Maple Syrup

“Can I blog about this?”

“Sure, but Americans eat it with everything! It’s like dwenjang!”

I stayed home sick today. I’ve been sick all week and I’m rather pathetic.

Well, I asked Good Man to make a sandwich for me. He did.

He put turkey, ham, mustard, and cheese between two slices of whole wheat bread. When I picked it up, one piece of bread felt wet. “Why is this wet?”

“It’s maple syrup.”

I stared at him. “What?”

“Yeah, maple syrup.”

I started laughing. “Why in the world did you put maple syrup on my sandwich?”

“Because Americans love maple syrup.”

“You’ve lived in America for over a year. Have you ever had a sandwich with maple syrup on it? We only eat maple syrup a few times a month, with pancakes! Ewww. Ewww. Ewww. Did you only put it on this piece of bread?”

“Yeah,” Good Man said. I opened the fridge to get a fresh piece of bread as Good Man kept talking, “You eat maple syrup with pancakes, and pancakes and bread are made of wheat, right? And you dip your bacon in it, and bacon is made of pig, just like ham. And sometimes we even get turkey bacon, and there is turkey on the sandwich.”

“You don’t put maple syrup on a sandwich!”

“Well, I will eat mine like this,” he said. “It’s better than carrot with peanut butter!” I once tried to give him a carrot stick dipped in peanut butter and he said I wasn’t respecting the carrot.

Good Man fake pouted over the fact that I wouldn’t eat his ham, turkey, cheese, mustard and maple syrup sandwich. I will eat pickle and peanut butter sandwiches (yummmy) but I can’t stomach maple syrup sandwiches…

On the Grid, and Actions Speaking Louder Than Words

Good Man must be on the grid. Saturday he recieved his first unsolicited credit card offer.


Yesterday, in an act of (requested) love, we bought ten one-pound bags of honey powder. Mother then added some low-dose aspirin to her list. I’ll pick that up soon and we’ll be set with Korean gifts.

I have been writing short essays/entries in Korean on a weekly basis to practice writing. A few weeks ago I was moaning about Korean studies and wrote that I could read Pippi in Korean and maybe if Mother has read it, we’ll have something to talk about. I always post my short essays to my Cyworld page, where I know full well that Sister will see it and pass it on to Mother.

This weekend, Sister and I chatted online (complete with typos).

시누이: 아! 엄마가 책 사서 읽었어요! 삐삐!

Oh! Mother bought a book. Pippi!

아만다: 삐삐 서셨어?
She bought Pippi?

시누이: 네!

아만다: ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
Hee hee.

시누이 : 사서 다 읽었어요!
She bought it and finished reading it!

아만다: 시엄마니 친질하세요…
Mother is a nice person.

시누이: 언니가 오면 책에대해서 얘기하면 되겠다..:D 헤헤
When you come, you will be able to talk about the book.

We have a mother-daughter-in-law Korean bookclub going! With a fourth grade level novel written by neither a Korean nor an American. Too funny.


Speaking of books, every single book I’m planning on picking up in Korea is by a non-Korean author. Does anyone know of Korean authors who write using fairly simple language? I’m looking for books to read later, not immediately, but any suggestions would be great.

Just Pass Through It

Last night we were stuck behind a car going a good fifteen miles below the limit. I was yelling about this idiot who couldn’t get up to the limit—or at least within five miles of it.

“Why don’t you just pass through it?” Good Man asked.

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“See those double solid yellow lines? What do those mean?” I asked him. He’s been studying for his driving test.

“I know. It means you can’t pass, but laws are meant to be broken.” I laughed and he defended himself, “Not all of them, just the stupid ones. This is middle of nowhere!”

Shortly after this, the man in front of us slammed on his brakes and made a sudden left turn. I was following the two-second rule (or three-seconds, the state of Virginia can’t decide), luckily, and I was scanning, so at least I didn’t have to slam on my brakes.

Instead, I swerved around him and passed him on the right, using the shoulder.

This is why I always tell Good Man someone else is going to teach him how to drive.

He Doesn’t See a Breast

At some museum in DC, on a field trip…

Docent, pointing to Picasso’s Nude Woman: And what do you see here?

Subatomic: I see a leg.

Docent: Anyone else?

Behaves for Me, But Not Everyone: I see a—

Docent: A breast? Is that what you want to say?

Behaves for Me, But Not Everyone. catches my eye and gives me an ‘is she crazy, did she just say that?’ look before politely responding: I see a eye.

Amanda Teacher, breathes a sigh of relief and mentally notes to compliment him on his maturity later.

The same docent asked Behaves his name and then went on to call him by an entirely different name—a name nobody on our grade, let alone in our tour group, has! He answered to it every time, just as polite as could be.

