World's longest-surviving conjoined twins celebrate their 50th birthdays/世上存活最久的連體雙胞胎慶祝50歲生日

The world's oldest living conjoined twins have defied doctors' predictions and reached their 50th birthday.

George and Lori Schappell, who are joined at the head, celebrate their special day on Sept. 11.

And the pair are marking the landmark birthday with a trip to London.

Remarkably, the Siamese twins are able to live very different and separate lives, with Lori having had relationships and George — who was originally named Dori — deciding to live life as a man.

Lori is also a ten-pin bowling champion and George performs as a country and western singer.

Lori says: "When we were born, the doctors didn't think we'd make 30, but we proved them wrong.

"We have learned so much in the last 50 years and will continue living life to the full."

While Lori, who is 5ft 1in, was born able-bodied, 4ft 4in George suffers from spina bifida, which has caused severe mobility problems.

As George cannot walk, he sits in a wheelchair-type stool which Lori pushes so the two can move together.

George says: "Most people don't believe us but we do have very normal lives.

"We travel, tidy our flat and Lori has even had a boyfriend. Nothing stops us doing what we want."

The twins, from Pennsylvania in America, were born sharing 30 per cent of their frontal lobe brain tissue and critical blood vessels, meaning they cannot be separated.

The twins not only had to deal with their birth defect but George was hiding a secret torment from his sister.

He says: "I have known from a very young age that I should have been a boy.

"I loved playing with trains and hated girly outfits. I kept my desire to change sex hidden — even from Lori — for many years."

George came clean about his desire four years ago. He changed his name from Dori and began living as a man.

He says: "It was so tough, but I was getting older and I simply didn't want to live a lie. I knew I had to live my life the way I wanted."

George has not had a sex change, but dresses and introduces himself as a man.

Lori says: "Obviously it was a shock when Dori changed to George, but I am so proud of him.

"It was a huge decision but we have overcome so much in our lives and together we are such a strong team. Nothing can break that."

Lori considers herself a girly girl and does all the cooking for herself and George while he will do all the DIY around their flat.

Although the pair are both single, Lori has dated men. She says: "I lost my virginity at the age of 23 to my second boyfriend.

"When I went on dates, George would bring along books to read and, as we don't face each other, he could ignore any kissing. I don't see why being a conjoined twin should stop me having a love life and feeling like a woman."

Five years ago Lori was engaged, but four months before the couple were due to marry, her fiancé was killed by a drunk driver.

Lori says: "It was devastating and my heart is broken. (The Sun)

《字詞解析》

oldest living - (adj.) 目前還活著年紀最大的。在此,oldest living 與標題的 longest surviving 同義。

conjoined twins - (n.) 連體嬰;連體雙胞胎。亦叫做 Siamese twins。這對連體雙胞胎原本叫做 Dori 和 Lori,是對姊妹花,但 Dori 於 4 年前改名為 George,雖然沒有變性,但從此以男性自居,作男性打扮,過著男人生活。

defy - (v.) 藐視;違抗。

live life - (v.) 過生活。

to the full - (adv.) 完全地;徹底的;充分地。

able-bodied - (adj.) 健壯的。

spina bifida - (n.) 脊柱裂。

wheelchair-type stool - (n.) 輪椅式的凳子。

flat - (n.) (英) 公寓。美國的公寓叫做 apartment。至於公寓大樓,英國叫做 "block of flats",美國叫做 "apartment block", "apartment building" 或 "apartment house"。在此,block 意為「棟,座,幢」;所以,a block of flats 或 an apartment block 包含許多 flat 或 apartment。而只有一房、一衛、一廚的所謂「套房」,英國叫做 "studio flat",美國叫做 "studio apartment"。

birth defect - (n.) 天生缺陷;天生畸形。

torment - (n.) 痛苦;苦惱。

girly - (adj.) 女性化的。這是 girlie 的另一種拼法。

come clean - (v.) 全盤招供;和盤托出。這片語相當常用,宜熟記。

live a lie - (v.) 過著騙人的生活。

sex change - (n.) 變性。(動詞) to change sex。

virginity - (n.) 處女;童貞。

love life - (n.) 愛情生活;性生活。

fiancé - (n.) 未婚夫。Fiancée:未婚妻。這兩字拼字不同,但發音完全一樣。

devastating - (adj.) 令人十分難過的;使人非常心痛的。

延伸閱讀:新聞英語的語法結構

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