Old but Loved

Published on 31st March, 2010 in Global Bloggers by Amy Jost

trabantI know, it’s a loaded title, ‘Old but Loved’, especially if you’re aware that I’m a middle-aged female teacher. Do visions of old schoolmarms already dance in your head?

Luckily for me, the topic of our lesson was the Trabant, the old but loved former East German car, which one can still see occasionally on the motorways in Europe. Hop in, roll down your window, and take a ride with us through Unit 10 of Global.

I love the Trabi. It’s an auto with so much style and it stirs up not only nostalgia, but also what’s known as ‘ostalgia’, the nostalgia for things from former East Germany. (‘Ost’ means ‘East’ in German.) Having lived in Germany for many years, I feel a deep appreciation of these relics of Germany’s torn past. And, having driven a Citroen 2CV for 8 years in Europe, I feel like a close cousin to Trabi drivers.

But, leave it to my sober Swiss students to spoil the stroll-down-memory-lane fun. They broke my heart claiming that the Trabant is neither stylish nor ‘cute’. Have I already mentioned that all of them are men? And most of them are engineers?!

So, we quickly slipped down the slippery slope from the Trabant story to ‘other old things’. I was now on thin ice, as you can imagine.

Alas, one of the other students ended up in the crossfire instead of me. He uses a French/English dictionary that many of us suspect was printed in Napoleon’s times. It was deemed the ‘Trabi’ of the class that Friday. Trying to put the playful bantering to rest, I asked him to reveal the age of his old, beaten up companion, ‘for accurate blogging purposes’, of course. Low and behold, it was printed in 1969.

Obviously not worried about looking a bit old (but loved) in English lessons with colleagues, the student still brings it to class every week. The proud book owner said he still finds it to be a good resource, but he wishes it had collocations in it.

Collocations, as you may know, are a relatively new dictionary feature. They show you words which commonly go together, like ‘giving a presentation’ as opposed to ‘speaking/performing/saying a presentation’.

It’s quite a stretch to hope to find collocations in such an antiquated dictionary. But, as I close my Global blogging career, I’d like to leave you with a few of parting collocations, which describe my feelings about the blogging experience I’ve had these past 8 weeks:

absolutely terrified

deeply honored

continually surprised

extremely grateful

So, with that, I’m signing off and wishing the other Global bloggers, Macmillan, and the rest of you lots of success in the future. As for me and my class here in Switzerland, we’re starting off on another exciting journey after our Easter break, this time from Unit 1 of Global. Happy trails!

Photo credit: Vitorio Benedetti. Creative Commons Licence


  • Fantastic stuff, Amy. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (another collocation) reading all your entries. If ever you wish to start your own blog, let me know. You have a guaranteed reader here!

    Lindsay Clandfield on 1 April, 2010
  • Thanks, Lindsay. It’s been alot of fun and using your book’s been a real treat. I’m sure it’ll break all records!

    Amy Jost on 1 April, 2010