Sunday, June 30, 2013

Become A Korean Vocabulary Rockstar

I'm just not the person 
who sits down and studies vocabulary.
Making flashcards and writing repetition
is lame.

Which is why

has single handedly saved my ass!

The process is simple.
First you plant
(Learn and practice)

Then you water.

Words you know well
don't get watered very often.
Words you are terrible at
get watered all the time.

Memrise takes care of remembering
what you know and what you don't know.
You just keep practicing until you are awesome.

The program has already developed lists such as:

Click here for KIIP Beginner 2 Vocabulary practice:

Or you can develop your own.
It's cloud based so the sky is the limit.

Go on now,
get your vocabulary on.

The site can be used on your computer,
or there is a handphone app.

Where are the Western people?

The KIIP program is awesome,
at least it is in Osan where I study on Sundays.

I love the instructor,
the lessons are excellent,
and the schedule is perfect for a person with a job.

My only question is this,
"Where are all the Western people?"
In fact, since I first showed up for my KIIP exam
 I've been asking this question.

The KIIP is a completely FREE
language and culture program 
with classes across the country 
designed for migrants with work schedules.
Yes, that's right 
just because you are a foreigner!

However, based on what I read on posts and threads,
and the fact I have not yet met 
a native English speaker in the program,
it seems the vast majority of Westerners are 
too cool for free education.

Yes, it took me a little while to get here as well,
but I'm hoping I can make it easier 
for others to take this leap.
These classes aren't just for folks looking for their F-2,
they're an amazing opportunity
to learn about the world.

They help you feel part of something bigger.
You meet expats from so may places,
doing all kinds of things.

Taking the KIIP classes
has given me a far deeper appreciation
for my life in the opportunities I've been given.
It has given me perspective and opened my eyes
to the depth of the expat community here,
which runs far deeper 
than a few transient, English teachers.

This is one of those amazing, 
once in a lifetime opportunities, 
and I'm so thankful I didn't let it pass.

Yes, you might be the only
white person
black person
tall person
blonde person
young person
old person
English person
Canadian person
US person
Australian person
that shows up for class.

Yes, you might not be able 
to get really drunk for a while
because you need to get up in the morning.

Yes, it might be scary to take the first exam.

Yes, you might do terrible on it 
because you don't know Korean.

Yes, it's going to be scary.

Yes, it's totally worth.



Saturday, June 29, 2013

All Other Cake is Dead to Me

Pyeongtaek Coffee

of a quiet Korean street
lives a little shop of dreams.

As you sip your delicate 
Peach Ginger Ice Tea
and nibble on your 
Earl Grey Chiffon Cake
you realize that some things are food
and some things are edible magic.

Just go.

평택시 비전동 895

Not far from 
New Core

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

KIIP Korean Language Classes

So, it's started and it's not half bad.
Every Sunday for 8-9 hours I will study Korean
via the KIIP program offered by the Korean government. 

These classes are free.

Yes, that's right.  
If you take the KIIP program intro test,
you can learn Korean for free from fantastic instructors.

Here is what it looks like when you log in after you take your exam:

As you can see I'm in Beginner 2. 
Now, don't let the term beginner trick you here.
Beginner 2 is taught entirely in Korean.
It means you are functional in the language,
but not able to do many advanced things.

After you find your level, they give you a list of places
offering up the courses you need 
on different schedules
in different locations.

I chose the 9 hours every Sunday class.

The students and the teachers are all very nice.
The only language we have in common is Korean
so you must talk and listen or it's going to be pretty tough.
Right now, I'm studying with
two Chinese men and a Vietnamese woman
which has meant the insides scoop on great food.

Finally I know where to get amazing Pho.

That isn't the only perk 
to studying with people from many countries.
In the past, it's been too easy for me to wuss out 
and just fill in the holes with English.
In these classes I've gotta stick to my guns.
It's Korean or nothing.

Of course, the biggest benefit 
to completing this language program
is that it gives you all 15 or more language points
for your F-2-7 points visa.

Yah, that's right. 
If you go all the way through this program
and pass the language test,
no TOPIK exam results needed.
Go straight to 15 or more points.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Harri-bou, a short story.


He is amazing.
남자는 너무 멋지다.

He followed me to Korea.
그는 미국부터 한국 까지 나를 따라왔어요.

He did not complain.
그는 불평 하지 않았어요.

He is only happy.
그는 행복해요.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Go Stop

Uly is the best.  Always willing to enjoy the moment.

As I sat in an old countryside shop playing Go Stop with the shopkeepers cards, I realized how far away my arrival here seems.  

Gone are the days of open eyed wonder. Now Korea and I are like an married couple, sitting qietly together on a Sunday afternoon watching life peacefully pass us by.

Maybe I should want more, but I just can't find the time.  There are games to be played, meals to eat, and friends to meet.  I spent enough of my life on the go, now I just want to stop.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Testing My Nerves - Taking the KIIP Exam

After living here a few years, 
I've gotten it into my head 
that I need to get my hands on 

Is this a critically important thing to have? 
No, it is not.
It does, however, come with perks.
I like perks.


One of the most important things I need to do is get my butt into the social integration program.  That requires first taking and entrance exam to determine my Korean level.

You do this by going to this website: and signing up for the evaluation exam.  You will need to make an account in order to register.  Also, you will most likely find issues using the website unless you are using internet explorer.  Even if you know Korean we HIGHLY recommend having a Korean help you with signing up and registering.  The website has many error messages for all sorts of things and it can be quite frustrating to navigate - even for Koreans themselves.  

Once you have signed up, you will need to print out a copy of your "Registration Ticket" and take it to the exam with you.  You also need your Alien Registration Card.  You will show them these two items to confirm you "Number" that is listed on a big sheet outside your testing area.  You will sit in a seat with that same number.

The test itself is two parts.  The first part is like a mini TOPIK exam.  It starts out easy and gets harder and harder.  My Korean level is not that high so I only go through 2/3 of the test before the time was up.  The longer the paragraphs got the more I was confused.  I'm pretty stoked about free classes to help get my Korean to the next level.

After the written, you will be taken to another classroom where you will take the spoken part of the exam.  They will test you in reading ability, reading comprehension, listening and speaking.  (This is where I totally, epically bombed some things.) 

They will call you out of the big room in small groups of 4-5 and you will all sit at a table across from some examiners and they will have you read and easy section of Korean.  Then they will ask you about what you read as well as some personal questions.  The section is actually very easy to understand and so are their questions about it and you. 

Once that is finished you wait a week to find out what classes they have assigned you to and where you will take those classes.  I have my fingers crossed that I won't have to repeat the entire first part of Korean because of another ridiculous "I Love Lucy" moment.