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Newsletter January 2017

Editorial  – New Year’s Resolutions 

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.
Here are the ten most common New Year’s Resolutions in the United States. Do you have some similar promises?
  1. Start Exercising – After a season of too many cookies, candies and holiday parties, it’s only natural that a vow to lose weight and get fit would follow. Each January, fitness clubs offer deals and promotions to those who want to keep their promises. 
  2. Quit Smoking – So you want to quit smoking? Good luck. Only an estimated 15% of people who try to quit manage to stay cigarette-free six months later. 
  3. Learn Something New – You’d love to play the piano. How great would it be to really know how to cook? Resolving to learn something new is exciting: the world is full of fascinating facts, skills and talents. And the process of discovering them, not just the end result, is enjoyable and rewarding.
  4. Eat Healthier and Diet – During the holidays, everything we eat is pretty much awful for us:        eggnog, fudge, chips and dip, cheese balls. It’s time to eat healthy. We promise to swap eggs and bagels for granola and oatmeal breakfasts; eat lean, protein-rich salads (nonfat dressing on the side, please) and fruit for lunch; cook fish and brown rice for dinner and serve it up with a side of spinach. It all sounds so good and possible on Jan. 2.
  5. Get out of Debt and Save Money – After a difficult financial year (and the always budget-unfriendly month of December), consumers might try to stop spending and promise to manage their debt more effectively. Some tips are to allow yourself to eat one dinner out a week. Take a sack lunch to work most days. 
  6. Spend More time with Family – Everyone’s busy these days. But family is important, and the beginning of the year is an ideal time to reconnect with family that you haven’t seen in a while. 
  7. Travel – A new year and a new world of opportunities to explore — and places, too. Travel of some sort is on almost everyone’s agenda, and some of the first things we tend to think of in a new year are those exotic destinations we’d hope to seek out. Take that road trip to rugged Nova Scotia, ride a hot-air balloon over the strange terrain of Cappadocia, or go on your first ocean cruise. 
  8. Be Less Stressed – It’s not a bad idea to resolve to be less stressed. Less stress can make you healthier and happier.
  9. Volunteer – It may be a new year, but there are still old problems in the world. To start out on the right foot, you may resolve to lend a helping hand. You can help build a house, care for an animal, distribute food to the hungry, tutor a student. Volunteering could be the resolution that keeps on giving — to yourself and to others.
  10. Drink Less – After the morning of Jan. 1, it’s not surprising you probably wish you drank less. Drinking less is undoubtedly good for you: it’s better for your health, your wallet and probably your reputation.

Language Systems Lifestyle – Torrance Art Museum 

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

Last week, students joined teacher Corey for lunch at Wahoo’s and walked over to the Torrance Art Museum. Here’s what happened: 
It was the first time for most of the students to try Mexican food & they loved it! Wahoo’s is a great “gateway” Mexican restaurant since it’s sort of a fusion on Mexican, Hawaiian, and Asian style foods. There’s something for everyone there!
After lunch we walked over to the Torrance Art Museum. It’s so close to our school! I can’t believe we’ve never been here before! We saw the South Bay Focus exhibition featuring local professional and amateur artists. We had our own private tour & learned a lot about the local art community.

Afterwards, we went to the nearby Pine Wind Garden to relax & see the koi fish (the Japanese students were surprised that we also say “koi” in English). It was very peaceful, and a great place to unwind after our tests.

Discover South Bay L.A. 

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

The Madrona Marsh Preserve, located in Torrance, California, is the last vernal marsh remaining in the South Bay area of Los Angeles and one of few wetlands located within an urban landscape.

Formed eons ago when the mountains of the Palos Verdes Peninsula rose to the south, Madrona Marsh is a shallow depression fed by wet season (spring) storms as the name “vernal” indicates. After the rainy season, evaporation, percolation and transpiration reduce the water depth by about one-quarter of an inch (6 mm) per day. By the end of August, the wetland is dry and remains so until the following rainy season. Situated on land that was set aside for oil production in 1924, Madrona Marsh was never developed—unlike the surrounding city—and remains a valuable natural habitat for birds, reptiles, insects and even small mammals.

Ongoing efforts are restoring native plants including wildflowers and butterfly species. The area has long been popular with bird watchers and The Audubon Society has used Madrona Marsh for their annual bird census since 1967. El Camino College uses it as an outdoor biology and botany lab. Public access to the Madrona Marsh trails is offered Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and guided tours can be arranged by calling the Nature Center (310) 782-3989.

Activities include bird and nature walks, natural history classes and workshops, habitat restoration, science and astronomy programs, art exhibits, and children’s nature programs. The center opened in 2001 and features exhibits about the plants, birds and animals of the marsh.
The marsh and nature center are closed to the public on Mondays. (From Wikipedia)

Free in South Bay L.A. – Candy Cane Lane 

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB 

Taking place for over 40 years, the Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza (also known as Candy Cane Lane) is one of the largest holiday decoration displays in the country. You can walk or drive through the neighborhood reveling in the sights, sounds and scents of the season. It’s a wonderful way to spend the evening and one the entire family will enjoy and remember for years to come. The wildly extravagant decorations are on display from December 1 through January 1 from about 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You don’t want to miss this!

