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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hot potato

Context #1 

Two friends discussing personal problems

Jon: What’s up Aaron? What did you want to talk about? 
Aaron: I’m going to travel with my girlfriend to her home country, but it seems her parents don’t really want to meet me because I’m from a different culture.
Jon: Oh wow! It seems you have a hot potato in your hands. You will have to approach this issue with an open mind and try your best.
Aaron: I’ve been learning their language and cultural norms. I’m bringing a special gift for them too.
Jon: Remember that it’s a sensitive issue. Learn as you go. Hot potatoes are difficult to deal with.

Context #2 

Two co-workers discussing the holiday party

JuneI’m trying to promote the Christmas party to everyone at work.
Alex: That’s great! Just remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Just promote it as an inclusive Holiday Party. You want to avoid any hot potatoes at work.
June: Yes, you’re right. I just want everyone at work to enjoy a good time. It’s not necessarily about Christmas.
Alex: Yep. Include everyone in a friendly way and you can avoid any issues at work. Those things are always tricky.

Meaning: A hot potato means a controversial or difficult problem that can be difficult or risky to deal with. In the first context, they had to deal with relationship and cultural issues that can affect multi-cultural couples. In the second context, both friends discuss having a holiday party without leaving anyone out, or making it seem exclusive. Not an easy thing to consider at work.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A penny for your thoughts

Context #1 

Friends making a decision about where to take a trip

Natalie: I was thinking about the restaurants we should visit while in San Francisco. I have so many I want to go to. What about you? 
Robert: I don’t know what to say. Whatever is fine.
Natalie: Hey, we’re doing this together right? A penny for your thoughts, Rob.
Robert: Well, I heard they have good sushi there. I guess the sushi shop by the Ferry Building would be great.
Natalie: See, that wasn’t so painful, was it? Your opinion counts.

Context #2 

Teachers discussing next year’s school events

TomWhat do you think about taking students to the Ramen Festival in February?
Karley: I’m not from L.A., so please don’t ask. I really don’t know any place around here.
Tom: Oh, come on! I’m sure you’ve considered, at least, a place you want to visit. A penny for your thoughts, Karley.
Karley: Fine! I was thinking about this really nice restaurant in downtown with a great view of the city. Maybe after, we can all go to a museum.

Meaning: A penny for your thoughts is a comment you make when you want someone else’s opinion. Perhaps the person doesn’t want to contribute to ideas or is simply shy. It’s a way to motivate someone to participate. In both examples, the characters have to say it for their friend’s opinion to be expressed.