한글 for tinder

Korea: A land of culture, beautiful landscapes, and worldwide handsomes.

I’ve gotten some really positive feedback hitting on men in Korean. Expressions like:  “So cute,” “Good job,” and “I’m not Korean.”

 

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Look at them

 

Unfortunately for native English speakers, Korean is not a language that can just be absorbed. It takes persistence, dedication, and motivation to study. What motivates me is skin like porcelain and tinted lips. They are untouchable. They are also scared of my English.

 

I probably should mention that I have been wildly unsuccessful with dating Koreans.  I’ve been rejected with translator apps. A few guys have literally run in the opposite direction.

I am quite comfortable living on the fringe of society. But I want to challenge myself to learn a new language and to further indulge in Korean culture (wink). Dating is an all-encompassing way to do that. I know I’m not the only one swiping on Tinder with a textbook in my lap, so here are some go-to expressions.

안녕하세요

Annyeonghaseyo

Meaning: Hello. Duh

매력이

maelyeog-e

Meaning: charming. I have no idea how to conjugate anything.

dong

Meaning: poop. This is irrelevant, obviously.

잘생겼어요

jalsaeng-gyeoss-eoyo

Meaning: handsomeness. It lets them know that I am serious about learning Korean.

아빠

oh-ppa

Meaning:  father. I think girlfriends use it like “honey.” I really don’t know any Korean at all. I am underqualified to be even writing this blog. The more I study, the more I am like wtf.

 

내 목졸라줘

nae-mogchorachwo

Meaning: Choke me.


So. Things are going well. You hooked up with the person (high five). Is it safe to assume you can drop the ‘요’ and speak informally using 반말? No! Always ask. Some people get offended by the informal language even if you’ve gone all the way. As a foreigner, I’m sure you could get away with it, but it is always better to be polite.

안녕! Bye!

 

A breakup abroad

“You don’t have to wait for me,” I said.

I was laying in his bed on my side. My back faced him as I looked into my relocated fish tank. Ludwig van’s silky red fins rippled in the water and calmed me. He was exploring his new surroundings. In a couple of weeks, I would be doing the same.

“I can be very patient.”


He entered the bathroom while I was in the shower. My friend, the one we were visiting for a few days, must have gone out to collect more firewood.

“Please,” he said stroking his shaft.

Ten seconds later I used the running water to kick his little Jimmies down the drain. Taken aback, yet flattered.


We listened to Hamilton on our way to Disneyland for the last time. L.A. traffic was at high tide and my emotions began to swell. I wore my sunglasses even though it was raining. I couldn’t pinpoint the emotion, but I could pinpoint the reason: it wasn’t going to work out.

Still, I held on.


Every day after work I would call. The time difference was harsh and he would wait up just to speak with me. It was sweet, but I would find myself dragging my feet on my walk home.

He asked me basic questions to imply a surface level of curiosity.

“How was your day.”

“Fine,” was an adequate enough response. I was careful not to share too much because he seemed sad when I did.

“I’m going to Vietnam in May!!”

“Oh… cool.”

or

“I’m going to get a tattoo in a couple of weeks!!”

“No, you should wait. Don’t you want to get one with me?”

I liked this one too:

“I’m going on a trip with my friend for Christmas!!”

“Oh… I thought we were going to spend Christmas together.”

We had obligatory phone sex once a month. We talked mostly about colleagues from a job that I was trying desperately to move on from. That’s how we met and had in common. He still worked there and would relay stories of shitty customers. His details made me feel like I still worked there too. But I didn’t. And I didn’t want to feel like it anymore.


Shangela and I were on the bus to Dong-gu to get some pizza. She was (still is) in a long distance relationship too. That’s how we bonded.

“When you talk to your boyfriend, do you like it?” I was trying to articulate the bitter taste in my mouth.

“Yes…”

“Oh.” Shit.

“Are you excited about him visiting?”

“No.”

“Isn’t he staying for a whole month?”

