Language Learning
Vulgarities

Vulgarities

“I’m not going to teach you those,” Jorge said. “But how can we know what the kids are saying if you don’t teach us?” I asked. We were in Spanish class, focusing on Costeño idioms, including the phrase decir vulgaridades. It didn’t take long to convince him; Jorge stood up, walked over to the whiteboard, and...
"Mul" on the floor

“Mul” on the floor

Some days, the words escape my mouth effortlessly. My accent lessens and the rr’s slide off my tongue in rhythm, like gliding across the dance floor in someone’s arms. Reir. Crear. Venir. Cerrar. Yesterday, my head spun and the sounds got caught in my throat. Uncomfortable, embarrassed and frustrated—I wanted to kiss the sounds and...
고장 난 에어콘 하고 우리 집주인: writing stories in Korean

고장 난 에어콘 하고 우리 집주인: writing stories in Korean

Three months ago, I began studying Korean full-time. Although my emotions constantly swerve along a spectrum of elation to agitation, I’ve surprised myself with my progression. Sure, I still make lots and lots of stupid mistakes, I frequently struggle to find the right words in conversations, and my vocabulary is very limited, but thanks to Geumgang...
Last night's dream

Last night’s dream

Last night I dreamt that I was in Colombia. I knew I was in Colombia, even though I was in a large, florescent-lit room, surrounded by a committee of people preparing for a party. I was wearing a dress and scurrying about the room, making plates of appetizers filled with grapes and cheese and crackers. I wanted...
How studying Korean made me realize some mistakes I'd made teaching English

How studying Korean made me realize some mistakes I’d made teaching English

Warning: This post may be a bit ranty because I’m mad at myself for failing my Korean midterm. I also have a speaking test on Tuesday which I will inevitably fail, and to top it off, I’m fucking hungry, and our cafeteria doesn’t serve dinner for another 45 minutes. It’s been awhile since I’ve studied...
I'm [sketching] on Tumblr now!

I’m [sketching] on Tumblr now!

Just when I thought my brain would explode with sparks made of Twitter links and Facebook updates, I created a “Mapping Words: Sketches” Tumblr account. I was hesitant to delve into Tumblr for the longest time because I didn’t understand it; it seemed like a platform filled with overly-shared material and confusing threads with no “about me” page...
From city to country

From city to country

I climbed onto the Seoul-bound bus in Inje. The only seat remaining was next to a pimply teenage boy leaning his head against the window. He avoided my gaze, reluctantly removing his backpack from the seat and placing it on the floor beneath his feet. It was summer. My friends and I had gone rafting...
How to get a scholarship to study Korean at Geumgang University

How to get a scholarship to study Korean at Geumgang University

Next semester, I’ll be leaving my cushy public school job, but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Korea. A couple months ago, I applied for a Spring 2013 scholarship to study Korean at Geumgang University, a Buddhist university, located between Nonsan and Daejeon in Chungcheongnam-do, Korea. Yesterday, I received word that I was accepted...
7 ways to learn Korean for free

7 ways to learn Korean for free

THIS IS FOR ALL YOU WAEGUKINS out there who’ve accidentally ordered a nose bleed (ko-pi) instead of a coffee (keo-pi), or tried to tell your Korean language partner your cat wanted to eat, but instead said you wanted to eat your cat. 1. Take advantage of online resources. Talk to me in Korean Pros: TTMIK has...
Learning Korean through sketches

Learning Korean through sketches

My newest article titled, “Learning to read Korean through sketches” was published today on Matador Abroad! I’m a visual learner, and when I began taking Korean classes a year and a half ago, I wanted to incorporate my language learning into a creative project.  I began sketching, which is time consuming, but a fun, alternative...
Hitting a Plateau with Korean Language Learning

Hitting a Plateau with Korean Language Learning

I sighed. “It’s terrible. I mean—I can get around and make small talk, but I still can’t have a good conversation.” My friend Shannon and I were at a Korean bathhouse, sprawled on straw floor mats when she asked me about my Korean. “I’m so frustrated lately—and I feel guilty, but I stopped taking classes...
Korean Word Sketches

Korean Word Sketches

Lately, I’ve been frustrated with my Korean language skills, and I feel like I’ve hit a plateau with my motivation to study. (I’m going to blog about this later this week.) I’ve decided to kick-start some new language learning projects. First, I’m going to return to a project that began more than a year ago....