Survival Korean 4 U

Hopefully you’ll take advantage of this earlier than I have…

Anyway, while cleaning out my bookmarks I rediscovered this on-line language program from my Pronvince’s website.  In retrospect, it’s probably THE BEST collection of USEFUL survival Korean that I’ve seen.  Prior to living here 2.5 years, I wouldn’t have known that.

Let's Learn Korean

Each section has an animation (with the Gyeonggi mascot and a foreigner), and they have a dialog that one might actually encounter.  There is the English, the Hangul, and the Romanization right there for you to follow along with, and a list of vocabulary & expressions below.

So yeah, it’s not as slick as some videos on Youtube, but it’s exactly the basics a person needs to get by here, without being as deadly dull or grammar crazy as a classroom.  And you can repeat it as often as you like.

Wish I had realized this earlier.  : (

In addition, there is a foreigner named Rob teaching Korean on-line.  The hangul classes are free at Learn Korean Online  and then you can pay for more advanced classes, of which there are some samples.  He also teaches live classes for foreigners here in Korea.  (again, wish I had realized this earlier – but, since he’s associated w/ the newssmagazine,, he’s probably based in the South of Korea.  And you know, if I had to do this all again, I wouldn’t even have gone to Seoul, but headed south to Daegu or Busan areas, where the pace is slower, Koreans are less annoyed by foreigners, and the foreigners seem to have more of a sense of community)  While his pronunciation may not be perfect, it’s amazingly good.  And the beautiful thing is he knows just what foreigners need and want to get from Korean language classes, so I totally believe (from watching some of his videos) that he can speed up the process while giving you USEFUL TOOLS.

I’m experiencing short-timer’s disease, but at the same time I’m so frustrated that I blew two years of experiencing Korea as an explorer and hungry traveler due to working with TRACK.  (the tri-lingual website of which I worked on for 9 months will be deleted this week, unused)      : (     Oh well, I learned a lot.   Ha.  Mostly about organizational disease and impatience.

Five more months of lessons to go.  So many things I want to do before I go, but cat and finances pin me down.

Hoping I can buy a raimie hanbok before I come home.   Saw an ethereal jeogori (hanbok jacket) made of ramie, and hand-painted with mountains and trees on the arms.  I asked and the woman said oh-pal man won.  58,000 won.  Really?  Only a little over $50 bucks?  That doesn’t seem right to me.  If it is, then it would be criminal not to get it before I leave.  I think lasek surgery will have to wait.   The things I have purchased here are all functional but probably replacable.  Will it cost more to ship them home than to replace?  The bad thing about moving so much is always liquidating.  It’s nice to edit ones’ life and also begin with a fresh slate, but there are always things I regret having gotten rid of.

I wish my kids could have made it out here.  Maybe in the future.  Maybe we can come back together and visit this place, free of internal and external conflict, and with only warmth and wonder in our hearts.





7 thoughts on “Survival Korean 4 U

  1. you wish oh-pal man won is 58,000 but sorry it is 580,000. when you hear man add 4 zeros not 3. what you may have heard is o ship pal man won. 58,000 is o man pal shun won. sorry it not 50 bucks but rather 500 bucks, yikes. :(

  2. Yeah, I thought that was too good to be true. While I knew 58,000 probably had to be wrong, 580,000 seemed too high.

    How much should one to expect to pay for a raimie hanbok, anyway? two grand? Guess I’ll just have to look at them on other people.

  3. it seems to me that you are just settling in. why don’t you reconsider and stay in korea longer. enjoy all the things that you couldn’t because of your work at track. hope you will have no regrets leaving soon.

  4. I was having a senior moment because I never deal with man won, only chun won. Maybe 300 bucks for something so small would be appropriate – would be nice to frame and hang on a wall, since I’ll never have occasion to wear one – but 500? Ugh.

    Anyway, I literally am feeling too senior to stay here any longer. I’m on the cusp of menopause, I’m the oldest single adoptee living in Korea, I’m tired of adoptee community and politics, I make friends and they all move away, I’ve put on 5 pounds, I spend each and every day being avoided by my colleagues because they’re so insecure about English, my job is not career-worthy because I’m not really a kid teacher and don’t love it enough to return to school to get a degree in ESL so I can teach in a college to adults, and last but not least, I have only seen my children once in two years.

    To me, Korea is too developed to live in for the living-as-a-foreigner-is-an-adventure experience: its traditional culture is kind of a one-liner and is virtually extinct, and modern culture is complicated, unattractive, and unhealthy. At its core are good people doing their best and the landscape is amazing and the food is more often than not awesome (except for the salt levels). But it would take me a decade to gain access to them, and most of the avenues towards access are not available to me as an older person.

    It’s not a question of liking or hating Korea – it’s just that this place will never be comfortable enough or accessible enough for me, though I know it can be for those who are younger. I’ve never put a premium on comfort and felt it was educational to be unsettled, but that was when I, too, was younger – and call it a cop-out if you want, but I just want to be comfortable for a change, at least for a little while.

    And maybe if I didn’t have children I would try to stay a little longer – but I would have to totally restructure the entire experience – and again, most of the opportunities to do so (like educational scholarships) are not available to those over 40, and jobs- well, we know how those are for adoptees and gyopos…

  5. At least i must say that you are leaving behind some important legacy regarding adoption in korea. your work at track and other organizations like goal have contributed greatly to the new law regarding adoption in korea. that is more than i can say about most of us, adoptee or not. you definitely deserve to be in a more comfortable environment and seeing your children more often. well what can i say being a father to 3 boys, i definitely understand. if you are ever in socal please drop me a line cuz i would love to meet you and buy you at least a drink.

  6. I’m not sure there’s any legacy that I, personally, contributed to. Being with TRACK helped me help find my voice and was a vehicle to allow me to help others find their voice – that is more what my contribution was. Just like I have an almost impossible time drinking to excess, I have an almost impossible time activating to excess. There’s some crazy self-preservation mechanism in me that will not allow me to become an alcoholic or a fanatic. Or maybe once again it’s just that I’m older, once bitten twice why, and have learned what should be common sense the hard way, through negative experience.

    I’ve met a lot of great people doing this: adoptees, adoptive parents, and other foreigners. I am by nature distrustful, judgmental and dismissive. But coming here has caused me to be more accepting. The only ones I seem to be rejecting these days are adoptees who try to contain and order everything and everyone to fit their black and white perspectives. It’s been encouraging to me that, since I left TRACK I have learned there are a lot more adoptees who have a more nuanced view of right and wrong, and are moving/thinking beyond their pain towards real dialogue.

    I would include you as one of those people. And sure, we’ll meet one day. Would like to meet your little boy, too!

    I’m really looking forward to a simpler life, in a more comfortable place!

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