Personal History

Part 1

Mr. Jones: So, Philip, tell me a little about yourself.
Philip: Gosh, where to start? Well, I was born in a small town near Manchester but grew up in Singapore. I suppose I did OK at school and then went to university in London, where I studied East Asian Languages. After university I travelled for a while, mostly in Asia, the Middle-East, and Down Under, then came back and took a teaching job.
Mr. Jones: I see. And how long have you known Anna?
Philip: Oh, we met about 8 months ago. She was a friend of a friend.
Mr. Jones: And what sort of things do you enjoy? Do you have any hobbies?
Philip: This sounds a bit sad, but I’m keen on table tennis – I learnt it while growing up in Singapore. Oh, and I’m a bit of a cinephile: I love movies. I’m also fond of travelling.
Mr. Jones: Well, it sounds like you have had an interesting life so far. And I’m pleased to meet you: anyone who makes Anna happy is OK by me.


Part 2

Ted: I was nervous about going on a blind date, but you’ve picked a nice restaurant here. Very classy.
Bella: I’ve heard the food here is to die for.
Ted: So, tell me a bit about yourself.
Bella: Ok. As you know, my name’s Bella, and I work as a secretary, and have done so for about 3 years now. There’s not much to say about that, so I’ll move on. I grew up a small village outside Seattle, but moved away when I went to university in New York.
Ted: What degree did you study?
Bella: It sounds a bit silly, but I studied Latin. I’m not sure why; I haven’t used it much since. Anyway, after that I took a year out and did some volunteer work in Rwanda.
Ted: Sounds interesting.
Bella: It was. Looking back, I’d say it was the best decision I have ever made. Perhaps taking Latin was the worst. I regret that a bit.
Ted: My most ill-advised decision was marrying my first wife. That ended up costing me 5 years of my life, and quite a lot of money too.
Bella: Never mind. The past is behind us; we can’t go back.
Ted: Hear hear. To the future. Cheers.


Part 3

My life has been boring. I was born in a normal family, to normal parents, and went to a normal school. I did OK in class – not great, but not badly – and finished as a B-grade student. After school, I went to an average university – not a great one, but not a bad one – and studied a boring degree. I got a job in an office, where I still work. I did get married, but my wife left me because she said I was too boring.
Last week I went on a blind date with a girl called Bella. She has had an interesting life. She grew up in a small village in America to very religious parents. She says that lifestyle drove her crazy, so for university she enrolled in New York, on the other side of the country. At university she took Latin, but partied more than studied. After she graduated she wanted to see the world, so she travelled to Rwanda in Africa. Then she came to the UK, where she works as a secretary. It isn’t a great job, she says, but it is paying her way whilst she writes a book about growing up in an overly-religious family.


Part 4

1. Where were you born?
a) the countryside
b) a small town
c) the big city

2. Where did you grow up?
a) the same place I was born
b) a couple of places
c) all over the map

3. How did you do at school?
a) grade-A student
b) middle of the pack
c) learning wasn’t my thing

4. What was your first job?
a) a part-time/temporary gig, mostly unskilled
b) something related to my education
c) my family and old-school ties got me a sweet position

5. What was your first boyfriend/girlfriend like?
a) not someone I would take home to my parents
b) safe, tidy, and unassuming
c) I’ve never stopped loving him/her