one of those situations where we just butted heads and didn't see eye to eye about that problem.

And I just went ahead and installed my eSIM and she went ahead and installed her eSIM and we didn't really talk to each other for a few moments. And I was in my head, I was thinking, "Oh, great. This is not the best way to start a trip, is it?"

Like I thought this might be terrible foreshadowing for the rest of the trip. Like, "Please, please, please don't make this trip really uncomfortable for the rest of the time that we spend in Australia." Like, "Please, please, please…." I don't know.

I was just like worried that this would be a really terrible way to start the trip and that this could predict and foreshadow the rest of the trip. So, we were a little bit angry at each other, a little bit upset, and not really communicating or talking to each other.

We were both just silently installing our eSIMs as the plane motors started and the plane started to take off. But guys, I think, you know, I want to take back what I said earlier about this situation being a really bad situation to have an argument in with your significant other.

Because it turns out that it might actually be a good place to have an argument in. Because as we took off, and we're in the air, after, I don't know, being in the air for a few moments, suddenly we hit a little patch of turbulence.

And turbulence occurs when air and wind is blowing the airplane around. So, it results in a bumpy ride. And I've flown a lot in my life. I'm a pretty experienced flyer and so is my wife. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't blow my mind every time I'm flying.

I'm like, "Oh my god, I'm in this little metal tube flying through the sky at an amazing speed and I'm thousands and thousands and thousands of meters above the ground." It's incredible. And that fact is not lost on me.

And it also results in me always being a little bit nervous like this plane could crash at any moment. I don't know. I know flying is very safe, but I always have that thought in the back of my mind. And I think my wife does as well. Probably it's rational and normal for most people.

I don't think there are too many flyers who fly without thinking at least once of the possibility of what it would be like to crash. I'm always a little bit worried about that.

So anyways, we hit some turbulence and it wasn't bad or anything, but both my wife and I looked at each other and we're like, "Let's not fight about this stupid issue." I apologized. She apologized and we put the issue behind us right away. And we got started with our trip.

So moral of the story is if you are going to buy an eSIM for a trip that you have, you know, maybe you're going to Australia, maybe you're going somewhere else, any place where you need an eSIM, double check with your life partner before buying the eSIM so that you don't buy an extra one.

As it turns out towards the end of the trip, my wife actually ran out of her data. She didn't buy enough data and she was able to use that eSIM again. So, it turned out not to be a waste of money in the end after all. So, it was kind of nice that we had that one in hand.

And my worries about having a terrible trip where we fight all the time and bicker all the time didn't come to fruition. My wife and I have very different travel styles, different ways that we like to travel. We have different priorities for things that we like to do.

My personal travel style is that I don't like to have too much pre-planned. Occasionally I'll check into certain things that I want to visit. Like when we were in Melbourne, I looked up some record stores that I wanted to go to. I looked up some bookshops that I wanted to visit.

I looked up some runs that I wanted to do. And I looked into a few restaurants because there was some food that I wanted to eat. So, I did that kind of researching. My wife on the other hand is much more planned. She plans out a lot of things, different attractions, different sights to see.

She likes to go shopping a lot more than I do, so different stores to visit. And she's much more organized.

But for some reason, even though I'm kind of a go with the flow, I just like to get out there and walk around and see what I find because you never know what you're going to find around the corner or down an alley. And I like to just go with the flow and discover cool things.

My wife on the other hand is more organized with her travel itinerary. So, you might think at first that that would create some conflict. However, it didn't. It was totally good, and we had no arguments. Our travel styles actually ended up being complementary instead of conflicting.

So, we worked well together instead of going in different directions with our travel styles. Now, the reason I wanted to tell you this is because thanks to my wife and thanks to her planning, I was able to have an awesome experience in Melbourne and I don't think I would have had it unless it was for her.

Now, this was actually one of the highlights of my time in Melbourne. And that was visiting a place called the State Library of Victoria. Sorry, no "of." State Library Victoria. And here's a little blurb about the State Library that I found on Wikipedia. And I'm just going to read it here for you.

It says "State Library Victoria (SLV) is the State Library of Victoria Australia located in Melbourne. It was established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, making it Australia's oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world.

It is also Australia's busiest public library and as of 2023, the third busiest library globally." Now, when my wife said we should go visit the library, at first, I was a little bit like, is that really a priority for us? It's not like we can borrow books. We don't have a library card.

But then she told me a little bit more info about it and I was convinced. I said, "OK, this sounds cool." So, we went and checked out the State Library Victoria and I have to say it was amazing. This is like a book lover's paradise and just a really, really amazing building in general.

The architecture was incredible, and I don't know if you ever get this kind of feeling. If you go to a place where the focus of the building or the priority of the building is related to knowledge, has to do with knowledge or just preserving knowledge or educating the public about something.

I'm thinking about places like libraries, museums, galleries, and you just go inside of them, and they feel different. It feels like this is a place where knowledge and learning is respected and encouraged. And I don't know, I can't really put it into words. I can't really explain it.

