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Category: Expat Europe

Lesson Four: Tiptoe Through The Tutus

"I stood up, recognised a 3/4 rhythm, and tried to spot myself in the mirror. Not difficult. I was the only one moving sideways instead of forwards, stomping two seconds late, holding half a castanet wrapped round my thumb the other round the wrist, and wearing corduroy trousers." Graeme attends a class himself - a dancing class.

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Lesson Three: Chicken chests and cheeps

"I groaned inwardly. So, no money again, then. I came to call them my 'Russian classes' – goods in exchange for knowledge, consommés for consonants in the present case. Expanding my stomach rather than my wallet." Dr Graeme Porte's latest students - restaurateurs - offer payment in kind rather than cash!

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Lesson Two: Never forget Lesson Number One

"While still regaining his breath, Mr Jesús María d'Avila opened hostilities: 'Plis, ...Ah must to eensist...joo coll me just Jesus.' 'Just Jesus?' 'No... Ah em... only Jesus, noothink more. Not Mary, plis.' He was at least humility – if not divinity – personified..." Dr Graeme Porte extends his student list!

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Flags of France and Botswana

One foot in each camp

"We don't set out deliberately to live in two places at once. It's just that when it looks like happening, we don't make a serious effort to stop it. We can't bring ourselves to abandon one place in favour of the other. An East African childhood gives you big horizons." Mike Kingdom-Hockings writes about his life in Botswana while his wife is based in France.

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Lesson Number One

'"Joo mus hilp me," Manolo threatened. "Ah haf ingleesh ixam for entering Deeplomatic sirvis in Joon. Ah mus pars." His accent was as engaging as the content bewildering.' Dr Graeme Porte takes on his first English language student—and opens the door to a world of confusion…

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