Sunday, November 15, 2009

Episode 34: In Which DFM Wishes He Had A Book Of Baby Names, And Takes Another Step Towards Turning Into Pigs Blood Stuffed In Intestinal Wrappings

After a wild Friday 13th, in which all the students seemed to forget how to behave in school (this is probably due to two weeks of interrupted class schedules), I was hoping to get some extra sleep on Saturday. However, I would have no such luck, for Saturday was a full day.

Seong-bok had phoned me the week before to say he had some more friends who wanted to see me. Because he is studying English on the weekends in Gangnam, and I wanted to meet in Sinchon, we decided to split the difference and meet in Sillim again. So, back Sillim I went for the third time to eat sundae at the same restaurant. I'm not complaining mind you, as sundae is my favourite food (remember, it's pronounced "soon-day;" it's not ice cream).

In Korea, many English classes force the students to take English names. I think this is ridiculous since very few foreigners would think of taking up a Korean name, even though English names are really hard for Koreans to say (I'm Dee Epp Emm over here). If it is a Korean teacher telling the students to make an English name, that's one thing, but I have serious issues with foreign teachers telling Korean students to change their names (even if they've been told by their hagwon to do so).

The reason I mentioned the English names is because one of Sung-bok's friends did not yet have an English name, and his other friend wanted to change hers. So, for the third time this week I had to come up with an English name. It's tougher to do than you'd think, especially without those handy book of baby names, and without appearing a moron by misspelling an already existing, perfectly fine English word/name to make your baby sound unique. While I won't be sharing my choices here, since I disagree with the concept of an "English name" in general, I put a lot of effort into coming up with fitting names for my new friends, and so I'm pretty happy with my choices.

After lunch with Seong-bok and his friends, I went to Sinchon (that won't mean anything to you though unless you know where and what Sinchon is) to meet a teacher's assistant at my Thursday school who wanted to hire an English tutor who could speak Korean. While I'm not fluent by any means, I'm the best she's going to get for the price she's willing to pay. I shouldn't say that she was willing to pay my wage , because even though I cut the going rate in half, she still thought it was expensive (which it was, but I worked hard to learn that Korean, and I also worked hard to prepare her lesson).

After the lesson though, my coworker and I went to watch a movie. There were no interesting English movies playing, since 2012 was taking up three theatres, so I suggested we watch the movie "Good Morning President," a Korean film, because I wanted to test out my Korean listening skills. Well, I failed. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised though, since there's only so many times even the worst writer can use "hello" or "sorry" before they decide to put something else in the script.

I thought the movie would be a comedy, and while there were definitely funny moments, I think it was trying to say something else too. I couldn't really tell though, because I had almost no clue what anyone was saying at any time. Even so, it still beat watching 2012, and it gives me a good idea of where I need to be. It also affirmed my belief that watching Korean movies and dramas is not "a good way to learn Korean" (as many Koreans tell me) when you can't recognize any of the words being said. Book learning is the key!


  1. Agreed.

    Speaking of which, I bought "Korean for Dummies" which, like all of the Dummies books, is actually pretty solid.

  2. You get to "name" your friends! Lucky! I mentioned Monday that I know too many Matt's and Becky's and I needed to diversify my friend portfolio....

  3. Study up Matthew, speaking in basic Korean is actually relatively easy once you get the hang of the grammar, but that takes a few months.