Archive for culture

best email ever

I sent one of my hike girls some pictures of her, and I got this message back-

“Thank you Naeohmi
You are the best
Pretty cute, sexy and charming and lovely kkamjjikhago bourgeois women and the teachers love the chic (students’ name)
I am writing now to English Google Translator
Naeohmiui ppogeulppogeulhan naeohmiui good head voice is the best”

Ah… ppogeulppogeul means “curly” 😉 Made me grin.
I wrote back to her nothing but “ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ”
(The Korean laugh sound~ haha I feel like my typing is getting konglish-ized.)


good things in twenty ten

On New Years Eve, Shakema and I got lost trying to find the party we were invited to, and hurriedly entered a Korean bar on the corner to take in the new year over Long Island Iced Teas and Bailey’s. About a minute after the new year started, the whole club (except  us two foreigners) lit up about 10 birthday cakes and started singing happy birthday! Turns out, in Korea, everyone get s a year older on New Years – SO in Korean years, I’m 25 years old now!!

Also, the snow:

So, in a surprising turn of events, my almost-brand-spanking-new mac suffered massive hard drive failure! What???! How is that even possible? My last back up was about a month ago – quite good for my records. I’ve gone years without backing up. Horrifying, but true. ㅜ_ㅜ

So, what does this mean? Well, I haven’t been online in a few days (except for at work) and I probably won’t have a working computer for at least another week. And, I’ve lost some writing and photographs. I’m not sure how to load my software from my backup either… so… I’m not sure what’ll be up with my Adobe stuff when I get my machine back.

One last bit of moping: I’m wearing dokkbukki pants today. I grabbed these jeans from the jean-pile, only to realize (now, as I sit in my office, preparing for the day) that there was a horrible accident involving that ever chewy and delicious hot rice cake: the dokkbukki. I seem to remember a night with a lot of friends and laughing and OH YES. I must have dropped a ton of the bright-red-chili-sauce-drenched – tomato-simmered-cakes. Cause there be red stains all up and down these legs. How I failed to notice as I got dressed this morning, I’ll never know… Fail. Major Fail!

Onto the awesomeness of life right now: things are pretty awesome. Life has taken on a kind of schedule: work in the mornings, of course, but every night holds something different. I’m taking an interactive class on Jonsen Dynasty culture at The National Palace Museum of Korea – last week we made soap. This week we’ll do calligraphy! I’ll be going on field trips and trying on hanbok. It’s all very interesting, and the palace is super lush.

Other days I go to Itaewon, to the Chabad. We’re studying women’s experiences in the prophet stories in Hebrew – oh man. There are some seriously strong women, but their stories are so fragmented. In Itaewon there are also weekly-or-so writers’ workshops and performer’s workshops, and lots of little coffee shops and English book stores. It’s amazing to feel like there are so many resources to plug into for the arts.

I study Korean a few nights a week, either with friends or with teachers at my school. My reading is getting to a workable stage. I’ve almost got all of the compound vowels down. Everyone knows how much I struggle with language, so learning to read awesomely is super sweet for me. Right now I’m only learning about 2 vocabulary words a week (mostly from my students, haha) which is not really enough to talk or anything. You’d be surprised though at who speaks awesome English in Seoul – it’s everywhere.

This week I have a super easy schedule – no 9th grades cause of finals, and for the 8th graders we’re giving an English speaking test. (we = my Korean English Co-teachers and myself). The speaking exam is on the slang I’ve been teaching the last two weeks:

That’s so wack! Fail, Major fail!
That’s sweet! That’s sick! Major win!
I’m chill. I’m cool. I’m solid.
I’m whatever. I’m eh.
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
What’s up?~ Just chilling.

The girls had to make dialogues with the slang and perform them in class. Yes, really. I love my job! I’ll put up videos of some of the good performances later – some of them are so funny! I feel like a proud mother every time I hear “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.”


Oh, and Manisha and I made a new video for her students (elementary). You can check it out here. Funnnny!

Celebrating chuSukkot

This weekend was both Chuseok (the Korean Thanksgiving) and Sukkot (one of the major Jewish Harvest Festivals). I was super lucky to be invited to celebrate Chuseok with two families: Anna and YoonJi’s. I feel like part of their families 🙂

Anna’s family had a nighttime BBQ where half of the guests were Israeli, so I got to practice my Hebrew and eat yummy salads. The BBQ was held at her aunts house in the heart of Seoul, AND she had two dogs! Life is good.

Next, I went over to YoonJi’s for a more traditional Chuseok. Her family laid out a lot of food for the ancestors to symbolically eat, to thank them for everything they did while alive, and then the family gets to eat all of the food! Great great great! We also went to the Korean Folk Museum in InsaDong and got to see one of the old palaces – check out the eloquent video:

Now, at the same time of course, it’s been Sukkot 😉

Sukkot too!


Check out the hot Chabad Sukkah! (A sukkah is a portable hut, for the unfamiliar. Jews build them just for the holiday, to remind us of how our ancestors lived in huts as they moved through the desert. It’ll come down after the holiday!) It’s kind of cool that there’s a Jewish community in Seoul. They even go bowling: (SIDENOTE: omg my transitions today are so bad! hahah! I’ll blame the bad writing on it being late)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Everyone knows I’m a terrible bowler -Bowler? Is that the right word? Korea will never be the same after my granny-shot!

SO between Chuseok and Sukkot, I’m holidayed out. This weekend will end the Jewish Holiday Season with Simchat Torah (AKA jewish drinking holiday) and then it’s a looooong wait to Hannukah – which is a good thing! It’s been a good time though, mixing between Jewish and Korean customs – and language.

Some people have asked “Naomi, how’s that Korean coming along?” Yeahhhh…. In the Part #2 to the Urim market, you can see me bust out some mad skillz as I buy things at the market. Watch out! o_o

Weddings and Pineapple

some wallnice ajjumasome canssome stuff

Today I went to my first Korean wedding! Maybe that should mean I have photos of it… but they’re all on my holga. Anyway, My coworker Seoul A, who’s the art teacher at Hyewon, got married! Mazal tovs all round!

Having never been to a Korean wedding, I asked her what an aproatate gift would be. She said money was teh most common, but it would be okay if I brought fruit or a small cake instead.

I bought a Pineapple. It came gift wrapped.

As I walked to the subway, three girls came running up to me, screaming. I thought my pineapple was leaking all over my good skirt. “HYEWON! HYEWON!”  The pointed at themselves and I realized that they where my students! Three of the hundreds, hahaha. And then they pointed to my stomach (and pineapple) and said “Sick? Are you okay?”

Well. It seems liek my whole school knows I took an out down for my weak digestive tract. 😦 I told the girls I was fine and headed to the wedding, only to find myself the only person carrying a fruit. Of any kind. At all. As I handed it to Seoul A she looked confused.

“I thought it would be funny,” I said hopefully. “You said I could bring fruit….”

The wedding was amazing. And tomorrow I return to my students and school life!