Anthony Bourdain Returns to South Korea

Last fall, Anthony Bourdain returned to South Korea to film an episode of his highly anticipated return to Parts Unknown. He last visited Korea in 2006 for an episode of his previous show, No Reservations. I remember watching the episode of No Reservations in my preparation for coming to Korea in 2011. It mostly just freaked me out. He ate A LOT of weird stuff in that episode, guys. A lot of stuff I would NEVER eat. Oh, wait. But I digress. The foreigner geared Korea based websites I follow were atwitter in the weeks leading up to the episodes premier. Some of the websites I follow even worked on the episode. So needless to say, the foreign community here was really excited about the episode. I’m not the only one that likes to get asked about Korea, y’all!

So I began watching the episode with bated breath. And I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disppointed. I’m not sure if it was the build up setting me up for a bit of a letdown, or the Tarantino-esque shooting style that made it difficult to follow – even for an old pro like me. I can only imagine how hard it was for someone who has never been to Korea to follow. I get that they were trying to put an interesting spin on it, but I don’t think this was the right format for that style of filming/storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable and I loved being able to relate to it. Similar to Avengers, I want people to watch it and get excited about Korea and interested in Korean culture. It was fun watching him have experiences that I’ve had, eating the dishes I love. Because Korean food is A-MAY-Zing. Also, noraebang is the greatest thing in life. Just trust me. But please don’t touch my microphone.

I would still recommend watching the episode. It portrays a much more typical Korean dining experience, as opposed to the “look at all this weird food!” vibe his last show gave off. I was going to include a link to watch the episode in its entirety, but it seems I’ve procrastinated too long (who? me?), and the video is no longer available. So you’re on your own for this one. As a consolation, here is a segment he did on Anderson Cooper about the show. And here is some sage advice from the man himself. I hope you enjoy the episode!

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

“Guess who’s back, back again. Megan’s back, tell a friend.” I’m pretty sure those are the lyrics, right guys? So it’s been an embarrassing amount of time awhile since my last post… But now I’m back! With new and improved intentions! And with an exciting topic so you’l hopefully forget that I’m terrible at this I haven’t been here in awhile. As you may already know, the new Avengers movie was filmed in part in Seoul. Last year, The Brit and I went to Gangnam to watch some of the filming. I meant to write about it last year but… Anywho, the scene we saw being filmed was the one where Black Widow is cruising through the streets of Gangnam on her motorcycle and I have BIG NEWS about ScarJo’s stunt double. In the wise words of Austin Powers, “That’s not a woman, that’s a man, baby!” I don’t know why this thrills me so, but it does (let’s be real – we all know why this thrills me.). And I learned something else very important that day. Watching a movie being filmed is decidedly less exciting than you’d think. Especially when Chris Evans isn’t even around.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when The Brit and I finally got around to watching it on the big screen. (Comic book movies get released in Korea early. NBD.) My professional opinion was that the movie was…wait for it…alright. It was fun, but maybe a little long. I liked the first one better. But the parts in Seoul! The Brit and I agree that that was hands down our favorite part. It was so exciting to see  places we have been/regularly go on the big screen. This is a new experience for me. Not a lot of movies take place in Sacramento, guys. Though it hasn’t happened yet, we’re certain that it will pique people’s interest in our lives here in Korea. Much like Gangnam Style. (Please ask us questions! We love it. Seriously.) Fun fact: the building they pretend is the Korean doctor’s office is actually a convention hall. And the other building has a cafe called CNN Cafe at the bottom. If you go into the cafe, they have CNN constantly playing on, like, six TVs. It’s kind of weird. It’s a bit of a shame that they didn’t film it at night because at night it looks like this:

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If you want to check out a few more photos from the filming, check out my Tumblr.

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

I don’t want to freak you guys out or anything, but I’m about to post about something I did…wait for it…this weekend. And also last year. But most recently this weekend. A group of us went to the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, which celebrates Buddha’s birthday. During the day they have cultural events. I have no idea what that means because aside from the fact that it’s very vague, due to a series of unfortunate events I didn’t make it to that portion either year. I did, however, make it to the lantern parade both years. The parade this year was a little lacking compared to last year’s. In light of the recent ferry tragedy they shortened the duration which was better for my feet, but worse in terms of seeing shiny, pretty things. Plus, there was only one fire breathing dragon lantern this year. And going back through photos from last year, almost all of the lantern floats were the same. Get it together, Seoul. I mean, people have expectations. This year I was really looking forward to the after party because according to the website “flowers rain from the sky.” I mean, who doesn’t want to see that? Once the parade ended, we promptly walked over to the giant stage to be greeted by some very loud music that was really not our jam. So we decided to get dinner and come back for the flowers falling from the heavens. Unfortunately dinner ran long and the party ran short. No flower precipitation for me. I did, however, score a hand held lantern that someone left by the subway entrance. I was growing concerned that I might have to steal one from a kid or an old lady. We then made our way to the nearby temple to take photos of it all lit up at night. We arrived precisely as they closed. So that was special. Our next plan was to go down to the Cheonggycheon (a pretty, long river in Seoul) to have a couple brewskies and admire the hanging lanterns. We asked our Korean friend how to get there from the temple. Against my better judgement, we hopped on the subway and ended up at Dongdaemun. A 30 minute walk from where we needed to be (which was, incidentally, about where we started). All in all, it was a nice night and I’m glad I got to bring Joe this year, but I’m also glad I went the first year because it was way better. If you want to see more pics, check out my Tumblr.

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My Korean Apartment/Shoebox

Welcome to the second edition of Megan’s Korean Apartment. I’ve been meaning to make this video for awhile, and was finally prompted to because I’m moving apartments on Friday (same building, slightly different layout). Nothing motivates me like a deadline… My apartment this year is a little smaller than my last, but a LOT nicer. For instance, no ceiling caving in. No washing machine in the bathroom. The list goes on… My building has a front door with a code, similar to last year. Except this year the door is always locked and the code isn’t written on the front door with a sharpie. So it’s safe to say I feel more secure here. I live on the third of five floors. The top floor houses the landlord, and the other 18 rooms are occupied by myself and my coworkers. So it’s kind of like a dorm/frat house sometimes. It’s nice for me because I never actually lived in the dorms, and this way I get to experience it (sort of) with my own room and shower.

I have way more storage at this place, and even a closet of sorts. My cupboard are in a normal location so I don’t hit my head every time I do dishes. I no longer have to do my hair and make up at my kitchen table, as I have a desk that I have converted into a vanity. Priorities, guys. I do, however,  have to use my refrigerator as an entertainment center. We all make sacrifices. You can check it out yourself here. And in case you missed the shenanigans that were my first apartment,  that video can be found  here. Photos of my apartment are on my Tumblr. As well as some really cute pics of my kids making mandu.

I’m Baaaa-ack!!!

Well hello, there. Come here often? Cuz I certainly don’t. <–See what I did there? I made a joke about being the WORST. BLOGGER. EVER. So here’s the long and the short of why I haven’t posted a new blog in 7 months. And 17 days. But who’s counting? (Put your hand down, Mom!) I had a really lazy start to my year and right around the time I decided to get my ass in gear and get caught up, my computer decided it had other plans. And it took all of my photos from the first half of the year with it. Due to Dell cancelling my order without notifying me more than once shipping complications, it finally arrived mid December (suck it, customs!) just in time for Christmas play meltdown and sweet freedom Christmas vacation. This weekend I finally got my personal savior computer savvy friend to help me extract the missing files from my dead computer. Turns out they were on my external hard drive the whole time. Just sitting there. Waiting for me to be less computarded. So, now that I have all the files, I am in the process of uploading them all on Tumblr because I don’t want to pay to keep uploading them here. So in future posts, I will post a picture or two and then link to my Tumblr so I can upload a million and five photos, as I am wont to do. I am hoping to start getting y’all caught up with my escapades in the very near future. For real real. It’s, like, number five on my list of New Year’s resolutions. So it could happen. Maybe. At any rate, here are some interesting things to come out of Korea recently to tide you over.

First, this happened. And people freaked out. I can assure I am fine and just as safe as in the states. Probably more so because I actually have health care in Korea. Second, It snowed a lot last week and I was really excited. For about a minute. Then my suspicions about the evil that is snow were confirmed when this came out. I’m lucky my face didn’t melt off. My friend posted this article. Which is horrifying  interesting. And speaks to the view on plastic surgery in Korea. Maybe don’t open it if you’re eating right now. And I will leave you with this article about racist fried chicken. And this picture of food. Shaped like poo.

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New School

Here it is, finally, and only 3 1/2 months in! Here’s the low down on my return to the Land of the Morning Calm. When I arrived at the airport, I was under the impression that I was the only one being picked up. Wrong. There were three of us, all on the same flight, and we didn’t even know it. I also assumed that I would be getting my own hotel room. We all know what happens when you assume… The other two girls and I crammed into a tiny hotel room with only two beds and an exorbitant amount of luggage. For a week. We got to know each other REALLY well really quickly. On the upside, there were sandwiches and drinks waiting for us after our long journey.  The next morning at breakfast, I was again surprised to find that there were 12 new teachers, as I had been told there would only be a couple of new teachers. Obviously something was lost in translation. After what seemed like forever (a week) of mind numbing training and sharing cramped quarters with strangers, I was finally able to move into my new place. It is much smaller than last year, but also much nicer. A post on that matter later. And if we’re being real, probably MUCH later.

Now for the school itself: It is MUCH bigger than my last school. There are 20 foreign teachers (as opposed to five last year). And we all get along pretty well. I knew that out of that many teachers I would easily find friends, but I genuinely like ALL of my coworkers this year. The same cannot be said for last year. And there are men. This is partially lost on me in that I am no longer single, but is still appreciated as working in an all female environment can get a little catty. My boss this year is not terrifying. And he speaks English. He’s actually very friendly and generous and I genuinely enjoy working for him. I feel much more appreciated this year than last. The hours are better. I get paid on time. I get paid more. I have my own classroom that I can decorate, which I’m pretty sure I did an awesome job of, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. You can check out the pics down below. Last year I had to haul materials from class to class which was a pain because if you forgot something you had to rush to the teachers’ room and hurry back before the kids staged a coupe. This year, everything is at my fingertips. Last year my school had three helpers for the whole school. This school has one helper per class. This is particularly beneficial if someone has an accident, gets sick, or is trying to convey something that I don’t understand. Which is not to say that my ajumma can then relay what is happening to me, her English is pretty mediocre, but at least she can take care of it. Plus, she’s really awesome and nice to me (shout out to Miss Rosa!). I only teach two classes, plus three one on one lessons. This is great in that the older students tend to be more difficult to handle, and I don’t have to deal with them as much. But a downfall is that my kids are so little that I rarely get those little Konglish nuggets of hilarity to share with you all. I expect this year’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things” will be decidedly less funny than last year’s. I apologize in advance and will try and make my kids funnier. But I make no promises. My coteacher is a superstar and amazing and I love her. She mostly just lets me do my own thing and only comes to me if there is a problem. Which is the way I like it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when she goes on maternity leave. Probably die.

There aren’t many downfalls. The biggest one is that I don’t enjoy my kids as much this year, which is really sad for me. I loved my kids so much last year that I nearly stayed at a school I hated. This year, I love my school but my kids are a royal pain in the ass. Which is not to say that I don’t absolutely adore them on an individual level, but as a group they are exceedingly difficult. I’m not sure if it is partially due to the fact that they are from more affluent families. Seriously, these kids’ wardrobes are more expensive than mine. One kid uses Chanel lipstick as her “play” makeup. My biggest problem is that they just don’t listen. Ever. I have to repeat myself a million times and by the end of the day I’m at the end of my rope. I’m constantly trying new methods to get them to listen better, but nothing seems to work. So if you have any suggestions, please feel free to share!

Also,  I am in a new location this year. I said fairwell to Jeonju’s small town ways and hello to the big city. I live in a relatively affluent part of Seoul, right next to Gangnam. Yes, of Gangnam Style fame. There is a beautiful lake a few blocks away that my friends and I hang out at and sometimes go running (read: walking) at. On the lake is a small amusement park called Lotte World. Kind of like a poor man’s Disneyland. A very poor man. But that’s another post for another day. I live in between two subway stops and am so glad to have such easy access to it. Thanks to a subway app called Jihachul (Korean for subway), I am a subway pro and am venturing to parts of Seoul I’d previously never heard of. If you’re in Seoul or spend a lot of time there and don’t have this app yet, download it, like, yesterday. My area’s so fancy, it even has garbage cans. I know what you’re thinking, “Megan, garbage cans are not fancy nor are they notable.” In America that is true, dear friends, but I am not in America. Last year I did not once see a garbage can on the streets of Jeonju. People just threw their trash on the ground and this was totally acceptable. My inner Girl Scout had a difficult time with this method of garbage disposal, and I often carried my garbage in my purse until I got home. This year, garbage cans abound! Just kidding. They’re still hard to come by. But they exist. I have photographic evidence of it. Anywho, that it my new situation in a nutshell. I promise to update you guys with my exciting adventures more frequently than I have been (my mom said I have to).

I just have to tell you about my day…

I know, I know. I made promises about posts and have neglected to keep them. But let’s be real for a minute, by now you’ve surely grown accustomed to the fact that I seldom do anything in a timely manner. At any rate, rest assured that they are in the works. I have several posts to knock out before my aunt and sister get here in a couple of weeks. Then I’ll have a whole other slew to procrastinate on. For now, I’m going to write a post unlike any other that I have ever written. I am just going to tell you about my day. Because as days go, it was pretty epic (as I’m sure anyone who is my friend on Facebook has already gathered from my incessant posts today). But this. needs. to. be. shared. My first student to arrive today, Ian, walked in and informed me that Annie (whose birthday was today) looked like a princess. I said, “Wow. That is fantastic.” Clearly he could sense that I was not yet fully awake and feigning interest, so he replied, “No. Like a REAL princess.” I wasn’t sure what that meant. Would there be red carpets and fanfare? One never knows with Annie, who celebrates her birthday everyday during play time. All I could say was, “Oh my.” Several minutes later Annie waltzed in. Dressed like a bride. A tiny, little, 6-year-old bride. With gloves and a veil. I kid you not. Scroll down to the picture if you don’t believe me. Then she said, “Miss Megan, look at this!” She proceeded to to twirl in her dress while coming to a seat on the ground with her dress puffed out all around her. Like she was freaking Cinderella. I was in awe of this child. Actually, I am often in awe of this child. She continued to swan about the room until class started. During the restroom break before class started, Ruby stuck my finger in her mouth. In retaliation, I wiped my salivated on finger on her face. She proceeded to make me hit myself in my own boob. Well played, kid. But watch out, I’m gunning for you… The next two classes passed pretty uneventfully (unless you count their adorable rendition of Friday by Rebecca Black). Then it was time for board games. Yes, board games is an actual class at my school. Sounds awesome, right? Not so much. Mostly they just fight and I referee. At any rate, we were sitting on the mat playing Jenga. Last time this happened, one of the kids started rubbing my back. This time I managed to trick them into thinking it was an awesome fun thing to do, so they spent the entire period taking turns rubbing my back. During the course of this epic back rub, one of my students, Jay ( I’m just not really sure how this kid is going to be able to function in society. I adore him. But he’s…interesting.)  turns to me and says, out of the blue, “Kiss a fellow.” I think this stems from something I said in passing a million years ago. (This is why I love this kid. He can’t use silverware, but he can remember an offhand remark from ages ago.) Then another student’s eyes lit up and he said, “Miss Megan kiss SO fellow.” This is Konglish for Miss Megan kisses a lot of fellows. Then he leaned over and kissed my chest. Before I could recover from the assault on my “jijis”, I looked over and Annie had pulled up her dress and down her underwear and was showing 2 other students her promised land. Right about the time I got that situation shut down, it was time for lunch. And not a moment too soon. After lunch was play time. Halfway through playtime I looked over and Jay was lying on the floor with his arm over his face. I looked at him and said, “Are you taking a nap?” He replied, very dramatically, “No. I am die.” And then I proceeded to die. After lunch we had a review period where they spent most of the time coloring activity sheets. One the rare occasion that this happens, I usually put on some Disney tunes and we chit chat while we color. During this period, Henny (I know, I know.) looked at me and said, “Miss Megan! Look at this!” (Her coloring.) I responded, “That’s amazing!” Julia asked, “What is amazing?” I said, “It means very good.” She said, “Miss Megan, you are amazing.” Preach. Then Ian, who likes to pull a Gilbert Gottfried face, started doing Darth Vader impressions and saying in a deep voice, “No! I am your father!” Except I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who Darth Vader is and thinks he made it up. Then they all started calling each other muffs. Which is apparently short for muffin. I don’t even know. Don’t you wish you spent every day with 12 6-year-olds (which really means 5-years-old Western age) whose primary language is not the one you speak?

