Kumbayah and Human Sacrifice


I love Host Mom dearly, but spending time with her always leaves me hopelessly confused.

I have seen little of my host family for the past few months, so I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself or traveling with friends. After spending the previous weekend out of town, I decided to stay around Gimhae for this weekend and catch up on some reading. Apparently, Host Mom had other plans.

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Birthday in Korea

With a December birthday, the holidays and final exams overshadow everything else. I always had lovely celebrations with my family, but I didn’t do much with my friends. During college, we were studying for exams or finishing final papers. Then it was Christmas break. So when it came to my birthday in Korea, I expected that it would come and pass like it usually did. But I was pleasantly surprised!

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The Cookie Game: Teaching Debate


I stood at the front of the classroom, in front of the rowdy students who were carrying their conversations from the hallway into Janine Teacher’s class. It only took two or three students to notice that I was holding a box of Binch cookies before the entire class was silent.

“Teacher, why cookie?”

“Today,” I told each second grade class as their eyes glittered with cookie-lust, “one lucky state group will win the Binch. We are going to have a debate!”

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Top 5 Weirdest Words I Have Actually Written on My Blackboard

Ah, the blackboard. The staple of every classroom. Now that it’s midterms week and I don’t have a lesson update, I’d like to share some of the weirdest things my students have asked me to write on the board. To give some context, usually I use the board to write instructions, show grammatical structures, or help students with spelling. The pictures below fall into the last category.

Let the countdown begin.

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Mishaps at the Mart, Part III

I have a feeling this will become a regular feature.

This weekend is a holiday called Chuseok, and one of the Chuseok traditions is to give gifts to your family. I knew we would be visiting Host Dad’s family for Chuseok dinner, so I wanted to buy a gift for my host family and for his parents who would be hosting us.

On Thursday I went to Homeplus, where a dizzying array of gift sets awaited me. Spam and cooking oil. Lotions and shampoos. Socks and underwear. Coffee, green tea, cocoa. What to get, what to get…?

I stumbled upon a set of jars with pictures of fruit on them. Yum…jam! My host family often eats toast, I thought. They loved my thumbprint jam cookies. This would be something practical because they would eat it, but also a nice gift because they wouldn’t usually buy it for themselves. I’ll take two!

Look at this lovely jam set. Just look at it.


It’s a good thing I always feel compelled to give a gift as soon as I buy it. Because it turns out, that’s not jam.

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More Mishaps at the Mart

Remember when I wrote that I was feeling so much better about my Korean? Yeeeeah, maybe not so much!

After school today, Host Mom and I went to Homeplus to do some grocery shopping. Host Mom put kimbap in our shopping cart to have for dinner so we wouldn’t have to cook, but she wanted something else to go with it. After we paid for the groceries, we started walking toward the exit when Host Mom asked, “Ka-pu-shi mokollaeyo?”

Would you like to eat…Ka-pu-shi?

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