Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!


How to Use the Unreal Past Tense

Date: Feb 07 2012

Themes: Travel

Grammar: The Unreal Past


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

There’s an expression in English, “the rat race,” that describes what life is like for many people who live in big cities and spend all their time trying to get ahead. They exhaust themselves by working too hard and running in circles in order to get more money and power. It’s a stressful way to live, but many people feel it’s the only way.

The new movie Wanderlust is about a couple who are caught in the rat race, living in New York City and working important jobs, until one of them gets fired. Then they both decide to leave the city and try to find a different, better way to live. Hear Amy and Mason talk about the movie, and their own desire for a different way of life.



1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

Log in to Listen

2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Amy:  I normally do not like Jennifer Aniston, but she is in a new movie called Wanderlust with Paul Rudd.

Mason:  Oh really, I haven’t heard about it.

Amy:  I have to say, it was pretty good.

Mason:  What’s it about?

Amy:  Well, she and Paul Rudd are this couple living this kind of fast paced lifestyle in Manhattan. He loses his job, and so they decide to kind of start over and figure out a different way to live. You know, get out of the rat race, hit the road, drop out. And they end up living on this hippie commune.

Mason:  So did you get thinking about any sort of changes in what you think is most important? Like would you ever leave it all behind and go do something totally different?

Amy:  Well, I think like most people probably, I always have that fantasy going on somewhere in the back of my mind, like, “What if I just could be a farmer and live on the land, you know, and not have to worry about having a regular job and all that?” What about you?

Mason:  Yeah, it’s funny. I went to a wedding this summer that was out on this farm. And it was more like an artist commune farm, maybe like this movie. The people who own it, they don’t really do any farming, they just have concerts there and events and weddings. It was so nice and so super chill, and I was like, “Wow, this is a thing that some people do for their life.”

Amy:  Right.

Mason:  Maybe that would be OK.


Grammar Point

Go Super to learn "The Unreal Past" from this lesson Go Super!


Go Super to take Quiz Go Super!


Lesson MP3

Go Super to download full lesson MP3 Go Super!

The iTEP® test

  • Scedule an iTEP® test and take the official English Practice Test.

    Take Now >


Go Super to Listen Go Super!

Amy tells Mason about the new movie, Wanderlust. In the film, Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play a Manhattan couple who leave the rat race behind and start a new life on a commune. Amy said she enjoyed the movie, even though she doesn’t usually like Jennifer Aniston.

Mason asks if the movie made Amy want to drop out and change her life, too. Amy says that she often thinks about how nice it might be to live a simple life in the country instead of living in the city and having a regular job.

Do you feel like you are caught in the rat race? Do you ever wish you could have a simpler way of life?



Log in to Comment




<body><p>my dear Kotlesya,<br>not all like that you know lol, I am living in the farm but we don’t that,  hhhhhhhh, fortunately we get more in touch with nature. fresh air, 

11:33 AM Feb 07 2012 |

1 person likes this




To people which have wrong idea, thinking that farm is a very calm and easy place to live in. Not at all. To live in farm you should do much more daily work than you do in big city.

The morning starts at 4:00 AM – you should feed the cattle.

Then you should go at  work and after your work you should till the ground or to water it or to do other work  in your garden and kitchen garden( it depends on season)

You must care of poultry yard at the same time as well. :)

You must cook, wash, clean, take the water from well and  to boil (to heat) it then and it is not the end of the list of important work each farmer does.

You must stoke the stove using the fuelwood to keep the house warm. There is no central heating like it is in the city.

The farm life is hard and busy. Village has no infrastructure  as city has.

But the feeling of the reunion with nature makes life in the countryside enjoyable. Smile

09:44 AM Feb 07 2012 |




Wanderlust….is a tempting word. It is the unfulfilled dream for me yet. 

My dictionary says :”wanderlust is a strong desire to travel” I have got that strong desire to see the world, but I just wait the opportunity to come. 

If I will manage to find the movie “Wanderlust” with Russian dub I will definetely watch it.

