Hasret – A Poem


are you?

Around me

in books

on screens

a picture, an image.

Has – ret. A small word


so many

in the waters

over the bridge.

A bridge? From here to there

–         binding,

bringing together.



to me it is hasret. Mine.


  • Hasret means nostalgia, longing. I saw it in a title of a song and I loved how it sounded. I have to thank Merve Oflaz who introduced me to this composer and Dincer Demir who gave me the exact definition of the word.

Here is the music and its title that inspired the poem:


Istanbul – A Poem

The Bosphorus (Photo taken by Vicky Loras)
The Bosphorus (Photo taken by Vicky Loras)


Written by Vicky Loras

New air, new sky.

Colours. Lights.

Grey and rain.

Hüzün1? No, bliss.

When eyes are lost in the waters

of the Bosphorus

in the smiles

of the simit2 seller,

the old woman in the street

the crowds

in busy Taksim.

A star,

a half moon.

There’s one over ğ;


and ağaç4

and göğü gördüm5.

eceA million thanks to Ece Sevgi who read it so beautifully! Listen to it here:



1. hüzün = melancholy, longing. It is a word which is mentioned very often in Orhan Pamuk’s book Istanbul – it is also heard in songs and poems. It is a sad word, but I love how it sounds.

2. simit = a bagel usually covered in sesame seeds and which you can buy practically everywhere.

3. dağ [dah] = mountain

4. ağaç [ah – ach] = tree

5. göğü gördüm [gyoo-ooh gyoor-dim] = I saw the sky

I tried to find three words that included that special letter ğ and that were also related to what I saw during my trip to Istanbul. That was a hard feat. I hope I managed to convey the images.

Somehow, the little half moon over the letter ğ reminded me of the crescent on the Turkish flag.

Many many thanks to Ece Sevgi, for helping me find a phrase that made sense and included the word sky.

A Traveller’s Journal – A Poem Read by Mieke Kenis (@mkofab)

Local station – photo taken by @sandymillin (from #eltpics)

It is time on the blog for another poem, read by the fantastic Mieke Kenis. Thank you so much, Mieke, for giving it exactly the emotion I wanted it to have!

I wrote this one in 1999, when I was twenty years old.

A Traveller’s Journal

Ithaca – A Poem Read by Mieke Kenis (@mkofab)

Pebbles on the beach, photo taken by @sandymillin (eltpics)

It has been about two months since I last posted and I return with another poetry reading by the amazing Mieke Kenis, based in Belgium – listen to her reading it, she is fantastic! Some of you remember her reading Hair and Ascending.

One of the greatest Greek poets, Constantine Cavafy, wrote one of his most well-known poems under the same title: Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy

I have borrowed the title, as all of us, at some point of our lives, are looking for our own Ithaca like Ulysses (Odysseus) was in Greek mythology.

Many many thanks to Mieke, who has given the poem a new life, a lot of feelings and her own wonderful way of reading it.

Ithaca – A poem by Vicky Loras, read by Mieke Kenis

Gypsy – A Poem Read by Brad Patterson (@brad5patterson)

Brad Patterson, originally from the US and located in France, is a fantastic person I have the honour to call a friend and a great educator. Brad writes a blog where he shares a lot of his love for etymology and writes about many topics which make us all think.Brad and his company Edulang have started a great initiative called Pay What You Want. Definitely worth looking at and contributing to!

I am very fortunate to have Brad read this poem, which I wrote when I was 20 years old. He has rendered it so beautifully…but enough from me – over to Brad! Thank you so so much!

Gypsy – Read by Brad Patterson

Ascending – A Poem read by Mieke Kenis (@mkofab)

Routes Into The Sky (Photo taken from http://www.highton-ridley.co.uk)

Here is another of my poems, one I wrote for my sister Gina when I was 20 years old – and once again I am honoured to have the wonderful Mieke Kenis read it and give life to it with her beautiful voice. Thank you so much again, Mieke!

