새해복 많이 받으세요

Translation: Happy New Years.

Sometimes I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make a full transition to understanding Korean. Tonight was another trial where my Western-ness scuttled all my training.

So there’s a nice cashier at the convenience store where I buy cider after work. (The only diet soda sold in Korea is Diet Coke. When you tire of soda (and/or Coke), you’re then stuck with the one cider with no sugar added.) The lady’s super nice, and tries her best to teach me useful Korean phrases. (Or remind me of useful Korean phrases that I should know already, like good-bye.) Tonight as I left, she told me “새해복 많이 받으세요;” an expression I technically already knew.

The problem is I learned, and used, said expression around the Western New Year (January 1st). So I was expecting her to say something mentioning the Solar New Year (a/k/a Chinese New Years, or 설날)). I completely forgot that to most Koreans, the Solar New Years is the actual New Years.

So I asked her to repeat it, she did slowly for me, and them it all clicked. Fuck, I thought, I actually knew that one. And I totally blew my chances of impressing her by knowing something of note!

Well, I guess there’s always next year..

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