Stuck on the Plateau

Learning another language is an unavoidably humbling experience. Either you find yourself humbled by how stupid you feel but push on with the dream of some day expressing yourself to the fullest – or the feeling of stupidity crowds out everything else until you give up. Continue reading


Where’s the Writer?


It’s been a few months since I’ve posted here, and if I’m completely honest, it’s been more than a few months since I’ve, you know, actually posted. My most recent posts were scheduled well in advance. Why?

At the end of April, I graduated undergrad. I graduated with High Honors on my honors thesis in Korean Studies, won a prestigious award for Korean Studies, nabbed a second major in International Studies, got a short story published in a college lit magazine, said goodbye to almost all my friends, and started working full-time a day after commencement ceremonies.

Adulting is hard.

It’s also terrifying because I’m doing two seemingly opposing things. One’s commended by everyone I meet. The other? Well, let’s just say not everyone understands why I’m doing it.  Continue reading

Puns in Korean: Captain Americano | 캡틴 아메리카노

I am known among my friends as a lover of puns, and this manifests itself as part of my passion for studying Korean. Korean variety shows, particularly Family Outing, seem to have a similar penchant for wordplay, and so I’ve learned a great deal noting down not just what phrases are puns, but which ones are particularly bad (based on the explosive reactions of those who hear the puns). Here is a Reddit filled with cringe-worthy submissions that will make you regret ever reading this post. You’re welcome.

I recently saw Captain America: Civil War, and like any good and studious Marvel fan/Korean language learner, I promptly created a pun out of the name. Though this never occurs while reading the title in English, every time I read 캡틴 아메리카 in Korean, my mind auto-completes it as 캡틴 아메리카.

Captain America → Captain Americano

Incredibly witty, I know.

But this bad pun origin story doesn’t end there. A few months ago, I learned the connotation behind 라면 먹고 갈래 (not unlike “Netflix-and-chill”) Accordingly, I included a 한잔하고 갈래 with my 캡틴 아메리카노 photoshop edit.

I would gladly enjoy an Americano with you, Captain America. And to my readers, I know. I’m super cool. #icecubestatus

Hope you enjoyed this non-serious post!

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

지금 재생 :

#wyd tho…

BONUS: Here’s even more reasons to regret reading this post:

Finding Solid Ground


It’s been a ridiculous amount of time since I posted. Where have I been since then? I went to Korea for two months and studied at Yonsei University again, and then I came back, worked, and endured a semester filled with the turmoil that, well, each new semester seems to bring.

During that time, I started writing and sharing short stories (really, really short short stories written in poor Korean) on Instagram, purchased several more books in Korean, only one of which I have succeeded in finishing (not for lack of ability but for lack of motivation), started a Korean language study club with my friends, and did some serious soul-searching (I didn’t even make a bad pun – that must tell you how serious I am) about what I want to do after I finish undergrad.

Lately, everyone wants to know different things, like

  1. When are you going back to Korea? Wait – you don’t know? YOU SAID THIS WAS YOUR DREAM.
  2. Why do you keep going back to Korea? (Isn’t it time you stopped listening to Gayng-naym Style and chose a real major, Jamie?)
  3. Internship? Internship? Internship?
  4. ????????????? Your dream career?
  5. *awkward smiles at gatherings where everyone’s got their partner* So, are you seeing anyone these days?
  6. More ????????

Stahp just stahp 제발

I know my path hasn’t been entirely conventional. Most people wait until junior year to go abroad, and many people go during the summer rather than for a full semester, whereas I went for four months in fall 2014 and two months for summer 2015. And everybody does internships these days, and I haven’t done a single one.

I’ve tried to make sense of my varied interests. Writing, I love creative writing. I’d love to be a published author. I succeeded in finishing Nanowrimo last year WHILE studying abroad and my goal is to clean up that novel with some revisions and start beating on publisher’s doors with the manuscript (figuratively, of course).


Please let me in…

I also love making videos, even though I’m not fantastic at it. I made my high school’s graduation video, and I’ve made a couple short films for my classes while in undergrad. But I am by no means skilled.

I love studying Korean and learning about Korea. And I really love helping others learn, too. I created this blog to do that, and yet I’ve been doing an awful job lately (my last post is from May, seriously?). Time to change that.

I never wanted to make my blog personal. It was supposed to be a place of anonymity, the domain where I wrote about Korean and people who wanted to read about Korean could do so. But when I studied abroad, I opened it up, told some friends, some family. I even shared my post about the temple-stay on Facebook because I was so inspired, and that inspired other people to look into temple-stays.