Ascending – Read by Mieke Kenis

Transfusion – A Poem Read by James Taylor (@theteacherjames)

James Taylor

I am very happy that a very good friend, James Taylor, has accepted to read another poem I have written. James is a super person and educator who lives in Belgium.

I was very happy and fortunate to meet him in person here in Zug two months ago and then see him again in Paris almost two weeks ago!

Read his super blog! James has some great educational ideas there.

A big thank you to James for giving a tone of hope to this poem, which I had never seen before. Listen to his recording here.

Hair – A Poem Read by Mieke Kenis (@mkofab)

Mieke Kenis

It all started last night when Mieke Kenis, a super person and educator from Belgium, and I were chatting about how we both love poetry – Mieke told me she reads poems sometimes and records them on Audioboo. I love her voice and the way she reads. So then I told her that I (think I) write poems, so I recorded my poem Hair on Audioboo. Mieke listened to it and returned me the nicest present ever – herself reading Hair, in the absolutely most beautiful way. She gave such life to my poem, it really moved me and I thank her so very much for that. Here is the recording of Mieke reading it so beautifully:

Hair – Read by Mieke Kenis, Written by Vicky Loras

Thank you so much, Mieke!

* Mieke has started a blog.

TESOL France 30th Colloquium – Day Two (#TESOLFr)

And after the excitement of Day One…Day Two came along for all of us to learn, connect and have fun!

Mike Harrison

I started my day with Mike Harrison’s super session Before Words: Ideas for Using Images and Sound in the Classroom. It was the first time I had attended Mike’s session and I loved it! I got so many ideas about what you can do with pictures and sound effects in class. We even did a visual poem. I teamed up with Deniz Atesok, a great educator from Turkey in the activities that Mike showed us and we came up with some great ideas! I will definitely be using his ideas with my students – and I will definitely be attending more of his sessions in the future. You can find a plethora of ideas on his great blog! A big thank you to Mike!

Anna Musielak

Right after Mike – the drama specialist and enthusiastic presenter (and very good friend – I am so happy to know her!) Anna Musielak! Ania’s presentation was called Break the Ice with Drama. I had seen Ania last year as well and I could not wait to attend her session this year either!

Ania presented so many ideas, you definitely have to catch her at a conference – her enthusiasm is amazing and so are her ideas, which work with all ages. We took part in many activities and could see in practice how great these ideas are. I loved how Ania’s ideas made everyone so enthusiastic, lots of people volunteered to take part in the activities. Lots and lots of ideas. Ania is also star guest blogger on many blogs, including mine. Her posts are definitely worth reading! Thanks so much, Ania!

Cecilia Lemos

After our lunch break, it was time to see Cecilia Lemos in action in her session, Ideas for Improving Studentsʼ Writing Skills: My Experience. Ceci gave us amazing ideas of how to integrate writing actively in our classes – a skill that has been often disliked by students for the reason that (we have all heard it and Ceci pointed it out as well) they have nothing to write. She introduced us to some nice tips for writing, such as motivating the students into writing the essay paragraph by paragraph wothout even realising it, and then putting them all together to make their very own writing piece – and prove to themselves that they can write! I also like how Ceci told us how she motivates her kids to read – they all read the same book, which she has chosen carefully to be apporopriate for all tastes and for both genders. She has also done a webinar on the same topic which you can see, along with other super posts, on her blog.

Luke Meddings

Right after, it was time for the one and only Luke Meddings and his plenary Dogme and the City.

I really liked how Luke paralleled language learning and teaching and exploring the city of Paris. It was a really great pleasure to listen to Luke and talk to him afterwards – we also enjoyed his Greta Garbo impersonation!

Thanks for a great plenary, Luke! Truly enlightening and I look forward to attending more talks from Luke in the future.