“No. Five weeks.”


My friends watched me bang my head against the wall all summer. To have him come to Korea, or not.

He already spent the money.

I already have everything booked.

I don’t love him and I don’t know if I even like him anymore.

Rationalizing emotions is futile. These were the thoughts running through my head.

My mother raised me to believe that honesty is the best policy, but that doesn’t vibe with my non-confrontational personality. He bought the tickets and even quit his job. He called to tell me about his new backpack for travel. My head was screaming, “NO! NO! NO!”


I performed my breakup script to him over a Kakao call. This was the second time I’ve dumped some via phone call, and I must say the key to a successful breakup call is preparation. He cried a lot and told me his dreams were being crushed. I hung up and had brunch with my friends.


That was that. Haha, just kidding! I called him to tell him I changed my mind.

“Come visit me.”

And then called him again to tell him not to. I was a yo-yo for a couple of months.


He came up from behind at the airport. He came out of the wrong gate. He bent down to give me a wet kiss which made me realize two things: that I had made a big mistake and I needed to get drunk asap.


Day 2 in the Philippines I told him he had to end his trip early.

“What do you mean?” As if I threw him a curveball.

“Let’s not worry about it now, but you can’t stay with me for five weeks. And you’re not coming to Jeju.” I was proud of myself. Sure, I was being a dick. But I was an honest dick.

Vacation in the Philippines was not terrible. Beer cost a dollar, so.


We arrived back to Korea. We were tired. I had been suffering from diarrhea for four days. He changed his flight but it wasn’t for another, like, ten days.

Readers, this was a test of my character and I failed miserably. In the Philippines, he got a blistering sunburn and it started to peel. Skin flakes were coming off in sheets and floated down to my floor like winter’s first snow. But it was in my apartment and it was DEAD SKIN. I would come home after work and have diarrhea for ten minutes. Without saying anything, I would get my broom and sweep the skin while crying softly on the inside.

Time moved on. But after having diarrhea for a solid seven days, I broke down. Pooping that much does something to your soul. I yelled at him. A lot. About how he shouldn’t have come here despite my pleading.  About money. About his skin.


The morning he left I took him to the bus stop. He seemed sad even though I treated him like shit. After he got on the bus, I went home and cleaned my apartment like a crime scene. For the last time, I swept up his littered skin and washed my sheets to rid his smell.


I learned a few things from this experience:

  • Balance is finding the right volume to watch TV with headphones without causing ear damage while drowning out your ex-boyfriend crying.
  • Your heart is a dumb asshole.
  • TBH your mom is probably right.

Hello, Spring!

I was leaning against the wall overlooking my co teacher’s shoulder double checking her spelling. “Why isn’t the stupid bank letting me log in?!” We were both questioning our sanity. Then I felt a rumble down my spine. We looked forward at the sliding doors, the sun’s reflection looked like glitter as the doors trembled in their track.

“Are they earthquakes in Korea?” My co teacher laughed and told me it was probably just the kids upstairs running. Kids are crazy, after all. She started reminiscing on a much bigger earthquake the previous year. She had just had her baby, so she was quite shaken by the earthquake both figuratively and literally. An emergency alert interrupted her reenactment of how she shielded her newborn son.

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A sneeze by California’s standards. It was just enough to evacuate the school. I stood there in my indoor shoes, which are actually just cozy house slippers. I acted comfortable walking on sandy terrain, even though I knew I was ripping holes on my soles.  It was a minor earthquake but a major excuse to not work the rest of that Friday afternoon.


I am sitting in my office trying to tune out the sound of elementary schoolers trying to learn the flute, violin, skinning animals alive, or whatever that god awful noise is in the afternoon. I am alternating tabs between GoPro cameras on Amazon and tips on how to achieve minimalism. It is almost three o’clock in the afternoon on Friday and I finished working two hours ago.

