Archive for the Tales From the Hogwan Category

성경은 문제들이에요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation(?): Biblical Problems

I also failed my Korean course’s final quiz yesterday, when my teacher asked who would help me on my (bike) trip. “My friends,” I replied, cuz they’re the ones I rely on when I can’t solve something myself.

Wrong answer, cuz my friends aren’t everywhere. (Despite everyone having a cell phone.)

Which leaves only me. Which was the wrong answer again. And again. And again. As I kept asking for the question to be restated, as well as her incomprehensible (to me at least) answer.

Turns out I was supposed to say “God” or “Jesus.” (Whichever one had the collective brain that day I guess.) She’s a sweet old lady so I had to hide my internal disgust, as well as NOT mentioning that “God/Jesus” gave me the disease that is shortening my life daily at the age of 4 (I have maybe one memory of not being a diabetic), and followed it up 10 years by killing my mom.

So I’m gonna continue to avoid GJod’s “help,” as it only causes problems. And I know, Jesus states in the Bible that in order to (truly) believe in him you must abandon your own family (Luke 14:26), so I guess that’s on me too. Cuz I’m not cool with that.


어젠 올해의 세 번제 생일이었어요!

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on September 15, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Yesterday was this year’s third birthday!

Apparently yesterday was my 3rd birthday, as (almost) everyone I see on a regular basis gave me a gift. The book and notebook came from 서영복 선생님께서 who saw me run out of space in my old notebook last week, and took steps to correct it. Along with something extra to fill it with (translations).

The yam (고구마) came from the bibimbab waffle lady who, along with her husband (the chef) come out every time I’m there and say hi. Hell, last week the husband literally said “good-bye” in the halted English of someone who is saying something they just learned for the first time.

And the cool towel comes from my journalist friend as an aide for my upcoming bike trip. He also taught me “purple” in Korean (자주 (색)). Also, he hooked me up with the Papago app which I’m hoping will be an improvement over Google Translate. As Papago is made by Korea’s version of Google (Naver), and thus has Korean roots. In return, I taught him that “Predator (2018)” should’ve never been released. Not even as a tail-end of Summer D.O.A. “blockbuster.”

(Not pictured is the giant coffee the girl at the movie theater gave me for… fucking up the transaction every week? She was the second person to think I was a journalist yesterday; which is happening a surprising amount lately. Also the corn guy hooked me up with water but that’s common at this point.)

부산부터 죽음 자전거 타기를 해요.

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on September 5, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Death ride from Busan.

I’m now —-><—- much closer to meeting my timely demise for Thanksgiving. Or maybe not, as every Korean I’ve told about my plan to ride the rivers from Busan to Seoul have been super supportive. Hell, even my boss was super supportive when he heard. All he was worried about was me getting to Busan. (“Uh, I’ll take the bus? How else would I get there? Is there a ridable road? IS THERE!?!”)

I can only imagine what my family would say if I told them I was gonna ride 600kms over the Thanksgiving weekend,

Okay, except my Dad who’d probably mutter something like, “Wha? You’re saying he’s still alive?”

지금은 이 공책이 멸했어요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on September 2, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Now This Notebook Has Been Destroyed.

I asked my boss to correct some of my Korean scribbles. (She’s cool with it.) But naturally she couldn’t stop at the sentence I asked about, plowing forward into the rest of my Bicycle Museum tale. Then… the speedbump.

I should’ve warned her that my tale veers into “Shit Tim writes down while shaving” territory without warning.

“The curator explained that the Japanese police department introduced bicycles to Korea. The museum has many bicycles. I work because I don’t want to be homeless. I met a Japanese cyclist in the museum.”

One of the sentences above don’t belong. Can you identify which?

매일 매일 비빔밥 와플이에요.

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , on September 1, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Bibimbab Waffles all day, every day.

(Normal bibimbab (still fantastic!) vs. the waffle-fied version. You be the judge.)

Since I stopped updating for months, you, the poor in-the-dark readers, don’t know the magic of bibimbab waffles. It’s been a staple of my diet for months now. Seriously. Usually on the weekends I’d eat maybe once (usually dinner after Saturday’s Korean class). Since discovering this restaurant, I’ve adopted a semi-normal diet? Maybe eating routine?