Marisa Constantinidis

Then it was time for Marisa Constantinidis – her session was The Reading Challenge: Motivation & creativity in reading lessons. Lots of educators heistate to use reading texts in their classes because they think the students may get bored. Marisa showed us so many ways to utilise texts in class successfuly, and get lots of things from them! She weaved reading texts into so many activities and extended them to speaking as well. I loved Marisa’s ways of motivating students to read – it counts to a great extent on how teachers present a reading text for the students to approach it! A great presentation form a wonderful person and educator! Read Marisa’s excellent blog  for more great ideas – I am giving a link to her very imimportant challenge for people with disabilities, which she pointed out in Paris as well and I believe is a very important issue for all educators to keep in mind.

Ceri Jones

Right after Marisa, the last session of the day I attended was Ceri Jones’s, You’ve Got Mail. She gave us very interesting ideas on how to use e-mail in class, as a means of communication with our students (letting them know what has happened in case of absence, for instance, but also as an exchange of language between the teacher and students). Ceri and her students did an excellent job in extending their linguistic abiltites and improving significantly in writing – something I found very interesting, as I communicate a lot with my students via e-mail, almost on a daily basis. I am definitely taking a lot of ideas from Ceri’s session! Read her super blog Close Up – great work there!

Then we had the Open Mic Night, which was a huge success and so much fun! Lots of singing, juggling, poetry reading – you name it : )

My Contribution to Eva Büyüksimkeşyan’s Blog Carnival #24 – Warmers and Fillers

Eva Büyüksimkeşyan, English teacher and good friend!

I am delighted to be asked to take part in the 24th Blog Carnival on Warmers and Fillers for the first days back at school, hosted by Eva Büyüksimkeşyan, an English teacher based in Istanbul, and since last November, a dear friend! Eva teaches at Esayan High School and does a lot of great projects with her students. She also collaborates internationally with other teachers around the world. Eva writes the most amazing posts on her blog, A Journey in TEFL. Thanks so much for this opportunity, Eva!

I am very happy to teach English as a Foreign Language both to children and adults. I enjoy working with both age groups and in this post I will share my ideas, which I hope you will find useful and like! I try to come up with new activities every year, but these are our favourites and as an educator, I see that they help both children and adults make a great start to their lessons.

Young Learners:

  • As I like to incorporate culture in my classes and I am fortunate to have multicultural classes, I begin by asking them where they are from and if they can tell us a greeting in their language, sing a small song or tell us a small poem or rhyme. For the reason that on first days young learners can be very shy, I start by demonstrating the task myself! That can help the kids a lot and keep the activity going.
  • We make posters on A3 paper. They can write their name, if they are able to, and around it make little drawings of things they like, their families, their hobbies and so on. When they are finished, they can make a small presentation to the whole class so we can all get to know them!
  • My name is Vicky and I like basketball! We can all sit down in a circle and take turns, rolling a ball or giving each other a stuffed toy and introduce ourselves – our names and our favourite thing or activity. That way they can hear each other and learn names – perhaps even find out common things they like!

Adult Learners:

  • Incorporating culture again, I make a little introduction of myself (My name is Vicky Loras, I was born in Canada of Greek parents and I am an English teacher) – it welcomes them to the first lesson and they can feel more comfortable. They can even start asking me or even better each other questions. Plus, they like this small talk for the first lesson – we can start talking stock markets and hedge funds in the following lessons!
  • Then taking some questions from a book I absolutely adore, Cambridge Business English Activities, we start talking (culture is in here too and the questions can lead to some interesting and sometimes funny discussions!). This kind of discussion loosens them up in the first lesson, because they can be nervous as well and serves as a great introduction to fantastic lessons to follow. The questions are of the kind: If you were at a reception, would you take the last piece of cake? or Do you work on a problem by analysing it or using your instinct? or How would you react if a colleague got the job you wanted? and so on.
  • What I have noticed is that they love talking about their work and working environment, their position in the company and perhaps what they did before, so I just let them talk to us about it. If they are from the same company, they can fill in for each other when they remember something, so everyone gets a chance to talk – or if they have not see each other before, they can learn more about the people in their class.

I hope these tips have helped you. Stay tuned to Eva’s blog to read great ideas form other educators who are also taking part in the Blog Carnival. Thank you for reading!