12 Days in Hanguk


As promised, here is the Korean song I wrote.  Enjoy!

12 Days in 한국

Sung to the tune “The 12 Days of Christmas

 

On the 1st day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

A jar of 배추김치.

On the 2nd day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 3rd day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 4th day in 한국,
My 선배 gave to me,

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 5th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 6th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 7th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Seven 서울지도,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 8th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Eight 한국드라마,

Seven 태극기,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 9th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Nine 신용카드,

Eight 한국드라마,

Seven 태극기,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 10th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Ten rounds of 노래!

Nine 신용카드,

Eight 한국드라마,

Seven 태극기,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On 11th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Eleven 태권도판,

Ten rounds of 노래!

Nine 신용카드,

Eight 한국드라마,

Seven 태극기,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

On the 12th day in 한국,

My 선배 gave to me,

Twelve 전자제품,

Eleven 태권도판,

Ten rounds of 노래!

Nine 신용카드,

Eight 한국드라마,

Seven 태극기,

Six bags of 홍차,

A 표 to 제주도!

Four 젓가락,

Three 한복,

Two 핸드폰,

And a jar of 배추김치.

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The end of D.C. baseball?


My wife passed her Korean exam with flying colors!  She passed 2/2 in Korean in just 24 weeks (level 2 speaking, level 2 reading).  Congratulations!  She is a language learning star.  It’s extremely rare for someone to reach that level in such a short period of time.  Me, I’m stuck at the 1+ level with over 1 1/2 months left to go in training.  She definitely leveraged her mastery of Chinese and might not have been so lucky in a completely unrelated language like Pashto or Finnish, but it’s still an amazing accomplishment.  Hats off to her.  I can only hope to be at about 2/1 in Korean by February.  Maybe next time I can study German!

Is this the end of professional baseball in Washington, D.C.?  I even went out and bought my new Washington Nationals baseball cap to support bringing back to D.C. after the announcement was made in late November that the Montreal Expos were moving to the Nation’s Capitol.  Last night though the D.C. Council approved funding for a stadium with the condition that about half of it would be paid for by Major League Baseball.  Three months ago D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams had negotiated a deal with MLB to pay for a new stadium for the Nationals, but now MLB will re-open the deal and possibly cancel it unless the D.C. Council agrees to pay for funding.  I would really like to see baseball in D.C.  I love baseball and miss watching the Mariners at Safeco.  Rooting for the Nationals would let me jump on the bandwagon early while they’re still terrible.  I’m personally critical of public funding for ballparks, but in this case if Williams had been given the authority to make a deal to bring the Expos to D.C. the issue of funding should have been sounded out months ago.  If the Council was opposed to public funding then Williams could have changed the terms of the deal during negotiations.  A deal breaker after the team move has been announced is a lousy way of doing business and gives the city a huge black eye.  The 2004 election changed the Council’s composition, but the main instigator Linda Cropp is a holdover from the previous council and has been pulling strings behind the scenes to change the terms of the deal.  Now it looks as if the team will remain the Expos and could move elsewhere.  Oh well, I guess that Nationals’ hat will be a collector item.

I dropped off some food and clothing today for the marine guards and families of Foreign Service nationals at the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Consulate.  A few of us worked together to put together a care package to send to them in the wake of the recent bombings.  It’s the least we can do sitting here thousands of miles away from the Consulate.  It should arrive before Christmas.

Korean test exhaustion


I took my second Korean language progress test today.  It was something I had been anticipating for over a month and worked hard to prepare for.  I did fine, and my test score was around where I thought I needed to be at this point in my testing–at the 1+ level in speaking at 24 weeks (on a 0-5 scale).  Overall I did OK on my exam.  I used complicated vocabulary well, and my sentence patterns were decent.  I made some mistakes.  My fluency is lacking, and I don’t have a large vocabulary.  My ability to talk about complex concepts is still very limited.  I also misunderstood some directions on the interview portion of the exam and took a minute to recover.  That was one of the lowlights.  On the other hand, my freeform conversation with the tester was great.

The testing observer confirmed these results with me, but apparently the tester did not think I did too well.  That’s a little disconcerting.  I know I need to buckle down and work harder–and smarter–but I don’t know what gave them the impression I didn’t do so well.  I haven’t have a chance to talk to them yet.  They talked to my wife, who was a bit alarmed because she did not talk to the observer who graded me and thought I had bombed the test.  I believe I’m close to where I need to be, but I also know I need to work harder because the learning curve will continue to grow steeper.  Unfortunately, I’m not gifted at learning languages.  I do fine, but I have to really work hard when learning a foreign language.  I have to work at learning technical subject.  Language development is very technical because all languages are built on a set of grammar and pronunciation rules.  Some universities compare the ability to learn foreign languages to learning mathematics.  I like numbers and languages, but I am not inherently a math person–nor apparently am I a guru at learning languages.  It’s a necessity though in my field and will help me communicate as I travel around the world.  I’ll learn, but it won’t be easy.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the tester and find out what’s on their mind.  I want to make sure I know their personal assessment of my Korean ability.  I also gave the testing tape to a third-party to review for their feedback.  I want to make sure that all instructors in the program know where I am in Korean and will give me the help I need to get to where I need to be before I finish the class.