To answer the questions at the end of the lesson, yes I feel like I”m caught in the rat race. The daily routine, lots of resposibilities everywhere don’t leave spare time I would like to have.  I have got a place ( the small house in the remote countryside) where I can escape and to forget about the hectic big city life for a while. 

Honestly, I never had a thought about a simpler life. I accept my present life and to think about another life is unreasonable and the last thing for me to think about. 

Simple life makes us lazy. Simple life is not enticing like it might seem.

I like rapid life with challenges and with possibility to “take a minute” for the rest to get my  breath back Smile

09:17 AM Feb 07 2012 |

Majid Zarif

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

In my idea changing life style isn’t limited to changing the place where we live most of changes should happen in our mind;

if we like relaxing first we should get use to not make us any problem, from small to big one, worry.and let’s not forget this it needs practice and abit hard.Isn’t it friends?

08:29 AM Feb 07 2012 |

1 person likes this


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I really wish ,if I could change living in the crazy city to a simple life …it would be a new lifestyle for the rest of comming days

07:02 AM Feb 07 2012 |




I live in a city, and I like  to live there. Sometimes I feel like I am caught in the rat-race but it not often.

I don’t like to live  in a farm. Living in the farm I think it is very boring.

I like  my city Riga. It not very big city and I feel comfortable there.

06:31 AM Feb 07 2012 |

1 person likes this




The topic on rat-race is really good. This applies to everyone working in IT sector here. We really donot have many options to sort out priorities, once we joined the job. 
But I totally agree that it all depends on us. Sometimes I feel like I am caught in the rat-race. But I am enjoying the conditions :)

05:41 AM Feb 07 2012 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

regardless of our situation,easy or hard way of living,we are getting use to it. so don’t worry and try to take benefit of whatever is in front of your paces

05:32 AM Feb 07 2012 |




Does getting caught in the rat race mean working hard? I do not think so. 

Working hard is great, I am someone who likes working hard and hates a lazy life but if we talk about rat rice in big cities, it can be so harmful for our helt sometimes. So we need to run away for a while to countryside. Stress is the most dangerous thing for our healt. Isn’t it???

05:27 AM Feb 07 2012 |

Mexican Curious


Most people have forgotten this:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

Happyness in not in material things, everything in this world will have an ending… True happyness comes from God, and you can find it inside your own heart.

03:48 AM Feb 07 2012 |




I totally agree, the life in the city is total madness. 5 years ago, I missed downtown, its hussle and bustle, I wanted to mingle with people, to go the cafes and all those stuff. Right now the only thing I want is to relax and meditate. Maybe it’s aging, I don’t know. I grew up in the city and have always liked the crowd. Right now I feel like it’s too much of burden on my shoulders and just want to shake it off. But I don’t completely avoid going downtown, but if i go there, there should be a certain route, very organized or I’ll start getting nervous. Oh, my Gosh, what happened to me :)))

03:21 AM Feb 07 2012 |




I live in the small town and I found so much pleasure to be there, I never caught in the rat race , living in the big city look challenging, tiring, scary, kind of no work no food, no living :) , but many people want to have better life by moving to the big city, while some people in the big city tired of living there, and want to have peaceful mind , out of busy fax, I think it’s matter with people, they don’t enjoy what they are having by thinking other people’s life is better than they are!, I don’t know where life will bring me later on, I just try to enjoy what I’ve had right now.

02:20 AM Feb 07 2012 |

Mexican Curious


Don´t give me so much money, i could forget about you… Don´t make me poor, i could stole for eating… I think we must work for having just what we need and a little bit more.

What really care, love, health and family are priceless… Then if you have all this blessings, you are already rich.

09:33 PM Feb 06 2012 |



New Zealand

I think that I’m caught in the rat race but I like this way of living. I believe that life is a running race and if you stop running, you will be dead.

01:28 PM Feb 06 2012 |




“Speaking about the rat race” .  I have  read about a successful corporate  executive . She  had a lump in her breast  and it turn out  that it was cancer  .The whole process  of surgery and radiation  required that she took    leave of absent from the office.She was so concerned about being fired that  she wasn´t informing  her colleages about it and working as usual.    This is not an isolated case in the corporate world. 

12:09 PM Feb 06 2012 |

Likes (28):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast