Thursday, November 13, 2008

I can now write "Samsung" in Korean

*** I updated the picture link in the first post, but here it is again! Take a look!***

Well, jet lag is a bitch. For the 3rd day in a row I’ve woken up at exactly 5 am. What in god’s name is so freaking great about 5 am, I’d like to ask my body? What the hell, man? It’s dark, it’s cold, and the bakery/coffee shop I went to yesterday didn’t have coffee, or fresh pastries... On the plus side, my hotel room stocks “life juice” or something in my mini-fridge. So, yeah. Here’s to life.

Also on the plus side: I get to watch all kinds of EPL and Carling Cup soccer live. Right now I’ve got Tottenham v. Liverpool… yesterday morning it was Man U and some team (I couldn’t read Korean yesterday, you remember) that shouldn’t have kept the game as close as it was. Of course, Man U was playing without Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, so I guess that makes it tough to score goals. Then I got to follow that up with an NFL Network-style 30 minute replay of the Vikings against the Packers… that was a helluva game, I gotta say. So yeah, safe to say I’m ok with the sports programming here.

And you may have noticed, I mentioned in passing that I couldn’t read Korean yesterday… didja notice that?!? Huh? DID YOU?!? PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!! Ahem... anyway, I spent a couple of hours last night going through some Korean lessons I found on wikibooks yesterday, and this alphabet thing really is easy to learn. For a little background, the current Korean alphabet, called “Hangeul,” was created (I’m really just guessing at the time here – the following number will be completely arbitrary) 47 years ago and it was designed to be the most efficient and logical writing system in the world. Thumbs up, guys. The way you write or form the letters is supposed to mimic the shapes the mouth makes (both tongue and lips, depending on the letter) as you say the letter itself, not the sound. I just sat here for a couple of minutes trying to think of a good example, and completely dropped the ball. Well, anyway, if you’re interested, the site I used is on Wikibooks, located here. Enjoy!

So, yeah… big news! I can read (read {def.}: painstakingly and painfully sound out individual characters and then put them together with the acumen of a drunk, retarded 3-year-old chimpanzee) Korean! Hells yeah!

Dinner last night – first meal I’ve eaten alone here, actually – was… wait for it… amazing! Didn’t see that coming, did you? Boil took me to this noodle shop in Janghowon (and helped me order – thanks man!) where I got woodong (udon noodles) and a maki roll with tuna for like $4. With kimchi, of course! I love this country…

Today Sean is a self-satisfied and self-aggrandizing Korean.


Shan said...

you're a language genius, you know this, dork. my guess is that you'll be speaking conversational korean by the six month point.

Sean said...

Awww, thanks honey! That would be fantastic, but I'm not really planning on it. The language is a lot more complicated than the alphabet, because so much of it derives from Japanese. But I appreciate your confidence in me. I'll do ya proud... ;)

emily said...

kim bap, not maki
(you'll see that it's cleverly named kim = seaweed wrap, bap = rice)

Congrats on learning to read you can totally use it to impress your kids. They loved it when they would tell me the word in Korean and I'd write the characters on the board.
much love

Sean said...

Yeah, except I don't have a board... but thanks! I'll see if I can find another way to earn their respect. Violence, maybe? ;)

emily said...

They might actually respond to that. I had a student once who told me I should hit them for not doing their homework and screwing around in class.

Sean said...

Yeah -- I actually had a conversation with another foreign teacher last night who told me that corporal punishment is not only alive and well, but thriving here. He basically said that if the teachers start whaling on students, I shouldn't say a word. But if they think it makes me uncomfortable, which is entirely possible, they will do their best to do it where I can't see it. So, I have yet to witness this, but again... when in Rome, right?