Ian's Gilbert Gottfried face.

Ian’s Gilbert Gottfried face.

Annie the birthday bride.

Annie the birthday bride.

Jay: No. I am die.

Jay: No. I am die.

The Brit and the Yank do Murrica

I’m ba-ack! As per usual, this post is loooong overdue –  maybe the longest overdue ever. I’m back in Korea and loving my new town and school, but that is a post for another day. In the near future. I swear. Pinky swear, even. For now, I’m going to fill you in on all of the fun I had while home in the states. As you can imagine, the first thing I did when I got home was give my kitties some love, whether they liked it or not, followed shortly thereafter by the greatest pizza known to man: Papa Murphy’s Cowboy. Oh, and did I forget to mention that my crazy awesome parents picked me up at the airport wearing I ❤ MJ shirts? (On the off chance that someone who doesn’t know me personally is reading this, those are my initials.) I got back shortly before Thanksgiving, and have never been so excited to eat myself into a food coma. The turkey was majestic. The stuffing tasted like sunshine and rainbows. It was a glorious feast of food I can’t get in Korea. My taste buds were delighted, and they remained as such for the duration of my trip. December was filled with parties and sugar cookies. One might call it an obscene amount of sugar cookies. One has clearly never been to my house at Christmas. My sister also came home for the holidays, and for the first time in two years the whole fam bam was together. It was fun (read insane) having everyone under the same roof again.

My partner-in-crime, Joe, came to visit a few days after Christmas. For anyone not in the know, Joe is from England, he was my BFF last year in Jeonju, and is now my boyfriend. And obviously the luckiest guy ever.  We were supposed to leave Korea together and spend a few weeks in California and then he was going to head back to England before Christmas. But someone lost his passport. We won’t get into that. The pertinent information is that he had to go home first, and then come to the states and in doing so, he missed Thanksgiving. He was really disappointed, so my mom cooked a second Thanksgiving on New Year’s Day and invited the whole family over so they could meet this strange person from a foreign land. A good time was had by all, due largely in part to Cards Against Humanity. The greatest game you will ever play, as long as you’re as inappropriate as my family. Joe and I spent the next month tooling all over Northern California. Our base was Sacramento, my home town, where I took him to his first professional basketball game. Tragically, our team is the Kings, so we had to watch them blow it all in the last quarter. C’est la vie. I took him to his first drive-in movie. We also visited Old Town Sacramento and the always cool train museum. I introduced him to good Mexican food. They have Mexican food in England, but I felt it pretty safe to say that English Mexican food was nowhere near as good as Californian Mexican food. Joe confirmed those suspicions. We visited the zoo and Fairy Tale Town with my little cousin. We spent a couple of days in the snow in Soda Springs, with an afternoon in Truckee and Donner Pass. While there, I thought it was only fitting that I teach him how to play Oregon Trail. I’m happy to report, we made it all the way with only a few broken bones and some dysentery. We camped for a couple of nights at one of my favorite places on earth, Sunset Beach in Santa Cruz. It was a little chilly, but I got to teach him how to make a s’more. I know, right? What kind of person has never had a s’more? A deprived one. That’s who. I’m pretty sure I changed his life. On our way out of town, we stopped by Monterey for the afternoon. We wandered around Cannery Row and popped into another one of my favorite places – the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We caught the sunset at the pier next to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, since the boardwalk itself was unfortunately closed. We spent a couple of days in San Francisco. Joe got to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was actually my first time doing that as well. And we went to Fisherman’s Wharf where he tried his very first bowl of clam chowder. I know, I know, I don’t know how they get by in England, either.

