I look forward to the day I break the language barrier. But unlike Chuck Yeager and the sound barrier (hmm… Chuck Yeager and the Sonic Booms sounds like it would make a cool band name…), there is no specific target to surpass. Fluency is a hard thing to measure and one need not be fluent to be able to read heating controls or tell the landlady about the unexpected wading pool in your living room. This particular adventure of water hot and cold started with the switch to a new apartment.
On the day my wife and I moved in to our new apartment in South Korea, we received not only internet access, but a new washing machine and a new stove. We soon discovered, however, that we could not get the stove to ignite (it was a two-burner, self-igniting gas stove). And no matter how far we turned the handle to the hot side, the shower only poured out cold water. Unfortunately for us, the person who had been assisting us was swamped with office work at the school, so he wasn’t able to get around to helping us. We spent a week taking “brisk and refreshing” showers and heating up instant rice in the microwave.
Last night, the School Director took the school staff out to eat at a nice restaurant and afterwards I decided to head to noraebang (Korean for karaoke) with some of my fellow teachers. Eruanna decided to head back to our apartment. I had a lot of fun, especially since the place supplied tambourines in the room we rented. Unlike in America, where you get up in front of a bunch of strangers and make a fool of yourself, in Korea (and in Japan, I’ve heard) you rent a room with a bunch of people you know and make a fool of yourself with them. There were plenty of English songs to sing, though some of the Korean teachers did sing one K-pop song (lyrics were in Korean, so I only sort of got the sounds). There were live-action and cartoon videos playing behind the lyrics and I had a hard time telling if it was random or selected for each song. I nearly lost my voice on Bohemian Rhapsody… ^^ Continue reading