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Thursday, October 04, 2007

꿈 = Dream

Just to answer Bob's question from the comments section on the previous post.

I have indeed had two dreams in Korean, but they both happened a long time ago. The first doesn't really count - I went to bed with a stomach ache and rolled around muttering 불고기 (bulgogi) to myself. That was pretty early on.

The second was a little more interesting. I don't know which country the dream was set in, but I was in or next to a field, and on the other end was some museum, outside of which was a statue of Dante Alighieri. Maybe. Also, I think Jamal was with me, but I'm not sure. Could have been a lady that I tutored in Italian while I was in St. Louis. My companion wanted to go walk on the sidewalk, but I said that we should just cut across the field. I really wanted to see that statue. Unfortunately some Korean farmer got upset because we were stomping around on his livelihood, so I dream-told him 다시 그렇게 안 할 거예요. (Again like this not do will/ We won't do it again!) I had this dream probably about 3 or 4 months into my stay, so the grammar doesn't strike me as particularly good, though I'm not too sure I would say it any better now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

pathological liar? exhibitionist?

I was in Costco today with my mom and a Korean middle-aged lady friend named "Cindy," just walking up and down the aisles. As two strangers were passing by, I said something random in Korean to Cindy, apparently well enough to make the passers-by double-take and marvel at my skills. I thanked them, and then, for some reason or other, was overtaken by an urge to show off a little more. So I went up and told them that I really recommended a certain candy, which was right in front of us, being sold in four packs. The thing is, I hadn't actually tried that candy, and I wasn't even sure whether or not I wanted to buy it for myself. I had tried another variety of candy made by that company, so I wasn't entirely lying...except, yes I was.

What's wrong with me? I hope they liked the candy.

Also, I had an astounding Korean-language day today. I somehow managed to correctly formulate the sentence "Would you mind asking where the cough medicine is for me?" (기침약이 어디 있는지 물어 봐 주시겠어요?) without really knowing how I did it. Most impressive was the perfect attachment of the of the suffix/infix 지 (ji) onto the right verb, conjugated in its own special way. This is impressive mostly because I've never run into "ji" (used in this sense) in a grammar book; I've just heard it enough in other, somewhat similar constructions, to have an intuition about how to use it here. It's almost totally subconscious. I can hardly formulate its meaning.

I'm sure you found that quite interesting.

To save you some effort, and to preemptively stifle a Jeff-comment: babelfish translates the sentence as "The cough medicine probably is where, it asks and it sees, staring keyss U bedspread."

Monday, October 01, 2007

the gym

Wow, almost another month has passed without a post. I have really been meaning to write more, and I still have a fair deal to recount about my July and August vacations to Seoul and Busan. But, those take a long time to write about, mostly because I want to give a more or less exhaustive account of what happened. And of course, doing that is more or less exhausting. Surprise.

So here are a few short vignettes just to get me in the mood to blog. They may also make you appreciate some of the people at my gym and my Korean skills.

Since my Korean has become better over the past months, I've become much more capable of interacting with the various dudes around the gym. Before, it was almost exclusively the women that I talked with, since, not having full-time jobs, a lot of them tried to study English during the day, so I could communicate with a few. But now that my Korean allows me to interact more with the men (that is, when they're trying to include me. Sometimes we just order some fried chicken and beer and sit around the gym after closing time, and when that happens, their conversation is totally beyond me), I've become more friendly with a few, especially with the coach. The result, along with more normal conversations and me teasing him about his lack of ab definition, is more locker-room horseplay. Today I told him he'd never achieve his six-pack-by-december goal, and then he threw a wet and, I assume, used towel at me. A few weeks ago, while in the shower, perhaps prompted by something I did or said, he came over and started sculpting my shampooey hair, while muttering "Beckham, Beckham, Beckham" at me. A bit frightening and awkward, but also pretty funny and absurd. Also, the mohawk he formed was pretty nice.

One more. Today, after a long absence from the gym, I returned, and was obviously greeted with much fanfare. By which I mean, one dude, Jae-Dong, with whom I always play squash and kid around, came up to me and shook my hand. I was taken by surprise because I didn't think he would have already played a game, and yet he was incredibly sweaty. So, I double-took and told him that he was dirty and sweaty, at which point he told me that it wasn't sweat, but love that he was exuding towards me.

What a great place.