Several people helpfully pointed out a spelling/listening error in my post about saying high school in Korean. It’s supposed to be 고등 go deung not go dang. I didn’t take enough time looking at the hanguel, and was just noticing that it wasn’t go tan. The following day, I noticed it was go deung.
Armed with this new information didn’t seem to help me with the taxi driver, unfortunately. (Although having it written out [thanks!] will the next time.) I called a taxi to my school and said, CheongPyeong godeung hakyo over and over again, and finally in frustration I handed the phone over to my co-teacher, who I swear to God it sounded the same as I was saying it, got understood instantly. She laughed and told me I could just say go for short!
Of course, the following day, I tried only CheongPyeong go and that was unsuccessful too. So tired of people looking at me like I’m a lunatic as I’m looking Korean and trying to speak something intelligible.
The other day, for the first time ever, I was mistaken for being Chinese. I was trying to buy a chicken skewer and this older Korean gentleman started translating for me, unsolicited. I heard one Korean woman asking the street vendor what country I was from, and the vendor whispered off to the side that she must be Chinese…
I wish people always thought of me as Chinese or Japanese, because they treat me much better when they think I’m a visiting tourist.
2 thoughts on “Speak Korean, damn it! correction”
Thanks for sharing about your experiences so openly. I can relate to the experience you discuss in this particular post.
While I was in Korea last year, several times Koreans assumed I was Japanese. And you’re so right–when they thought I was Japanese, they were very understanding. When they learned that I was a Korean adoptee and did not speak Korean but for a few key phrases (your Korean far surpasses mine), I often would get strange & shocked looks or a pity party…
Thanks again for blogging about your experiences!
Ha ha ha! My pleasure! You know, Koreans think I need to suck it up, and Americans can’t begin to understand what it’s like here. Sometimes you have to go into details about the smallest things… I just wanted to record some of them, before I totally get calloused to it all and just accept it as every-day life.
Culture shock is real, and culture shock in Korea as a foreign-raised adopted Korean is really complicated….
So I’m glad to hear you can relate, and it’s here for anyone you want to understand better. :)