Perhaps it’s time to be a bit more personal, do a bit more writing, share some videos, and invest myself. And invest in myself. Because I’m not sure what I want to do with Korean Studies, or International Studies, or the Creative Writing Minor I might be adding in my last year of undergrad. But I know what I don’t want to do, and that would be to waste my passion by doing nothing with it.

잘 부탁드립니다.

Summer Goals

Summer’s almost here. My last final is tomorrow and yet I’m most overjoyed over the prospect of never seeing or hearing from my roommate or her boyfriend again. I’m going to truly miss the vivacity of campus life as the town empties of most of its students, but at least I know some of my friends will be here for a month or two longer. 가지마~~~ ㅠㅠ

Please, GD, kajima!

I can’t fairly complain about people leaving me though, since I’m planning on spending the fall 2014 semester in Seoul. Yes, Seoul. Is it possible to miss a place you’ve never been? I think so. In the meantime, however, I need to get ready. And by getting ready I mean I need to immerse myself as completely in the Korean language as I possibly can over the next several months, because my goal is to return for the winter 2015 semester and test directly into the second semester class of 3rd year Korean. I’ve never been formally tested to see what my level of fluency or ignorance is, and so I’ve been taking 1st year Korean during my freshman year – a seriously entertaining choice because my comprehension of grammar points reaches into much of 3rd year Korean….yet my speaking abilities were basically nil when I entered the class in the last dog days of August almost eight months ago. Or nine. I’m not sure; math isn’t my strong-point and I definitely just counted the months on my fingers and still am not sure if it’s 8 or 9.

I’ll soon be writing up some posts about my experiences taking Korean this past year (this is a promise because otherwise I’ll conveniently forget to do it while reveling in summer sunshine, bubble tea, and the hopes that Big Bang might actually make a comeback within the next decade),but in the meantime I’d like to discuss some of my language-learning goals.


1. Complete review of all Talk To Me In Korean levels up until my current one. And of course, resume actively studying new lessons and leveling up. LEVEL UP. Oh wow, I feel my gaming days returning already….Ahem, and in doing these reviews, I’m going to focus on speaking practice – my biggest nemesis in language learning. Because who really wants to hear herself mispronounce things repeatedly?

2. Establish vocabulary studying regimen (alongside my best friend/language study buddy) of exchanging lists of at least 20 words each every week and then practicing with all 40 via italki posts and my own journaling.

3. Reach a fluency level enabling me to write short stories in Korean! This is a big one for me, since one of my biggest passions since kindergarten has been writing stories. I used to write intense murder mysteries about three detective fairies while I was in kindergarten. Yeah, you’re jealous.

4. Work my way through one Korean novel per month. Now that‘s slightly insane and also mostly possible. I’ve had a book from the library that I’ve been renewing for about 10 months now and I understand the entire first page easily. I just get a bit tired by the second page…but that’s just laziness. This is summer! And summer means….study….time. Actually, summer means finally reading the books I wanted to read all school year long but couldn’t because I had twenty-some novels for my classes to plough through first.

5. Confidence in Korean. This is a big one for me. I’m all fluent and wordy when I’m practicing alone or making small talk with two of my fellow Korean-learning friends, but when confronted with the sweet ahjumma at Arirang who is asking what I want to eat, or when greeting my Korean friend’s wonderful aunt who makes jokes in Korean to me, I freeze up and retreat into the fortress of my native language. This goal isn’t really something I can specifically practice for, other than by practicing and practicing and letting go of the safety-rail of English. Mistakes are okay. They really, really are. And I usually tout this belief quite strongly until my face is burning red from mispronouncing something or randomly swapping the ending to the verb from past tense to future because I’m so completely caught up in being grammatically correct that I forget what the meaning of my sentence was in the first place. So, confidence. Confidence in Korean.


Do you have language learning goals for the summer? 화이팅!!! 그리고 감사합니다!


New Year, Same Goals (and lots of complaints)


It’s 2014 already, and my goals are the same. Become fluent in Korean. Travel to South Korea. Do an exchange program between my university and Yonsei. Work out more, do well in my new classes, have time to meet friends. Write more fictional stories. Remember to post on this website ㅠㅠ

Ahem, it’s been a month since my last post….awkwaaaaaaard

And work. Make that money so that some of these goals become financially possible.

I’ve been working my way through the applications for study abroad Continue reading

my 왜 of language learning

Do you ever pause and wonder why you’re doing something? What’s the point of continuing something? Maintaining focus and motivation while also keeping momentum is extremely difficult, and inability to do so can kill a passion if the passion isn’t strong enough to actually be called a passion. Continue reading