Wait, am I still in Korea?

Critical Thinking Project: Speeches – National Holiday Proposals

My first class today, Interactive English Listening. This was my best class this week. They payed attention! They participated! They backed up their answers with reasoning that wasn’t circular! They even asked questions! Ugh, I didn’t think the students could get any better. Then the next class had these two little boys that were such sweethearts, I may have to adopt/kidnap them. Pictures of my future Korean children, coming soon. But first, food.

We ordered sogogi, which means literally, “cow meat” or beef. It was incredibly good. I don’t think the meat was marinated. It was great on it own, but you could dip it in sesame oil, soy sauce, grill it with garlic, and of course slather on gochujong, a Korean red pepper sauce.

After dining kalmaegi style, the servers sprayed us down with Fabreze like it was completely normal, and my co-teachers and I began our jaunt to the university village for some cocktails.fabrezeWandering around the neon lights reminded me of walking around in Incheon last year, except now I was in a band of foreigners: Jaela, Chris, and I hailing from the States and Jaela’s friend, Maggie, who is visiting from Iceland. It’s interesting, the how different walking through the world can be, as part of a hot young posse of expats, versus being stared at, solo.

We went to a nice but rather empty lounge, called Kush. Originally we were going to drink makoli, a relative low proof Korean rice wine that somehow produces tales that could rival those legendary of absinthe. But still having to teach the next day, I’m glad we went for our favorite go-to cocktails, instead.

That pitcher of beer has a lid – So Korean.

Finally, we headed to The Bugle, or what everyone else still calls “Pearl Jam”, apparently, and those were the rules. It felt weird being in a room with Westerners, while in Korean, for the first time, but mostly comfortable. Until I realized those were English, Irish, and Scottish accents I was hearing and not American. Then it was cool. I only know American Brits, who are too much like us, so I loved chatting and getting the perspectives of some of these guys.

You know, I used to say that I’m one of those people who don’t have a talent. I know how to do a little bit of a lot of things which makes me a good trivia night partner, but not talented. But last night after winning yet another race to the bottom of a car bomb, I realized…my talent is drinking Irish Car Bombs. I can’t be beat! I haven’t come across one frat boy or fat uncle that stood a chance. Seriously, I’m calling for challengers and I don’t care that you don’t believe me, no one does! That what makes winning so much fun.

Let me touch on another problem I have, where I start mimicking other people’s speech patterns. Because it’s a thing.

When I used to wait tables, if I’d get a Brit or an Aussie, somewhere between “Hi my name is Jeanie, I’ll be your server tonight” and their, “I’ll stawt weeth the gawden salawd, and if you would, please, a cuppa tea”, I’d soften my Rs, elongating my As, and morph my intonation to more or less match theirs. I even started talking like my roommate from Southern California during training week in Seoul.

Needless to say, it was about to happen with the room full of foreigners. The struggle was real, to not come off like I was mocking these people, some of whom I possibly want to become friends with. When I confessed this to my company, everyone had a good long laugh. Apparently I’m not the only one! Even Maggie from Iceland says she can’t help but do it with English too. Then, naturally, we all let our terrible impersonations out of the box the rest of the night. I was somewhere between Fat Bastard and Gimli for most of it.

“My Goodness, My Guinness”


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