It looks like it’s snowing outside, but it’s really the freshly bloomed cherry blossoms calling it quits. I feel like they were in full bloom a total of 2.3 days and now they are going to back to their natural state of glorified sticks. Very few get a tattoo of cherry blossom trees not in bloom. They do look pretty falling to the ground.

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I can’t help but think of how the cherry blossoms are metaphoric of the way of life in Korea. Shit changes rather quickly here. I’ve been teaching here barely over a month and two of my three co teachers have changed. My students went from being amazed about my foreigner-ness to being less amazed. Actually, no — they’re still pretty into it.

Although things around me are changing all time, I feel the exact same.  I thought when I came to Korea, my life would be a whirlwind of change. I was going to speak Korean, magically lose 40 pounds, and learn tae kwan do just by being here. Nope.

My diet is still 65% carbohydrates. I still need an excessive amount of alone time. I still hate writing even though I am infatuated with the idea of being a writer but am crippled by my own laziness.  I still wear leggings as pants #LeggingsArePants #FuckYourOpinon and despite being an English teacher, I am still the world’s worst speller.  I spelt science wrong on the board and no one knew better to correct me. I am such a bad speller, that I just spelt spelt wrong, and Grammarly had to fix it.

No matter your coordinates on this planet, you’re the same person.


My weekly blog is more like a bimonthly afterthought, but at least I have been living my life, to an extent.

I went to go see the cherry blossoms in Gyeongju the last weekend of March. The cherry blossoms weren’t fully bloomed at that point, but it didn’t rain on my parade. No, the actual rain rained on my parade. I didn’t even know rain could rain perpendicular to the Earth. Me and my Korea bestie (she’s not Korean, she’s just my only friend in this country) saw Beauty and the Beast. As the lights flicked off abruptly, and the film began, I breathed a sigh of relief. The movie was in English.

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I am smiling because I instinctually buy waterproof things.

In all seriousness, Gyeongju is a gorgeous city rich in Korean history and culture. There are ancient tombs everywhere and a lot of Koreanesque architecture. You can take my word that it was really neat because most of the time I could care less about buildings.

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Nothing says tomb like lights projected on some old ass trees.

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Stunning architecture.

 

 

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We saw the Cheomseongdae, or ancient observatory. I had no idea what it was at the time but everyone was taking pictures, so I did too.

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We stayed in a Hanok-turned-hostel that had some sweet vibes and a sweet dog.

It was a lovely getaway. Gyeongju, I will come back for you.IMG_4828


This past weekend was the first round of Saturday classes. I signed up for the science classes (so fitting) and taught on the “nature” floor. I bought a necklace that was a pen holder for the special occasion. Upon arrival, I gleefully removed my own sciencey vest, to proudly put on this amazing, yellow vest with a discreet breast pocket that all the foreign language teachers got to wear. I was nervous at first during the first class, but it was definitely fun towards the end when I grew familiar with my script. Thanks to my experience with stand-up comedy, I have no problem telling the same jokes over and over again. Plus, there’s nothing like a vest to boost my self confidence.

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Such vest. So science.

After class, returning our vests (until next time!), and lunch, my friend and I headed to the Ulsan Grand Park — not without stopping by a convenience store to buy a bottle of wine, soju, 2 cans of 7-up, 2 little bottles of OJ, and a cup of ice, of course. At the park, all of the Koreans were sitting on blankets with their children and dogs in overalls. We were sitting in the dirt and drinking makeshift sangria. Although the wine smelled like arsenic, the sangria proved to be quite delicious. I drank all if it despite developing splotches all over my skin and my heart was beating abnormally fast.

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Ulsan Grand Park is indeed grand.

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Purple drank.

After I finished googling alcohol allergies, we rented bicycles with no helmets, naturally. I, of course, picked the bike that matched my digital watch. My friends got a tandem bike. We took turns and I learned that I really don’t like tandem bikes, even though they look really cool. It was a great time and it was nice to get some exercise in the lovely weather and feel the cool breeze on my hot and hive-ish face.

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Face not red from exercise.

Alas, spring is here!