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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Christmas Dinner 2009

I ate Christmas dinner in Korea with friends. Fortunately they have an oven, so we cooked two chickens (big ovens, like big chickens, are difficult to come by in Korea). Good company and good food!:)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Boy Words

I was teaching some of my 5th grade boys last week when a certain English phrase I said set them to laughing. I give them a lot of credit--they hid it at first; they attempted to be polite. But, boys being boys, they couldn't hold it in, especially as the situation demanded that I repeat the phrase several times.

It turns out that the sound of this phrase--one quarter, as in 1/4-- is close to the sound of a Korean term for an impolite body word--bugger, as in nose trash. (Looking back, the students asked me to repeat and to pronounce the phrase in different ways--I am not sure if this was for language learning or merely for their pleasure . . .).

It's not the first time this has happened, and probably not the last. Sometimes sounds in different languages meet at a crossroads, the meanings going in opposite directions.

Ah, the unexpected joys of teaching ESL . . .

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Whiteboard Pics

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in my classroom . . ."

Or so some lyrics might go:)

New South Korean $50 Bill

Ok, clearly it's not $50 . . . it's W50,000. 50,000 won. Right now it's not worth as much as $50 due to the exchange rate, but that is beside the point.

The point is that Korea has a "big money" bill. A large banknote.

"Large?" you ask.

"Yes, large!" I say.

For, prior to this ("this" being the past few months), Korea only had the equivalent of $1, $5, and $10 bills.

If you needed a significant sum of money it resulted in a big wad of bills.

Now that wad is smaller.

Hooray smaller wads!

Saturday, 5 December 2009


It's snowing in Seoul . . . as it has a few times, but no sticking so far this winter. The flakes outside my window are blowing sideways and up more than down (it's windy today). . .