But he and I will both agree that the hands down, absolute best part of our trip was the time we spent in Humboldt County. And man, we were all over Humboldt County. Humboldt State is my alma mater and I lived there for six years, so I had a long list of places to visit. On the drive up, we hit up all of the little tourist traps along the way. I’d driven those roads a million times before, but never bothered to check out things like Confusion Hill or the One Log Cabin. I didn’t know when I was going to be able to come back again, so we spent approximately a million hours in the car and hit every little place we saw. Once we finally got there, we went to all of my favorite restaurants and I introduced him to another of my favorite foods – biscuits and gravy. As a Brit, biscuits for him means cookie. You can imagine the look on his face when I told him we would be eating them with gravy. But he was a quick convert. We visited Ferndale, the home of the theater from the movie The Majestic. We stopped by Lolita, home of the cheese factory that makes the most amazing garlic pepperjack. We took a stroll through the Redwood Forest. We attempted to eat dinner on Clam Beach, but it was way too freaking cold. We made the epic trek into Fern Canyon which, aside from being a gorgeous cavern drenched in greenery, was a filming location for both Jurrasic Park and Return of the Jedi. Joe was over the moon, as it combined two of his loves – movies and dinosaurs. We hung out at the bars of my youth,  where he fit in perfectly (he’s 25) and I felt very, very old (I’m…not 25). It was amazing being reminded of so many great memories, but a little bittersweet to know that my time there is long gone and a whole new group of students are memory making. We extended our trip an extra day, and still couldn’t manage to get in everything on my list. Next time, Humboldt, next time… It was so great visiting my old stomping grounds and seeing friends I hadn’t seen in way too long. It was hard to leave, but we had places to go and people to see.

As hard as it was to say goodbye to Humboldt, it was even harder saying goodbye to Joe. We parted knowing we wouldn’t be living in the same county for over a year, as he is teaching in Vietnam this year. I’m looking forward to being able to visit him in Vietnam, but we both know we’re in for a long year. After Joe left, my last two weeks in the states where a whirlwind of saying goodbye to friends, eating my favorite foods and packing. Although, once again, that was mostly left until the last day. So that is my trip home in a nutshell. It was a lot of fun and went by way too fast. I promise I’ll update you on my new situation soon.

Kids Say the Darndest Things Part 2

In case you guys haven’t had enough of the hilarious musings and mistakes my kids make, I’ve got some more for you. The last entry focused on things they said, and this post will be mostly things they’ve written. A lot of these come from diaries they have to write every week on a topic of their choosing. They often just tell me what they did over the weekend. Some of it comes from homework or in-class assignments. But I also remembered some more funny things they’ve said, and it would be a shame to keep them to myself, so I’ll probably add those in as well. Enjoy!

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So my first kinders and I would go through this routine every week where I would give them their new vocabulary word, ask them to spell it and then ask them what it means. After awhile, it got to the point where I would say, “What is a _________?” And they would respond, “You are a __________.” One week one of their vocabulary words was tool. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

Me: What is a tool?

Heidi (7): You are a tool. (Well played, small child, well played.)

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My kinders and I were reading a story about – well, I don’t remember what. But the important thing is that there were ROBBERS in the house.

Homework Question: What was in the house?

Alfred (7): There were rubbers in the house. (I understand this means something very different in other English speaking countries that makes it significantly less funny. In America, rubbers are condoms.)

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Ellie (8): I want stank (steak) for dinner.

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One day in class, we were learning about jobs. I was asking them all what their parents did. Robin (aka my 7-year-old love guru) tells me that his dad made Orlando. I was like, “Uh, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. That city has been around a lot longer than your dad. And it’s in America. I’m pretty sure your dad’s never been there.” He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “My dad is an engineer. Orlando is a car, not a city.” I informed him that it was, in fact, a city (Which he found hilarious. I mean really, who names a city Orlando? I’m looking at you, Gangnam.). So then later on in the week they had to write about what their parents did. This is what Robin wrote:” My dad made Orlando (not a city, it’s a car).” Just in case I was still unclear on the subject.

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Amy: I also gave a love massage. (love message)

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My older students have to write summaries every week on a topic of either my choosing or my supervisor’s choosing. The topic question is almost always followed by, “And why?” to encourage them to expound upon their answers. One particularly lazy student named Haley (11) – which is pronounced Hallie. God forbid you should actually call her Haley – in an effort to reach her required assignment length, ended every summary by directing the question towards me and following it up with, “And why?” Like she fully expected me to answer. Sometimes I did.

