After an awful day at work I was happy to join my first Korean class through CulCom (Culture Community). It was just 2 subway stops past my apartment and although I was late from talking with my principal I caught right up.
The first class consisted solely of the Korean alphabet, Hangul. I had already studied this on my own and was able to read most words (even if it was beneath a Kindergarten pace). In spite of my previous knowledge I found this class quite helpful because I got practice writing with immediately feedback on my pronunciation.
Owen, my teacher and the leader of CulCom, did a great job explaining some of the harder sounds and I think I actually understand the double letters now! There are a few general rules about which vowels can be paired with others to make a double vowel and we went through the actual name of each letter. Suddenly our class was over and it was time for me to meet my Korean students.
At CulCom you get “free” Korean lessons but need to stay and teach English to a small group of Koreans. I didn’t mind, especially when I found out all I do is sit there and help them understand the few pages provided by CulCom. My group had two girls: Raan & Lydia, and four boys: myself, KJ, Sam and another gentleman who didn’t join us for dinner & drinks where I learned everyone’s name (sorry for misspelling the names!).
Speaking of dinner and drinks, the chicken, mekju and games were the best part of my day. I definitely needed some relaxation after such a crappy day and was happy to teach everyone Kings. They loved it and I realized how useful it was for their English practice. They had to practice rhyming, categories, saying “never have I evers” and more. Maybe I can turn this into a classroom friendly game somehow?
Before we finished the deck Owen strolled in and grabbed a shot glass for soju. Fried chicken arrived while we were chowing down on the banchan in between turns. We quickly finished kings and they taught me an updated version of Daegi. Instead of simply saying Daegi however many times you had to say someone’s name and a number; they had to repeat their name the appropriate number of times in tempo with their claps before saying another name and number.
We played a few rounds before they ordered another dish. It came with cold noodles, a ton of spicy red sauce, veggies and
“What is that?” I asked.
“sea bugs? No that’s not it,” they said.
“Escargo,” Owen chimed in.
“NO no no, its in the sea” someone replied.
“Sea snails?” I asked.
“YEAH!” they all shouted.
I wish I had taken a picture, although it was all cold I really enjoyed it. I took a bite of something chewier than the root vegetable I was expecting before asking what it was. It turned out to be “dried squid.” They were surprised I liked it and I asked
“Is that the same weird looking thing in the store.”
Turned out it was in fact the “weird looking thing at the store.” Well maybe I’ll have to buy one now. Well, back to that game of Daegi. After all, it was a riot and helped us polish off the giant pitcher and bottle of soju.
I’ll be missing Thursday’s class due to Thanksgivukkah at the military base but am excited to join them again next Tuesday!