Thursday, July 30, 2009

Teaching, Cooking and Konglish

Wednesday was my last day of teaching at Camp Fulbright. Instead of teaching 12 and 13 year-olds, I taught 14-16 year-olds with pretty advanced English abilities. What shocked me most was, for how similar their English skills were, how differently I had to teach the classes. And really, it was only a one-year difference in some cases. These students had a completely different mentality/"maturity" level. The lesson went really well; I taught table etiquette for Thanksgiving meals (i.e. which fork to use, where to put your bread, what to talk about, what not to talk about).

The kids were really exhausted (Camp ends on Saturday) but the reacted really well to my lesson. They had a wonderful sense of humor and were hundreds of times more creative than the younger class. I'm still blown away that the difference was only 1-2 years!

A little funny story. I was going over vocabulary. One of the words was "Host." I asked if they knew what that was. The students said, "Yes, Teacher! Bye-rus!" It took a second, but I realized they were trying to say "virus" and were referring to a recent Korean horror movie. Oh children.

That night I had my second (and last) cooking class. We made Dong rae pa jun (동래파전) - green onion, scallion and seafood "pancake" - and Dak Gal Bi (닭갈비) - spicy stir-fried chicken.

My partner and I made the pancake without seafood, but I did try our neighbors pancake with some squid (I like squid, but nothing else sea-foody). I prefer the seafood-free option. The spicy chicken mix had cabbage, potatoes and Korean rice cakes (REALLY hard to describe. They are the thick noodle-looking thing in the pot. It's kind of like eating bread before it is cooked [i.e. while it is still rising]. Maybe Youngmee could offer a better description.) So I ate those things while my partners ate the chicken. :) Boy, it was SPICY! You didn't notice it at first, but it caught up with you after a while!

My plate

I'm a good cutter

It's official. I broke down on Tuesday and bought peanut butter, bread and green apples. I noticed that I just wasn't recovering after runs and was feeling pretty tired a lot. Going from a cheese-intensive diet to a dairy-free world was a really big shock.

The only peanut butter at the store. I think it's charming.

Okay, finally, we get to talk about Konglish! Konglish = English + Korean. You see a lot of it when something doesn't translate well. Youngmee touched a little on this from my last blog. I am definitely seeing a lot of Konglish. It's always pretty amusing. The most shocking was a shirt that said, "Cock Thrasher - 1981." Not sure what they were trying to translate there...

I bought a Konglish shirt - The Salvation-Army-looking logo is actually an oddly placed pocket.I will go into more specific examples as they come, but here are some common examples:
  • There is no "F" in the Korean alphabet, so they substitute with "P" or sometimes "B." So, when you ask, "How are you?" you usually get, "I'm pine thanks!" Or they call my roommate "Jenniper"
  • "L" and "R" are the same sound, so words like "lollipop" or "sorry" are usually pretty interesting.
For this reason, F, L, R and TH make really good lesson topics. Okay, that is enough for now.

I am really busy tomorrow (Friday). I have to give a 4-5 minute speech (in Korean). Yikes! Wish me luck! Then I am off to a KEY club retreat (the Korean-English Club). The homework is as heavy as always. Good thing I'm done teaching. :) Alright, Fun Riders 1 Again signing off.


  1. Well, keep the Christmas ideas coming, peanut butter, shirts, etc. All good things to pack. Do you have an address that you can receive mail at yet? I did feel a slight earthquake here yesterday, must have been when you ate the squid.

    Have a great time at the retreat, and hope you have a little time to relax.

    Love you.

    Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jeff.

  2. Maybe you should go back to eating some meat (just a little) for a while. Especially if you are noticing loss of endurance with running. That is a sign you need protein and other probs can follow. Unless of course the peanut butter really works. But you did used to like meat, remember?

  3. After I read it, I ate a spoolful of peanut butter. I really didn't need that...

    Thanks for the great bloguettes (I am sticking to the term!). Reading them has become a part of my daily routine and often highlight of my days. No pressure... but keep them coming!

    The food looks good. The pancake thing is very common. You can put whatever veg. you have left. Seafood in it is common too, but I have to say scallion is the most common ingredient. At one point, Majid tried to perfect it by mixing flour and rice flour etc., I remember.

    I am not sure why they put the rice cake (you can think of it as an absolutely packed cooked rice to the point of consistent texture, although that's not exactly how they make it I think) in that chicken dish, but the added carb (and cabbage with the meat) makes it a meal by itself, I am guessing. As you may noticed, a Korean meal is not complete unless there is rice.

    The rice-cake was always a treat associated with holidays. We take uncooked rice to the "factory" and they make it for you to the size specification you want (the thickness). There is sweet type that is also called rice cake, but this is the plain type (no added sugar). On New Years Day, we make soup with it (sliced diagnoally into thin pieces) and one does not get a year older unless one eats a bowl of that soup :-) I have to note that we didn't get a year older on our birthdays, but collectively on New Years Day. Since we are a year old when we're born, if you are born the day before the New Year's Day, you can be 2 years old at your second day! The western style of counting age (starting from 0 and going by the birthday) used to have a "maan" in front of it. So "maan" 10 years old usually meant 11 years old in Korean couting, but I digress.

    I think rice cake was a treat because the white rice was not available to everybody and making rice cake takes a lot of rice. The time before the yearly rice harvest (in the fall) used to be called "The Barley Hill" because many (poor) families would be out of rice from the previous year and had to eat barley and other things such as potato. Now we know that they are healthier food, but then it was considered hardship (and it was because it was not a choice for many).

    Anyway, you can make the same dish with tofu (instead of chicken or instead of rice cake) to add protein. Use firm tofu, cut and let it sit for a while to drain the water. Pan fry them to the brownness you like and add them in. That should help with protein. Since tofu doesn't have much taste of its own, it just tastes like whatever sauce/seasoning you are using. We had tofu pretty much everyday growing up. It's supposed to be good protein. Hope you get your energy and endurance level back up!

  4. You are making me hungry!! Looks good. You are quite a threat with the butcher knife poised in the upward position. What does "Fun Riders 1 Again" mean? I'd definitely be lost there. I hope you are feeling better soon. Love, Mom & Dad

  5. Amy, I know that this is your blog(ette), but I must say, I love Youngmee's commentary almost as much as yours! Youngmee, keep us conjoined in your trip down memory lane. Thanks!
    Lotsa Hugs and Kisses,
    Aunt Betty