Learn English – What would you grab from a burning house?

Thinking about which of our possessions are most valuable or meaningful to us is a good exercise. In today’s video, I explain what I would pick and why.


Have you ever thought about your most valuable possessions, what you love most in your house or apartment? If there were a flood coming or your house caught fire, what would you grab? Think about it.

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)

Before we begin, I have a joke for you. I’m going to ask you a question. You think about it and then I’ll tell you the answer. Here it goes.

  • Why did the students study in the airplane?

Think, what’s the reason? Ready? Give up?

  • They wanted higher grades!

Do you get it? ‘Higher grades’ is another way of saying better grades or better marks. Higher because they’re in an airplane. It’s a stupid joke, but I just wanted to make you smile. Okay, back to our topic.

If you could only pick three things from your house in the event of an emergency and you had to leave quickly, what would you grab? Let us assume that people and animals, our pets, have gotten out safely and you have just a few moments to grab the most valuable things that you love. It’s a hard question. I had to do some thinking. But here goes: 

The first thing I would grab would be a metal, metal file box we have in the closet. It has our birth certificates, our marriage certificate or license, insurance policies, our will, important documents like that and some cash. I would grab that first because it takes time to replace, to get new documents, new certificates. What next?

I would grab my computer with a charger, my phone with a charger and put them in a bag. And I’m counting that as just one item – my tech equipment. Why my computer? My computer is all set up and it takes a long time to set up a computer. I make these videos on the computer. I have all sorts of websites saved and organized in bookmarks. My computer is my work life as well as my home management system. So, I would grab my computer and my phone and the chargers. 

Hmm…a third item. That’s easy. I would grab the small suitcase in our closet. It’s really handy. It’s easy to pick up. And then I would put the few pictures, the photos that are framed of family that are in the bedroom, I would quickly throw those into that suitcase. And I would choose one of our paintings on the wall. Which painting and why?

When Mike and I got married, we were living in Germany as new lieutenants and one weekend we went down to the mountains. We saw a painting in an art gallery and fell in love with it. It’s the picture of a small church in Bavaria. Bavaria are the mountains in Germany and all around you can see the mountains. The sunlight is on it. And I don’t know if it’s the early morning sun or the late afternoon sun, but it’s beautiful. I would choose that painting because it’s beautiful and it’s the first piece of artwork that we bought together.

So, those are my three items, a box with documents and some cash, a bag for my phone, computer and chargers, and a small suitcase for family pictures and that mountain painting. Well, what about you? Are any of your most important items the same as mine? What would you choose? You know, most everything you can replace, so maybe they are just items that have a sentimental value, items that are meaningful, that bring back memories. 

Leave me a comment below this video and tell me and remember if you would like the written words, the transcript for today’s episode, go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com and there you can enter an email address and access. And the, well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.  

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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