To Find Oneself
Elzyata Kharaeva, 14, Elista



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It can't be true!

Yes, my honey. We need to move to town.

But Mom, my friends are here.

You can call them. Dont worry. You will find friends in your new school. Also, you will get a better education at the school in town.

That was that. Until that moment, I was happy living in my small village. I live with my mom and she decided to take a job in a small company in town.

When I went into my new classroom, I saw only strangers. I worried. I tried to talk with some girls, but they ignored me. Then I heard one say, She is from the country! Just look at her clothes.

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I was embarrassed. I noticed that the girls were dressed better than I was. In the village where I was born, people dont judge you by the way you are dressed. The village people are more friendly and helpful.

In the back rows sat one girl. She looked shy and friendly. After lessons she said, Hello. My name is Elena.

We went home together and talked about everything. We had a lot in common and she lived across from my house.

The next week Elena suggested, Elzyata, you are so good in English. You should take part in the big English language contest. You are better than girls in our class.

The next day I told my teacher that I wanted to take part in this contest.

Some of my classmates giggled. Are you sure you want to participate in this contest? said Vicky. Do you know that only the best pupils can be in this contest? You cant possibly win.

I was knocked out by her mean words. That is when I decided to win! Every evening I studied grammar and new words. Elena helped me.

The day of the contest came. Vicky was there for the contest too. I just tried to do the best I could. Nothing else worried me.

In the evening we went to school to learn the results of this competition. Some of the students were calm, but others were nervous.

When the winners were announced I wasn't nervous, because it didnt matter to me. Taking part in this contest was more valuable than winning. The first place went to a girl from the country, and I was glad for her. Vicky looked disappointed. Both Vicky and I approached the girl who won and congratulated her.

That night Vicky seemed to change her attitude about people who were different. Anyway, I decided to study languages more and to take part in the next contest. I want to compete with Vicky again because she is a good rival.


I. Understanding the Story
Choose the main idea of the story.
1. One should not change schools.
2. Changing schools can sometimes help us to improve and grow.
3. Cities are not as nice as villages because they are too big.

II. Vocabulary
education    ignored    embarrassed    judged
participate    competition    valuable

1. Preparing for the _______________ made Elzyata study more.
2. Most of the students ______________ Elzyata on her first day.
3. Elzyata learned that taking part in the contest was __________,
4. The girls ________________________her for being different.
5. The mother said that the town school would give a better ____________ .
6. Elzyata decided to _________in the English language contest.
7. Elzyata was ______________ about her clothes.

III. Now you Talk
1. Describe how and why people judge each other by their clothes.
2. What are the differences between city and village life?
3. What kinds of attitudes are written about in this story?

IV. Now you Write
Write about one of the subjects in Exercise III.

V. Grammar Practice
Change the verb tense from present to past. Example: Elena helps Elzyata study English. Elena helped Elzyata study English.
1. She knows about village life.
2. The country girl wins first place.
3. She has to move to the town.
4. The girls judge her clothes.

VI. Role Play
1. The writer and her mother: They talk about moving to town.
2. The writer and two unfriendly girls: They sit at the same table in the cafeteria.
3. The writer, Vicky, and the teacher: They talk about who will be in the contest.
4. The writer and Vicky: They meet to congratulate the winner.