A life-changing event
This week's column is by Language Editor Joanna Westcombe.
At this time of year, you might be looking back over 2013 and wondering such things as a) where the time has gone, b) whether or how your life has changed, and c) whether you have found happiness this year. If nothing else, such thoughts are good practice for the present perfect. All too soon, 2013, happy or not, will be firmly in the past simple.
Do you remember 2011? For one of our writers, Robert Parr, this was the year that changed his life. It was a television programme that did it: a documentary about a volunteer from Germany working at a school in India. Robert was so inspired by this that he got in touch with the featured organization the next day. This started the process of arranging a sabbatical for the following year. Robert worked for eight months in the same school, the Bhil Academy in Jhabua, central India.
While he was away, Robert wrote a very popular blog in which he talked about his experiences and showed pictures he had taken. This gave his followers back home in wintry Germany an often colourful insight into daily life in very different circumstances.
Robert knows how lucky he was to have the chance to volunteer in India. He has lived the words of Mahatma Gandhi which he quotes in the article: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."
It's never too late to change your life. Good grammar can make you happy: past, present and future!
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