But the State Library Victoria had this feeling. My wife and I talked after when we finished visiting the library that, "Wow, we just want to go study there!" Like, we want to go back to school, maybe return back to university.

Like, it just had this motivating feeling, this encouraging feeling that it gave us to go ahead and study and to become smarter and read more books, all of these things. So, I think the effect it had on us was quite profound. But we entered the library actually through the gift store.

I guess there's a gift store in the library and it's kind of a gift/bookstore. But, you know, I live in Korea, so we do have some amazing bookstores in Korea.

And a lot of the bigger bookstores also will have English language books, but not to the extent that a bookstore in Australia does, where all of the books, almost, at least like 95% of the books are in English. So, to visit the bookstore was really cool.

It wasn't even that big of a bookstore, but it was nice for me just to browse through English books for the first time in a long time and make some notes, be like, "Oh, maybe I'll add that one to my reading list. Oh, maybe I'll add that one to my reading list."

So, we entered through the gift store, and then finally we were into the library. And the first room that we entered was called the Redmond Barry Reading Room. And it was just this awesome library room, lots of books, fantastic lighting.

But what I really liked to see was that there was lots of seating and tables and areas for working or reading. And there were also so many people just hanging out reading books. And it was just a really cool vibe, a really cool atmosphere in the Redmond Barry Reading Room.

But that was just a warm-up. The real cherry on the top of the ice cream sundae was the next room, which is a room called the La Trobe Reading Room. And this is, I'm just looking at the information here, it is an octagonal room, an octagonal space that was designed to hold over a million books and up to 600 readers.

Now this was built in 1913 originally, and it retains that vibe. There were many desks and areas to read in this room, and they were all wooden and original. And so, it was almost like stepping back into time and going to a different era, like looking at these seats and chairs and tables where people would read that were still original.

The design and everything preserved from 1913. So, this reading room is an octagon, which means it has eight sides. So, it's not very often that you get to walk into an octagonal room.

And it's like a big tower, and at the top of the tower is this glass dome that lets all this amazing natural light shine in. And it was really, really cool. I took a bunch of pictures, and my wife took a bunch of pictures also.

So, I'll put some up on our Instagram so that you can see what those pictures look like and what that room looks like. Another thing, another little fun fact that I learned while I was researching this on Wikipedia, that reading room was designed by an architecture firm called Bates Smart.

Now you might not know this about me, but actually my family name is Bates. So, I think maybe, who knows, maybe it was like my long lost great, great, great uncle or something, great, great, great, great second cousin, who knows.

Somebody with the same family name as me was responsible, at least in a little part, for designing this dome. At least, yeah, we had the same family name. There might not be any connection there, but I thought that was a fun little fact.

So, we didn't actually do any reading in the dome in the main reading room, but we did go to the smaller reading room, the Redmond Barry Reading Room reading room. And luckily my wife and I both brought books with us. So, we did some reading.

We sat down and we read for like 30 or 40 minutes, and it was just really cool to feel the vibe. Like I said, it was a place where you felt like you wanted to learn, you wanted to read, you wanted to gain the knowledge of the world. I don't know.

I just had this very incredible atmosphere in there where it felt like, yeah, you were becoming smarter just by being in that building. After we toured through the domed reading room, we checked out an exhibit and there were several exhibitions, several art exhibitions in the library as well.

But the one that we checked out was all about early writing, and it showed a lot of manuscripts, some hieroglyphics. There was a lot of information about Egypt, and it was just really cool to browse through there.

So, we must have spent like two, three hours just touring the library, checking out the exhibits, reading in the reading room. And when we were finished, I said to my wife, "Well, thank you so much for bringing me to this place."

It was a really amazing experience, and I really enjoyed visiting there. And I think if it weren't for my wife, it's probably a place that I wouldn't have checked out.

So, I think we make a great travel team, my wife and me, and our travel styles being totally different doesn't really matter in the end. It ends up being complementary rather than conflicting.

And the end result is that we both have a great travel experience, and we're able to travel with each other for a long time without fighting or arguing or any of those things that are very, very unpleasant.

Oh, no, guys. So, I did it again. I went overtime, and my hockey game has started quite a while ago, at least 20 minutes ago. So, I'm going to wrap things up here. I'm going to take off. I'm going to turn the hockey game on and enjoy that.

But if you made it all the way to the end of this episode, I have a secret code word for you. And if you share this code word on our Discord server with our community, then everyone will know, "Ah, you made it all the way to the end. You truly completed this episode."

So, the code word for today's episode is: Library. Library. Please write that on our Discord, and we'll know that you truly finished this episode, and you made it all the way to the end. So, for now, everyone, I'm going to take off, but I'll be back soon with another brand-new episode.

We've got a great one coming out in just a few days, another helpful English lesson for you all. But until then, I'm going to go. So, bye.

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