I’m now a regular. In that every staff member comes out to greet me each week. One brings the coffee. Another (the mom), brings out the waffle. Then the father, the cook, comes out just to say “hi” to me. Today, he didn’t even look at the other diners. Just the poor, addicted foreigner.

As if this writing, I have a little over two months left in my contract, and I’ve still uncertain about what the future may hold. On one hand, I’d like to see other cities (Sangju (home of Korea’s bike museum!) was a dream), but I’d miss the little spot I’ve carved out for myself here too.

어젯밤에 쓰기를 이었어요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: I Wrote this Last Night.

I don’t know if you, the reader, can tell, but my mistakes have been steadily decreasing as time goes by. Hell, the first correction (아침 -> 아침에) is actually what I typed originally. But Korean has a number of rules about when you use the “-에” suffix in connection in the present tense, and I decided to bet on the wrong horse here. I’m rather excited that I’m reaching the point where, when I get correction back, I can understand them completely.

피가 인생이에요

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on August 26, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Blood Is Life.

So the cat’s out of the bag. And shit, does gossip spread fast. Now, when the nurse pulled the needle out, she told me that it was done. Without thinking, I replied, “네” (yes). But in the low voice of, “Yeah, I know. I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been a nurse” kind of way.

And she was shocked. “한국말 잘해요” or something. One the one hand, I’m like, “네” is usually the first word you learn (Yes is kind of important). On the other, the fact I could understand her speaking in Korea should impress me. THEN, by the time I walked down the hallway, the lady at the front desk was all, “한국말 잘해요?”

“조금” lady, 조금.


Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on August 25, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: Long Time No See.

Nearly all the shit I write in Korean is grammatically wrong in some way, but every once in awhile I’ll type a sentence into the translator that comes out just as I imagined it. This was such an occasion, and it made me laugh:

그 여행이 할 동안에 죽고 싶지 않아요.

(“During the trip, I don’t want to die.”)

어렵은 저녁이었어요.

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on April 10, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: It was a difficult evening.

5/10; as I start this new book, I’m also having to constantly remind myself that a tougher, more advanced, book will be more difficult. Such frustration was magnified tenfold when I realized here that the words I’m supposed to listen to and write and reasonably obscure. (The word in question here, 경로석, is a seat reserved for the elderly. As you can see above, said word is not introduced in any meaningful way, nor have I ever seen it used.

Needless to say, I spend a lot of time reminding myself that I’ve learning an extremely difficult language. Not to mention the fact that the book is tougher. If the problems didn’t get harder, then I’d be considered fluent and wouldn’t need the book.

My solution?

The HelloTalk app.

The ample supply of support there is encouraging when your own mind is doubting you. Especially when the sentences you posted weren’t double-checked first in Google Translate. Instead I thought of this as I was walking out of the 반찬가게.

As usual, my words failed me in the shop. But, as I was leaving, the normal interstitial dialogue came flooding into my head. Rather than turn around and speak to the shop owner (next time), I ran to the coffee shop where I scribbled it down and instead “spoke” it to the faceless internet dwellers. Giving me a boost right when I needed it most.


Apparently I wasn’t the only one with unfinished business, as the shop owner stopped me tonight as I passed by. Giving me some 게란말이 as “service” (Koreans’ way of saying “on the house”).

네 토요일을 어떻었어요?

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2018 by shenanitim

Translation: How was your Saturday?

I missed class today because there was another class going on, this one focusing on teaching techniques. (Courtesy of Jeonju’s “KoTESOL” organization; thanks!) While I hate losing one-on-one Korean study time, my teacher is on vacation this week (Vietnam), and I figure trading two hours of Korean a month for two hours of higher-level teaching tutelage is a more than fair deal.

Plus there’s still this, the “after class, but before dinner” self-styled, private, Korean session. According to my book’s answer key, I’m not wrong here!

Also, there’s this. Proof that once a year the skies above Jeonju clear up just enough that everything isn’t super-hazy/overcast.