결국엔: Simple Korean Poetry

I’ve been doing a terrible job of writing in Korean every day, but this cannot last.

I am a writer, and the need within me to write is stronger and stronger each day that I go without properly writing even a short poem, which is why I’ve started writing short poems here and there. They are on my phone’s note app, or in my little notebook I bought in Korea last summer, or written in my school notes.

They are almost all incredibly dramatic.

Make that “They are definitely all incredibly dramatic.”

Anyways, I thought I’d share one of the poems I’ve posted to Instagram directly here, and perhaps I’ll start sharing them here more regularly. I welcome comments!


Here’s the original Instagram post. And here is a quick, inaccurate translation:

In the End

The heart that loves you

Has become the heart that once loved you

The memories of you that hurt me

Are disappearing along with you

In the end we parted and

The wounds that I received from you

Are being healed by a different person.

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Doing what scares me

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

여러분 메리 크리스마스!

Back in the summer, I decided that rather than waiting until I had a ‘firm grasp on Korean’ – whatever that means – I was going to start writing short stories and not let my ignorance of vocabulary and grammar or my fear of imperfection stop me. I bought a cute little notebook that fit into my pocket and tried to write at least one little story each day.



My cousin and I went to G-Dragon’s Peaceminusone exhibit the first week that I was back in Korea and that evening, as we sat on the second floor of a cafe near Yonsei University, we decided to create. She’s an amazing artist; I have a passion for writing. Inspired by the creativity we saw at the exhibit, we decided we wanted to not just consume but produce. I wrote, she sketched.

I got to around thirty this past summer. Thirty very short, very simple, flaw-filled stories. Most of them reached perhaps a single tiny page, and a few were scribbled across more than one page. I tried to write with varied characters and plots, and found that it was quite the challenge.

It can be hard enough to write a good story when you have time and space and fluency to wax eloquently, but when you’re confined, you have to be far more creative.

I loved it. I love my little foolish tales, for all their mistakes and awkwardness. Per the suggestion of one of my Korean friends, I made an Instagram account called Green Tea Girl in Korean to post them to, but I all but forgot about it until recently. I’ll start posting them there again, but I’m also going to share them here.



Do you see glaring errors? Little mistakes? Please do let me know. I may never do anything with them besides share them with my readers, but isn’t that all that matters – sharing what I’ve created, however small, with others. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope you feel inspired to do your own creative works.

In my mind, creating is the best way to resolve problems of the heart and mind, because you can take what constitutes the problem and reshape it into something that allows you to confront – or at least acknowledge – the problem itself.

감사합니다, and I hope you enjoy my little stories. I’ll link to them here once I begin posting them.



P.S. The formatting was lost in the Instagram post, but here’s the story titled 훌륭한 형님:

“야, 이놈아 진짜-“
어둡고 늦은 밤에 남자들 4명이 한강의 강둑에 서 있었다. 그들의 발 밑에 의식을 잃은 남자가 누워 있었다.
“이제 이 자식 숨을 쉬지, 뭐….형님, 너무 화가나지마세요.”
“내가 이 자식 몇 번 말했는데도!”
“형님…” 갑자기 강둑에 누워 있는 남자가 정신을 들었다. 그 형이 즉시 무릎을 꿇었다.
“무슨 일이야, 이 자식아. 어디 다친 거 없어? 이 형 얼마나 걱정됐는데…”
“머-머-뭐?! 내가 뭐?”
“형님 보고 싶었어요.”
“이 놈아.” 그 형은 다른 남자에게 시켰다.
“빨리 차 데리고 와!”
“제가…죽을 것 같아요?”
울음을 참으면서 그 형이 대답했다. “아니. 형이 죽을 때까지 네가 죽지 못해! 알았어?”
“예, 형님…”
“이 자식아.”

지금 재생중

Books I bought in Korean (and other acts of madness)


새해 복 많이 받으세요!

It’s already been over a week since I left the Land of the Morning Calm and returned home – and discovered that Seoul has more snow than Michigan, which is terrible. Michigan, I feel betrayed!

In my three heavy suitcases, I lugged back my earthly possessions: clothes, gifts, selfie sticks, and of course, books. Textbooks, biographies, and works by Andrei Lankov, obviously, but more pertinent to my language studies, I brought back books in Korean.

Me in the Kyobo Bookstore inside Gwanghwamun Station

I am a firm believer that the more you read, the wiser you can become, and the better you learn to write and comprehend. It doesn’t matter what language you read in; it will help you. Korean is no exception, which is why I pushed myself to buy two novels that I know I cannot read without laboring over each paragraph. You can’t get better without challenging yourself. I also chose to buy poetry, because poetry is artistic and allows one to learn about the creative soul within a language.  Continue reading

Someone send me back in time…

…I want to meet famous gisaengs and scholars from the Joseon dynasty. But really.

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