For additional information and directions, visit the website:

Student Article 1 – My Christmas in America 

By Anonymous (Level 6)

I’ve been living in American for one year, but I’ve never celebrated the real Christmas. This Christmas is going to be my first time celebrating. I’m extremely excited and I’ve been preparing everything to get ready for my Christmas Day. 

In Thailand, my country, Buddhism is the main religion so we don’t celebrate Christmas. Consequently, I really want to feel the real Christmas because I’ve never been in the country that celebrates Christmas. Last year, I lived with my sister but she didn’t have time to take me out and it was the time that I just arrived to America so I was afraid to go out alone. But this time I won’t miss it anymore.

I’ve decorated my house with lights and a Christmas tree. I have my house ready for my family to celebrate Christmas together. I can feel that we will have a really wonderful time and we are really excited to see each other. We will have dinner together and I have a Christmas gift for everybody in my family.

After Christmas day, I have a trip to go meet my boyfriend’s family in Mexico City. He bought me tickets to go to Mexico as my Christmas gift and that fulfills me a lot! I can feel the real Christmas atmosphere around me.

I really love Christmas time even though I’ve never touched the real “Christmas.” I hope I will have a wonderful time with people who I love and who love me and I wish everybody will have a great time on Christmas day this year and forever. 

Student Article 2 – My Resolutions for 2017 

By Caroline (Level 6)

Resolutions are about things that you want to change or improve, starting on January first and usually given up on January second. This is a stupid concept. Why do we need to wait until January first to get better? However, like everybody, I have my resolutions for 2017.

My first big important resolution is not to do boring things anymore. I want to choose what I want to do, when I want to do it, and who I want to do it with. I don’t want to depend on other people’s choices and be denied the opportunity to say what I really want. For example, my Thanksgiving dinner was very boring because I didn’t choose the people that were invited. Of course, it’s not my house and I am only a host student so of course, I don’t have any choice or chance to share my thoughts and feelings. But what a chore it is to be with people you don’t like for a special event!

My second resolution is to be more independent. I have to work hard to earn enough money to live by myself, because it’s my own fault if I live with people I don’t like. I need to do my part and rid myself of my current situation.

One other annoying thing I often do and want to stop is sulking. I don’t know why but I sulk easily and a lot. At least, that’s what people say. I do not agree with them all the time because I think that when I am sulking, it’s for a right and justified reason, but that’s ok. For them, I am going to try sulking less. I promise, but just a little because of course I cannot stop sulking for the rest of my life.

These are my main resolutions for 2017. There are only three, but I think three is already too ambitious, so I think I am going to focus on the second one first and continue to sulk and do boring things for a while or maybe why not keep it for 2018? Let me think about it.

Language Systems Faces – Interview with Teachers (SB) 

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

We’ve got some wonderful teachers here at Language Systems South Bay campus. Here are just a few of the awesome teachers you’ll find when you come visit us in Torrance. We asked some of them about their New Year’s Resolutions, too.
From left to right: 
  • Brandon is our morning TOEFL teacher. He has taught English in Korea and China and has excellent baking skills. He recently brought some of his amazing homemade cookies to share. His New Year’s Resolution is to quit eating processed sugar and to cook more.
  • DJ has been an LSI teacher for about 7 years now! He was an English teacher in Seoul, Korea and Okinawa Japan before coming to LA. DJ has taught almost every subject and level, but he especially enjoys helping students improve their writing. His New Year’s Resolution is to go to the gym more often.
  • Amanda has taught English in Japan before coming to LSI a year and a half ago. She is an excellent athlete and has coached our LSI soccer and futsal teams in our annual tournaments. Amanda’s New Year’s Resolution is to be less wasteful: waste less food, time, money, etc..
  • Steven has been a teacher at LSI for about a year. This term, he is teaching reading, listening, and advanced conversation. Like Brandon, Steven also has excellent baking skills! If you have a chance to taste his rum cake, don’t pass it up! We hope his New Year’s Resolution is to bake more cake for his co-workers! Steven’s advice for everyone in the new year is to “balance your responsibilities with fun!”
  • Corey is our newest teacher at LSI South Bay. He has taught English in China and Korea and brings his expertise to our Levels 3, 4, and 5 Grammar classes! Corey’s New Year’s resolution is to cook MORE and to eat LESS at In-N-Out Burger! 
  • Scott has been a teacher at LSI for almost 2 years now. He is currently teaching grammar in the mornings and TOEIC in the afternoons. Scott’s New Year’s Resolution is to “continue to strive for excellence!” 
It looks like 2017 will be even better for LSI South Bay’s teachers! Cheers to all of you and we thank you for all your hard work!

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