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John (11 – about his trip to China): It was very fun but the foods were sucks.

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Lauren: Your hair is popular. (Isn’t it just?)

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Diary: I slept with my cousin. (had a sleep over)

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Diary: I slept with my family. (Families often sleep in the same room in Korea, or at least multiple family members will.)

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Diary: I went to clarinet institute because my mother said, “you are good at blowing on things.” (I know, I have the mind of a 12-year-old boy.)

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Diary: My parents procreated me.

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Amy (12): My friend is stupid. I want her to be smart. If she gets smart I will make her my best friend at school.

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Diary: Because my points looked like really excrements.

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Spencer (11): I have a long rod, so I will sell it. (Again, mind of a 12-year-old.)

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Aspen (12): I would like to eat the famous French. (She means the famous French cuisine.)

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Gloria (11): My body was uglied. (I was sick)

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Diary: I am heartaching.

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Jack (12): New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I will study harder than now (important).

2. I will play guitar and practice harder than now.

3. I won’t fight with my friends (important).

4. I will take care of my dog (important).

5. I will save money for my future (important).

6. I will fatten and grow taller (very important).

7. I will meet my girlfriend (not important).

8. I will be more kind than now.

9. I will play computer games until I reach level 120 (not important).

10. I will obey these resolutions.

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Diary: I am spew very hard. (I threw up.)

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Spencer (11): First, I want to be a lawyer so I can rake in the money so I can be rich.

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Robin (7): Homework is the worst study ever. (No doubt, kid.)

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David (8): I am as happy as happy can be. (Seriously, where do they get this stuff?)

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One of my older kids wrote this on a sentence test. The word they had to use was loneliness.: He feels loneliness, so he drinks wine.

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I realized in class one day that instead of saying yes, I often say, “Yeah.” It occurred to me that I had never explained what that meant. I just kind of assumed they knew. So one day I decided to ask them if they knew what “yeah” meant. To my surprise, they told me they didn’t. So I explained that it simply meant yes. They seemed to think I had just taught them the most amazing word in the English language and began shouting it for no apparent reason. Except when they say it, it comes out more like, “Yaw!” So it really sounded like they were trying to wrangle cattle. I wish I’d gotten a video of it.

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Ryan (10): I like one girl. She is pretty. She like to me. She is very pretty. She is nice girl. She not speak F word. (Never mind this kid “speak F word” ALL. THE. TIME.)

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One day I was handing back tests to my older students. I gave Lindsay (11) hers back and she puts her hand over her face and says, “Shitty!” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me?” She looked at me and said very matter-of-factly,”Shitty. It’s like shit. I made it up.”

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And there you have it, friends. Those are all of my stories for now. But I’ve just signed a contract for next year, so there will be more to come!

Engrish/Konglish

During my year in Korea, I saw and heard more than my fair share of both Engrish and Konglish. And lucky for you, I took lots of pictures! I want to start by illustrating the difference between the two (I know! I thought they meant the same thing for ages, too!). But Engrish is a term used to describe the misuse of English by native speakers of Asian languages. It is derived from the common pronunciation of an “L” as an “R.” As in, “dericious.” Which, by the way, NEVER gets old. Konglish is more Korea specific. It is the adoption of English words into the Korean language. For instance, cheese in Korean is “chee-juh.” Cellphone is “hand-uh pone” (hand phone). My greatest accomplishment as a teacher will be to get them to say phone instead of pone. It may never happen. Also, because I probably sound like a douche right now making fun of people  who actually, on the whole, speak a vastly different language from their own incredibly well, I will point out some of my own language mishaps. For instance, in Korean, no is “aniyo” or “ani” and yes is “nay,” which is SUPER counter-intuitive. So often I say yes when I mean no. And vice versa. Also, I have just been made aware that what I previously thought meant “right” and “left” actually means “right foot” and “left foot.” So when I am directing a cab, I tell him to turn right foot. And once I asked a waiter to take me. Because the words for take me and bring me are very similar and I use take me so frequently in cabs. So that was awkward. Flip through the pictures to see some of my photos of the weird verbiage I have come across. Some of them aren’t necessarily Engrish or Konglish, but just culturally funny. Enjoy!