Sunday Walk, Sunday Studying, Sunday Video (of Us!)

Natural Pomander

These, but in America


Two Weeks Later


I’ve been driving Good Man nuts lately. I whine at least once a day that I will never learn Korean. He’s told me I’m limited to saying that once every 72 hours.

A few days ago he said, “If you keep saying that, it will become what happens.”

“A self-fulfilling prophecy.” Catching the look on Good Man’s face, I explained the phrase.

“Yeah, why do you do that?”

“Because then when I never learn Korean fluently, I can say, ‘See, I told you I’d never learn Korean.'”

Good Man looked at me and started laughing. “You are so crazy! If your students did that you would be so angry!”

He’s right, of course.


예견하다: to foresee
발견하다: to discover
견학: field trip
의견: opinion

예견(하다): foresee
예언(하다): prediction, prophecy
예보(하다): forecast
예습(하다): pre-study
예약(하다): reservation
예상(하다): expectation

And for a pure Korean root (no Hanja!) !

A few weeks ago I was fist-shakingly angry at the ass on the radio pronouncing “Pyeongyang” in a very…stereotypically Oriental way (and yes, he kept saying “Orient” and “Oriental”). I know that we pronounce cities in an English way in English, but it still makes me crazy. It’s not “yayng!”

How to pronounce Pyoungyang from Amanda on Vimeo.

Because the news broadcasters get it wrong…

Out of Context
During one of my bouts of whining, Good Man said the way I’d learn Korean is by reading a story every night. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Not reading a story a night, but time and consistency. I have several books of short stories, and it’s easy to read one story a night. Sometimes I read aloud, and sometimes Good Man reads aloud.

A few days ago we got to the word “습관.” Good Man told me it was “habit” and I thought of the word “관습,” “customs.” I learned this word out of context and thought it was customs as in airport customs, mail customs, international customs. Ahhh, the drawback of learning words out of context…

Memory Tricks
On our walk today, Good Man helped me study my flashcards.

“틀리다…I keep forgetting that one.”

“‘To be wrong, mistake.'”

“How can I remember that?”

Good Man grinned. “I am always wrong about 틀리다!”

I read, “목표… I think thinking of 목포, the city.” Mok-pyo and Mok-po.

“It’s aim, goal.”

“목포 should use it in a slogan somehow.”

Good Man thought, “목포로 가는 목표!” Aim to go to Mokpo!

“찍다…to dip? Huh? I thought it was take a picture, 사진을 찍다.”

“Same word.”

“So I need to think of dipping a camera into sauce now?”

Good Man laughed, “It also means to cut wood into two pieces, more pieces?”

“Chop wood. OK, so now I have to think of a wooden camera being dipped in sauce.”

Good Man burst out laughing.

And Despite My Whining…
Last night Mother called. Good Man told me that his father’s younger sister wanted to talk to me.

I’ve written before about how phone conversations are really difficult for me because I can’t see the person speaking. That’s part of the reason I like our video chats so much.

“Does she speak English?”

“No, none.”

I braced myself and took the phone. Mother and I chatted briefly and then she handed the phone over to 시고모 (husband’s father’s sister).

시고모 started off by telling me I was beautiful. Hey, you’re my new favorite 시고모! She then went on to tell us congratulations, to wish us luck, to say how excited she was to meet me, how we must get married in Korea next year so that I can meet the whole family, and good luck in our future together.

I had to think “미래” (future). But everything else? Without mentally translating, I understood every word of what she was saying.

It was a short conversation, but when Mother came back on the phone, I was so excited.

“어머니! 이해했어요! 똑똑한 여자예요!” Mother! I understood everything! I am a smart girl!

Mother laughed, agreed, and told me that 큰아버지’s daughter (Father’s older brother’s) was getting married and the whole family was going to be there and she was bringing a photo of me (us?) to show everyone how beautiful I am.

Mother cracks me up.

Of course, it occurs to me that now that I’m part of a Korean family, I really should learn all of the Korean family vocabulary. Damn.