LPLE #5: Moving into a New House

Jesse talks about moving into a new house. Andrew explains states, cities, and neighborhoods in America.


Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew!

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: Cool story. A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I moved into a new house.

Andrew: I know! We're actually sitting in it right now. 

Jesse: We're actually recording this podcast on our new dining table in our new living room. It's quite nice!

Andrew: It's a very nice, brand new place.

Jesse: Now, we live in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. Now, for those who are unfamiliar with how geography and...what, what's a good word? Municipalities?

Andrew: I would just say how cities are laid out...

Jesse: How cities are laid out.

Andrew: Or, how Seattle is laid out.

Jesse: Right, because some cities do it differently.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: One big example is New York, where they have something that I don't think any other city has in the nation, which is burrows.

Andrew: Well, yes. And, I would call those neighborhoods, but the burrows are mainly-... The burrows are defined by geography, right? By the islands that make up part of New York City and also where you are in relation to the freeway and downtown, is that right?

Jesse: I have no idea how burrows work, honestly...

Andrew: [hahaha]

Jesse: Well, skipping that for just a moment here. How Seattle works is you have the Washington State, you have counties within the state, you have cities within the counties, and then you have neighborhoods, within the cities.

Andrew: That's right.

Jesse: So, we live in the Rainier Valley neighborhood. The old neighborhood we lived in before was called Judkins Park. We moved from Judkins Park to the Rainier Valley.

Andrew: That's interesting, actually, because when you spoke about neighborhoods I was actually thinking about, I guess, a larger version of the "neighborhood" definition. So, Seattle is broken down by different areas, which I would consider to be places like Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, North Beacon Hill, and so on. What you're describing are actually smaller parts of those areas, which are the actual, I guess, communities inside those neighborhoods like Judkins or Rainier Valley, and they refer more closely to the roads and the intersections that are around the area where you live, is that right?

Jesse: Yeah, that's correct. Now, originally where we lived before in Judkins Park, we were about seven minutes to 10 minutes away from Chinatown and downtown.

Andrew: That's right.

Jesse: Now we live five to seven minutes away from Chinatown and downtown. So, we're moving ever closer to Chinatown and downtown, without actually living inside either one of those two areas.

Andrew: Yes, which is interesting because you are actually moving south, away from most of Seattle, a little ways away.

Jesse: Now, we live in a house-... a style of house that's called a "townhouse." How do we describe a townhouse for people who are unfamiliar with this kind of architecture?

Andrew: That's a good question. I think when people think of normal family homes in the United States, in general, they are usually a traditional structure with a sloping roof, they are usually one or two stories tall, and usually take up a lot of space on one floor with a large yard around side it--around it outside. I think I would describe a townhome as taking up much less space with much less yard, and having more floors instead so that they are about the same size inside the home, but on maybe three or four floors instead of one or two.

Jesse: That's right, that's right. On our ground floor, immediately when you enter the front door there are stairs going up to the, kind of the main area the living room, the kitchen. But, also on the ground floor when you enter you have the option of going to the side of the stairs to two different bedrooms and a bathroom.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: So, they're basically compressing, they're making--for maybe lack of a better word--shrinking the size of a normal house; instead of building wider they're building taller.

Andrew: That's correct, yes. And, I would say that it is not--... again it is not smaller, it is just stacked differently. So, like you say, there are only two bedrooms on the ground floor, which means that the floor is smaller, but then the next floor up you have a living room and a kitchen, which in a more traditional American home might all be on the same floor.

Jesse: Right, right. Are there townhouses in other states? I think that maybe townhouses are more commonly found in denser cities where land is sma-... where land is fewer.

Andrew: I think land is more expensive near big cities, and that is why people choose to build taller rather than wider.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: I think traditional American cities had more space, and many of them are still like that. So, for example, in the middle of the country, in the midwest cities like St. Louis or Chicago, tend to have more space and so they have more single family homes with yards. In cities that are denser like New York or like Seattle or San Francisco, there's not as much space to have a yard and to build out, and so they build up instead, and that's why town homes have become more popular. But, they're also very nice because they are built with the newest technology.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: So, they have bigger windows, they have better insulation so they don't get as cold or as hot in the weather, and they're cheaper to run, so it costs less money to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And, they stand up to weather well, as well. 

Jesse: That's right. You talk about yards. Now, how do you feel about yards?

Andrew: I personally don't care much for them. I don't-... Let me say that differently, I don't value them very highly because I don't spend my time out in them. I am usually out in the city, and when I want to go out into nature, I drive to the mountains and the forests nearby. So, to me the yard is pretty to look at, but it also means a lot of work. I need to mow the grass, I need to pull weeds, I need to plant flowers or a garden, and these are things that I would not want to do normally for myself. So, they are kind of a responsibility that I don't want. I like living in the city because I am close to everything that I like to do, so bars, restaurants, theater, bands, and other performances, and also to be close to my friends. And, so, I don't feel like it is as important to have an estate, a big piece of land to live on, as well.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at