Overheard at Staples…

Loud Woman on Cell Phone: Well in September he was professing his undying love to me and asking me to marry him….. Umhmm, and now just two weeks after we—he’s in a new relationship. I am so pissed!

Putting Pippi to Bed… One Million More to Go

“[Good Man], how many words is 할 수 있다? One, two, three?” Koreans are rather lazy about spacing words. 할수있다, 할수 있다, 할 수 있다… Eh, whatever.

“Four,” he replied.

“Four?” I’d never seen 할 수 있 다.

“Yeah, 할…수…있…다.”

Turns out, you don’t count words in Korean, you count 글자 (syllables).

I finished Pippi (in Korean) Saturday night. I started reading it November 9th, so it took four weeks to finish it. It was surprisingly enjoyable. I rarely used the dictionary, guessed at a lot of meaning, and didn’t worry (too much) about parts I didn’t understand.

I studied Spanish in high school for one year and in college for two years. Apparently this was supposed to make me functional in the language (ha!). Yet I was never asked to read a book for pleasure in Spanish. We always studied the language deeply—focusing on short passages and chewing them up and spitting them out. This meant that I always focused on the vocab I didn’t know and I didn’t really grow confident in my ability. I wonder if my attitude would’ve been different if I’d been given the option to just…read.

To that end, I am reconsidering my language learning goals for 2010. I usually set goals based on my Sogang books and then I fail because I get stuck on lessons I don’t like, such as pharmacy words (I’m looking at you, Sogang 3B, lesson 3!).

Instead, I’ve decided to read 1,000,000 글자 in Korean in 2010.

One million words averages out to 2,740 words a day. Pippi was about 62,000 글자. If I’m really going to reach this goal, it means most of my pleasure reading will be done in Korean.

Since it’s hard to get books I like in Korean around here (even at the Korean bookstore), my list of books to buy has gotten longer.

Three Pippi books
Diary of Anne Frank (and the cartoon version)
Half Magic
Super. Naive.
Chronicles of Narnia (complete set)

I also have 소나기 (a Korean tale) and some other short stories to get through. I’m sure I’ll think of some more books to add…

Let the Learning Begin

Today I went and registered (and plunked down more than $700) for a graduate class.

I already have my Masters.

Let the learning begin.

(I’m taking a class in curriculum development for gifted students. I’ve decided to earn my gifted endorsement.)

삐삐, 186쪽

다음아는 응접실에 가서 벽지에다 커다란 그림을 그렸다. 빨간 드레스를 입고 검은 모자를 쓴 뚱뚱한 부인 그림이었다. 부인은 한 손에 노란 꽃을 들고 다른 손에는 죽은 쥐를 들고 있었다.

“야! [굿멘]야. 여기 와 줘!” Hey, [Good Man]! Please come here.

Good Man entered the bedroom. “응?”

I read some sentences to him and then switched to English. “Does that say that Pippi was drawing a big picture…somewhere in the house?”


“And it was a woman with a red dress and a big, black hat? And she held a green—”


“Yellow flower in one hand? And a dead rat in the other?”

Good Man nodded.

I shook my head. “Man. Pippi is weird.”

Oh, North Korea and Breaking Through and Failing Again

What in the hell is North Korea doing?

North Korea said Monday it would issue new won currency this week that would in effect lop two zeros off the old — requiring 1,000-won bills, for example, to be exchanged for 10-won notes with, theoretically, the same buying power. It said it would limit the amount of old currency it would accept in exchange, to the equivalent of about $40 worth at unofficial exchange rates.


[Open Radio for North Korea] also reported that the exchange restrictions did not apply to Chinese people inside North Korea and, as a result, some North Koreans were trying to exchange old money with Chinese.

Meanwhile, college students were told they could exchange only the equivalent of about $9 in old money, reported Good Friends, a Buddhist charity group based in Seoul and Washington with a network of contacts in North Korea.

It also reported instances of wealthy people from cities rushing to rural areas on Monday in hopes of buying commodities with the old currency before people in those areas heard about the exchange process.

So the communist country and its Dear Leader takes care of the citizens by limiting their savings to $9 or $40 unless they’re Chinese, in which case they can have as much money as they want? Nice way to treat your pure Korean blood.

A few weeks ago I wrote that my limit in reading Pippi (or anything else) in Korean was about 20 minutes.

Well, Sunday night I broke through. I finished the circus chapter and read the entire burglar chapter in 삐삐. It took me 45 minutes. And I understood damn near everything in the burglar chapter. I was enjoying myself and didn’t want to stop reading.

Now I’m on the coffee party chapter and back to feeling more confused.