Is family important to you? Who is the favorite member of your family? Who is the oldest member in your family? Do you have a family, not your own that you like, and why do you like them?
  • Immediate family (noun) - a person's immediate family is his or her smallest family unit, including parents, siblings, spouse, and children.
  • Extended family (noun) - a family which extends beyond the nuclear family to include grandparents and other relatives.
  • A fount of knowledge (noun) - a term used to describe something, but usually someone, who contains all the answers, something or someone that has a large aggregate of information.
  • To look up to (phrasal verb) - to have a great deal of respect for someone.
  • To dismiss (verb) - treat as unworthy of serious consideration.
  • Hospitable (adj.) - friendly and welcoming to visitors or guests.
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Questions and answers
Maria: Rory, do you have a large family?

Rory: I definitely say so. In my immediate family, there's like my mom, dad, three brothers and my sister, and then and the extended family, we have a huge number of cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins... God, the list goes on, actually.

Maria: Is family important to you?

Rory: Extremely important. It's great having so many people around you with their different life experiences. They can be great founts of knowledge and comfort and support. It's not all taking, though. There is some giving. You get to contribute to that long family history of people doing the same thing, contributing to the history. And that can be immensely rewarding, I think. I suppose the last thing I would say is that I'm extremely proud of every last member of my family, from the youngest cousin to the oldest great grandparent. Everyone in my family has done something really worthwhile with their lives. So I think that's really important.

Maria: Tell me about your favorite member of your family. Who do you admire?

Rory: I don't believe in favorites. Um, some people that I know do have them, but I think everyone in my family is absolutely worth looking up to. There's nobody who I would dismiss as someone who's, like, disreputable. Um, but if I pick one example in particular, then I would choose my grandmother who worked all by herself during the war while her husband, my grandfather, was fighting. And she raised four highly successful children by herself after he died. And she never complained and never stopped being kind to other people. And she was really active in the lives of her grandchildren. I think she set a great example for my mom and her siblings to follow, and they are all brilliant people because of her and her husband.

Maria: Who is the oldest member in your family?

Rory: Well, I think, in my close family, I suppose that would be my father Ian, though out of politeness and respect, I will not say how old my father is. If we speak about my family as a whole, then probably one of the older cousins is in her 90s, I think.

Maria: Do members of your family ask you for help? What do they ask you for?

Rory: Oh, well, actually, I think I ask them more than they ask me, frankly speaking. But I do get the occasional request for help in terms of information about what I do or where I live. So, for example, my cousin wanted to know more about living and working in Russia because he's thinking about studying Russian language at university and he should, he's extremely gifted with languages. Um, I have another cousin who wanted to work with me here because she's completely mad. But to be honest, I think they both do very well for themselves. They're both very bright young people. I think they'd have a ball in Moscow.

Maria: Are you happy to help your family?

Rory: Well, if they ever needed it, I'd be happy to give it. However, to be honest, most of us are pretty self-sufficient and self-reliant. It's not a common thing for us to ask or need financial support, for example. Maybe, perhaps, emotional or informational support are the varieties that are most commonly given in our family at least.

Maria: Do you have a family, not your own that you like, and why do you like them?
Rory: I can think of many, actually. The example that stands out the most is my friend Anna, her family are quite spectacular. They are extremely welcoming and hospitable people and they really make an effort to make you feel involved in what they're doing. For example, if you walk into the kitchen then they'll give you something to do and they'll talk to you while you're doing it. It reminds me of my own family back home, except with a Russian twist to it. I often think about how different the world would be if there were more people like that in it.
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