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...
Costeño Slang: 10 words and phrases

Costeño Slang: 10 words and phrases

I arrived in Barranquilla, Colombia eleven days ago. I’ve already moved in with a host family and started Peace Corps training, including Spanish studies and teaching workshops, and throughout it all, I’ve only managed to get lost once. From Monday through Friday, we have eight hours of training a day–four hours of Spanish and four...
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...

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