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Learn a few phrases to make travel easier

Dear Heloise: Please tell your readers that if they are going to a foreign country, it’s always wise to learn a few COMMON PHRASES in that country’s language, such as “Thank you,” “Where is the restroom?” and “Do you know where (___) is located?” A few simple phrases can make your trip easier and even help you make friends in a foreign country. — Gina J., High Point, N.C.

BACKPACKS AND SUBWAYS

Dear Heloise: I wish people would remove their backpacks or move them to the front of their body while riding on a subway or train. It’s rude and annoying to wear a backpack while on public transportation because it bumps into people. — Martin B., Ellwood City, Pa.

MAIL THEFT

Dear Heloise: My neighborhood has had an incident of mail theft, which involved several homes. I informed the mail carrier, post office and the homeowners association. This is what I was told:

* Occasionally, a piece of mail may go astray, but if it keeps happening, start investigating.

* Beware of a phony change of address. Thieves have begun to use phony change-of-address cards at the post office. The U.S. Postal Service will send you a letter of validation to make sure it was YOU who requested the new address.

* If mail goes missing, alert your neighbors and homeowners association. You also will need a paper trail, so fill out paperwork with the police. Be sure to set a fraud alert with Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

* Consider going paperless and getting as much of your mail online as possible.

Mail theft places your finances, home and identity in jeopardy. — Rich in Houston

A HAPPY, HEALTHY HEART

Dear Readers: According to the Heart Foundation, people mistreat their heart health. If you want to live a long, healthy life, see your kids grow up and see your grandchildren come into this world, this is what you need to do:

1. Don’t smoke, not even occasionally.

2. Have your blood pressure checked two or three times a year. If your doctor says you need medication, take it. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer.”

3. Manage your diabetes and your cholesterol.

4. Use less salt, and limit your alcohol use.

5. Maintain a healthy weight and stay active. Walk more and drive less.

6. Take good care of your teeth and gums. You’ll fight periodontal disease, which affects the heart, by maintaining healthy gums.

Also, try to learn to relax. Think happy thoughts, and your heart will be healthier. — Heloise

SCHOOL IS IN SESSION

Dear Heloise: I’ve taught school since the mid-’90s, and on Parent-Teacher Night, I always ask parents if they help their kids with their homework. Note that I said “help,” not do it for them. Parental involvement is essential, but no parent helps their children by doing their work for them. — Mrs. W. in Washington

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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