3 1/2 short stories


First off I would like to say, when I started climbing I could only do three climbs before my arms turned to jello.

Tonight, I did three climbs for a warm-up. BadadadadadaBOOM!


There’s a man who speaks pretty good English and I see him about once every other week or so.  Tonight, he was killin’ it and when he finished one climb that left him about to fall over I asked him, “힘드로?” (pronounced “him-deu-rlo,” essentially means “it was difficult” or “hard to do” or can mean your muscles are sore or things along those lines).

He was surprised, and asked how I knew that word.

“Mijeong told me!”

“Oh, I don’t know her.”

I was about to describe her to him, but caught myself and just laughed and shrugged it off instead.

The reason I stopped?

The sentence on the tip of my tongue was, “She has long black hair and…”


My second Korean teacher at the gym, who I just learned is named Hocheol (yes, we’ve been friends for weeks and I just figured out his name–that’s just how it goes), asked me if I was leaving at ten.  I tried to repeat what he said but instead of saying the word for 10 o’clock, I said the word for a mythical silver fox that’s popular in Korean folklore and seduces men so she can eat their livers.

Or something along those lines.

Livers, yummm.


As we were leaving the gym, Hocheol said a sentence–and he always talks fast like I can understand him, bless his heart–that contained the words “at/to your house” and what I thought was “sleep.”  So I figured he was asking if I would go to sleep when I got home.

I responded that I would talk to my dad.  I responded in Korean and was all proud, but turns out that’s not what he said.

See, the base word for the verb “to sleep” is the same as the word for “tea” and also “car.”

He was asking if I wanted a ride to my house in his car.

And he was really confused when I said I would have to talk to my dad before I could get a ride home.

People barely understand me when I try to communicate in English, and look at me trying to speak Korean.



4 responses

  1. Great work on trying, and to at least some degree succeeding, in communicating in Korean Rachel. Most people spend very little time or energy to learn even the most basic words. I can tell you’re way above avg. Keep having fun.

  2. Pingback: Bits and pieces in pictures and words « rachelshae

  3. Pingback: It starts at #2 ’cause you already read #1 « rachelshae

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